By Sharon Atieno

With the continent’s potential for green growth being at the centre of the Africa Climate Summit and renewable energy poised as one of the suitable areas, addressing injustices is crucial to attaining this potential.

The United Nations General Secretary, Antonio Guterres said during the ongoing Summit in Nairobi, Kenya.

With Africa accounting for the world’s 39% clean energy potential, Guterres observed that Africa can be a renewable energy superpower. However, to achieve this, there has to be a dramatic course correction in the global financial system to support a just and equitable green transition while supporting development across the continent.

“This means ensuring an effective debt-relief mechanism that supports payment suspensions, longer lending terms and lower rates,” he said, adding

“It means re-capitalizing and changing the business model of Multilateral Development Banks so they can massively leverage private finance at affordable rates to help developing countries build truly sustainable economies.”

Global institutions, Guterres said, need to step up, guarantee African representation, and respond to African needs and potential.

Reiterating the call for justice and the need for reforms in the financial institutions and structures, Moussa Faki Muhamat, Africa Union Commission Chairperson said there is no relevant global intervention in favour of Africa without a credible solution for the crippling debt challenge in the continent.

He observed that Africa alone represented a need of US$ 1.3 billion per year for sustainable development by 2030, yet the financing needs for these goals in the same period is US$ 2.5 billion for developing countries.

On his part, Akinwumi Adesina, President African Development Bank called for a re-evaluation of Africa’s natural resources including its vast forests, noting that the continent’s rich natural wealth and the global value of carbon it sequesters are not accounted for in the GDP.

“Africa’s GDP must be revalued based on its carbon sequestration and biodiversity, which provides a global public good. If this is done, the debts to adjusted GDP ratio must lower in some countries,” he said, adding that if this is done, the test to adjust the GDP ratio of several African countries must offer more funds to support their economy, including investing in the greening of their economies.

“It is not enough to praise Africa for its rich natural capital, its GDP must take that into consideration.”

Adesina noted that Africa’s economies must turn green, “not because others asked us to do so but because it is in our interest to do so.”

He said that Africa must develop its own carbon markets, properly drive them and turn its vast carbon sinks into new sources of enormous wealth.