President Ruto jets out to Dubai for COP28

President William Ruto addressing participants during the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi on September 5, 2023.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

President William Ruto has left the country tonight (Thursday) to join 100 other world leaders at the annual climate summit in Dubai, where he is expected to represent the African continent in lobbying for fair financial terms and marketing Kenya as the continent's green powerhouse.

The meeting in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), is the 28th in the series and is officially called the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP28).

President Ruto, who is also the Chair of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC), will also hold key bilateral meetings with world leaders and chair key sessions after successfully hosting the inaugural Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi in September this year.

In addition to delivering a statement on behalf of the continent, President Ruto is expected to highlight key priorities aimed at advancing Kenya's and Africa's climate agenda.

According to State House spokesperson Hussein Mohamed, the President is expected to rally support for the landmark Nairobi Declaration adopted by African leaders at the first-ever African Climate Summit in Nairobi in September this year.

In line with the Nairobi Declaration's call for effective partnerships, he will chair three key events at COP28, including the launch of the UAE-led Sh687.2 billion Africa Green Investment Initiative (AGII).

The AGII is a collaboration between the COP28 Presidency (UAE), the Government of Kenya and other African nations, designed to catalyse a transformative cycle of change through investment in green opportunities on the continent.

It aims to help African countries develop significant green industries to drive trade, job creation and economic growth.

During the African Climate Summit, African leaders committed to a green and inclusive growth path and to harnessing the continent's potential, which will be implemented through AGII.

"The aim is to accelerate green industries and businesses in Africa, promote climate change adaptation and mitigation, while fostering substantial job creation and economic growth on the continent," State House said in a statement.

President Ruto is also expected to spearhead a new COP28 climate finance framework based on the Nairobi Declaration, the Paris Summit for a New Financing Pact, the G20 outcomes and the Bridgetown Initiative.

“The President will present the Continent’s perspective on international financial architecture reforms, witness the signing of investment deals and MOUs for significant investments in the country’s green manufacturing while showcasing Kenya’s potential as a green powerhouse in Africa.”

“Leveraging COP 28, the President intends to advance Kenya’s and Africa’s priorities on the climate agenda globally, collaboration, and share best practices.”

Since his inauguration as President in September 2022, Dr Ruto has consistently highlighted the need for tangible action to address the global climate crisis. 

He is being hailed for his inspiring speech delivered at COP27 in Egypt in November 2022, where he shifted the continent's climate narrative from victimhood to opportunity.

Kenya and the African continent, State House emphasised, have an abundance of natural resources, untapped potential for renewable energy and a growing workforce that not only enables them to pursue sustainable development, but also to make significant contributions to global climate action.

As a result, President Ruto hopes to establish Kenya and the entire continent as key hubs for realising the global decarbonisation agenda through green manufacturing.

To achieve this, Ruto has been a persistent advocate for comprehensive financial reforms, emphasising the need to align international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with Africa's climate goals and development context.