United, we stand a chance to drive green growth for Africa and the world. That’s how former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon set the stage at the Africa Climate Summit being held in Nairobi, Kenya, sparking dialogue around the potential of an Africa and Middle East collaboration.
If realized, the initiative referred to as the “Africa and Middle East SAFE Initiative” will focus on scaling up climate-resilient agriculture and food systems transformation for economic development in the two regions. “The Africa and Middle East SAFE Initiative can potentially mobilize at least $10 billion of needed investment through public-private partnerships benefiting millions of people,” Mr Ban Ki-moon said.
This collaborative approach aligns notably with global aspirations, specifically the priorities of SDG2 – Zero Hunger, and the COP28 Presidency. Ban Ki-moon called everyone to action saying, “to ensure that words and ideas lead to action and real tangible change, we need everyone, each and every one of us.”
The Africa and Middle East SAFE Initiative aims to invest in the future of these regions by unlocking green investments, promoting climate-smart agriculture for rural farmers, and creating green jobs. It consists of two key frameworks, the Technical Assistance Fund (TAF) and Investment Platform (IP), which will help build climate-resilient economies.
This multi-faceted initiative plans to irrigate two million hectares of African farmland, enhance the climate resilience of 10 million smallholder farmers (especially women and young people), and address food security in both Africa and the Middle East. Additionally, it is expected to generate two million green jobs, improve livelihoods, and export two million metric tonnes of food crops to the Middle East, valued at around $2 billion.
Kenyan President Dr William Ruto noted that meaningful change needs to happen through dialogues and the discovery of opportunities.
“An opportunity-oriented focus on climate action is the engine for propelling Africa into a reality of stability and prosperity,” Mr Ruto said at the opening of the Summit on Monday. “We must see in green growth not just a climate imperative, but also a fountain of multi-billion-dollar economic opportunities that Africa and the World are primed to capitalize on.”
The Africa and Middle East Safe Initiative propels the spirit of harnessing opportunities. Global Green growth Institute (GGGI) is committed to helping facilitate dialogues and shaping the initiative from the idea to realization. It will coordinate and support ongoing dialogues among diverse stakeholders to progress toward a foreseeable next step.