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COP 28: African Business Leaders Advocate for Sustainable Growth and Climate Action

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Nimrah Khatoon
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COP 28: African Business Leaders Advocate for Sustainable Growth and Climate Action

Government and business leaders from around the globe have converged at COP 28 in Dubai, UAE, to assess the strides made towards the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. The conference, stretching from November 30 to December 12, 2023, is witnessing an influential presence of African business leaders under the aegis of the African Business Leaders Coalition (ABLC). The ABLC, committed to fostering sustainable growth in Africa, is underscoring the significance of public-private partnerships in realizing the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

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Airtel Africa's Environmental Stewardship

Group Chief Executive of Airtel Africa, Segun Ogunsanya, has outlined the company's dedication to mitigating environmental impact through measures like 'Project Green' and a pioneering partnership aimed at eliminating open waste burning in Africa. Airtel Africa has set ambitious targets to slash its Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 62% by 2032 and achieve net zero absolute emissions by 2050.

ABLC's Advocacy at COP 28

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At COP 28, the ABLC has embarked on a mission to lobby for regulatory environments conducive to climate action, establish decarbonization objectives, and expand access to climate financing. The conference is perceived as a global stocktake to gauge progress and formulate a swift-action plan for further headway on climate goals. To expedite climate action in Africa, Ogunsanya stresses on ramping up public-private collaboration.

Key Initiatives at COP 28

During COP28, leaders from Africa and the Middle East launched a $10 billion public-private-partnership initiative, the SAFE Initiative, to transform food systems for millions grappling with climate-induced food insecurity. Moreover, Mozambique’s $80 billion energy transition strategy eyes the country’s abundant renewable resources to position itself as a sustainable investment destination. COP28 also witnessed the announcement of a comprehensive plan by the Arab Coordination Group to support an inclusive, affordable, and equitable energy transition in developing countries.

Challenges and Opportunities

However, the appointment of the CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company as the President of COP28 has sparked concerns about the organizers' genuine intentions. Nevertheless, the conference offers a platform for MENA countries to shape the discussion around climate mitigation and adaptation. Nearly 100 agricultural leaders attending the event emphasize the need for direct financing and more resources for indigenous and farmer communities to grapple with climate change, demanding an equal seat at the decision-making table.

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