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CSOs: Africa climate summit hijacked by western nations pushing hidden agenda

CSOs: Africa climate summit hijacked by western nations pushing hidden agenda
August 17
10:00 2023

A group of civil society organisations (CSOs) says the Africa climate summit billed to hold in September has been “seized by Western governments”. 

The summit, scheduled to take place in Nairobi, Kenya from September 4 to 6, is aimed at championing a positive climate-compatible vision for Africa.

However, in a letter written to Kenyan President William Ruto, copying African heads of state and government as well as the chairpersons of the African Union (AU) and the AU Commission, over 400 CSOs said the summit has been hijacked by persons “hellbent on pushing a pro-West agenda and interests at the expense of Africa”.

The CSOs said the summit’s agenda has been influenced by McKinsey, a US-based consultancy firm as well as UK-based organisations that have been set up to drive the negotiations.


“Dear President William Ruto, we are gravely concerned about the direction the African Climate Summit is taking,” the letter reads. 

“We look up to you as Africa’s most senior leader on climate change. As the chairperson of the committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC), you are the fulcrum around which Africa’s interests and position on climate issues revolve as defined by African ministers (AMCEN) and officials (AGN). 

“The summit is a tremendous opportunity to chart a new course for the continent that creates a leadership vision for a cleaner, safer and prosperous future that protects our people, our food systems, water resources and biodiversity. 


“This vision must boost our collective efforts to build our renewable energy systems and electrification infrastructure on a scale that benefits millions of Africans while inspiring other countries to make interventions that prevent further global heating.

“Rather than advancing Africa’s interests and position on critical climate issues, the summit has been seized by Western governments, consultancy companies and philanthropic organisations hellbent on pushing a pro-West agenda and interests at the expense of Africa. 

“Even more worryingly, the agenda of the summit has been unduly influenced by US-based consultancy firm McKinsey and Company. The lead of African officials and ministers has been pushed on the back burner.

“These developments are seriously unsettling. The summit concept note, as proposed by McKinsey and Company, reflects the interests of the US, McKinsey and the Western corporations they represent. Meanwhile, Africa’s stated priorities are conspicuously missing, as a result.


“Moreover, the so-called, “think tanks committee” set up to drive negotiations at the summit is chaired by individuals who represent UK and US-based organisations and not African organisations.”

The group added that the development could cause the summit to push a Western agenda with false solutions rather than an African interest. 


The CSOs recommended that the focus of the summit must be reset to withdraw all external influence and establish an African expert group to re-shape the summit’s agenda. 


“To restore the meeting on track and to advance an agenda of, by and for Africans, we call on you to withdraw the control and influence of Mckinsey in the organisation of this summit,” the CSOs recommended.

“In exchange, an African-led expert group has to be established to help reshape the summit’s agenda. 


“Ensure the meeting advances Africa’s interests and priorities as promoted by African governments and civil society in the UNFCCC. 

“Adopt an integrated approach to Africa’s climate, energy and development issues. Without such an integrated African-led approach, concepts like “green growth” will simply further neo-colonialism.


“Advance a strong focus on renewable energy to counter efforts by the fossil fuel industry, Western interests, and fossil fuel-producing African countries to hijack Africa’s just energy transition. 

“Avoid all false solutions such as carbon markets and geo-engineering which are designed to encourage wealthy countries and people to continue polluting and turning Africa into a dumping ground and field for technological trials.


“Implement and adopt climate policies that promote a just and equitable phase-out of all new oil, gas and coal projects on the African continent in line with Africa’s development interests and the recommendations of IPCC, IEA and other scientific organisations by cutting public and private financing.

“Seek transparent and meaningful dialogue between citizens and policymakers across the continent to build a shared African narrative and agenda to tackle the interlinked challenges of climate, energy and development. 

“Promote avenues that provide sufficient and consensual climate funding to realise this commitment.”


However, at a press conference on Wednesday, Soipan Tuya, Kenya’s minister of environment, said claims that western nations have hijacked the summit are false.

She said the global nature of the event makes it such that contributions have been received from global players but does not necessarily mean that the agenda of the summit has been influenced.

“The saying that the West has hijacked the conference, that is a lie, because this is the Africa summit and we are here to tell the world that it will champion an African agenda,” she said.

“It has had contributions from global players but that is because of the global nature, but this is an African summit and we are pushing our own agenda.”

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