Skip to main content

Big Shift partners and allies respond to outcome of the Africa Climate Summit

Press Release | Africa Climate Summit and Africa Climate Week

The Africa Climate Summit, alongside Africa Climate Week, was held from the 4-6th of September in Nairobi, Kenya. Convening African leaders, UN representatives, multilateral partners, Civil Society Organisations, and Activists from across the continent to drive climate ambition and commitments ahead of COP 28.

The climate crisis is experienced across the African continent more severely and earlier than any other. Africa’s unique, untapped potential to chart a more sustainable pathway could guarantee climate resilience, meeting the energy needs of the 600 million without energy access. This should have taken centre stage at the summit but unfortunately, dangerous distractions such as carbon markets claimed the limelight. While the pledge to increase Africa’s renewable generation capacity to at least 300 GW by 2030 is promising, it lacks language around the phase-out of fossil fuels, calling for merely a phase-down of coal. The summit was the time for urgent and bold action to tackle issues of energy access with real African-led sustainable solutions and fulfil the continent’s broader development goals of clean energy access through a just energy transition. But the outcome was underwhelming. 

The summit addressed the need for a new financing architecture for Africa’s debt relief, including the development of a new Global Climate Finance Charter by 2025. Advocating for reforms to the multilateral financial system, focussing on concessional lending and extending repayment breaks to 10-year periods. This does not fully address the role played by the World Bank in contributing to  the debt crisis in the first place. The summit also fell short of demanding MDBs democratise their governance structure to give agency to the Global South. Neither did it call for the MDBsto evolve into institutions that lead the just energy transition while opposing funding for the expansion and establishment of new fossil fuel projects, including gas.  

The African Climate Summit should have catalysed the mobilisation of resources and defined the energy pathway to a just energy transition that is built on the needs of the people of the African continent. However, the ACS declaration failed to provide a solution that holds major polluters accountable when they continue to profit from the extraction of fossil fuels and Africa’s natural resources. 

Grace Ronoh of Recourse said: To say that the Africa Climate Summit failed to deliver the expectations of the people is a fair assessment. The outcomes of the Summit as outlined in the Nairobi Declaration do not reflect the needs and aspirations of the African people.

Despite the financial commitments made to implement several renewable energy projects in the region, the need for reform in the global financial Architecture still remains. This should ensure systematic financing for the energy transition. Financing mechanisms by MDBs still need to be made accessible, affordable and fair to support structural planning for the transition. We welcome the Declaration to accelerate the on-going initiatives to reform the multilateral financial system and global financial architecture. We also call for the global North to deliver on the commitment of providing $100 billion annually to poor countries to address climate change.  

Additionally, the decision to adopt the phase-down and not phase-out of coal at the African Climate Summit jeopardizes the energy transition and minimizes the need for millions of people to have access to energy services.

Anne Songole of Christian Aid said: “While renewable energy remittances to the continent are 2%, we need to be careful that the financing we are calling for goes to public projects that will power communities that are in frontier and marginalized areas in order to achieve development benefits.”

Dean Bhebhe of Don’t Gas Africa said: The organisers of the Summit had one job: to push for an agenda to end energy poverty, to stimulate sustainable and equitable development to address Africa’s plight in the face of the climate crisis. The summit should, therefore, have strongly pushed for increased investments in Africa’s abundant renewable energy wealth. While fossil fuel companies did not have their field day at the summit, we failed to seize the moment to rally behind a development agenda that is powered by clean energy. The summit is, therefore, another wasted opportunity.”

Hardi Yakubu, Africans Rising said: We raised concerns over the design and the development of the summit that led to over 500 movements and organizations signing up with the hope that changes will happen to phase out fossil fuels and clear pathways for a Just Energy Transition. The Real Africa Climate Summit provided people the opportunity to bring forward declarations that represent the people of Africa.  We expected the ACS to push for Africa’s agenda yet platforms were given to those that push the Fossil Fuel industries without holding them to account.”. 

Baboucarr Nyang- Strathmore University Nairobi said:I believe there are lots of dangerous distractions within the ACS declaration, the push for gas and carbon credit initiatives in Africa post more threats to our development and livelihoods”. 


Interview Contacts

Sophie Richmond

Coordinator, The Big Shift Global 

Media Enquiries 

Dara Snead

Communications Officer, Climate Action Network International 

About Big Shift Global 

The Big Shift Global Coalition is formed of over 50 civil society organisations and think tanks from across the globe campaigning for the World Bank and other Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) to protect the climate by shifting finance out of fossil fuels and to facilitate a just transition to sustainable renewable energy, ensuring clean energy access for all.