LAUSANNE, Switzerland, March 14, 2019/APO Group/ --

APO Group (www.APO-opa.com ), the leading media relations consultancy and press release distribution service in Africa and the Middle East, has been named the Official Newswire of the One Planet Summit (www.OnePlanetSummit.fr/en) - a unique platform dedicated to financial initiatives that brings attention to global climate change.

More than 450 delegates are expected to attend the Summit, which takes place at the UN Compound in Nairobi, Kenya on March 14th.

Co-chaired by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, UN Secretary-General Guterres and interim President Georgieva from the World Bank Group, the Summit will bring together global leaders, entrepreneurs and international organisations to help accelerate climate investments in line with the Paris Agreement. The main themes will focus on promoting renewable energies, fostering resilience and adaptation and protecting biodiversity in Africa.

Unlike previous events raising awareness of these subjects, the One Planet Summit will mobilize participants across public, private and financial sectors in an interactive format of speeches, panels and video testimonials.

Presidents Kenyatta and Macron are both scheduled to speak at the event, and other keynotes will be delivered by Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank as well as  Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, Director, African Women in Agricultural Research & Development (AWARD) as well as H.E. Andy Rajoelina, President of the Republic of Madagascar among many other distinguished guests.

As Official Newswire, APO Group are well placed to raise awareness of the Summit and build engagement across Africa. All official press releases from the One Planet Summit will be distributed across Africa Wire, APO’s unparalleled network of more than 350 journalists and media outlets operating in all 54 countries across the continent.

APO Group have also identified influential bloggers writing about climate change, renewable energy and biodiversity and invited them to join the conversation in the weeks leading up to One Planet Summit. Using traditional and social media, APO Group is proudly supporting this important initiative produced by Richard Attias & Associates, to deliver the Summit’s powerful message on issues that impact everybody in the world.

“We are thrilled to be selected as the Official Newswire of the One Planet Summit,” said Lionel Reina, CEO of APO Group. “Our appointment is recognition of our unique position within media relations - bridging the gap between prestigious organizations and their target audiences. Whenever the eyes of the world are on Africa, we are privileged to be able to help ignite the debate and drive engagement across the continent.”

Read more: APO Group named the Official Newswire for One...

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 12, 2019/APO Group/ --

When the third One Planet Summit (https://www.OnePlanetSummit.fr/en) gets underway in Nairobi on March 14, it will make history while also making a crucial point about climate change.

This is the first time the One Planet Summit, launched by French president Emmanuel Macron in December 2017, will be held in Africa. The venue will underline our planetary interconnectedness in a way previous summits – the first was in Paris, the second in New York – arguably could not. Africa is responsible for only four per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, but 65 per cent of its population is thought to be directly affected by climate change. So, in Nairobi, the One Planet Summit will illustrate the core truth at the heart of the climate change debate: global warming has an impact on everyone on the planet, whether or not they contribute substantially to it.

The OPS Nairobi Summit will showcase Africa’s strengths as a vibrant place for climate innovation and investments with advances in sustainable business models, climate smart agriculture, green bonds, and renewable energy Confirmed by French Republic President Macron, “We have all the means to act to fight against climate change. But one country or one business alone can’t save everyone. That’s why we need the international meetings and coalitions to coordinate our efforts and strike hard. We need to act now to achieve our main goal: reduce our production of carbon which destabilizes the climate balance and causes impacts on our security and health. The next months will be full of opportunities to strengthen our joint effort and to create new partnerships”.

This is a response to Africa’s disproportionate burden as the result of climate change, the complex shifts that affect our planet’s weather and climate systems. Climate change encompasses not only rising average temperatures but also extreme weather events, rising seas, and shifting wildlife populations and habitats. Africa’s vast ecological wealth and unique natural ecosystems are especially susceptible, which is why Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta will launch a call to action at the Summit “to prevent, halt and reverse the loss of Africa’s forests”.

Already the hottest continent, Africa is expected to warm up to 1.5 times faster than the global average, causing longer, more severe droughts, raging storms and floods and unpredictable rainfall. This will make it harder for African farmers to grow key crops such as wheat, rice and maize, thereby endangering food security. Add to that the expected population spurt in Africa, the youngest continent, and the challenges are daunting. According to a UN report, Africa will have an additional 1.3 billion people by 2050. Most of the growth will happen in the cities, posing a challenge for African governments to ensure smart and sustainable urban planning.

This is the context within which Kenya’s decision to co-host the One Planet Summit and actively fight climate change becomes significant. In the run-up to the Summit, Monica Juma, cabinet secretary in Kenya’s ministry of foreign affairs, said, “We’ve begun to frame Nairobi as the world global environmental capital.” She indicated that Kenya was determined to upscale discussions on the sustainable use of natural resources in line with United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

A lot of jargon has been thrown around – better land management, biodiversity protection, the promotion of renewable energy and the need to foster resilience and adaptation among populations vulnerable to the effects of climate change. These are not merely symbolic for Africa. They are substantial. The continent is uniquely placed in the climate change debate. It has both immense challenges and extraordinary opportunities.

Preservation of biodiversity is a key issue for the African continent. Experts say climate change, alongside land degradation and habitat loss, could cause some African animal species to decline by as much as 50 per cent by the end of the century. The threat to Africa’s forests is dire. Nearly 20 per cent of the African continent is covered by forests, including the world’s second-largest tropical rainforest, the Congo Basin Forest, known as the “green lung of Africa.” As President Kenyatta will say in his call to action at the One Planet Summit, “forests constitute a resource of great economic, cultural, spiritual and scientific value whose disappearance would be irrecoverable”. In November, Patricia Espinsoa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, said: “Few other places on earth suffer the devastating impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss like the continent of Africa.”

Some African entrepreneurs are already investing in innovation and green energy. Malian Samba Bathily, CEO of Africa Development Solutions, recently said that as he crossed the continent, he felt proud to have been “…involved in the production of more than 1,000 MW of hydro-electric power… the creation of data centres and solar installations in more than 1,600 localities, benefiting between nine and 10m people”. Bathily incidentally supports the two-year-old Ghana-headquartered AfroChampions Initiative, which seeks to build up homegrown multi-national companies across the continent. In itself, AfroChampions is a powerful indicator of African optimism and opportunity, despite the challenges.

Accordingly, the One Planet Summit in Nairobi could usefully signal to the wider world both an urgent need to act as well as deliberative intent. How?

The One Planet Summit seems to be built for innovation. Unlike other, more crusty United Nations climate change conferences, this summit is young. It was born on a whim and a prayer in December 2017, when Macron hosted more than 50 world leaders in Paris to celebrate the anniversary of the UN climate compact agreed in the French capital in 2015. America’s newly elected president Donald Trump had announced the withdrawal from the Paris pact of the United States, the world’s second biggest polluter after China. The painfully forged international consensus on climate action seemed to be unravelling. There seemed little certainty about the fate of the pledges produced in Paris, under the aegis of the UN, to hold the increase in the global average temperature to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels”. Macron’s One Planet Summit might well have been a one-off, an ambitious irrelevance.

It was not as the next One Planet Summit in New York was to reveal with greater adepts.

All the talk in New York was about green finance, collaboration and investing in the transition to de-carbonised economies. Disparate countries reported on actual progress as well as their very real problems. There was mention of two pan-African science skills courses, which were launched in July 2018 in Nairobi and Dakar. This will be important in building an African scientific community to prepare for climate change and agricultural adaptation. Reported accomplishments included the incubation of seven programmes to support trans-boundary river basin organizations by the Agence Française de Développement and the World Bank is supporting the Niger Basin Authority. The 2018 One Planet Summit said 1.5 million euros had been committed to 30 countries in Africa, where 20 adaptation projects had already been identified.

This could be the right way to invest in the future. Joyce Msuya, a Tanzanian microbiologist who serves as Acting Executive Director of UN Environment, recently pointed to an example of African “ingenuity” when faced with climate change. “On February 7,” she said, “a boat made entirely of recycled plastic — the world’s first — cruised into a quiet harbour in Zanzibar after two weeks at sea.” It was, Msuya added, a remarkable example of human ingenuity and offered the possibility Africa can affect “systemic change”.

Will it have the resources for it? Strategic assistance will be essential. After 2018, it became clear that the One Planet Summit was actively engaging and recruiting public and private actors in the fight against climate change. This will be key for Africa. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), the continent will need $20 to 30 billion every year for the next two decades to help fund climate change adaptation and resilience and accelerate the transition towards a low-carbon economy.

When the Paris pact was being signed four years ago, AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina declared “Africa has been short-changed by climate change. Africa must not be short-changed by climate finance.”

The Nairobi Summit, which will bring together key world figures, CEOs and civil society leaders, must respond to the call to action.

Read more: One Planet Summit supporting Africa

LONDON, United Kingdom, March 7, 2019/APO Group/ --

Two co-located energy meetings taking place in Addis Ababa from 27 – 29th March welcome a special update on the new version of Ethiopia’s National Electrification Program 2.0 (NEP), presented by the Government of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

This update will be the first since the NEP 1.0 launched in 2017, taking place during the co-located ‘Regional Energy Co-operation Summit’ (www.East-Africa-Summit.com) and ‘Africa Energy Forum: Off the Grid’ (www.AEF-Offgrid.com) meetings.

The NEP outlines how the country plans to achieve universal energy access by 2025 using a sector-wide integrated approach, with a special focus on off-grid electrification. The Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy (MoWIE) and the Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU) have already commenced pilot projects with Ethiopia’s first ever mini-grids, electrifying 12 remote communities across the country with roll-out phase of hundreds of such mini-grids.

MoWIE will be joined by local and international stakeholders to delineate the next steps on power sector reform. This includes the implementation of cost reflective tariff adjustment, further unbundling of generation and transmission operations, and loss reduction with improved performance to attract the private sector and encourage renewable IPPs in coming years.

Karmen Tornius, Programme Manager for the East Africa conferences, commented, “This will be the first time the market has heard these announcements, so it’s an exciting time for Ethiopia’s energy sector. The country presents many unique investment opportunities with its rapidly growing economy and population. Coupled with a more open landscape for private investment, the potential is huge.”

The Government has already announced the commencement of a tender for six mega solar projects worth USD 798 million, with an estimated capacity of around 750 megawatts (MW). According to the Ministry of Finance, these will be followed by hydropower IPPs and further investments in large-scale wind and geothermal projects.

Both meetings will welcome H.E Seleshi Bekele, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Ethiopia alongside government officials from Djibouti, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya and international financiers, donor organisations and power developers. Active participation of energy sector institutions MoWIE, EEU (Ethiopian Electric Utility), EEP (Ethiopian Electric Power) and the EEA (Ethiopian Energy Authority) is core to the event.

Read more: Government of Ethiopia to present updates on...

MAPUTO, Mozambique, March 7, 2019/APO Group/ --

By Karim El Bar

With European Parliamentary elections around the corner, both parties in Italy’s coalition government have taken the opportunity to burnish their anti-establishment credentials. The target: Emmanuel Macron. The reason: colonialism and migration.

Luigi Di Maio, Italy’s deputy prime minister and leader of the populist 5 Star Movement, said (https://bbc.in/2HzG0Dg): “If people are leaving today it's because European countries, France above all, have never stopped colonising dozens of African countries."

“If France didn’t have its African colonies, because that’s what they should be called, it would be the 15th largest world economy. Instead it’s among the first, exactly because of what it is doing in Africa,” he said (https://on.ft.com/2NNtqjB), adding (https://politi.co/2MvxMLw) that many African countries “use French currency and pay for the French deficit.”

Di Maio was referring to the CFA Franc, two interchangeable currencies used in 14 former French colonies in Central and West Africa. They are pegged to the Euro and backed by the French treasury - but only in return for holding half the foreign currency of participating countries. France says this provides financial stability and credibility, critics say it hinders economic development. Most of the current migrants come from countries that do not use the CFA Franc, such as Eritrea.

Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini, leader of the far-right League party that forms the other half of Italy’s governing coalition, waded in with his own (https://politi.co/2MvxMLw) two cents: “The migrant problem has many causes. In Africa, some take away wealth from the people and the continent. France is certainly among them. Italy isn’t.” Shifting focus to the Middle East, he said (https://on.ft.com/2NNtqjB): “In Libya, France has no interest in stabilising the situation because it has oil interests opposite to those of Italy.”

Paris summoned the Italian ambassador, but was diplomatic enough not to publicly bring up Rome’s own colonial past. Italy was one of seven (https://bit.ly/2TmKiDF) European countries with territories in Africa, controlling at its peak modern-day Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Libya, starting in 1886 and ending in 1945.

Iskandar Safa

If there was one person who most personifies Italy’s scathing critique of France, it would Iskandar Safa; a French businessman of Lebanese descent who made his own empire on the African continent.

Iskandar Safa is the CEO of Privinvest Group, a company he founded with his brother Akram in the 1990s. According to their website (https://bit.ly/2tW7nxX), Privinvest specialises in naval and commercial ships and mega yachts. They have subsidiary holdings (https://bit.ly/2XJOa0b) in the UK, France, Germany, Greece, and Abu Dhabi. Its research and development program focuses on marine renewable energy.

As for Safa himself, he was born in 1955 in Beirut into a Maronite Christian family. He obtained a degree in Civil Engineering at the American University in Beirut in 1978, followed by an MBA from INSEAD in France in 1982. He worked for a few years in Saudi Arabia before taking over Constructions Mecaniques de Normandie, a French shipyard. Within two years he turned around a business that was on its last legs into a successful company. In 2007, he set up Abu Dhabi Mar in collaboration with Al Ain International, buying them out in 2011. Privinvest is now one the largest ship-building companies in Europe and the Middle East.

Scrambling Africa

On 30 December 2018, former finance minister of Mozambique Manuel Chang was arrested in a South African airport on his way to Dubai. On 2 January 2019, Lebanese citizen and Privinvest lead salesman Jean Boustani was arrested in New York. The next day, three former Credit Suisse bankers were also arrested in London: Andrew Pearse, Surjan Singh, and Deletina Subeva. This international wave of arrests (https://bit.ly/2VCdQdS) was provoked by a $2 billion loan to Mozambique that almost tore apart its economy as it took on more debts than it could manage.

According to a US indictment, over $2 billion was lent by Credit Suisse and another bank, later revealed to be Russia’s VTB, to three state-owned Mozambican companies between 2013 and 2016. Privinvest played a key role passing money between them and Safa was allegedly at the heart of the deal, having previously sold the country military and surveillance equipment through Privinvest. Reuters reported (https://bit.ly/2IY6hfu) that Mozambique kept the loans off the books, but in 2016 admitted to undisclosed lending, Furious, the IMF  suspended hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and foreign donors and investors fled, resulting in a full-blown currency collapse and a default on sovereign debt. The country still has not recovered from the resulting debt crisis.

The money was supposed to be spent on maritime projects (https://bit.ly/2Cg2VxN), with Privinvest supplying material and training relevant to exploring new off-shore gas deposits as well as helping establish a tuna fishing fleet. The three companies that received the loans were in fact fronts for Chang and the others to enrich themselves to the tune of $200 million between them. E-mails show the parties openly discussing bribes.

Angola has found itself in a similar situation (https://bit.ly/2EMrkwi). Luanda in recent times has turned a cold shoulder to Lisbon, and instead warmed to Paris. Part of this shift was a deal signed in September 2016 with Privinvest. It was worth $495 million and was to provide 17 patrol boats and technology transfers so that Angola could build its own naval vessels in the future. Privinvest would work with a state-owned company run by Angola’s ministry of defence.

The problem was two-fold: firstly, Angola only has around 1,000 sailors and little ship-building experience, making the deal suspicious; and secondly, the country was in dire financial straits. Reports at the time said (https://bit.ly/2EMrkwi) that the deal was very similar to the one signed with Mozambique.

Business as usual?

In 2015, Abu Dhabi MAR was contracted to build four Sa’ar 6-class corvette warships for the Israeli Navy. The €430 million deal (https://bit.ly/2NMmeUE) was signed with German company ThyssenKrupp, which sub-contracted the work to the Lebanese and Abu Dhabi-owned company. Neither Lebanon nor the UAE recognise the state of Israel.

Safa was previously involved (https://bit.ly/2HkfvQz) in the release of French journalist Roger Auque from Hezbollah militants and obtaining information about the captured Israeli pilot Ron Arad who was held by the same group. These links with Israel have made him the subject of intense scrutiny (https://bit.ly/2HkPu3R) in Arabic-language media.

Despite this, Privinvest’s chickens are coming home to roost. In her book “Fighting Corruption is Dangerous,” former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala recounted (https://bit.ly/2C7N8lg) a meeting between herself, the Nigerian president, chief of naval staff, and two representatives from Privinvest. The admiral was adamant that Nigeria’s naval infrastructure needed updating and Privinvest said it would borrow $2 billion in loans that would be guaranteed by the Nigerian government.

Okonjo-Iweala said the proposal meant Nigeria would have to shoulder all the risk, and that such a large loan would have to be approved by the National Assembly. The deal was not signed, and Okonjo-Iweala had no regrets. She said: “The reality of what we had saved the government by rejecting the Privinvest proposal was made clear… after I learned of the problems faced by Mozambique… through a contract with none other than Privinvest.”

While Safa’s future may still be in the balance, his past has already proven that Italy had a point.

Read more: Corruption in Africa… a la francaise (By Karim...

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 11, 2019/APO Group/ --

By A Special Correspondent

The venue will underline our planetary interconnectedness in a way previous summits – the first was in Paris, the second in New York – arguably could not. Africa is responsible for only four per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, but 65 per cent of its population is thought to be directly affected by climate change. So, in Nairobi, the One Planet Summit (www.OnePlanetSummit.fr/en) will illustrate the core truth at the heart of the climate change debate: global warming has an impact on everyone on the planet, whether or not they contribute substantially to it.

The OPS Nairobi Summit will showcase Africa’s strengths as a vibrant place for climate innovation and investments with advances in sustainable business models, climate smart agriculture, green bonds, and renewable energy Confirmed by French Republic President Macron, « We have all the means to act to fight against climate change. But one country or one business alone can’t save everyone. That’s why we need the international meetings and coalitions to coordinate our efforts and strike hard. We need to act now to achieve our main goal: reduce our production of carbon which destabilizes the climate balance and causes impacts on our security and health. The next months will be full of opportunities to strengthen our joint effort and to create new partnerships”.

This is a response to Africa’s disproportionate burden as the result of climate change, the complex shifts that affect our planet’s weather and climate systems. Climate change encompasses not only rising average temperatures but also extreme weather events, rising seas, and shifting wildlife populations and habitats. Africa’s vast ecological wealth and unique natural ecosystems are especially susceptible, which is why Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta will launch a call to action at the Summit “to prevent, halt and reverse the loss of Africa's forests”.

Already the hottest continent, Africa is expected to warm up to 1.5 times faster than the global average, causing longer, more severe droughts, raging storms and floods and unpredictable rainfall. This will make it harder for African farmers to grow key crops such as wheat, rice and maize, thereby endangering food security. Add to that the expected population spurt in Africa, the youngest continent, and the challenges are daunting. According to a UN report, Africa will have an additional 1.3 billion people by 2050. Most of the growth will happen in the cities, posing a challenge for African governments to ensure smart and sustainable urban planning.

This is the context within which Kenya’s decision to co-host the One Planet Summit and actively fight climate change becomes significant. In the run-up to the Summit, Monica Juma, cabinet secretary in Kenya’s ministry of foreign affairs, said, “We’ve begun to frame Nairobi as the world global environmental capital.” She indicated that Kenya was determined to upscale discussions on the sustainable use of natural resources in line with United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

A lot of jargon has been thrown around – better land management, biodiversity protection, the promotion of renewable energy and the need to foster resilience and adaptation among populations vulnerable to the effects of climate change. These are not merely symbolic for Africa. They are substantial. The continent is uniquely placed in the climate change debate. It has both immense challenges and extraordinary opportunities.

Preservation of biodiversity is a key issue for the African continent. Experts say climate change, alongside land degradation and habitat loss, could cause some African animal species to decline by as much as 50 per cent by the end of the century. The threat to Africa’s forests is dire. Nearly 20 per cent of the African continent is covered by forests, including the world’s second-largest tropical rainforest, the Congo Basin Forest, known as the “green lung of Africa.” As President Kenyatta will say in his call to action at the One Planet Summit, “forests constitute a resource of great economic, cultural, spiritual and scientific value whose disappearance would be irrecoverable”. In November, Patricia Espinsoa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change, said: “Few other places on earth suffer the devastating impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss like the continent of Africa.”

Some African entrepreneurs are already investing in innovation and green energy. Malian Samba Bathily, CEO of Africa Development Solutions, recently said that as he crossed the continent, he felt proud to have been “…involved in the production of more than 1,000 MW of hydro-electric power… the creation of data centres and solar installations in more than 1,600 localities, benefiting between nine and 10m people”. Bathily incidentally supports the two-year-old Ghana-headquartered AfroChampions Initiative, which seeks to build up homegrown multi-national companies across the continent. In itself, AfroChampions is a powerful indicator of African optimism and opportunity, despite the challenges.

Accordingly, the One Planet Summit in Nairobi could usefully signal to the wider world both an urgent need to act as well as deliberative intent. How?

The One Planet Summit seems to be built for innovation. Unlike other, more crusty United Nations climate change conferences, this summit is young. It was born on a whim and a prayer in December 2017, when Macron hosted more than 50 world leaders in Paris to celebrate the anniversary of the UN climate compact agreed in the French capital in 2015. America’s newly elected president Donald Trump had announced the withdrawal from the Paris pact of the United States, the world’s second biggest polluter after China. The painfully forged international consensus on climate action seemed to be unravelling. There seemed little certainty about the fate of the pledges produced in Paris, under the aegis of the UN, to hold the increase in the global average temperature to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels”. Macron’s One Planet Summit might well have been a one-off, an ambitious irrelevance.

It was not as the next One Planet Summit in New York was to reveal with greater adepts.

All the talk in New York was about green finance, collaboration and investing in the transition to de-carbonised economies. Disparate countries reported on actual progress as well as their very real problems. There was mention of two pan-African science skills courses, which were launched in July 2018 in Nairobi and Dakar. This will be important in building an African scientific community to prepare for climate change and agricultural adaptation. Reported accomplishments included the incubation of seven programmes to support trans-boundary river basin organizations by the Agence Française de Développement and the World Bank is supporting the Niger Basin Authority. The 2018 One Planet Summit said 1.5 million euros had been committed to 30 countries in Africa, where 20 adaptation projects had already been identified.

This could be the right way to invest in the future. Joyce Msuya, a Tanzanian microbiologist who serves as Acting Executive Director of UN Environment, recently pointed to an example of African “ingenuity” when faced with climate change. “On February 7,” she said, “a boat made entirely of recycled plastic — the world’s first — cruised into a quiet harbour in Zanzibar after two weeks at sea.” It was, Msuya added, a remarkable example of human ingenuity and offered the possibility Africa can affect “systemic change”.

Will it have the resources for it? Strategic assistance will be essential. After 2018, it became clear that the One Planet Summit was actively engaging and recruiting public and private actors in the fight against climate change. This will be key for Africa. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), the continent will need $20 to 30 billion every year for the next two decades to help fund climate change adaptation and resilience and accelerate the transition towards a low-carbon economy.

When the Paris pact was being signed four years ago, AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina declared "Africa has been short-changed by climate change. Africa must not be short-changed by climate finance."

The Nairobi Summit, which will bring together key world figures, CEOs and civil society leaders, must respond to the call to action.

Read more: When the third One Planet Summit gets underway...

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 9, 2019/APO Group/ --

From Maria Macharia

While Africa is responsible for merely 4 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, 65 percent of the continent’s estimated population of 1,3 billion people is considered to be directly impacted by climate change.

It is against the backdrop of this irony that global leaders, entrepreneurs, international organizations, and civil society meet in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on Thursday next week to help accelerate focus and attention on climate investments in line with the Paris Agreement objectives.

The stakeholders will meet under the auspices of the One Planet Summit (OPS), which also focuses on promoting renewable energies, fostering resilience and adaptation and protecting biodiversity in the continent.

“OPS, which is in its third edition, is the French initiative to engage states and global ministers to implement climate policies,” said Mr Lõhmus. Nairobi will be the first first regional host of the OPS.

French President, Emmanuel Macron, and his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, as well as World Bank Group Interim President Kristalina Georgieva and UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed, will co-chair the conference, which will be among the highlights will co-chair the conference, which will be among the highlights of the fourth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-4) running from March 11-15.

Ado Lohmus, a UNEA special envoy, this week confirmed Macron will be in the East African country next week.

“On the 14th, he (Macron) will open the OPS, which will also be meeting here in Kenya alongside UNEA,” Lohmus said in Nairobi this week.

More than 2000 delegates from around the world have registered to attend UNEA-4 and are to be a key part of OPS proceedings.

OPS is one in a series of some climate events this year leading up to the UN 2019 Climate Summit and to the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 25) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

In December 2018, the World Bank Group announced a major new set of climate targets for 2021-2025, doubling its current 5-year investments to around $200 billion in support for countries to take ambitious climate action.

The new plan significantly boosts support for adaptation and resilience, recognizing mounting climate change impacts on lives and livelihoods, especially in the world’s poorest countries. The plan also represents significantly ramped up ambition from the World Bank Group, sending an important signal to the wider global community to do the same.

Ahead of the OPS, Kenya government officials assured preparations for the OPS were progressing well, with the country having previously held international events of this nature.

Last year, Kenya co-hosted the first-ever global conference on the sustainable blue economy, alongside Canada.

OPS is held following the realization that resources and solutions for renewable energy already exist in Africa but there is a need to speed their financing and mainstream their development.

Judy Wakhungu, Kenya’s Ambassador to France, and French State Minister for Ecological and Inclusive Transition, Brune Poirson, recently held meetings to finalise plans for the OPS and UNEA-4.

Macron has previously spoken of his government’s goal to be a strategic partner to Africa in the field of climate change adaptation.

France is the largest financial contributor to the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI), alongside Germany and followed by the Council of the European Union.

At the Africa-France Summit held in Mali in 2017, the French president announced that financing for renewable energy in Africa would be increased from €2 billion to €3 billion, implemented by the Agence Française de Développement (French Development Agency) over the 2016-2020 period.

“Africa, from the shores of Lake Chad to the Congo Basin, is being hardest hit by the effects of climate change but it can also be at the forefront of solutions. It can succeed where Europe has not always been able to,” Macron prominently said during a state visit to Burkina Faso in late 2017.

This week, the World Bank, a partner for the OPS, stated cities in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Nairobi, could inform global action on climate change.

Nairobi already has a strong private sector presence as the eighth most attractive city in Africa for foreign direct investment, according to the global institution.

“As such, it can share important lessons learned with other cities in the region and around the world. The One Planet Summit provides the perfect space to do just that by actively inviting new partners to collaborate and launch new initiatives,” the World Bank stated.

– CAJ News

Read more: Exclusive: One Planet Summit showcases Africa’s...

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