Kenya’s President William Ruto has committed to a new initiative to engage the African youth. President Ruto visited South Africa this week and addressed the 3rd Pan African Parliament Climate Summit in Midrand, South Africa.
The Pan-African Parliament, also known as the African Parliament, is the legislative body of the African Union. It held its inaugural session in March 2004.
During the meeting President Ruto was critical of various international forums focused on Africa such as the China-Africa Summit or the US-Africa Summit.
“They want to invite 50 heads of state. So we go to a meeting, just explain to me what kind of outcome you expect where 50 heads of state are sitting, everybody is asked to speak for one and a half minutes. What kind of engagement are you going to get? You are going to get nothing. The best that you get is photographs. You get these photographs. They normally line us up somewhere, crowds of 50 heads of state and that is what we come home with,”president Ruto said.
In addition, he went ahead to assert Africa’s position in climate negotiations noting that Africa comes to the negotiating table not as victims of climate crisis but with climate assets that form part of global solutions to the climate crisis currently experienced.
This meeting which was jointly convened by the Pan African Parliament and Pan African Climate Justice alliance under the theme “ The African continent at the crossroads: graceful just transition and NDCs implementation responsive to African development aspirations and economic realities” attracted members of parliaments across Africa including local governments. Discussions on climate change were an important part of the discourse.
Kenya’s 5th President, William Ruto who is also the chairperson of the committee of African Heads of State and Governments on Climate Change, an organ of the African Union. In this role President Ruto was the guest of honor of the event and gave a keynote speech at the key gathering on Wednesday.
“As an African Youth Commission (AYC), we are very pleased to have the acceptance of Kenya’s President to become our high level ambassador for youth engagement in Climate Action. It is a big win for all African Youth who continue to champion climate justice in Africa. With the sitting president as our ambassador, we can be sure that we can unlock a lot of engagement opportunities to ensure that youth are at the center of climate negotiations as they are ones to live with the impact of climate change longer. We look forward to taking this forward ahead of the climate action summit in Nairobi and COP28 in Dubai later in the Year,” said AYC’s Executive Secretary Keith Andere.
African Youth Commission is a Pan African Network that has presence in 46 African countries, they champion for meaningful engagement in policy influencing and advocacy processes at national, regional and global level.