President Ruto appoints Joseph Ng’ang’a CEO Africa Climate Summit

Climate Change

From left: Mr Simon Harford, CEO Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, Mr Joseph Ng’ang’a the newly appointed CEO of Africa Climate Summit, President William Ruto  Environment CS Soipan Tuya and Mr William Asiko, the Vice President Rockefeller Foundation Africa, at State House, Nairobi on June 9, 2023.

Photo credit: Pool

President William Ruto has appointed Joseph Ng'ang'a as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Africa Climate Summit (ACS). The event will take place in Nairobi in September. 

"Tackling the devastating effects of climate change requires a sharper focus than ever before. Bolder, collective and innovative action will enable us to leapfrog to a cleaner and more resilient world for all. This is a race we must win," President Ruto said in an official tweet on Friday, naming Mr Ng'ang'a, the Vice President of the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), an alliance of philanthropic, government, technology, policy and finance partners founded by the Rockefeller Foundation, the IKEA Foundation and the Bezos Earth Fund, to the position.

While making it clear that Mr Ng'ang'a will work closely with Environment CS Soipan Tuya and lead the ACS Secretariat, which is tasked with overseeing the planning and coordination of all activities, the President expressed his appreciation for the support he is receiving.

"I am grateful to the Rockefeller Foundation for its Sh139 million support for the first Africa Climate Summit to be co-hosted by Kenya and the African Union Commission from September 4 to 6," he said.

The appointment comes after President Ruto announced earlier this year during the 2023 African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that the country would host the three-day climate summit from September 4-6.

According to Mr Ruto, who is the current Chair of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change, the summit aims to drive a green economic recovery and green industrial revolution, promote agreement on critical climate issues, encourage increased financial support for climate action in Africa and make the most of already established continental platforms such as the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Mr Ng'ang'a, who is also the Chair of the Funders Council for Sustainable Energy for All and co-founder of the Africa Carbon Markets Initiative, Mr Simon Harford, the CEO of the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, and Mr William Asiko, the Vice President of the Rockefeller Foundation Africa, were present at State House, Nairobi, as President Ruto made the official announcement.

The appointment comes hours after CS Tuya underlined that Africa will showcase its green growth potential, including renewable energy resources, at the inaugural summit, and make the case for increased investment.

 "The Africa Climate Summit will take a resource showcase and capital invitation approach. This is the approach we want to take at our summit in September so that we can harness Africa's resources. The whole world will be invited to bring their capital to Africa to promote climate-friendly green growth," CS Tuya stressed, noting that it will be about resources and capital.

"Africa will showcase its resources to the world and invite the world to bring its capital to Africa if we're really serious about tackling the climate challenge."

Speaking at a youth leaders' meeting convened by the Dutch Ambassador to Kenya, Maarten Bouwer, at his residence in Nairobi on Friday to discuss youth participation in the ACS, the CS for Environment and Climate Change called on the youth to unite and take a leading role in the ACS, saying that effective climate action is a whole-of-society endeavour.

Climate action

"We are not leaving anyone behind, not least our young people. I am very pleased today that we have our young people at the table well before the Summit," said CS Tuya, adding that youth are "the bearers of the dreams of climate action for present and future generations".

She added that the success of the ACS will depend on the participation of Africa's partners in climate action, and invited all stakeholders to take a keen interest in the three-day conference, which will coincide with this year's annual Africa Climate Week.

"The Africa Climate Summit will be delivered through partnerships. Kenya cannot host the summit alone. We want to come up with complementary solutions to the climate crisis together and so we need to put our heads together because the nature of the climate crisis is such that it has no borders, it affects all of us. If we continue with the status quo, we're all going to suffer.

"It is up to all of us to come together, to think together as a globe, not just as Africa. To come up with bankable solutions to the climate crisis," said CS Tuya.

"As we bring the African voice together, we want our voice to resonate with that of the global North so that we bridge the gap and stop the blame game. We need to come up with a common position on how to tackle the climate crisis," she added.

 Global leader

On the outcomes of the ACS, CS Tuya said co-hosts Kenya and the African Union expect a declaration that will, among other things, consolidate the continent's green growth priorities, including new climate finance mechanisms.

Ambassador Bouwer said Kenya is a global leader in climate action and urged Kenyan youth to be at the forefront of climate action, adding that young people are "a powerful source of change".

"Kenya has been an exemplary leader in climate action regionally and globally. Take the energy sector, for example, where 90 per cent of all electricity comes from renewable sources. There are not many countries that can say that," Ambassador Bouwer pointed out.

Also in attendance were the German Ambassador to Kenya, Sebastian Groth, and his European Union counterpart, Henriette Geiger, as well as representatives from the US and Swedish embassies.