COP28: Kate Kallot Amplifies Voice of African Women for Climate Action

by Joseph Omoniyi
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From the COP28 conference in Dubai, the resonating voice of Kate Kallot, is heralding a new era of activism deeply rooted in indigenous solutions. As the founder of Amini Corp, Kallot’s bold assertion that artificial intelligence for climate action should not be confined to the Global North sparked a standing ovation, signaling a seismic shift in the perception of Africa’s role in shaping global decisions. Her call echoed the collective mission of African women and youth present at COP28, determined to redefine the narrative on self-help, empowerment, and elevation.

Amidst this gathering, it’s imperative to recognize the harsh realities propelling the presence of Africa’s women and youth. The continent grapples with a perilous triple threat – the relentless impact of climate change, heightened vulnerability, and a disconcerting lack of preparedness. In 2023 alone, a string of disasters wreaked havoc across the continent: floods in Derna, an earthquake in Morocco, wildfires in Algeria, Cyclone Freddy in Malawi, and severe floods in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. The most vulnerable, especially women and children, disproportionately bear the brunt of these disasters.

In the backdrop of COP28, Africa’s proactive stance in developing tailored approaches to climate action became evident. Senegal’s “digital for all” strategy and GIZ’s AI project in Kenya for forest protection and crop yield predictions showcased the continent’s commitment to innovation. The initiatives mirrored a concerted effort to bridge digital divides and employ cutting-edge technology for sustainable practices.

Amidst the bustling events, initiatives like the African Women Clean Cooking Support Programme (AWCCSP) and Kenya’s African Women Studies Centre (AWSC) stood out. Spearheaded by President Samia Suluhu Hassan, AWCCSP aims to integrate women into climate action, recognizing their pivotal role in transforming livelihoods. These initiatives underscored the significance of women leading interventions that directly impact their communities.

The presence of youth leaders like Vanessa Nakate and Maxwell Beganim injected an electrifying urgency into COP28. Nakate’s advocacy for climate change and Beganim’s impassioned calls for climate justice reverberated, ensuring that the voices of Africa’s youth were not only heard but profoundly felt. Their emphasis on sustainable action underscored the urgent need for global attention to Africa’s climate challenges.

The celebration of Africa’s women and youth at COP28 is a rainbow that symbolizes the convergence of Africa’s stark reality on climate change, the surge of innovative climate action solutions from the continent, and collective efforts aimed at addressing and mitigating profound challenges. As Africa redefines its narrative on the global stage, COP28 stands as a pivotal moment where the voices of women and youth emerge as catalysts for transformative change in the face of climate adversity.

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