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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

First African Climate Summit Held

“Africa needs funding from countries that have got rich off our suffering. They owe a climate debt”

By Saurav Sarkar

Global Voices reported that over a dozen African leaders attended the first-ever continental climate summit in September 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya. Among the countries represented were Egypt, Sierra Leone, Congo, Djibouti, Comoros, Ethiopia, and Senegal.

“Africa’s carbon footprint remains small. But the human toll of climate change [on the continent] is disproportionately high,” said Kenyan President William Ruto.

The conference was co-hosted by the government of Kenya and the African Union. According to Global Voices, the African leaders “called for radical action, the mobilization of Africa's own resources, and streamlined access to international climate finance.”

However, as Africa Feeds reported, many African climate activists opposed the approach promoted at the summit, to rely on carbon credits and other market-based mechanisms. “Africa needs funding from countries that have got rich off our suffering. They owe a climate debt,” said Mohamed Adow of the think tank Power Shift Africa to Africa Feeds.

Industrialized countries like the United States have historically generated most of the emissions that have contributed to global warming. Meanwhile, according to Africa Feeds, only about 3 percent of global emissions are currently generated by Africa. In contrast, China, the U.S., and India account today for more than half of all emissions by themselves.

Saurav Sarkar is a freelance writer and editor who covers political activism and labor movements. They live in Long Island, New York, and have also lived in New York City, New Delhi, London, and Washington, D.C. Follow them on Twitter @sauravthewriter and at


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