President Paul Kagame has told heads of State and other participants at the Congo Basin Climate Commission gathering, that African prosperity will only be attained if they go an extra mile to mitigate climate change.
Kagame made this statement while opening the inaugural Heads of State and Government Summit on the operationalization of the Congo Basin Climate Commission and the Blue Fund for the Congo Basin in Brazzaville on Sunday.
The Summit is aimed at taking stock of the activities of the Climate Commission of the Congo Basin and the Blue Fund for the Congo Basin and collecting resources to finance programs and projects in the areas of the blue economy, the green economy and the fight against climate change.
Kagame said, “The prosperity we seek for our continent requires that we go the extra step to mitigate climate change, and develop our economies more sustainably.”
The president who is currently the chairman of the African Union said that Africa and even the world as a whole has a greater understanding of this urgency to mitigate climate change.
“The signing two years ago, of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, was a remarkable demonstration of global commitment to building a more sustainable future for all of us,” he said.
“While efforts continue to reach universal ratification, and translate the Agreement into action, global warming continues to adversely and disproportionately affect many of our countries.”
From this perspective, he said the Congo Basin Climate Commission, and the Blue Fund for the Congo Basin should only be supported because preserving the water of this basin benefits the globe as a whole.
“The water resources of the Congo Basin connect our countries and support the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people. This makes us interdependent on many levels,” the president said.
“We must therefore cooperate more in managing these shared resources, in order to safeguard food security, public health and economic opportunities.”
The president says that there is no choice to support this initiative, given that it is one of the passwords to achieving Sustainable Development Goals and Africa’s Agenda 2063.
Meanwhile, The Blue Fund, which has an estimated capital of €3 billion, aims to develop the economy of the Congo basin in the long term, through several initiatives, including offering other alternatives to deforestation, strengthening irrigation of farmland in the savannah and supporting eco-tourism.
The sum may scare away some players, but Kagame said, the outcome transcends everything.
“Given what is at stake, the benefits envisioned in the Congo Basin cooperation initiative far outweighs the cost of setting up the fund,” he said.
“So let’s not waste any more time in this important work to unlock Africa’s full socio-economic potential.”
The next step accirding to President Kagame is to join hands and source the fund. He said the public private partnership is required at both local, regional and international level to get the fund.
Better coordination and complementarity of players during the implementation of planned projects will also earn good results.
“The Government of Rwanda is ready to play its part,” he said.
Attending the summit include among others, Guinea’s Alpha Conde, Gabon’s Ali Bongo, Senegal’s Macky Sall, Angola’s Joao Lourenco, Niger’s Mahammadou Issoufou and Central African Republic’s Faustin Archange Touadera.
King Mohammed VI of Morrocco also is in attendance.
The summit is hosted by President Sassou Nguesso of Congo Brazzaville.
The congo basin covers approximately 220 million hectares of forest which makes it the second biggest ecological reserve after the Latin American Amazon.
It covers mainly Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.