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The COP28 conference had both positive and negative outcomes for Africa. On the positive side, progress was made on crucial climate change issues such as loss and damage, climate finance, adaptation, food, and energy. These issues are essential for African countries to address climate change and achieve their development goals. However, it is still insufficient to meet the continent’s pressing needs.

One of the primary outcomes of COP28 was the successful mobilisation of over US$85 billion. This demonstrates the global community’s commitment to limiting the rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoiding the most harmful impacts of climate change. The funding will primarily support adaptation initiatives critical for a continent like Africa severely affected by climate change. However, the UNEP Adaptation Finance Gap Report 2023 has identified a significant shortfall, indicating the difficulty in converting plans into action and tangible investment opportunities in Africa. Establishing the Loss and Damage Fund was a positive step towards helping African countries disproportionately affected by climate change, with pledges amounting to US$792 million. However, the estimated cost of addressing loss and damage on the continent between 2020 and 2030 is between US$290 billion and US$440 billion. This highlights the significant gap between financial commitments and the actual needs of African countries.

The declaration at COP28 highlights the importance of collective efforts in mobilising resources for developing countries regarding climate finance. Africa’s primary focus is to achieve the New Collective Goal of Climate Finance, a post-2025 finance objective to raise the floor of climate finance from US$100 billion annually. The continent needs up to US$250 billion annually until 2030 to respond effectively to climate change. After COP28, the impact of human capital and leadership in Africa will likely be significant. Leaders are crucial in implementing and advocating climate action policies, mobilising resources, and driving sustainable development initiatives. Human capital, which includes the African workforce’s skills, knowledge, and expertise, is essential for developing and deploying climate adaptation and mitigation strategies. Enhancing education, training, and capacity-building programs is critical to ensuring African countries can effectively respond to climate-related challenges and capitalise on opportunities such as renewable energy development. The success of COP28 initiatives in Africa heavily relies on effective leadership and a skilled workforce to translate commitments and financial pledges into tangible actions and progress.

The transition towards cleaner energy sources is a complex issue for Africa, given that many economies rely heavily on oil production. However, the recent declaration on renewables and energy efficiency at COP28 provides opportunities for Africa to harness its clean energy resources for economic growth. The conference also focused on local climate action, recognising that African cities contribute 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions. To address this, 12 African nations have joined the Coalition for High Ambition Multi-Level Partnerships for Climate Action, committing to cooperation in planning and implementing national climate goals.

Additionally, COP28 has expanded its agenda to include discussions on food systems affected by drought and global events, recognising Africa’s significant food security challenges. With 25% of the world’s arable land, Africa must set ambitious targets for both food and energy while prioritising sustainable development. While the conference has initiated several relevant initiatives for Africa’s climate action, there is still a need for significant work and financial commitment to address the continent’s unique challenges effectively. As African nations prepare to update their nationally determined contributions in 2025, they must prioritise these issues and work towards a sustainable future.

In analysing COP28 outcomes for Africa, the role of African leadership emerges as crucial. Effective leadership is essential for mobilising resources, implementing policies, and driving sustainable development initiatives in response to climate change. African leaders must prioritise enhancing education, training, and capacity-building programs to equip the continent’s workforce with the skills and expertise needed for climate adaptation and mitigation efforts. Additionally, strong leadership is necessary to bridge the gap between financial commitments and the actual needs of African countries, ensuring that COP28 initiatives translate into tangible actions and progress on the ground.


United Nations Climate Change Conference Reports
African Development Bank Publications on Climate Finance
UNEP Adaptation Finance Gap Report 2023
PRI – Africa Policy Research Institute

Suzie Li
Suzie Li
Principal Consultant, Africa at Oxford HR

Suzie joined Oxford HR in 2018. She has over 20 years Human Resources Management experience working experience in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Tunisia, working for FMCG, Banking, International Financial Organisations and most recently the African Development Bank.

Suzie brings expertise in Talent Acquisition, HR transformation and corporate delivery of HR projects. Suzie holds a Master’s in Human Resources Management and is currently pursuing an Integrative Counselling degree. Passionate about the economic and developmental growth of Africa, she is committed to sourcing and grooming high performing talented African nationals on the continent and diaspora.