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Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi: Addressing Climate Change Challenges

6 Sept 2023

Nairobi, Kenya - The inaugural Africa Climate Summit has kicked off in Nairobi, bringing together over a dozen African leaders and prominent climate activists. Running from Monday to Friday, the summit aims to tackle the pressing issue of climate change and its far-reaching impact on the African continent.

Why the Africa Climate Summit?

Organized by the Kenyan government and the African Union, the summit is being held in conjunction with Africa Climate Week. The central theme revolves around "Driving green growth and climate finance solutions for Africa and the world." Kenyan President William Ruto, a staunch advocate for climate action, has been vocal about holding wealthier nations accountable for their contributions to climate change. The summit seeks to influence climate commitments and pledges, culminating in the Nairobi Declaration, a blueprint for Africa's transition to green energy.

Africa has been disproportionately affected by climate change, despite being responsible for only 2 to 3 percent of global carbon emissions. According to a 2022 UN report, the continent faces annual losses ranging from $7 billion to $15 billion due to climate change. To mitigate these effects, African nations require an average of $124 billion annually. However, they have received only a fraction of this amount, totaling $28 billion. As a result, the summit faces immense pressure to address climate change funding and deliver climate-positive growth and financing solutions for Africa and the world.

Key Topics at the Summit

Various panels and discussions at the summit will cover critical topics, including:

  1. Financing Climate Action: Exploring avenues to fund climate initiatives.

  2. Scaling Up International Climate Financing for Africa: Addressing the continent's unique needs.

  3. Investing in Nature and Biodiversity: Preserving Africa's natural ecosystems.

  4. Developing Integrated, Livable African Cities: Fostering sustainable urbanization.

Distinguished Attendees

The Africa Climate Summit has drawn considerable interest, with approximately 20 heads of state confirmed to participate. More than 18,500 participants from around the globe have registered and been accredited, and an estimated 30,000 delegates are expected to attend. Notable figures attending the summit include UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, US climate envoy John Kerry, COP28 Director-General Majid Al Suwaidi, and COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber.

Controversies and Expectations

The summit has not been without its controversies. African nations are demanding that wealthier countries fulfill their $100 billion-a-year pledge made during COP15 in Copenhagen to assist in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing the climate crisis in Africa. Civil society groups have echoed these calls, urging the summit to take a meaningful stance for the continent.

Some critics argue that Africa's climate interests have been sidelined by Western governments, consultancy firms, and philanthropic organizations, which they claim are pushing a pro-Western agenda centered around carbon markets, carbon sequestration, and 'climate-positive' approaches. Over 400 African civil society organizations signed an open letter expressing their concerns.

The Africa Climate Summit features around 40 partners, with only a quarter originating from Africa. The summit organizers aim to bridge these gaps and advocate for climate justice.


As the Africa Climate Summit unfolds, it stands as a critical moment in addressing climate change challenges on the continent. With the participation of African leaders, global climate activists, and an array of stakeholders, the summit has the potential to drive green growth and climate finance solutions, ultimately forging a united front ahead of COP28 in the United Arab Emirates later this year. Africa's call for climate justice remains at the forefront, as the continent seeks equitable solutions to combat climate change and its far-reaching consequences.

The Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi is a pivotal event aimed at addressing Africa's vulnerability to climate change and the pressing need for climate financing. With prominent leaders and activists in attendance, the summit represents an opportunity to drive sustainable solutions and advocate for climate justice on the global stage.

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