Our man in Africa

Posted by Laura Grant on February 5, 2009
Posted in Green News

m-van_schalkwykEthiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi urged African leaders at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa this week to nominate a single representative to lead negotiations on behalf of all 53 African countries at the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen in December, Bloomberg reports. If this idea were to fly, could South African environment minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk (pictured right) be the man for the job?

He has made a name for himself at international climate talks as an important voice for developing countries and, thanks to him, South Africa is often described as “punching above its weight” in climate negotiations. But there are doubts about whether he will retain his post in the environment ministry after South Africa’s next elections, which are expected to be held in the next few months. He is said to be highly regarded in international circles and many feel that his skills are needed in the climate negotiations. And, goodness knows, Africa could do with someone who can pack a good punch.

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