African Climate Summit 2023: Driving Green Growth and Climate Finance Solutions

Part two of a five-part series on ‘A Transformative Week for Africa’s Sustainable Future‘ featuring the week of September 4, 2023 

The Africa Climate Summit (ACS) 2023 was held in Nairobi, Kenya from September 4 to 6, with the theme “Driving Green Growth and Climate Finance Solutions for Africa and the World”.

The summit aimed to tackle the escalating impact of climate change on a global scale, with a special focus on Africa. Organized by the African Union, the Republic of Kenya, and their partners, ACS was hosted by President William Samoei Ruto at the Kenyatta International Convention Center in Nairobi.

Centered on Africa and driven by Africa, the summit marked the first-ever climate event of its kind, significant in its view of the continent not as a victim of climate change but as part of the solution.

It served as a collaborative platform for leaders, policymakers, civil society organizations, the private sector, multilateral institutions, and youth representatives from Africa and beyond. Notably, governments, investors, development banks, and philanthropists pledged a staggering $23 billion towards green projects at this event. 

With over 15 Heads of State in attendance and more than 30,000 participants, including a substantial youth presence, the summit built upon the successes and roadmap of the Climate Change Conference (COP27) held in Sharm-el-Sheikh the previous year. 

The ACS 2023 served as a dynamic platform for informing, framing, and influencing commitments, pledges, and outcomes at the forefront of climate action. With a primary focus on Climate Action Financing, Green Growth Agenda for Africa, Climate Action and Economic Development, and Global Capital Optimization, the summit addressed several critical aspects of the global climate agenda. 

Complementing the main sessions, associated side events provided a deeper engagement with topics at the crossroads of climate and various sectors, including health, data and innovation, land governance, and security. However, media coverage on the summit’s final day underscored the need to bridge the information gap and convey complex climate concepts to the public. This highlighted the importance of fostering collaboration for truly impactful change. 

Recognizing this challenge, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has created a valuable resource, “The Climate Dictionary”, designed to provide an accessible guide to understanding climate change for everyone. 

Dalberg played a role in the initial design and execution of the summit, in collaboration with the Climate Action Platform – Africa (CAP-A) and the President’s Special Envoy on Climate in Kenya. Our involvement extended to working closely with the Kenyan Ministry of Energy, with support from the Ministry of Energy White Paper Taskforce and the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet in preparing the Energy Sector White Paper. This collaboration played a significant role in shaping Kenya’s commitment to achieving 100% clean energy access and developing a 100 GW clean grid by 2040, anchored in a green industrialization agenda. The soon-to-be-published White Paper outlines the transformative agenda necessary to expedite Kenya’s transition to a low-carbon economy while ensuring a reliable and affordable power supply. 

Dalberg’s engagement also included coordinating side events in collaboration with Bonmwa Fwangkwal, Dalberg Implement’s Program Manager at the African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA). These side events, such as one titled “Financing Circular Economy Roadmaps”, facilitated discussions on sustainable economic practices. Additionally, we provided direct support to several clients, such as KawiSafi, in organizing side events at the summit, further catalyzing climate action in Africa.  

 Figure 1 Bonmwa Fwangkwal, Pragram Manager, Dalberg Implement (far right) 

Figure 2 Dalberg and KawiSafi at the Gender and Climate Intersection Event 

In line with the week’s events, the Dalberg team led by Charlie Habershon, Associate Partner, alongside CLASP, launched a training program for rural youth on Solar Powered Irrigation Systems (SPIS) called Unlocking Green Jobs for Youth in Solar Irrigation. This sector holds immense growth potential, which our program aims to tap into. Dalberg and CLASP joined forces to address the current challenges in SPIS education and training. Together, we developed a practical proof of concept to test innovative interventions. Our collaborative efforts encompassed a comprehensive sector-specific assessment, including the identification of skills gaps within the current Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) landscape related to SPIS courses. We also delineated various job typologies within the sector, enumerated the skills needed to fill these roles, and identified the key workforce challenges to be overcome.

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