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African nations unite on Nairobi Declaration

For years, many African countries have struggled to position themselves in relation to the climate debate raging in the global north. The continent of 54 countries, which has emitted less than 3 per cent of cumulative carbon, is the least equipped financially to deal with the consequences — whether droughts (or flash floods) in the Horn of Africa, or changing weather patterns for smallholder farmers who depend on rain to water their crops. Meanwhile, demands that nations such as Nigeria, Angola or Mozambique — all big or potentially big producers of hydrocarbons — should forgo exploiting their oil and gas resources strike many as absurd when 600mn Africans lack access to regular electricity supplies.

“Every American man, woman and child emits 17 tonnes of carbon; every European emits 6.5-7 tonnes of carbon a year,” Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese-British billionaire and governance campaigner, told the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi in September — adding that emitters should pay for their emissions through a tax. “Who gives you the right to emit all this carbon? If you pay for it, then you’ll change.”

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*The views of the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Africa Speaks 4 Africa or its editorial team.

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