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Africa Climate Summit Ends With Nairobi Declaration Calling for Global Carbon Tax

Kenya's President William Ruto, flanked by African leaders, addresses the media after the close of the Africa Climate Summit (ACS) 2023 at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi, Kenya, September 6, 2023. REUTERS/Monicah Mwangi

The Africa Climate Summit came to a close on Wednesday, September 6, 2023, with the Nairobi Declaration, which calls for new global taxes to fund climate change action, an increase in Africa’s renewable generation capacity to at least 300 GW by 2030, and a new financing architecture for Africa’s debt relief, including the development of a new Global Climate Finance Charter by 2025.

As leaders called for new global taxes to fund climate change action, a total of $23 billion in funding commitments were announced at the summit for various climate-focused development initiatives.

While calling to establish the Africa Climate Summit as a biennial event, leaders also committed to focusing economic development plans on green growth development including expansion of just energy transitions and renewable energy generation.
To foster renewable energy generation, they called for $600 billion to increase Africa’s renewable energy generation capacity from 56 GW in 2022 to at least 300 GW by 2030.

This was followed by a call to establish a new financing architecture for Africa’s debt relief, including the development of a new Global Climate Finance Charter by 2025.

There was likewise a call for collective work to phase down coal, and a ban on all fossil fuel subsidies, amid a call for ecosystem protection and restoration of Africa’s nature and biodiversity.

Leaders further clamoured enhancement of food security through sustainable agricultural practices and support to farmers and local communities.

They reiterated calls for the $100 billion climate finance target to be met and the loss and damage fund to be operationalized. However, there was no stance on how the fund should look or suggestion put forward on where the Secretariat should be hosted.

Despite minerals taking centre stage during summit discussions, there was no emphasis on the role of key minerals in the economic transformation of the continent in the Nairobi Declaration.

Nairobi Declaration Key Asks

Global carbon tax regime

To make finance affordable and accessible for a green growth ambition, world leaders were urged to back a proposal for a global carbon tax on fossil fuels, maritime transport, and aviation, which can be complemented with a global financial transaction tax (FTT).

The final declaration was heavy on demands for major polluters to commit more resources to help poorer nations. Implementing such measures at a global level would ensure large-scale financing for climate-related investments and insulate from tax raises caused by geopolitical and domestic political pressures. The idea of a global carbon tax regime has never gained much traction, although a number of countries impose it.

$600bn for Renewables

With 600 million people lacking access to energy and over 900 million others without clean forms of cooking, Africa’s energy gap is enormous.

To meet this gap, the summit called for an investment of $600 billion to meet a renewable energy target of 300 Giga Watts (GW) by 2030 up from the current 56GW.

The declaration calls for an alignment of global financial resources to support utilisation of Africa’s natural resources sustainably to allow for the scaling up of investments in renewable energy. Over the last decade, Africa attracted a paltry $60 billion (two percent) of the $3 trillion investments in renewables across the world.

To attract more funds and increase generation capacity, the Nairobi Declaration acknowledges the need to scale up demand for renewable energy and recommends moving energy-intensive primary processing of Africa’s raw materials to the continent.

Restructure the International Financial System

The declaration advocates for reforms to the multilateral financial system and the development of a new Global Climate Finance Charter by 2025. The declaration called on multilateral development banks to increase concessional lending to poorer countries and for the “better deployment” of the IMF’s special drawing rights mechanism, which issued $650 billion as part of the Fund’s COVID-19 response. Other proposals included measures to help indebted countries avoid default such as instruments that can grant 10-year grace periods and extend sovereign debt tenor.

Green minerals are given a wide berth

During the summit, discussions included the role of Africa’s key mineral resources in economic transformation for the continent. However, the declaration does not emphasize the importance of these strategic minerals and does not position them in the new vision for green growth.

A new start for Africa’s climate politics

The Africa Climate Summit marked the first time the African continent has come together specifically to consider how to tackle the climate crisis from both a challenges and solutions perspective on its own terms. Host President Ruto closed the conference saying, “The cradle of humanity, Africa, is also its future. What Africa wants is what the world needs.”

By Dare Akogun

Dare Akogun

Dare Akogun is a dynamic media innovator, strategic communication professional, and seasoned climate and environmental sustainability journalist with over 10 years of influential contributions to the media industry.

He Currently serving as the Head of Digital Media, Senior News Editor, and a presenter at Sobi FM 101.9, a leading radio station in Ilorin, Nigeria.

Dare is on a mission to leverage his media innovation expertise and project management skills to produce high-quality, accurate, and engaging content, while advocating for reduced fossil fuel consumption, especially coal, to combat effect of global warming.

He has covered comprehensively environmental issues and COP conferences, including COP28 in Dubai last year , COP 27 in Egypt, and the United Nations Least Developed Countries conference in Doha, in 2023.

He is a recipient of fellowship to be part of a 15 team of journalists selected worldwide to cover the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue 2024.

He has a Master's Degree in Mass Communication, from the University of Lagos, a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from the Lagos State University and also a
Certification in Business Administration and Management, from the Babson College, Massachusetts, United States of America.

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