Climate, Debt and Resource Mobilisation; the conjoined triplets of the climate conversation. 

By Robert Mwanyumba and Sheila Masinde 

The Africa Conference on Debt and Development (AfCoDD) and the Africa Climate Summit happened hot on the heels of each other on two opposite ends of the continent, Dakar and Nairobi. Although these issues are inextricable at prima facie, you would not be mistaken to make a cursory link to loss and damage occasioned by extreme weather events identified as the inevitable repercussions of the climate crisis. 

The fact that Africa’s sustainable development gap is exacerbated by climate change, invariably leads to increased gaps in development financing and disruption to domestic revenue mobilisation and of consequence to financing gaps that occasion an increase in the debt stock for African states.  

Policy direction should therefore refrain from orienting itself from crises to normalcy but rather, how to address multiple crises as the full extent of the climate crisis is yet to be realised, mitigation measures withstanding.  

In this respect, affordable and sustainable financing options need to be part of the menu of options for states with a clear implementation strategy from state parties both on short to long-term periods. A polycentric policy approach means recognising the multidisciplinary approach necessary fraught with political trade-offs and economic opportunity costs at national, regional and global level. With high inflation and a volatile commodities market, we have seen civilian unrest egged on leaders of African states to clamour for short-term solutions. The bandwagon of summits with leaders representing global ideological polarities has not stopped African states from engaging them in equal measure.  

The Africa Climate Summit did not shy away from pointing out the discrepancies of the global financial architecture pointing out that 40% of the world’s renewable energy resources being held on the continent. Business cannot be as usual, given the need to leapfrog traditional industrial development paradigms. So how is it then, that finance can be fit for purpose if the same controls are deployed to an atypical trajectory? 

The climate crises continue to point out the need for innovative financial models which became even more prominent in the call for debt pause clauses, review of the prohibitive cost of capital, exploring blended finance instruments and debt sustainability analysis. For a minute, you would be mistaken if you thought this was an economics conference and not one focused on climate.  

However, the reality of the climate crises, too few resources directed at a colossal shift. Noteworthy “Climate positive growth is beyond the borrowing capacity of national balance sheets or the risk premium that Africa is currently paying for private capital.” This means that a review of the current obligations and contemporary financing mechanisms is critical to ensure that the trajectory for climate action is aligned although with differentiated responsibility.  

Debt, climate change and revenue mobilisation are akin to conjoined triplets difficult to separate but mutually reinforcing. 

It is important however, to retort that global action is often complemented by national effort and in this case, it is crucial to call out the Kenyan government on its proposal to trade carbon credits within the Nairobi Financial International Centre (NIFC). Carbon credit trading is not without its criticisms especially where fossil fuel companies can continue to pollute as long as they can pay their way into carbon markets, but if a sustainable growth trajectory is sought, then common goods cannot be traded in exclusive markets that do not accrue necessary resources for the nation to invest but instead jeopardise them further to Illicit Financial Flows. 

Even as the clamour for resources receives attention, it is important to ensure that these resources are not another corruption haven where cronyism, gatekeeping, rent seeking and white elephants become the norm. In this respect, climate change investments need to entrench both horizontal and vertical accountability mechanism. This will require an active role being played by independent oversight institutions and citizen engagement in both priority setting and decision making. Complementary interdisciplinary and multisectoral approaches will ensure resources are allocated and utilised accordingly. This demands that deliberate efforts are put in place to facilitate meaningful engagement to foster both transparency and accountability in climate governance.  


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Lucky Philomena Mbaye

Project Assistant, Citizen Demand and Oversight

Philomena is a lawyer, currently undertaking the Advocates Training Program at the Kenya School of Law, following her attainment of a Bachelor’s Degree in Law (LL. B) from the University of Nairobi. She is also a Certified Professional Mediator (CPM).

With a keen interest in Human Rights, Policy, Democracy, and Governance, she is deeply invested in promoting equitable legal practices and advocating for social justice. Her professional journey includes valuable experiences from (Coulson Harney LLP) Bowmans Law and ENS Africa, where she developed a solid understanding of legal intricacies and demonstrated proficiency in navigating complex legal landscapes. Beyond her legal pursuits, Philomena actively engages in community service through volunteer work with local CSOs, aiming to extend her impact beyond the legal sphere and contribute meaningfully to societal progress.

Thomas Juma

Project Assistant, North-Rift Region

Thomas is a dynamic professional with a wide range of experience and skills in community mobilization, capacity development in governance, media engagement, networking and partnership development. In his new role, he shall be responsible for offering support to the North Rift Regional Office to ensure successful implementation of the projects and assisting in logistical tasks, data collection and documentation. Thomas holds a diploma in public relations, marketing and advertising from ICS college, diploma in project planning and NGO management from Cambridge universal college and diploma in film and television production from Alphax college.

Emily Atieno

Procurement Officer

Emily is a dynamic professional with a diverse range of experience and skills in asset management, vendor relations, process improvement, event management, procurement process and procedures, admin management, communication and interpersonal skills. In her role, she is responsible for all the procurement processes and procedures towards achieving the TI-Kenya’s strategic plan. Emily holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Africa Nazarene University. She is also a holder of certificate in facilitation skills and Diploma in Business Management.

George Kiondo

Finance and Investments Manager

George is a dynamic professional with a diverse range of experience and skills in financial and project management, couching and mentoring, monitoring and evaluation, financial reporting and procurement amongst others.

In his new role, is responsible for overseeing the work of finance, investments and business development towards achieving the TI-Kenya’s strategic plan.

George holds a Bachelor of Science in International Business Administration from USIU, a Masters of Business Administration from the African Nazarene University, CPA-K and CPS-K qualifications from Strathmore Business School.

Linet Mukhula

Project Officer, Natural Resources and Climate Governance - Land, Extractives and Energy

Linet is a highly dynamic and versatile professional with extensive experience across various domains. She possesses a comprehensive skill set essential for effective project and organizational management. This includes expertise in Program Management and Reporting, ensuring strategic initiatives are designed and implemented to meet objectives with accurate reporting on outcomes. She excels in Coordination and Relationship Management, forging strong connections with stakeholders to drive collaboration and achieve shared goals.

She is responsible for implementing governance projects and working with communities and government with an emphasis on Land, Extractives and Energy towards achieving the TI-Kenya’s strategic plan.

Linet holds a Bachelor of Environmental Studies (Community Development from Kenyatta University with a Diploma in Public Relations Management and Advance Certificate in Business Management from the Kenya Institute of Management. She’s currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Development Studies (Economic Planning)- thesis level at the Management University of Africa.

Anno Annet Andisi

Intern, North-Rift Region

Annet is a dynamic professional with a diverse range of experience and skills in community engagement and advocacy, training, strategy and policy development as well as project management.

She is responsible for offering support to the North Rift Regional Office to ensure the successful implementation of the projects and documenting of legal aid cases for walk-in and call-in clients towards achieving the TI-Kenya’s strategic plan.

Annet holds a Bachelor of Bachelor of Political science and Public administration from Kisii University.

Jane Kingori

Grants Manager, USAID USAWA Program

Jane is a finance and grants specialist with a Master of Science in Organizational Development, Bachelor of Commerce in Finance and CPA (K). She has over 15 years’ of experience in strengthening organizations ‘capacities for sustainable program delivery through integration of best grants and financial management practices and compliance with different donor rules and regulations including USAID, UKAID, DANIDA, GCERF, SIDA and EU among others. She has served as the grants management technical lead at Faith To Action Network and Act Change Transform.