William Ruto

1 minute read
By Justin Worland

Kenyan President William Ruto has emerged as a key voice of Africa’s climate ambitions, hosting a summit in Nairobi last September that drew leaders from around the globe. The event concluded with a unanimous agreement from African countries in attendance to rapidly expand renewable energy over the next decade, aided by $23 billion in pledges to catalyze the continent’s climate goals. His call for lenders to relieve the debt burden faced by some African countries, thus opening the door for spending on climate solutions, has also made waves. But Ruto’s new prominence on the international stage comes amid significant challenges in Kenya, including last summer’s protests against the rising cost of living and a gas-tax increase Ruto spearheaded, as well as this January’s demonstrations against allegations of judicial interference. To continue to make progress abroad, Ruto will need to manage challenges at home too.

Worland is a TIME senior correspondent

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com