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Kenya’s President Advocates for Africa’s Green Energy Potential at Inaugural Climate Summit

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AfDB president Adeshina and Kenyas President William Ruto

As leaders gather in Nairobi for Africa’s historic first climate summit, Kenyan President William Ruto is using the platform to outline his vision for how the world’s least developed continent should approach this year’s crucial United Nations climate summit.

While African nations justifiably lament their minimal contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and the disproportionate impact of global warming on their populations, Ruto is urging the continent to position itself as a potential source of green energy.

President Ruto has been increasingly positioning himself as Africa’s climate champion. Alongside hosting the inaugural summit, the 56-year-old leader has spent his first year in office highlighting Kenya’s green achievements—92% of its power comes from renewable sources—and encouraging other African leaders to abandon fossil fuels.

He has also called for reform of the global financial system to secure the necessary funding for climate resilience and low-carbon development. This year, he has launched a campaign advocating for Africa to receive a larger share of revenue from carbon markets.

“We bear the brunt of the crisis despite contributing the least to global warming, but we have chosen to lead by putting forward solutions that also support development across our continent,” President Ruto expressed on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, during the summit’s opening day.

“Africa possesses ample renewable energy potential and resources to green its own consumption while significantly contributing to the global economy’s decarbonization.”

Certainly, it won’t be as straightforward for other African nations to emulate Ruto’s path. Kenya is blessed with abundant geothermal resources and lacks significant fossil fuel reserves, unlike oil-dependent economies such as Nigeria and Angola, as well as emerging gas producers like Mozambique and Senegal.

Senegal’s President Macky Sall and former Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari have both emphasized Africa’s right to develop its hydrocarbon deposits.

Nonetheless, President Ruto’s calls have resonated across a continent with vast wind and solar potential to meet its energy needs many times over and an abundance of the green minerals required for the global energy transition.

An early draft of the summit’s declaration sets ambitious targets for increasing renewable energy production and advocating for a green pathway to the continent’s economic development, with the potential to supply Europe with green hydrogen and its derivatives in the future.

“This could mark a new beginning in the relationships between developed and developing economies,” noted Dileimy Orozco, a senior policy adviser at E3G, an independent climate think tank. “This could signal the intent of African leaders to shape rather than merely participate in the global financial system.”

While President Ruto encourages African nations to explore energy partnerships instead of relying solely on aid, the continent faces a substantial shortage of the climate finance it requires. This ongoing issue has fueled debates between wealthier and poorer nations at UN climate talks, and this dispute is likely to resurface at the COP28 climate talks in Dubai later this year.

A study from the Global Center on Adaptation estimates that Africa needs up to a tenfold increase in climate adaptation funding, reaching $100 billion annually, to fortify its infrastructure and safeguard agriculture against climate change.

Samuel Jinapor, Ghana’s Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, acknowledges the need for Africa to transition to greener energy and public transportation systems but points out the financial challenges. “All of these initiatives require funding,” he stressed.

Historically, developed economies have not fully honored their pledge to provide the developing world with $100 billion in annual climate finance by 2020, a promise made at a COP meeting in Copenhagen in 2009. Initially, wealthy countries responsible for the majority of historical emissions were expected to contribute.

However, Jinapor believes the pool of contributors should expand to include China, the world’s largest source of climate-warming gases.

“They should do more, and not just China,” Jinapor added. “BRICS, all of them, I believe, should play a role in mobilizing the needed financing to support and promote climate action, especially in the context of Africa.”

BRICS refers to the grouping of large emerging market economies, including Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

Nevertheless, world leaders, especially in Europe, are hoping that Africa will seize this moment to industrialize in a climate-friendly manner. Germany and the Netherlands have been investing in green hydrogen development on the continent, as Europe seeks to diversify its energy sources following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Barbel Kofler, the State Secretary to Germany’s Economic Cooperation Minister, views Africa’s proactive approach to climate solutions as a positive sign.

“That is something new and hopefully will steer the COP in a positive direction,” she remarked.

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Kagame Dominates Election with 99.15% of Votes Counted

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President Paul Kagame has taken a commanding lead in the Rwandan presidential election, securing 99.15% of the votes counted thus far, according to the National Electoral Commission.

The provisional results, reported by the state broadcaster Rwanda Broadcasting Agency, indicate a decisive victory for the Rwandan Patriotic Front candidate.

With 79% of the ballots tallied, Kagame’s overwhelming lead leaves his opponents trailing significantly.

Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda has garnered only 0.53% of the votes, while independent candidate Philippe Mpayimana has received 0.32%.

The voter turnout has been reported at an impressive 98%, underscoring the high level of public engagement in the electoral process.

The early results suggest a strong mandate for Kagame, who has been at the helm of Rwandan politics since 2000.

Kagame’s administration has been marked by significant economic growth and development, but it has also faced criticism for its stance on political dissent and freedom of expression.

Despite this, Kagame remains a highly popular figure in Rwanda, with many citizens crediting him for the country’s stability and progress.

The National Electoral Commission is expected to release the final results in the coming days. As the tallying continues, Kagame’s supporters have already begun celebrating his anticipated victory.

Analysts believe that Kagame’s likely re-election will provide continuity in Rwanda’s economic policies and development programs.

However, they also call for more inclusive governance and respect for political freedoms to ensure long-term stability and growth.

Kagame’s near-unanimous support in the early results reflects his entrenched position in Rwandan politics.

His ability to maintain such high levels of support will be a focal point of discussion in the aftermath of the election.

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Kenya Prepares for More Protests Over Unresolved Political Crisis

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Kenya is on the brink of another wave of anti-government protests as efforts to resolve the nation’s escalating political crisis appear to have stalled.

President William Ruto’s proposal for a national dialogue has yet to take off, leaving the nation in a state of heightened tension.

Activists have called for demonstrations across the East African nation on Tuesday, protesting the government’s failure to hold security forces accountable for the deaths of at least 41 people.

These casualties occurred during protests against Ruto’s contentious plan to raise taxes over the past month.

Despite the president’s announcement last week that national dialogue would commence on Monday to defuse the situation, progress has been elusive.

The main opposition party, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), expressed uncertainty regarding the proposed talks.

“We haven’t received any invitation,” ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna stated. “When called, we’ll go because we are keen on getting broad-based reforms.”

A spokesperson for the presidency indicated that parliamentary leaders were managing the planned talks, but National Assembly majority leader Kimani Ichung’wah did not respond to requests for comment.

Protests initially erupted in mid-June over Ruto’s plans to increase taxes on essential goods, including bread and diapers, aiming to raise over $2 billion to reduce the government’s budget shortfall.

The public outcry forced Ruto to abandon the proposal, but dissatisfaction remains high.

Last week, in a dramatic move to quell public anger, Ruto fired almost all his cabinet members, underscoring the severity of the discontent.

The scrapping of the tax measures is expected to widen the government’s budget deficit to 3.6% of GDP in the current fiscal year, up from a previous projection of 3.3%.

This financial strain has not gone unnoticed; Moody’s Ratings downgraded Kenya’s rating by a step to Caa1, plunging it deeper into junk status, highlighting the country’s deteriorating fiscal condition.

On Saturday, Ruto vowed to hold accountable those responsible for the recent killings. However, his efforts to address public concerns seem insufficient to stem the tide of unrest.

On Monday, he called on the Ford Foundation, an organization promoting civic engagement, to clarify its role in the protests, though the foundation did not respond to requests for comment.

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Rishi Sunak Announces Resignation Amid Labour’s Sweeping Victory

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Rishi Sunak

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced his resignation as the leader of the Conservative Party following a historic victory by Labour in the general election.

Addressing the nation from the steps of 10 Downing Street, Sunak expressed his deep regret and took full responsibility for the party’s defeat.

“I would like to say, first and foremost, I am sorry. I have given this job my all,” Sunak began, visibly moved.

“But you have sent a clear signal that the government of the United Kingdom must change. And yours is the only judgement that matters. I have heard your anger, your disappointment, and I take responsibility for this loss.”

The Conservatives experienced a staggering loss, with more seats taken by Labour than in any previous election.

This shift marked a dramatic change in the political landscape, as large swathes of the country turned red. Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, claimed victory early Friday morning, addressing a jubilant crowd of supporters.

“The UK has the opportunity after 14 years to get its future back,” Starmer proclaimed.

Sunak, who retained his seat in Richmond, North Yorkshire, described the night as “sobering.”

In his concession, he stated, “The Labour Party has won this general election, and I have called Sir Keir Starmer to congratulate him on his victory. The British people have delivered a sobering verdict tonight; there is much to learn, and I take responsibility for the loss.”

Following his resignation speech, Sunak and his wife, Akshata, departed from Downing Street for Buckingham Palace to formally tender his resignation to King Charles III.

A spokesperson for the King confirmed, “His Majesty was graciously pleased to accept.”

Reflecting on his tenure, Sunak said, “I am honoured to have been your prime minister. This is the best country in the world.”

He also acknowledged the many Conservative MPs who lost their seats, stating, “It pains me to think how many good colleagues who contributed so much to their communities and our country will now no longer sit in the House of Commons. I thank them for their hard work and their service.”

As the Conservative Party faces a period of introspection and rebuilding, Sunak emphasized the importance of the party’s role in opposition.

“It is important that the Conservative Party now rebuilds and also takes up its crucial role in opposition, professionally and effectively,” he noted.

The leadership race within the Conservative Party is expected to commence shortly, as the party seeks to navigate its path forward after this significant electoral defeat.

For now, the UK braces for a new political era under Labour’s leadership, with the promise of significant changes on the horizon.

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