On Monday, June 20, 2022, the International Energy Agency released the Africa Energy Outlook 2022 report, which indicated that the global energy crisis necessitates measures to urgently scale up cheap and clean energy sources in Africa.
The report acknowledges the huge potential in the renewable energy sector on the continent, noting that an annual investment of $25 billion is needed to deliver universal energy access in Africa by 2030.
On climate finance to enable Africa to meet its energy needs and climate goals, the report revealed that this would require over $190 billion each year from 2026 to 2030, with two-thirds going to clean energy.
The report however asserts that the continent’s industrialisation relies in part on expanding gas use, which is a change of tune from IEA’S own report on Net Zero by 2050, which called for no new investment in fossil fuels.
In the year of the UN climate talks, COP27, being held in Africa, suggesting fossil fuel investment on the continent most vulnerable to climate change is concerning, according to some climate justice activists, who are opposing the push for gas expansion in Africa, saying this notion, which is not aligned with the pathway to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees, would only further the interests of the fossil fuel industry and developed nations at the risk of impoverishing African nations.
Michael Terungwa from Coal Free Nigeria said: “We call on our African leaders not to allow our countries to be exploited. No new investment in new fossil fuel projects will address the pressing issues we are confronted with. The increased interest in production of fossil fuels in Africa does not stand to benefit Africans but meet the needs of the developed nations and multinationals.
“The needs of local communities should come first. What is best for the African nations is the support of developed nations to develop clean energy to allow us to move away from fossil fuels which are putting people, nature and the environment at risk.”
Landry Ninteretse, Regional Director, 350Africa.org, said: “Despite recent discoveries of gas reserves in countries such as Mozambique, Senegal, Mauritania, Tanzania and South Africa, global bodies such as the IPCC indicate that a phase out of all fossil fuels, including gas, is urgently needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. In its own report, last year, the IEA called for no investment in new fossil fuel supply projects. Climate and energy crises are caused by the continued dependence and addiction to fossil fuels.
“Pushing for the exploitation of gas in Africa will primarily benefit the fossil fuel industry and western societies seeking to fill the gap left by current shortages from Russia, while failing to meet the real and pressing energy needs of ordinary people. Rather than engaging in opportunistic and exploitative pursuit of fossil fuels from Africa, developed countries historically responsible for the climate crisis should massively increase their financing of ambitious renewable energy plans that respect the social, economic and environmental rights of Africans.”
Daouda Gueye of RAPEN in Senegal, said: “As renewable energy is in abundance in the African continent, we as the communities that are on the frontlines of the climate crisis, call on our leaders to set their sights on implementing sustainable renewable energy solutions. Following recent interest by some developed nations to develop gas infrastructure in Africa, we strongly oppose the move to lock our country into fossil fuel production and call for funding to be redirected to renewable energy that is not only sustainable but will provide more jobs in the long run. We also call on our government to abandon plans to transform the Bargny coal plant into a gas plant and chart a way forward to clean energy.”
Glen Tyler-Davies, South Africa Team lead, 350Africa.org said: “This report might further perpetuate the narrative that continued exploration of fossil fuels like gas is inevitable in the path to development in Africa. This cannot be further from the truth. In the South African context, a recent report by Meridian economics reveals that large-scale gas generation projects in the country would push electricity prices up 40%.
“This would only lead South Africa down a path of expensive energy, stranded assets and continued fossil dependence and delay the much needed just transition. What our country needs is the political will to implement the Just Energy Transition Partnership to realise a just transition to socially led renewable energy that leaves no worker behind.”