Africa and small Island nations contribute little to climate change but pay the price for big polluting nations under the existing climate policies that don’t favour countries with the resources yet they cause more damage to earth.
The observation was made by President Paul Kagame at the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday, attended by scores of African and global leaders, pointing out that every year, the world is reminded of the real and growing threat of climate change.
“Recent findings tell us all kinds of stories including that July was the hottest month ever recorded in human history. Africa continues to carry the burden of rising temperatures, despite contributing the smallest share of global greenhouse gas emissions,”
“We cannot just keep talking about it without doing what is required to fix the problem. This is unfair, but in the long run, playing the blame game is not the answer. A more pragmatic approach is for Africa to be a key player in the search for global climate solutions. Africa stands united and should stay so in this and in its position,” President Kagame said.
The Head of State commended the host, President William Samoei Ruto, for his exceptional leadership of the Committee of African Heads of State and Governments on climate change, highlighting that Rwanda is doing its part in ensuring that the country develops in a more green and sustainable way.
“In Rwanda we want the private sector to play a greater role in building a green economy. Our strategy is to position ourselves as an attractive destination for international climate financing and investment. That’s why at the COP 27 summit, Rwanda launched Ireme Invest, a green investment facility created by the Rwanda Green Fund in partnership with the Development Bank of Rwanda,”
“So far more than $200 million has been mobilized from domestic and international partners, including the European Investment Bank and the Green Climate Fund. We have also been working closely with the International Monetary Fund as a participant in the Resilient and Sustainability Trust,” President Kagame said.
Through the collaboration, President Kagame said that Rwanda has been able to have access to long term financing to further integrate climate into the country’s economic policies.
“This is a good sign that the international community is taking seriously the call to reform our global financial architecture. But there is still room for improvement,”
“In this context, I welcome the discussions held at the Paris Summit for a new global financial pact. The Bridgetown initiative spearheaded by Prime Minister Mia Motley of Barbados also deserves consideration and serious attention,” President Kagame said, adding that any meaningful structural change must favour debt restructuring and lower interest rates as President Ruto eloquently explained in his opening speech.
As the chair-in-office of the Commonwealth, President Kagame said Rwanda supports the development of a multi-dimensional vulnerability index led by the United Nations in partnership with small island developing states.
President Kagame said that Gross National Income (GNI) does not accurately measure a country’s vulnerability to climate change. In any case, he said small islands and developing states should not be penalized for having higher income levels.
“Ultimately, what Africa wants is a fair and equal partnership, which takes our priorities into account. That is going to be the basis for trust and solidarity. I hope this summit will serve as a good foundation for discussions later this year at COP 28.” he said.