Global Leadership

Africa's Growth will Ignite Global Solutions

About the Author

Kaddu Sebunya has been chief executive officer since January 2019, after serving as the AWF President beginning in January 2016. Kaddu has over 20 years of conservation experience at the grassroots, national, and regional levels in the US, Africa, and Europe. Today he leads the organization in… More

As our continent faces the unprecedented challenges of a changing climate, the moment's urgency cannot be overstated. From droughts to floods, our communities are on the frontlines of a crisis threatening our environment, economies, cultures, and way of life. The African Climate Summit scheduled for September 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya, provides a critical opportunity for us to rise above adversity and forge a path towards a sustainable and equitable future. 

Africa's landscapes are as diverse as its people, and we must harness this diversity as a strength in the face of climate change. Our continent's commitment to climate justice goes hand in hand with its resolve to protect the rights of the most vulnerable among us. Indigenous peoples, women, children, persons with disabilities, and marginalized communities disproportionately bear the brunt of climate impacts. By respecting, protecting, and fulfilling their rights, we not only demonstrate our compassion but also acknowledge the value of their knowledge and wisdom in building resilient communities. 

At the heart of this summit lies the call for an equitable transition to renewable energy. This is not just an environmental necessity but also an economic opportunity to harness the potential of Africa's abundant renewable resources. By embracing energy solutions that are inclusive and community-owned, we can not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also uplift our people out of energy poverty. 

However, our pursuit of a sustainable future must be rooted in accountability. Developed countries bear historical responsibility for the climate crisis and must fulfill their obligations to support Africa's adaptation and mitigation efforts. We must emphasize the Common But Differentiated Responsibilities principle to ensure that global climate action is fair and just. 

As we navigate these critical discussions, let us not lose sight of the power of our collective voice. Our leaders must rise above political and economic interests, listening to the cries of the youth, women, indigenous peoples, and all those who feel the impacts of climate change most acutely. It is their futures we hold in our hands, and it is our moral duty to protect their rights and ensure their voices are heard. 

The Africa Climate Summit is more than just a conference; it is a pivotal moment for our continent. We have the chance to raise the urgency of addressing the climate crisis and set a course for a low-carbon, climate-resilient, and inclusive future. Let us unite and forge a path that empowers Africa to lead the way in addressing the global climate emergency. 

The time for action is now, and our commitment to climate justice will define the legacy we leave for generations to come. Together, we can rise above challenges, seize opportunities, and chart a course toward a resilient Africa that thrives in harmony with nature. Let us seize this moment and turn it into a legacy of courage, compassion, and hope. 

Watch: A Message for Africa Climate Week