Africa must play key role in climate change talks — Elumelu

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Africa must play a key role in global climate conversations as meaningful participants, the Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation and Group. Chairman, United Bank of Africa, Tony Elumelu, has said.

He disclosed this during a conversation with Former United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton themed, ‘Taking Action Together for the Most Vulnerable on the Climate-Health Nexus’, at the ongoing COP28 conference in Dubai. According to him, Africa needs to be heard because it is the future. He noted that the continent has been the least contributor to climate change but needs attention due to the impacts it is now suffering.

In a statement, he stated, “Addressing climate change is the paramount challenge of our era.  The urgency is unmistakable. It is critical that Africa, as a continent, and African voices, play a key role in global climate conversations, as meaningful participants, and no longer as bystanders.

“Africa is least responsible and is disproportionately impacted by climate change.  I am investing in a generation of green entrepreneurs, and we are extending the hand of partnership so that others can benefit and use the infrastructure and platform we have created to reach entrepreneurs across Africa.”

During his talk, Elumelu explained how the infrastructure and experience of his foundation’s 10-year $100m entrepreneurship programme has tried to address climate change and drive broader wealth creation across Africa.

Also, at COP28, TEF in partnership with the United Bank for Africa hosted a high-level session that gathered Africans and key players in the Gulf, Europe, and the Americas. Speakers included the Director General, World Trade Organisation, Dr Okonjo Iweala; Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Africa, United Nations Development Programme, Ahunna Eziakonwa; CEO, United Nations Children’s Fund Generation Unlimited, Kevin Frey, and more.

Speaking at the TEF #COP28, the DG, World Trade Organisation, Dr Okonjo Iweala, stated, “I am proud of what my brother, Tony Elumelu, has done in empowering and inspiring so many young entrepreneurs.  We have no choice; the future is green.  The future of growth is two things – it is green, and it must be inclusive. I am very interested in partnerships with organisations like TEF.”

The Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Africa, UNDP, Ahunna Eziakonwa, added, “The reason why UNDP associated itself with the Tony Elumelu Foundation years ago is because of the leadership and courage of the Foundation to trust and invest in young Africans.  It was one of the first organisations to do so at that scale.”