Commitments and Accountability: What Happened At Africa Climate Week 2023

Afri-Spective by AVCA
6 min readSep 20, 2023

Africa Climate Summit: A First Of It’s Kind

The Africa Climate Summit (ACS) held alongside Africa Climate Week 2023 (ACW) was the first event of its kind. This historic gathering signalled a strong commitment to addressing climate change in Africa and provided a unique platform for leaders to come together and collaborate on climate action and closing net zero gap.

Friday, September 8, 2023, marked the end of a dynamic week in Nairobi, Kenya, reaffirming Africa’s determination to participate as a global leader in climate action. This significant event united over 10,000 participants, including representatives from African governments, multilateral organisations, the private sector, and civil society, both from the continent and beyond.

Simultaneously, ACW coincided with the Africa Climate Summit, where 20 African Heads of State and Government representatives showcased their countries’ commitment to spearheading initiatives in renewable energy, sustainable land use, and innovative climate technologies; fostering dialogue to address the urgent climate challenges faced by African nations and highlighting the need for climate justice and financial support to tackle the climate crisis in the region.

Why Now?

Axel van Trotsenburg, Senior Managing Director of the World Bank, said: “This climate conference — the first by Africa, for Africa — has been long overdue. Africa currently receives about 30 billion dollars a year in climate financing — a third of that from the World Bank — but climate financing needs to reach an estimated US$280bn a year. The public and private sector, multilaterals, development partners all need to do more to help close the climate financing gap.”

ACW reflects the urgency of the climate crisis, the global focus on climate action, and the need for increased collaboration among both African and global leaders. It provided a significant opportunity for African nations and stakeholders to come together and drive transformative change in addressing climate change; serving as a platform to contribute to positive outcomes at COP28.

Key Takeaways from Africa Climate Week 2023:

  • Green Industrial Hub: African leaders, such as President William Ruto of Kenya, expressed the vision of Africa becoming a green industrial hub, leveraging its abundant renewable energy resources for sustainable development.
  • Efficiency and Collaboration: ACW was the first Regional Climate Week to bring key regional climate meetings under a single umbrella event, fostering efficiency, collaboration, and idea-sharing across various tracks, such as the rise of the UAE and Africa US$50bn partnership.
  • Climate Financing pledges amounting to a total of $US23bn for a range of climate-related investments from reforestation to solar mini-grid to unlock Africa’s green energy potential, whilst leaders called for increased investments, global financial reforms, and support for vulnerable countries.
  • Renewable Energy Targets: The Nairobi Declaration set a new target for Africa to host at least 300GW of renewable energy generation capacity by 2030, a significant increase from the current 56GW, to achieve energy access and decarbonisation.
  • Climate Justice: Discussions addressed inequalities related to the climate crisis, calling on wealthier nations with greater historic responsibility to accelerate their energy transitions and support global carbon taxation measures to fund low-carbon sectors.
  • Financial Infrastructure Reforms: Efforts to reform global financial architecture and fulfil the US$100bn per year climate funding commitment gained traction, with a focus on reducing unfavourable loans in favour of grants and innovative financial products.
  • US Climate Commitments: The US Special Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, pledged additional annual funding for adaptation and a one-time investment in food security in Africa, although some viewed this as insufficient in addressing climate debt.

How Will African Nations Hold Themselves Accountable?

Climate change is a global challenge that requires global cooperation. Global collaboration is required around technical expertise, funding, technology transfer and other measures to galvanise Africa to achieve its renewable energy targets and climate goals.

But how do we know if the capital is flowing to the most impactful sectors of the economy and most importantly, if we are reaching our climate goals?

The US$23bn in climate financing pledges must be closely monitored to ensure that funds are allocated effectively and transparently. International financial institutions, such as the World Bank, can play a role in overseeing the distribution of these funds to ensure they are directed toward projects that align with Africa’s climate objectives.

Our Role As The African Private Capital Association

As the pan-African industry body, AVCA strives to connect, equip, and educate the private capital ecosystem with the tools needed to continue putting capital to work in Africa, through four pillars: research, capacity building, networking and advocacy; and by showcasing the wide-reaching impact of private capital investment on the continent.

Benchmark Data and Reporting

AVCA’s CEO, Abi Mustapha-Maduakor, has continuously stressed the importance of arming investors with data and intelligence to allow them to make informed decisions. Through our annual research reports and publications that track funds, fundraising, deals and exits, and partnering on special reports such as the Climate Financing in Africa: Strategies for the Future, AVCA can contribute to tracking the implementation of initiatives related to renewable energy targets, climate financing, policy frameworks geared towards building climate resilience, and other climate actions.

AVCA Academy

We believe education is the key to unlocking growth in this sector. Education should provide the inspiration and support needed to get African private capital and climate financing on track and unlock its green energy potential.

As an example, the AVCA Academy Environmental & Social Management and Sustainability module helps deepen understanding on how to link ESM principles to investment best practices, how to apply an ESM lens to different environmental and social challenges, and how funds and portfolio investors can implement ESM in their investment evaluation.

Convening the African Private Capital Ecosystem

Through a range of carefully curated conferences, summits and networking events, AVCA provides a forum to dialogue on topics and issues confronting the future of the industry (including climate). We hope these international and regional events, such as the upcoming Sustainable Investing in Africa Summit, can serve as important platforms for reviewing progress, deliberating solutions and reinforcing commitments. These events encourage participation from a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including policymakers, governments, investors, academics, and founders.

Profile Raising and Advocacy

Public awareness can keep the pressure on governments and organisations to fulfil their commitments, as well as amplify the industry’s achievements. AVCA have built several platforms, including social media, podcast, monthly newsletters and partnering with high-profile media outlets, where we are able to publish success stories, track accomplishments, and play our part in reframing the African narrative from the ‘pitiful victim’ to an independent and prosperous nation, and leading contributor to global climate solutions.

We work with AVCA members and prominent stakeholders to share fundraising, investment and exit accomplishments, celebrate our industry’s innovators and change-makers through profile-raising, comment on current affairs, and share key insights from experts gained from years of experience.

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