NAIROBI-The UAE pledged $4.5 billion in clean energy investments in Africa on Tuesday at a landmark climate summit aimed to showcase the continent’s potential as a green powerhouse.
Kenyan President William Ruto has sought to use the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi to shift the narrative on the region, presenting the clean energy transition as a unique opportunity for Africa -- if it can attract the financing to realise its potential.
And on Tuesday, the conference saw its most significant pledge so far, with $4.5 billion announced by the United Arab Emirates, which will also host the COP28 summit in Dubai in November-December. Sultan Al Jaber, who heads the UAE’s national oil company ADNOC and government-owned renewable energy company Masdar, said the investment would “jumpstart a pipeline of bankable clean energy projects in this very important continent”.
Jaber, who is also president of the COP28 climate summit, said a consortium including Masdar would help develop 15 gigawatts of clean power by 2030.
Africa’s renewable generation capacity was 56 GW in 2022, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.
The three-day Nairobi summit, which began Monday, has attracted heads of state, government and industry, including leaders from Mozambique and Tanzania, as well as United Nations head Antonio Guterres, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen and US climate envoy John Kerry.
It is billed as bringing together African leaders to define a shared vision for green development on the diverse continent of 1.4 billion and set the tone for a flurry of international diplomacy leading up to the COP28 meeting.
A front-page headline in the Kenyan newspaper Daily Nation on Tuesday proclaimed the summit marked “Africa’s moment”.
But the continent faces steep challenges, particularly in the form of mounting debt costs and a dearth of finance.
Despite an abundance of natural resources, just three percent of energy investments worldwide are made in the continent. Guterres urged the international community to help “make Africa a renewable energy superpower”.
“Renewable energy could be the African miracle but we must make it happen,” Guterres told government and industry leaders.