“Diplomatic show”: Catholic Activist on Africa Climate Summit, Says “real issues” Omitted

Steeven Kezamutima at the Africa Climate Summit. Credit: Brantina boke Chacha

Africa’s leaders who gathered in the Kenyan capital city, Nairobi, for the three-day inaugural Africa Climate Summit (ACS) that concluded on September 6 did not address the “real” environmental issues on the continent, a Catholic activist has lamented, and termed the gathering “a diplomatic show”.

In an interview with ACI Africa, the Programs Coordinator for Francophone Africa at Laudato Si’ Movement (LSM) said that while the ACS “was a great opportunity for Africans and the Global South to consolidate their voice and their position, as well as demonstrating their strength before the Global North”, the leaders failed to communicate decisions on how climate issues can be addressed.

“I did not hear them talking about real issues. It was a diplomatic show, the same language of pledging fake promises,” Steeven Kezamutima said during the Monday, September 11 interview.

Kezamutima said Africa’s leaders who participated in the Nairobi Summit ought to have called off the fossil fuel projects on the world’s second-largest and second-most populous continent.

“We are all aware that the fossil fuel industry is one of the causes of global warming. It is causing a lot of harm to our common home, causing poverty in Africa, lack of peace, and social injustice,” he further said.


The LSM official lamented that despite the negative effects of the industry, Africa’s leaders “still don’t want to call off all fossil fuel projects going on in Africa.”

“We are worried about the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) connecting from Hoima - Uganda - to Tanga -Tanzania. Still, those Presidents did not tell President Yoweri Museveni and Samia Suluhu to stop EACOP,” Kezamutima said, referencing the President of Uganda and his Tanzanian counterpart respectively.  

Africa’s leaders at ACS, he further lamented, paid little attention to the auctioning of 30 oil and gas blocks in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“We are still in danger if those Presidents could not tell President Félix Tshisekedi to stop the auctioning of 27 oil blocks and three gas blocks in the Congo Basin,” Kezamutima said. 

In their statement of action following the inaugural ACS, Africa’s leaders called on global leaders to “act with urgency in reducing emissions, fulfilling its obligations, keeping past promises, and supporting the continent in addressing climate change.”

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They said the global north needs to honor the commitment to provide $100 billion in annual climate finance, as promised 14 years ago at the Copenhagen conference, and operationalize the Loss and Damage facility agreed upon at the United Nations 27th Conference of Parties Climate Conference ( COP27).

In the September 11 interview with ACI Africa, Kezamutima said that the call for the actualization of climate financing “brings no hope”, and explained, “We don’t see any goodwill from the Global North.”

Climate financing “is calling for more colonialism,” The LSM official said, and added, “African leaders need to realize that the power and solutions are with us, and do what is right.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.