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Kenya’s Green Industrialization Initiative at COP28: Pioneering Africa’s Sustainable Future

At COP28, a pivotal moment in Africa’s sustainable development was marked by the launch of Kenya’s Green Industrialization Initiative. Spearheaded by President William Ruto, this initiative, in partnership with the United Arab Emirates, aims to transform Africa into a green powerhouse, leveraging renewable energy to fuel sustainable economic growth across the continent.

The Foundation of the Green Industrialization Initiative

Building upon the UAE’s Africa Green Investment Initiative, this new endeavour targets financing 15 GW of renewable energy capacity in Africa by the decade’s end. This ambitious plan not only aligns with the Nairobi Declaration’s vision but also represents a substantial leap forward in Africa’s green transformation, with nearly USD 2.6 billion already allocated for clean power projects in 8 countries, adding about 1.8 GW of clean capacity to the African grid.

A United Front for Africa’s Green Future

President Ruto convened African leaders at COP28 to discuss the Green Industrialization Initiative, bringing together heads of state from Angola, Ghana, Nigeria, and other nations. This collaborative effort is a concrete step toward realizing the Nairobi Declaration, focusing on private sector-led green industrial clusters and value-added green products for regional and global markets. African leaders expressed unanimous support for this initiative as a definitive pathway for their nations’ development, recognizing green industrialization as crucial for achieving global climate ambitions​​.

Under President Ruto’s leadership, Kenya is advocating for sustainable development and climate resilience in Africa, pioneering clean energy solutions like biodigesters that convert organic waste into biogas and organic fertilizer. These efforts are integral to the broader global initiatives to mitigate environmental risks and embrace sustainable development. The country faces stark climate-induced challenges, yet it sees an opportunity in adversity to assert its influence and vision on the global stage​​.

President Ruto’s presence at COP28 is a strategic move to advance Kenya’s climate legislation and to play a pivotal role in the global climate crisis response. The recently enacted Climate Change Amendment Bill 2023 is a testament to Kenya’s commitment to carbon trading and alignment with the Paris Agreement goals. This legislation is not just about compliance; it represents leadership in driving innovative solutions within Kenya’s borders​​.

Kenya’s Approach to Climate Resilience

Kenya’s journey at COP28, steered by President Ruto, confronts its vulnerabilities to climate impacts, with potential GDP losses of up to 7% by 2050 if current trends continue. Despite contributing less than 0.1% of global greenhouse gas emissions, Kenya faces disproportionately severe impacts due to its geographical and socio-economic makeup. The Climate Change Amendment Bill 2023 is part of a broader strategy to create a sustainable framework resilient to climate change pressures while fostering economic growth and stability​​.

Kenya is focusing on innovative clean energy solutions, such as biodigesters, to address its immediate energy needs and build long-term resilience against climate change. These projects not only tackle climate change but also address socio-economic issues like poverty and gender inequality. Women, who are often responsible for managing household chores, stand to benefit significantly from this shift to cleaner, more accessible energy sources​​.

Kenya’s actions at COP28 demonstrate that sustainable development and climate resilience are achievable even within emerging economies. By balancing economic growth with environmental stewardship, Kenya provides a model for other countries in similar developmental stages. Its pioneering work in areas such as carbon trading and biodigesters offers a viable model for climate action that enhances socio-economic development​​.

Securing Investments for Sustainable Development

At COP28, the Kenyan government secured a $4.48 billion deal for Green Development projects. These deals include collaborations for green ammonia and geothermal energy projects, emphasizing industrial decarbonization, energy security, and reduction of import reliance. Partnerships with companies like Fortescue, EcoCloud, and Globeleq, and countries like Indonesia, signify Kenya’s commitment to large-scale green energy projects, demonstrating its leadership in Africa’s sustainable transformation​​.

In Conclusion: The Green Industrialization Initiative launched at COP28 by President Ruto marks a pivotal step in Africa’s path toward sustainable development. This initiative is not just about leveraging green energy but aims to scale green businesses and industries, driving significant economic growth and job creation across the continent. It exemplifies a global model for environmentally responsible endeavors, showcasing the potential of collaborative efforts in achieving systemic change and unlocking a greener future for Africa.

Feel free to contact the Energy Transition Centre today with questions. 

·  Julius Moerder, Head of Energy Transition Centre julius.moerder@centurionlg.com

·  Oneyka Ojogbo, Head of Energy Transition Centre, Nigeria & West Africa oneyka.ojogbo@centurionlg.com

·  Leon van Der Merwe, Head of Energy Transition Centre, South Africa leon.vdmerwe@centurionlg.com

Author: Memoona Tawfiq