Africa’s climate fight gets Sh9bn boost from UK

William Ruto Rishi Sunak

President Willliam Ruto with the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during the United Nations Climate Change conference COP 27, at Sharm El Sheikh Congress Centre, Egypt. The UK has agreed to finance the construction of the High Grand Falls Dam.

Photo credit: PCS

The United Kingdom (UK) has announced new funding to support more green projects in Africa.

UK Minister for Development and Africa Andrew Mitchell unveiled a Sh9 billion (£49 million) investment across Africa during his visit to Kenya to coincide with the inaugural Africa Climate Summit, which begins today. 

President William Ruto group photo delegates climate summit

President William Ruto in a group photo with delegates after the first session of Africa Climate Summit 2023 at KICC on September 4, 2023. 

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

The new funding will go to initiatives and projects that support environmental conservation and help people cope with the effects of climate change across the continent. 

The funding will play a key role in creating jobs, expanding economies and improving the lives of women, farmers and communities that have been affected by the global climate crisis. 

The new commitments by London follow the UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverley's pledge of “honest and reliable investment in Africa” during his visit to Kenya in December 2022.

Africa Climate Summit

President William Ruto addresses participants during the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi on September 4, 2023.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) said Sh6.2 billion (£34 million) will go towards new projects in 15 African countries to help women, vulnerable communities and more than 400,000 farmers build resilience to the effects of climate change.

The money will also be spent on early warning systems such as text alerts, radio programmes and social network messages to help hard-to-reach communities take action before extreme climate events occur. These projects will also improve water supply for more than 1.5 million people. 

Seven new climate finance projects will also be launched at the summit, with investments worth Sh2.7 billion (£15 million) from UK-backed Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSD) Africa investments.

These projects will mobilise capital from private sources and create new opportunities for small businesses to secure finance, innovate products, including renewable energy and healthcare, and pioneer inclusive technology solutions.

From left: Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, President William Ruto and former Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe in attendance during the opening ceremony of the Africa Climate Summit.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

"Our partnerships with African countries on green investment and climate resilience are growing economies and improving lives. But more needs to be done as those least responsible for climate change increasingly bear the brunt of its impacts. The UK is working closely with African partners to tackle climate change, build resilience and help those whose lives are most affected," said Mr Mitchell. 

During his visit to Nairobi, the minister also reaffirmed his government's commitment to spend Sh2 trillion (£11.6 billion) on international climate finance over five years. 

 Andrew Mitchell

UK Minister for Development and Africa Andrew Mitchell unveiled a Sh9 billion (£49 million) investment across Africa during his visit to Kenya.

Photo credit: Courtesy

The commitment was originally made by the UK at COP26 in Glasgow and is part of a collective pledge by wealthy nations to provide Sh14 trillion ($100 billion) annually in climate finance to developing countries. The commitment was ratified in 2015, but has yet to be fully implemented.

Delegates follow proceedings during the Africa Climate Summit.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

Mr Mitchell also called for rapid reform of the international financial system to unlock trillions of dollars for climate action.

During his visit to Kenya, he will also visit Nairobi Railway City, a regeneration of the city centre designed by British architects with the latest green technology and £11.5 billion of UK investment. 

President William Ruto with James Cleverly, the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, Cabinet Ministers Onesmus Kipchumba Murkomen (Transport and Infrastructures) Alfred Mutua (Foreign Affairs) Moses Kuria (Trade) Governor Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi) and other Government Officials during the Ground-breaking ceremony for the Railway City Project, Nairobi. 

Photo credit: PCS

This is one of the six climate investment projects that President Ruto and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will be fast-tracking at COP27.

Groundbreaking for the development took place in December 2022 and when completed will include shops, office blocks and light industrial centres.

Another project underway is the Menengai geothermal project being developed by the Geothermal Development Company (GDC) and Globeleq, with a planned capacity of 35MW.

Other green investment projects included in the agreement are the expansion of the Malindi Solar Power Plant, the Grand High Falls Dam, the United Green agro-industrial processing system and a new guarantee company to de-risk investments in Kenya.