A landmark African climate summit ended on Wednesday after leaders adopted a declaration highlighting the continent’s potential as a green powerhouse, Kenyan President William Ruto said.

“We march on with the Nairobi declaration,” said Ruto, bringing the three-day conference to a close.

He had pushed for a narrative shift in the talks, focusing on Africa’s switch to clean energy even as the continent reels from climate-related disasters.

“This declaration will serve as a basis for Africa’s common position in the global climate change process,” the final version of the document seen by AFP said.

Analysts say a united African voice could generate momentum for a series of key gatherings leading to a crunch UN climate summit starting in November, including the G20 meeting in New Delhi this weekend.

The declaration calls for “a new financing architecture that is responsive to Africa’s needs including debt restructuring and relief”, as frustration mounts over the high cost of financing on the continent.

It also asks rich carbon polluters to honor long-standing climate pledges to poorer nations and urges world leaders to back a proposed “carbon tax on fossil fuel trade, maritime transport and aviation”.

The 54-nation continent is acutely vulnerable to the growing impacts of climate change, but the summit largely focused on calls to unlock investment in clean energy.

“A new Africa is there and it means business,” Ruto said.

The summit saw funding pledges worth $23 billion “for green growth, mitigation and adaptation efforts” across the continent, he said.

Competing visions of the world’s energy future are likely to play out at the COP28 talks in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, where the world will take stock of the as-yet-inadequate efforts to slash planet-heating emissions.

By Emodia Hallan