Governmental failures in the face of the climate crisis, exemplified by scorching summer temperatures and drought, are matched by inadequate responses to economic crises. Food and fuel prices are soaring globally.
The EU backs a scheme to import “green” hydrogen, produced from renewables, from north Africa and to boost gas production in Africa, with exports to Europe substituting for Russian gas supplies.
In May, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz signed a deal with Senegal President Macky Sall to explore for gas that would be liquefied and sent by ship to Europe.
In June, African Union leaders discussed making a joint call to the COP27 international climate talks in Egypt in November, for expansion of oil and gas output across the continent.
Oil and gas producers are considering new projects worth more than $100 billion in Africa.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Italy’s energy group Eni has signed new deals with Algeria, Egypt and the Republic of Congo, geared to exporting more gas to Europe; TotalEnergies of France is considering restarting a stalled $20 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Mozambique, and Equinor of Norway has joined Shell to sign an agreement with Tanzania on building a liquified natural gas (LNG) export terminal there.
A blueprint presented to African Union leaders failed to explain “why current, largely centralised, largely fossil fuel-dependent, largely export-oriented energy systems have failed to deliver energy access to hundreds of millions of ordinary Africans,” NGOs stated. The focus for each region should be on using each continent’s own “massive renewable energy potential” to end energy poverty domestically, they demanded.
The focus on gas export can only increase the burden borne by Africa’s poorest people, who have little or no access to electricity or other modern forms of energy. In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of people without electricity access rose by about 4 percent between 2019 and 2021, to 590 million (43 percent of the population), due mainly to the coronavirus pandemic, lockdowns and energy prices, effectively reversing gains made in 2014-18. The number of Africans lacking access to clean cooking fuels also rose, to more than 970 million, almost three-quarters of the continent’s population. For cooking, most of them rely on gathered wood, and agricultural and animal wastes.
Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa, said that locking Africa into “a fossil-fuel-based future” would be “a shameful betrayal.”
Lorraine Chiponda of Africa Coal Network said the oil and gas investment plans are “not directed by Africa’s needs, but by the energy crisis in Europe.”
Energy specialists argue that developing Africa’s gigantic solar and wind potential is the means to address energy poverty. Resources poured into LNG export terminals undermine this potential.
The same companies and governments that seek to ramp up fossil fuel production in a climate emergency also seek neo-colonial subjugation of Africa.
Europe Is Trying to Solve Its Energy Crisis With Fossil Fuel Projects in Africa (truthout.org)
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