COP28: Ruto, Hichilema, Ramaphosa… which African leaders will be in Dubai?

by MMC
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At the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, Sultan al-Jaber, the controversial Emirati president of the conference, intends to put a number of issues on the negotiating table, including solidarity between countries of the North and South. . After meeting in Nairobi in September for the African Climate Summit, the continent’s leaders are hearing with one voice at COP28.

International counterparts

According to our sources, Macky Sall (Senegal), Denis Sassou Nguesso (Congo), Mohamed Ould Ghazouani (Mauritania), Azali Assoumani (Comoros and current president of the African Union), Faustin-Archange Touadéra (Central African Republic), Umaro Sissoco Embaló (Guinea-Bissau) and Ismail Omar Guelleh (Djibouti) will all attend the conference in Dubai. Félix Tshisekedi will take a few days off from the presidential campaign in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which opened on November 19, to go to Dubai. The Congolese head of state will be accompanied by his Minister of the Environment, Ève Bazaïba.

The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, who will be accompanied by Samira Bawumia, the wife of Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, candidate of the ruling party in the 2024 presidential election. South African Cyril Ramaphosa will also be present, just like the Nigerian Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Kenyan President William Ruto, who has made the green agenda a key part of his foreign policy, will be present.

From coup to cop

The Gabonese Brice Oligui Nguema, who participated on October 28 in the second Three Bassins Summit in Brazzaville, is also preparing a trip to Dubai. Former Gabonese President Ali Bongo championed green diplomacy, orchestrated in particular by former Minister of Water and Forests Lee White. COP28 is an opportunity for General Nguema, the coup leader, to show his determination to continue the work started by his predecessor. He will be joined by a large entourage, including ministers Maurice Ntossui Allogo (water and forests), Régis Onanga Ndiaye (foreign affairs), Mays Mouissi (economy and participation) and the secretary general of the presidency, Guy Rossatanga-Rignault.

The African leaders present will of course meet many of their international counterparts, including Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Pope Francis, King Charles III of the United Kingdom and Emmanuel Macron in France. However, US President Joe Biden will send his special climate envoy, John Kerry. China’s Xi Jinping should not be in Dubai either.

Represent it

Other African leaders chose to send representatives. The Ivory Coast Alassane Ouattara and the Beninese Patrice Talon will send their respective vice-presidents, Tiemoko Meyliet Koné and Mariam Chabi Talata. King Mohammed VI of Morocco will send his Prime Minister, Aziz Akhannouch, as well as Ministers Leila Benali (energy transition and sustainable development) and Nizar Baraka (public works and water). Tunisian President Kais Saied is also expected to be absent, sending his foreign minister, Nabil Ammar.

Given the poor relations between Algiers and Dubai, Abdelmadjid Tebboune will not make the trip, nor will any of his government officials. Only a director from the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will participate in COP28. Finally, the Cameroonian Paul Biya will not be present either, but at this stage his representative has not yet been appointed.

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