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Climate change solutions must not leave anyone behind, urges Saudi energy minister

The Saudi Arabia Development fund will sign $533 million deals with African countries

Climate change solutions must not leave anyone behind, urges Saudi energy minister
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

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This month, all eyes are on Dubai’s COP28 Climate Change Conference. The stakes are high, as no country is immune to the effects of climate change. If unchecked, climate change will push 130 million people into poverty over the next ten years—unraveling hard-won development gains—and could cause over 200 million people to migrate within their countries by 2050. 

The climate crisis is also a deeply unfair one: the poorest people in the world contribute the least to climate change. In fact, the world’s poorest countries are also hardest hit by the impacts of climate change.

At the recent Saudi-Arab-African Economic Conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, warned that climate change solutions should not come at the expense of the poor and vulnerable.

“Climate change is crucial, important, but it should not be attended to by crushing the bones and the future of the less empowered people,” Prince Abdulaziz said.

The Saudi Fund for Development, which helps finance projects in developing countries, will sign the agreements with African countries. Finance Minister Mohammed Al Jadaan said the fund is also working with partners to support Ghana and other African countries to reduce debt.

“Africa has been and will continue to be part of our social capital,” Prince Abdulaziz said.

The kingdom’s investment in Africa has been accelerating in recent years. The $500 billion Saudi Green Initiative, launched in 2021, plans to reduce carbon emissions and invest in renewable energy. It exemplifies Saudi Arabia’s commitment to helping African countries achieve climate goals. 

The UAE has also pledged $4.5 billion to help speed up the development of clean energy projects in Africa.

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