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CAIRO: African ministers meeting in Cairo two months ahead of the COP27 climate summit have called for a sharp expansion of climate financing for their continent while pushing back against an abrupt move away from fossil fuels.

Egypt, an oil and gas producer considered highly vulnerable to climate change, has positioned itself as a champion for African interests as it prepares to host the summit in Sharm El-Sheikh in November.

A communique released after a three-day forum for finance, economy and environment ministers said Africa benefited from less than 5.5 percent of global climate financing despite having a low carbon footprint and suffering disproportionately from climate change.

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It urged rich countries to meet and expand climate pledges, and said poor countries should be able to develop economically while receiving more funds to adapt to the impact of climate change.

The document stressed “the need to avoid approaches that en- courage abrupt disinvestments from fossil fuels, as this will … threaten Africa’s development.”

The role of gas in the transition to cleaner energy is set to be a key point of contention at COP27. Climate activists say it needs to be quickly phased out and replaced with renewables.

Nigerian Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed told the Cairo forum that gas was a matter of survival for her country.

“If we are not getting reasonably priced finance to develop gas, we are denying the citizens in our countries the opportunities to attain basic development,” she said.

The communique also called for focusing on climate change in a review of multilateral development banks and international financial institutions.

It suggested the creation of a sustainable sovereign debt hub that could reduce the cost of capital for developing states and support debt-for-nature swaps.

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