Africa holds key to decarbonizing global economy
Kenya’s President Ruto put the stress firmly on the enormous opportunities created for Africa by climate change as he launched the Africa Climate Summit today in Nairobi.
Taking one example, he illustrated the potential for Africa of adding value to the mineral resources required for the transition to cleaner energy, which it currently exports largely as unrefined raw materials.
“By 2025, the mining of battery-critical critical minerals – nickel, lithium, cobalt – is estimated to generate some $11bn in value. However, if we take the next step and engage in value-added activities like refining these minerals into industrial-grade metals, that value could quadruple to $50bn. And if we consider the end-to-end value chain for electric vehicles, including the battery pack and all other components, the market skyrockets to an astonishing $7 trillion,” he told delegates.
This inaugural Africa Climate Summit is taking place at Nairobi’s Kenyatta International Convention Centre, with some 20 African heads of state and 20,000 delegates from around the world expected to attend. Its focus will be on the increasingly urgent need to address climate change, both globally and in Africa.
The organisers anticipate hundreds of millions of dollars in deals to be struck over its three days, with commitments, pledges and outcomes expected to be included in a final Nairobi Declaration.
In his welcoming speech, President Ruto stressed the “unparalleled opportunities” that climate change holds for African economies, declaring that “Africa holds the key to decarbonising the world economy.”
It is time to see climate change through the “opportunity lens” for Africa he said.
He pointed to Africa’s capacity to expand food production through its possession of two-thirds of the world’s unused arable land using “restorative agriculture” and indigenous know-how, along with the possibility of monetising its massive carbon sinks to offset C02 emissions elsewhere.
“We have the carbon sink that serves the world, cleans our environment, acts as sequestration of carbon that is produced by others – but we get nothing for it. It’s not anywhere in our balance sheet… The day we put our whole assets in our balance sheet, you will know we are a very wealthy continent.”
He also asserted Africa’s wind and solar resources could power its industrial development, making it “a green industrial hub that helps other regions”.
Source: African Business