Kenyan President, H.E William Ruto addressed the third African Parliamentarians Summit on Climate Policy and Equity, hosted by the Pan- African Parliament today (17 May 2023) in Midrand, South Africa. President Ruto addressed the summit in his capacity as the Head of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change. The Second Session of the Sixth Pan African Parliament set aside two days to dissect the Climate Change crisis affecting African countries as well as to identify mitigating factors that will propel Africa to provide the answer to the global climate question.
The Summit aims to garner critical stakeholders with the capacity to catalyze broad support for pro-poor, just, equitable, locally-led, and science-based decisions in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which are efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
In a speech that is certain to go down in the annals of history, President Ruto made the position of Africa very clear with respect to climate change and the role Africa will play in providing solutions to not only the climate question, but other global challenges as well, calling on African leaders to take a consolidated stance on addressing climate change and propel itself from a passive victim to an active participant in climate change solutions. Africa’s natural resources, indigenous knowledge, youth and emerging markets are enough to meet the necessary requirements to mitigate climate change, said Ruto.
According to the East African country Head of State, the impact of climate change affects Africa more, while the continent contributes very little in carbon emissions. Therefore, the focus should be on Africa to manage climate change and its effect through empowering and mobilizing the people, particularly the youth to be well capacitated to address climate change. Ruto says it is time that Africa is part of the solution and not the only part of the problem.
A key component in the address was a call for the countries of the world to reduce their carbon emissions to net zero, in order to sustain human civilization beyond the year 2050. Africa is thus offering to share its resources to solve this crisis and meet the deadline. “The clearest path available to humanity is to meet Africa’s demands of a green industrial revolution”. President Ruto believes that green industrialization will create jobs in Africa if value addition to Africa’s natural resources is localized and it will also reduce emissions for the world at large, hence, the solution and future for green energy transition is in Africa. “Africa is the answer, we are not at crossroads, the future for green energy is Africa” he stressed.
Speaking directly Members of the Pan-African Parliament, President Ruto urged Parliaments to walk along the lines of new approaches, productive innovations, new power alternatives and technology. Thus, enabling policies and regulations need to be in place that will tackle climate change.
The Kenyan Head of State also used the occasion to applaud the continental parliamentary body, an organ he described as a representation of the people of Africa. “All of you here reason exhaustively together to find African solutions to African problems. Be bold, be strong, be resolute and extent our forefather’s Pan-African dream for a better, more secure Africa with a seat at the global table.”
The Kenyan President further implored on the Pan African Parliament to guide and support the African Union (AU) to reach greater heights. The theme of the Second Session of the 6th Pan-African Parliament is drawn from the African Union theme of the year 2023: ‘Accelerating the implementation of African Continental Free Trade Area’. The Climate Change Summit is convened by Pan-African Parliamentarians (PAP) in partnership with Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA). The two-day summit ends today, 17 May 2023.