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Kenya: Government should hasten Green Transition

Little plant in dried cracked mud against a background of city skyline.

Green transition and low-carbon growth sustenance in Africa will only be realized if climate mitigation and adaptation financing is channeled to communities.

The climate crisis is affecting many parts of Africa and needs to be addressed urgently so as to mitigate adverse effects that may come as a result.

The green campaigners said in a statement issued in Nairobi, Kenya that the quest for a just, inclusive green transition in Africa will only be realized if governments and lenders channel greater resources to grassroots-based initiatives aimed at taming the climate crisis.

Zambe Mobanda, a senior officer at Pan African Network of Parliamentarians for Climate Change said the continent should prioritize local actions that can hasten the green transition to a low-carbon future.

Tracy Sonny, a Botswanan national and board member of the Nairobi-based Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), stressed that people-centered policy, legislative, and funding regimes were required to hasten green transition in a continent bearing the brunt of runaway temperature rise.

According to Sonny, communities on the receiving end of climatic shocks should be involved in the design and execution of programs aimed at strengthening their resilience.

Robert Muthami, a Kenyan climate policy expert, said that as African countries raise their ambition toward achieving carbon neutrality, they should prioritize the needs of grassroots communities that have suffered from devastations linked to extreme weather events.

“Even as we ramp up efforts to address the climate crisis, insecurity, and effects of COVID-19 pandemic, the interests of local communities must inform this objective to ensure the green transition is just and sustainable,” said Muthami.

There was an urgency to improve the adaptive capacity of vulnerable groups like subsistence farmers, nomads, women, children, and the disabled as climate emergencies continue to disrupt their livelihoods, said Muthami, stressing that a people-centered green transition will unleash myriad benefits including strengthening ecosystems’ resilience besides improving food security and rural incomes.

Eugene Nforngwa, the energy thematic lead at PACJA, said that empowering African communities through training, access to capital, and innovations is key to boosting the decarbonization of key economic sectors, adding that financial incentives were required to boost uptake of green technologies at the grassroots and arrest runaway carbon emissions that had escalated the climate crisis.

Jiata Ekelle, a Nigerian climate and sustainability expert, suggested that Sub-Saharan Africa should invest in community-based resilience programs including reforestation, regeneration of degraded landscapes and clean energy as the region embarks on green development pathways. ■