Kenya’s Supreme Court Upholds Presidential Election Results

In a sweep­ing rejec­tion of claims that the Aug. 9 vote had been rigged, the court con­firmed Vice Pres­i­dent William Ruto as the country’s fifth pres­i­dent. NAIROBI, Kenya — The Supreme Court of Kenya on Mon­day upheld the elec­tion of William Ruto as pres­i­dent, end­ing an acri­mo­nious court­room bat­tle over dis­put­ed results from the Aug.…

Kenya Awaits Supreme Court Ruling on Presidential Election

The Supreme Court is expect­ed to rule by Mon­day on whether the recent elec­tion of William Ruto as pres­i­dent, now mired in a wel­ter of con­flict­ing accu­sa­tions, should stand. NAIROBI, Kenya — With its hefty price tag and sophis­ti­cat­ed anti-rig­ging mea­sures, Kenya’s recent pres­i­den­tial elec­tion was sup­posed to be among the best that mon­ey could…

African nations eye debt-for-climate swaps as IMF takes an interest

Cli­mate vul­ner­a­ble nations in Africa are show­ing grow­ing inter­est in debt-for-cli­mate swaps to address bal­loon­ing debt and spur cli­mate invest­ments. Increas­ing­ly, they have the ear of finan­cial institutions.Today, 58% of the world’s poor­est coun­tries are in debt dis­tress or at high risk of it. In sub-Saha­ran Africa, Covid-19 has squeezed bud­gets and pushed aver­age debt lev­els above 60% of GDP.
Helene Gichen­je is the Commonwealth’s region­al cli­mate finance advis­er for Africa. Russia’s war in Ukraine and ris­ing glob­al infla­tion “are like­ly to sig­nif­i­cant­ly wors­en the debt cri­sis,” she said at Africa Cli­mate Week in Gabon on Wednesday.
High lev­els of debt repay­ments and a shrink­ing fis­cal space have pre­vent­ed much-need­ed invest­ments in cli­mate resilience, Gichen­je said. And cli­mate vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty is dri­ving up the cost of access­ing capital.
“There is dan­ger that the vul­ner­a­ble devel­op­ing coun­tries will enter a vicious cycle,” she said.
The IMF, the Green Cli­mate Fund and the African Devel­op­ment Bank increas­ing­ly sup­port debt-for-cli­mate swaps as a solution.
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Debt swaps mean that instead of mak­ing pay­ments to cred­i­tors on out­stand­ing loans, debtor coun­tries can use that mon­ey in local cur­ren­cy to invest in cli­mate projects under terms agreed with creditors.
This form of debt relief has been around for 30 years but hasn’t seen much use. Despite some pos­i­tive exam­ples, includ­ing a debt-for-nature swap in the Sey­chelles, the IMF esti­mates that only up to $4bn worth of debt has been for­giv­en under swap programmes.
Fis­cal space
Cabo Verde, Eswa­ti­ni and Kenya are among nations look­ing into how to make debt-for-cli­mate swaps work for them.
“Debt swaps could be a good instru­ment to give us space in our bud­get for new invest­ments in renew­able ener­gy and the blue and green econ­o­my,” Soeli San­tos, trea­sury direc­tor at Cabo Verde’s min­istry of finance, told the event.
In exchange for par­tial debt for­give­ness, Cabo Verde would, for exam­ple, meet some of the com­mit­ments made in its 2030 cli­mate plan, San­tos said.
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The prin­ci­ple gen­er­at­ed sig­nif­i­cant inter­est dur­ing a meet­ing of African cli­mate experts in Ethiopia last month as part of dis­cus­sion on cli­mate finance.
The Egypt­ian Cop27 pres­i­den­cy is con­sid­er­ing launch­ing a debt swap frame­work at the cli­mate sum­mit in November.
And a num­ber of finan­cial insti­tu­tions have start­ed to explore how to scale up the relief swaps can provide.
IMF guidance
Last month, an IMF work­ing paper, co-authored by the fund’s deputy chief in the debt depart­ment, con­clud­ed that, in some cir­cum­stances, debt-for-cli­mate swaps made eco­nom­ic sense.
“There is a space for debt-for-cli­mate swaps in the broad­er cli­mate finance toolk­it,” said IMF senior econ­o­mist Vimal Thakoor. “In many coun­tries, grants are not forth­com­ing nec­es­sar­i­ly and debt relief is not nec­es­sar­i­ly on the table either.”
How­ev­er, in coun­tries with high lev­els of debt dis­tress, swaps should not replace broad­er debt restruc­tur­ing pro­grammes, the paper argues.
Scal­ing up debt swaps requires bring­ing on board a large pool of pri­vate and offi­cial coun­try cred­i­tors. That is no small task but some­thing cred­i­tors might be will­ing to do to sup­port cli­mate goals, it added.
G20 Bali meet­ing high­lights Indonesia’s weak cli­mate action
Although the paper hasn’t been endorsed by the IMF’s board and man­age­ment, Paul Steele, chief econ­o­mist at the Inter­na­tion­al Insti­tute for Envi­ron­ment and Devel­op­ment (IIED), told Cli­mate Home it could be “poten­tial­ly game-chang­ing” should it gain polit­i­cal backing.
“The IMF has the cred­i­bil­i­ty and the most lever­age to bring togeth­er cred­i­tors in a way that would allow them to take for­ward this kind of inter­na­tion­al ini­tia­tive,” he said. “An inter­na­tion­al ini­tia­tive on debt swaps for cli­mate and nature out­comes at Cop27 could break the log­jam on cli­mate finance.”
The IMF is not alone in explor­ing options to move this forward.
Andrey Chicherin, head of inno­va­tion and tech­nol­o­gy trans­fer at the Green Cli­mate Fund, told the meet­ing that the fund could act as an inter­me­di­ary in debt swaps by design­ing adap­ta­tion and car­bon-cut­ting pro­grammes and ensure their deliv­ery against the fund’s ver­i­fi­ca­tion sys­tems and safeguards.
The African Devel­op­ment Bank is final­is­ing a fea­si­bil­i­ty study on scal­ing up debt-for-cli­mate and nature swaps in Africa. This is to inform advice to nations on debt relief options.

South Africa’s Ramaphosa and US’s Biden to meet amid Russian war — Al Jazeera

Biden and Ramaphosa, who spoke by phone in April, are expect­ed to focus their talks on trade and invest­ment, infra­struc­ture, cli­mate and ener­gy, among oth­er issues.South African Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa and Unit­ed States Pres­i­dent Joe Biden will meet on Sep­tem­ber 16, the White House has announced.
Thursday’s announce­ment comes as the admin­is­tra­tion looks to draw African nations clos­er to the US at a time when South Africa and many of its neigh­bours have staked out neu­tral ground on Russia’s inva­sion of Ukraine.
Last month, US Sec­re­tary of State Antony Blinken said the Biden admin­is­tra­tion sees Africa’s 54 nations as “equal part­ners” in tack­ling glob­al prob­lems, dur­ing a vis­it to South Africa.
But the admin­is­tra­tion has been dis­ap­point­ed that South Africa and much of the con­ti­nent have declined to fol­low the US in con­demn­ing the Russ­ian inva­sion of Ukraine.
South Africa abstained in a Unit­ed Nations vote to con­demn Russia’s action, and Ramaphosa has avoid­ed any crit­i­cism of Rus­sia and has instead called for a medi­at­ed peace.
Biden and Ramaphosa, who spoke by phone in April, are expect­ed to focus their talks on trade and invest­ment, infra­struc­ture, cli­mate and ener­gy, pub­lic health and South Africa’s lead­ing role on the con­ti­nent, offi­cials said.
“The two Pres­i­dents will reaf­firm the impor­tance of our endur­ing part­ner­ship, and dis­cuss our work togeth­er to address region­al and glob­al chal­lenges,” White House press sec­re­tary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a state­ment announc­ing this month’s meeting.
Biden also plans to host a US-Africa lead­ers’ sum­mit in December.
Dur­ing the Blinken vis­it, for­eign min­is­ter Nale­di Pan­dor main­tained South Africa’s neu­tral­i­ty in the Ukraine war. In a press brief­ing fol­low­ing the meet­ing, Pan­dor accused the US and oth­er West­ern pow­ers of focus­ing on the Ukraine con­flict to the detri­ment of oth­er inter­na­tion­al issues.
“We should be equal­ly con­cerned at what is hap­pen­ing to the peo­ple of Pales­tine, as we are with what is hap­pen­ing to the peo­ple of Ukraine,” she said.
Blinken, for his part, under­scored that Russia’s block­ade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports has led to scarci­ties in grain, cook­ing oil and fer­tilis­er — an issue that has had dis­pro­por­tion­ate effects on Africans.
“The US is there for African coun­tries in this unprece­dent­ed cri­sis, because that’s what part­ners do for each oth­er,” Blinken said. “The Unit­ed States will not dic­tate Africa’s choic­es, and nei­ther should any­one else. The right to make these choic­es belongs to Africans, and Africans alone.”
South Africa’s neu­tral posi­tion is large­ly because of the sup­port the Sovi­et Union gave dur­ing the Cold War era to Ramaphosa’s African Nation­al Con­gress in its fight to end apartheid – South Africa’s regime of repres­sion against the Black major­i­ty that end­ed in 1994. South Africa is seen as a leader of sev­er­al African coun­tries that will not side against Russia.
The Biden meet­ing will come at a crit­i­cal time for Ramaphosa, who is fac­ing crit­i­cism from oppo­si­tion par­ties and from with­in his own par­ty for a scan­dal over rev­e­la­tions that $4m was stolen from his cat­tle ranch.
He has been grilled this week by mem­bers of par­lia­ment about whether the for­eign cash had been prop­er­ly reg­is­tered with South Africa’s finan­cial author­i­ties and why he did not imme­di­ate­ly report the theft. The scan­dal has dam­aged Ramaphosa’s rep­u­ta­tion as a leader com­mit­ted to bat­tling his nation’s ram­pant corruption.
Ramaphosa faces sig­nif­i­cant oppo­si­tion in his efforts to be re-elect­ed as the leader of his par­ty at a con­fer­ence in Decem­ber. If he fails to win the par­ty lead­er­ship he will not be able to stand for re-elec­tion as South Africa’s pres­i­dent in 2024.
South Africa’s econ­o­my has been in reces­sion since even before the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic and a third of the coun­try is unem­ployed, so Ramaphosa would wel­come any announce­ment of eco­nom­ic sup­port from the US.
Dur­ing Blinken’s vis­it to South Africa last month, he praised South Africa and Ramaphosa for achiev­ing a mul­ti-racial democ­ra­cy after years of white minor­i­ty rule. He also used the vis­it to for­mal­ly launch a new US strat­e­gy towards sub-Saha­ran Africa.

In Algeria, Macron Seeks to Reshape Traumatic Ties With France

On a three-day vis­it, the French pres­i­dent said he was seek­ing “truth and acknowl­edg­ment” over the war and colo­nial­ism. ALGIERS — Past the graves and elab­o­rate Chris­t­ian mau­soleums of Saint Eugene Ceme­tery, Pres­i­dent Emmanuel Macron of France made his way, before lay­ing a wreath at a mon­u­ment to those “who died for France.” For a…

Angola Braces for Tight General Election

Nairo­bi, Kenya —  Ango­la holds pres­i­den­tial and par­lia­men­tary elec­tions Wednes­day in what is expect­ed to be the biggest chal­lenge to the country’s long­stand­ing one-par­­ty rule. The rul­ing MPLA par­ty, in pow­er for near­ly half a cen­tu­ry, has been los­ing young sup­port­ers to the lead­ing oppo­si­tion par­ty, UNITA. The pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates have focused main­ly on eco­nom­ic issues, but observers are…