Sunday, September 11, 2022

A Green Africa?

 From Somalia to Nigeria, from South Africa to Algeria, households across Africa are facing a worsening climate crisis, with floods, extreme heat waves, wildfires, droughts and rising food prices. Yet political leaders are making a case for more oil and gas exploration at the upcoming climate conference in Egypt.  

Every day another multinational company is lobbying African governments to dig up oil, extract gas, clear forests, or mine precious resources. With corruption and poor governance systems still very rife in African politics, there is clear evidence that extractivism—grounded in colonial times—is not the answer. With all raw materials exported and no local industries developed, only elites who auction off nature and foreign countries are benefiting from the vast amounts of environmental destruction that follow.

African societies have historically built economic systems and remarkable kingdoms, all while living in harmony with nature. Decolonization today does not mean leaving modern technologies and medicine behind. The only barrier is the blinding lure of the feeding bowl that the old colonial masters keep shoving.

adapted from here

Opinion | Decolonization: A Crucial Prerequisite for Environmental Justice in Africa | Mbong Akiy Fokwa Tsafack (

 In Namibia, Canadian based Recon Africa is likely to push ahead with oil drilling which will potentially devastate some of its most pristine ecosystems providing migratory routes for animals and tourism on which local communities depend on.

 In East Africa, French oil giant Total and China's CNOOC are developing one of the longest oil pipelines which will destroy waterways and several communities on its tracks. 

South African communities are up in arms against Dutch-British oil and gas giant Shell, seeking to destroy its wild coast, while local air pollution is bound to rise ever more with the surge in Europe's imports of South African coal. 

Senegalese watch in horror as British Petroleum's offshore drilling threatens to compromise the livelihoods of a people dependent on the oceans for survival. 

And the Democratic Republic of Congo has launched a mega auction of 30 oil and gas blocks, overlapping national parks and peatlands, and disregarding the rights of local communities.

The scramble for African gas, oil and coal is as keen as ever. The colonial approach to focus on extracting what Africa's soil and waters contain has persisted. 

Extracting and exporting raw materials seemed like a shortcut to richness, but the resource curse has only further depressed the prospects for meaningful industrialization. 

Whether it's the minerals that are essential for building solar panels or batteries or the oil that is choking our planet—processing and refinement are done in richer countries outside Africa. With that, high-quality jobs  and economic growth continue are created elsewhere.

the merits of extractivism-based economic models, which have all failed to improve the overall well-being of Africans. 

Shell's legacy of violence and pollution has been well-documented in Nigeria's Ogoniland

Similar stories of local communities losing out on their health and their livelihoods while inequalities and conflicts arise from Gabon to Angola, from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Mozambique offer warning signals for governments who seek to embark on similar approaches. 

The resource curse isn't limited to oil: the DRC has the world's second highest rate of deforestation, but it remains far from being part of the G20 forum with about 70% of its population—or 60 million people—living under USD $2 a day. 

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