Africa Climate Summit: City leaders urge investment on climate and green jobs

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African Climate Summit
African Climate Summit

Mayors and governors of 12 African cities and metropolitan areas today recommitted to advancing transformative climate action while calling upon national and international leaders to support them in creating good, green jobs and accelerating the transition to a sustainable economy.

The city leaders issued a call to action at the inaugural Africa Climate Summit, which focuses on “driving green growth and climate finance solutions for Africa and the World.”

“Let us seize this opportunity to implement transformative climate action, promote green economies and job creation, and foster sustainable development across Africa and beyond, to create safe, inclusive and prosperous nations and cities,” their call to action states. “Together, we can forge a resilient future and leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.”

Signatories include leaders representing Abidjan, Addis Ababa, Bangui, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Freetown, Johannesburg, Kloto 1, Lusaka, Nairobi, Quelimane, Tshwane, at the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, championed by Kenyan President William Ruto, serves as a platform to inform, frame and influence climate commitments, pledges, and outcomes, and is expected to end today with the release of the Nairobi Declaration.

Throughout the summit, African city leaders showcased impactful locally led climate actions that are helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve livelihoods. The City of Nairobi and Governor Sakaja Arthur Johnson, in collaboration with the city of Abidjan, convened a roundtable on climate action and green jobs which, among other priorities, re-emphasised the commitment by C40 member cities to drive the creation of 50 million good, green jobs by 2030, made during last year’s C40 World Mayors Summit in Buenos Aires.

The summit also brought together young climate leaders who emphasised the need for cities to invest in youth skills development while forging international cooperation and finance in favour of the younger generation. Through a statement, African members of the C40 Youth Hub expressed support for the commitment by C40 member cities to drive the creation of good, green jobs.

Sakaja Arthur Johnson, Governor of Nairobi City County and C40 Vice Chair for Africa, said: “’In a few months, government and civil society leaders will convene at COP, and African mayors will deliver a strong message for international leaders to scale up climate finance for African cities and increase our capacity to tackle climate change. The Africa Mayors’ Roundtable on Financing Climate Action For Green Jobs is an opportunity for city leaders to track progress on climate action and showcase how we are investing in good, green jobs in our cities.”

Robert Beugré Mambé, Governor of Abidjan and C40 Vice Chair for Africa, said: “The challenge is already here, and the response is urgent. Although Africa is the continent that contributes the least to greenhouse gas emissions, urban pollution kills twice as many people in Africa as elsewhere. However, despite this vulnerability, we have the advantage of having the world’s youngest population.

This represents a development opportunity for our continent, particularly in terms of innovation and social transformation. Our young people, who are very open to the world, are the present and the future of the fight against the effects of climate change in Africa. We need to seize this opportunity, as Africa has an impressive, talented and creative pool of talent at its disposal.”

Nairobi has created 3,500 green jobs through the regeneration of the Nairobi River alone; the Autonomous District of Abidjan has prioritised job creation, including through an incubator for green entrepreneurs and a circular economy strategy that is estimated to create as many as 35,000 jobs.

During the summit, the C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF) unveiled new support for climate adaptation projects in Mbombela and Johannesburg (South Africa). CFF’s current portfolio in Africa includes projects in Dakar (Senegal), Accra (Ghana), Freetown (Sierra Leone), Cape Town and Drakenstein (South Africa). This portfolio of projects in Africa is projected to leverage more than US$150 million in climate finance by 2025. The CFF facilitates access to finance for climate change mitigation and resilience projects in cities.

The U.S. Agency for International Development became CFF’s latest donor, formally announcing US$1.25 million in support during an event focused on mobilising finance for fair and just climate adaptation in African cities. With the launch of this new investment and partnership, the United States joins the United Kingdom, French and German governments in contributing to CFF’s budget of US$49 million to date, which is projected to leverage US$1 billion investment by 2025 globally, avoid 7.5 million tons of CO2 by 2050 and create thousands of jobs.

With support from the UK government and in collaboration with C40, the cities of Accra, Lagos, Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Johannesburg and Tshwane are addressing the climate crisis by adopting sustainable waste management and enhancing energy efficiency in buildings.

Between January 2022 and December 2025, the seven cities are turning strategies into action through the Climate Action Implementation Programme, aimed at achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and creating green jobs as well as resilient and liveable cities for all.

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