Africa’s Defining Moment: Seizing Opportunities at the COP28 Climate Summit

COP 28 Dubai photo
Photo showing Nigeria’s President | Image Source: Flickr

In a continuously evolving world, where global climate challenges loom large and the urgency for sustainable solutions has never been more pronounced, the quest for transformative solutions lies in the power of collective action and collaboration among nations. The COP28 Climate Summit, peculiar for its energy and grandeur planning, is yet another opportunity to combat the global climate mayhem that looms with actionable and sustainable solutions. However, amidst all this excitement lie discerning questions: Where does Africa stand in the quest for transformative solutions? And, particularly, what are Africa’s prospects in this historic Expo City summit?

stands at a crossroads, faced with the devastating consequences of adverse
climate change and the challenging dilemma of choosing between combating
poverty or addressing climate change. Despite being a continent
disproportionately affected by climate change, Africa still holds significant
prospects at the COP28 Climate Summit, as evidenced by recent news. Although
the full extent of Africa’s gains from the conference, which lasts until
December 12, is yet to be known, a dose of optimism is already being felt across
the continent.

a united front evident in the Africa Climate Summit 2023 in Nairobi, the stage
was set and Africa walked into the conference, face up.

the continent facing a substantial climate finance gap, conservatively
estimated at US$250 billion annually by the Africa Policy Research Institute
(APRI), the COP28 UAE Declaration of Leaders on a Global Finance Framework
couldn’t be more in tune with the aspirations of African leaders at the
conference. The objective is crystal clear: make finance available, accessible,
and affordable. As outlined in the Finance Framework, delivering commitments to
invest between US$5 to US$7 trillion in greening the global economy by 2030,
and particularly, supporting developing countries by the Global North with
US$100 billion in the context of meaningful mitigation action, offers
unprecedented prospects and opportunities for Africa. The ripple effects of
these investments will be painstakingly massive, lifting millions out of
poverty while maintaining a healthy climate. The establishment of a Carbon
Market, as outlined in the framework, will also turbocharge the development of
Africa’s Capital Market, strengthening the continent’s financial system.

Africa is adjudged to be the most devastated by the adverse outcomes of climate
change, despite contributing just about 4 percent to global emissions. The two
extreme fallouts of climate change—drought and flooding—have incised too deeply
into the continent, leaving the people to bear the brutal brunt of disruptions
to agriculture, food security, and the loss of their livelihoods. It is against
this backdrop that advancing the rapid implementation of the Critical Loss and
Damage Fund forms a crucial cornerstone of Africa’s agenda at the summit. The
news couldn’t be more soothing when COP28 began on the first day with a
historic agreement on a Loss and Damage Fund, with a pledge to the fund of over
US$500 million by the UAE, Germany, the EU, Britain, the US, and Japan, as
reported by Reuters. The Fund would not only empower Africa to better mitigate
the magnitude of harsh climate change effects but would also accelerate growth
in the affected regions.

the heart of this global undertaking lie unprecedented opportunities for
African countries to forge solid alliances with the Global North and the
oil-rich Middle East. For instance, the governments of Nigeria and Germany have
signed a power pact designed to inject 12,000 megawatts of electricity into
Nigeria’s national grid. In the same vein, the Nigerian government has secured
commitments of more than US$5 billion for its climate action from the U.S.
government. According to Dr. Salisu Dahiru, DG, of the National Council on Climate
Change (NCCC), US$3 billion of the funds will be for the recapitalization of
the Green Climate Fund, while US$2 billion is for the Adaptation Fund. Similar
narratives echo across numerous African nations, each with its own story of
forging impactful alliances and securing commitments for climate action.

Intriguingly, Africa has always been an observer
rather than a participant at the table where climate decisions are made. Well,
the narrative is changing. And as the COP28 climate conference unfolds with
promising prospects, the crucial question remains: Will these opportunities
translate into the much-anticipated economic emancipation the continent is in
dire need of? Only time will tell.

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