In a historic address during the 36th ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, President William Ruto of Kenya delivered a resounding message: Africa is ready to take the reins in the global battle against climate change.
With eloquence and determination, President Ruto outlined the continent’s vast potential to contribute significantly to carbon emissions reduction through its clean energy resources, essential minerals, agricultural capability, and natural wealth.
President Ruto’s impassioned declaration echoed across the African continent as he spoke not just for Kenya but for the entire region.
He laid out a compelling case for Africa to lead the world in industrialization and prosperity while maintaining a low-carbon, sustainable trajectory.
He said, “We have an opportunity to lead the world and show that we can industrialize and prosper, achieving this in a low carbon and sustainable manner, making this century, the African Century.”
Africa boasts remarkable assets on its journey towards a greener future. It is home to an astounding 60% of the world’s finest solar resources and holds more than 40% of global reserves of cobalt, manganese, and platinum.
Furthermore, renewable energy sources are already emerging as the most cost-effective energy option in many parts of the continent, with 80% of all new power generation capacity coming from clean sources.
However, President Ruto’s visionary aspirations are facing a harsh reality. Despite the abundance of clean energy potential, investment in renewable energy in Africa lags significantly behind.
Shockingly, only 0.8 percent of the $495 billion spent globally on renewables in 2022 reached the African continent.
President Ruto emphasized the need for financial assistance from nations that have profited from Africa’s resources, characterizing it as an environmental debt that must be paid.
Mohamed Adow, director of the Power Shift Africa energy and climate think tank, cautions that while solar panels are crucial, they are just one facet of Africa’s climate transformation.
To truly accelerate progress, bold investments in renewable energy are needed. The Africa Climate Summit advocates for aiming high in this regard.
To achieve energy and climate targets between 2026 and 2030, Africa requires a staggering $133 billion in annual clean energy investments.
By 2030, the global renewable energy sector aims to increase worldwide capacity to at least 11,000 GW, yet African investment in this critical sector falls behind.
Bruce Douglas, CEO of the Global Renewable Alliance, urges the international community to recognize renewable energy’s promise in Africa as not just a climate solution but also as a socioeconomic catalyst. It promises energy security, community development, and the path to a sustainable and prosperous continent.