By: BBC AFRICA
Several African governments are defending their decision to send large delegations to the COP28 climate conference in Dubai amid widespread criticism of financial extravagance.
The UN’s attendance list revealed that Nigeria, Morocco, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Uganda were among the countries that sent the biggest teams.
Nigeria sent 1,411 people, followed by Morocco with 823 and Kenya with 765.
Many people accused the governments of being insensitive of their plight by spending huge sums of money on the delegations when they were battling to come out every month because of the rising cost of food and other basic commodities.
Representatives of Nigeria and Kenya on Sunday said that many of the delegates on their lists were not publicly funded as they were representing the media, civil society organisations and private institutions.
Both countries also said that some of the listed delegates are participating remotely.
“As the biggest country in Africa, the biggest economy and one with a bigger stake in climate action as a country with a huge extractive economy, it is a no-brainer that delegates from Nigeria will be more than any other country in Africa,” a statement by an adviser of Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu said.
Kenya’s State House spokesperson Hussein Mohammed told privately-owned Citizen TV that the number of Kenyan delegates was “exaggerated” as it represented those who had registered for the event – not those who attended.
He added that the national government had only cleared 51 essential delegates and the rest had been sponsored by other groups.
In a statement, the Tanzanian government said more than 90% of the delegations from the country were sponsored by the private sector.