Kamil Alawadhi, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa

African Airlines Set for a Small Profit in 2024: Governments Urged to Harness Aviation for Economic Growth

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on Africa’s governments to take advantage of a strengthening aviation sector to maximize its benefits for economic and social development across the African Continent.

Recently IATA announced that Africa’s airlines are expected to earn a collective net profit in 2024 for the second year in a row. That is a welcome and hard-won result reflecting the sector’s resilience in its post-COVID recovery. The expected $100 million profit, however, translates into just 90 cents per passenger—well below the global average of $6.14.

“Africa’s airlines are making a collective profit. That is good news. But it is razor-thin and well below the global benchmark. And there are wide variations across the continent where many individual airlines still struggle with losses. The demand to travel is there. To meet it, the African airline sector needs to overcome many challenges, not least of which are infrastructure deficiencies, high costs, onerous taxation, and the failure to broadly implement a continent-wide multilateral traffic rights regime,” said Kamil Alawadhi, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East.

“The challenges facing African aviation are significant, but they are not insurmountable. IATA’s Focus Africa initiative is by no means a panacea, but it does lay out a framework to build a stronger aviation sector that will provide even better support to economic growth and social development. The prize for working together across the continent for safe, efficient, and sustainable air connectivity is well worth focused policy efforts across the continent,” said Alawadhi.

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New AI Insights: AfriLabs Publishes Two Groundbreaking Reports Funded by the Gates Foundation

AfriLabs, the largest pan-African network of technology and innovation hubs, is thrilled to announce the release of two pivotal studies on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Africa. Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), these studies offer unprecedented insights into the AI startup ecosystem and the ethical implications of AI policies on the continent.

The first study, Landscape Analysis of AI Startups in Africa, provides a detailed mapping of AI startups across Africa. It categorizes startups by their focus areas, stages of development, and geographical distribution, presenting a clear picture of the current AI landscape. The study also delves into the unique challenges and opportunities these startups face within Africa’s socio-economic environment.

The second study, Implication of AI Ethical Policies on African Innovators and Entrepreneurs, examines how various ethical frameworks and policies influence AI development and deployment across different African countries. It highlights both the positive implications and potential drawbacks, offering strategic recommendations for policymakers to ensure that AI practices are ethical, aligned with Africa’s broader development goals, and enabled.

Both reports fill critical gaps in existing knowledge and have far-reaching implications for practitioners, policymakers, and researchers working within the field of AI in Africa. These studies are expected to drive informed decision-making and foster a more supportive environment for AI innovation on the continent.

Nanko Madu, Director of Programmes at AfriLabs, emphasized the importance of these studies, stating “The insights from these reports are invaluable for understanding the dynamic AI landscape in Africa and the ethical considerations that must guide our innovation efforts. We are grateful to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for their support and are confident that these studies will serve as crucial resources for stakeholders across the continent.”

Airtel Africa releases Sustainability Report 2024

Airtel Africa Releases Sustainability Report 2024

Airtel Africa, a leading telecommunications and mobile money services provider in 14 countries across Africa, publishes today its 2024 Sustainability Report.

The report highlights Airtel Africa’s progress across its key sustainability targets, including support for its people and communities, promoting financial and digital inclusion, and initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of its operations.

Airtel Africa’s outgoing Group CEO, Segun Ogunsanya, said: “I’m very proud of the strides Airtel Africa has made in advancing our sustainability goals. While targets are vital to driving change, our mission is much bigger: to transform people’s lives through connectivity, products and services fostering digital and financial inclusion while unlocking the potential of the next generation.”

The report shares progress highlights for the company’s four sustainability pillars: ‘Our business’, ‘Our people’, ‘Our community’ and ‘Our environment’.

Our business: Airtel Africa continued to expand telecommunications services, supporting economic growth and development across the continent.

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KEPSA and WRAP Strengthen Partnership to Tackle the Challenges of Plastic Pollution in Kenya

The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), through Sustainable Inclusive Business (SIB-K), hosted WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) CEO Ms. Harriet Lamb this week. WRAP is a climate action NGO working worldwide on plastics, food loss and waste, textiles, and a circular economy to tackle the causes of the climate crisis and give the planet a sustainable future. It operates in 40+ countries, including Kenya, where it works directly with the Kenya Plastics Pact (KPP).

“WRAP has remained an instrumental strategic partner to KEPSA through our knowledge center, SIB-K, since 2020, and we’re excited to scale our collaboration to address the pressing issue of plastic pollution in Kenya actively. As the private sector, we understand the urgency of reducing the amount of unsustainable plastic packaging being produced in the market and are working collaboratively to increase the adoption of innovative solutions that create more sustainable alternatives,” said Ms. Carole Kariuki, KEPSA CEO, during a meeting held in Nairobi.

The strengthening of this partnership underscores both organizations’ commitment to sustainable development and environmental stewardship.
Ms. Lamb commented, “Plastic pollution is a global challenge that requires collective action and collaboration. We are excited to explore further areas of partnership with Sustainable Inclusive Business under KEPSA and support their efforts to combat waste pollution in Kenya. This can drive meaningful progress towards a more sustainable future and create lasting benefits for our environment, economy, and society.”

WRAP, along with partners the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, convenes the Plastics Pact Network, a globally aligned response to plastic waste and pollution based on the New Plastics Economy vision for a circular economy for plastic. The Plastics Pact Network is a unique platform to exchange learnings and best practices with other countries and regions to accelerate the global transition to a circular economy for plastics, with the Kenya Plastics Pact (KPP) spearheading activities in Kenya. Other national plastic pacts include those in the UK, France, Chile, the Netherlands, Portugal, the US, South Africa, Poland, Canada, India, and Colombia. Regional pacts include the Australia, New Zealand, and Pacific Islands (ANZPAC) Plastics Pact.

The Kenya Plastics Pact enables concerted action towards creating a circular economy for plastic packaging. All stakeholders sign up for a joint set of ambitious and time-bound targets, ensuring this collaboration will drive significant change by 2030. This vision will be made a reality by, among others, collectively implementing a clearly defined roadmap to 2030 and co-designing and implementing pioneering and collaborative projects across the country.

“Having been largely involved in developing the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulation, we are now focusing on working closely with producers, the government, and partners to support successful implementation. I encourage more companies to put their weight behind the Kenya Plastics Pact – as I believe the model is a constructive multi-stakeholder blueprint for mobilizing the private sector players to create circular systems in the plastics sector and beyond, including others like food and textiles,” added the KEPSA CEO.
By working together with its members and partners, the Kenya Plastics Pact is working to, among others implement and scale activities under the KPP Roadmap to 2030 to reduce waste generation across the plastics value chain, promote the adoption of sustainable packaging alternatives and encourage investing in circular product designs and recyclable materials and increase awareness among businesses, consumers, and policymakers about responsible production, consumption, and waste management practices.

Further, the KPP advocates for and support policy reforms and regulations that support a circular economy for plastic packaging and facilitate the transition to a zero-waste future and collaborates with private sector stakeholders, government agencies, and non-profit organizations to maximize impact and drive systemic change.

Proactively addressing the challenges of climate change and plastic waste pollution will help amplify the Kenyan voice and contribute meaningfully to global efforts like the Global Plastics Treaty. This means urgently accelerating sustainable production and consumption of plastics from re-designing packaging to sustainable waste management practices. These efforts will unlock barriers to fast-tracking a circular economy with improved economic, environmental, and societal outcomes, such as stimulating industry-led innovation, generating job opportunities, and creating behavioral change.

Under KEPSA, Sustainable Inclusive Business – Kenya fosters collaborations, spearheads multi-stakeholder initiatives, conducts research, pilots innovative projects, and promotes awareness and action across four thematic areas: Circular Economy, Climate Change and Biodiversity, Empowering People and Societies, and Redefining Businesses Values.

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$12 trillion needed to triple global renewables by 2030

By Checky Abuje

Investment in Africa needs to grow five-fold to ramp up renewables twice as fast as global average.

According to the new report by Climate Analytics, $8 trillion of investment is needed for new renewables and $4 trillion for grid and storage infrastructure to deliver the 2030 tripling goal agreed at COP28 – or combined, $2 trillion a year on average. Using climate finance to mobilise $100 billion a year for the rollout in Sub-Saharan Africa, five times current investment levels which will ensure energy access for all and align the region with the global target.

“$2 trillion a year sounds like a cost, but it’s really a choice. We’re set to invest over $6 trillion in fossil fuels over this decade – more than enough to close the tripling investment gap. Faced with this choice, I’d go with the safest, best value option – renewables,” says the report’s lead author and Climate Analytics expert Dr Neil Grant.

The report however calculates how fast different regions need to act to triple global renewables based on current capacities and future needs. Renewable capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa needs to scale rapidly by a factor of seven (double the global average) due to historic underinvestment and energy access needs. The OECD is forecast to double its renewables by 2030, but it needs to triple.

Accelerating action in line with this would close 60% of the global gap between forecast capacity in 2030 and the tripling goal.

“The OECD needs to triple renewables but is currently way off target. Countries in the region claiming to be climate leaders need to walk the talk, not just by ramping up renewables at home, but by coming through for other regions which need finance to contribute to the tripling goal,” says Claire Fyson, co-author on the report and Head of Policy at Climate Analytics.

Asia needs to scale slightly faster than the OECD, almost quadrupling its renewable capacity by the end of the decade. Asia is the only region broadly on course for the tripling goal, driven mostly by policies in China and India.

However, the significant coal and gas pipelines in these countries risks stranded assets or slowing the transition. As renewables are set to grow strongly in the region, new fossil fuel plants are not needed and should be avoided.

“The renewables industry stands ready to deliver on the global tripling goal. But to get there in time, we need governments to take urgent action to turbocharge an already buoyant renewables market. Public finance is key, especially international support to provide access to low-cost capital for emerging markets to join the renewables era, ensuring a clean, secure and just transition for all,” says Bruce Douglas, CEO of the Global Renewables Alliance in reaction to the report.

Tripling renewables by 2030 is not the end of the story. The report finds renewables need to continue growing strongly beyond the end of the decade, scaling up five times by 2035 relative to 2022, to limit warming to 1.5°C. As governments start to develop their 2035 targets for the next round of NDCs, they should consider how to follow through on the tripling ambition collectively agreed at COP28.