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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Oilwatch urges Africa to transit to renewable energy, diversify from fossil fuels

African governments have been told to urgently transit to renewable energy, while diversifying their economies away from dependence on fossil fuels, exploitation of peoples and the destruction of the gifts of nature.

Oilwatch
Members of Oilwatch

This submission formed part of the declarations issued on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 at the close of the Oilwatch Africa conference held in Lamu, Kenya.

While declaring full support for the demands of the Save Lamu movement, delegates at the conference that comprised Oilwatch Africa network members, Lamu community representatives, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community-based organisations (CBOs) declared their opposition to the use of public funds to subsidise fossil fuel.

The forum wants land tenure systems on the continent to respect community ownership as dictated by culture and tradition It likewise stressed that communities must give their free prior informed consents for projects proposed for their territories while retaining their right to say “No”.

Theme: “Beyond Fossil Fuels”, the two-day conference considered the politics of fossil fuel extractions, the impacts of fossil fuels on the continent and the strategy to unlock Africa’s power using alternatives to fossil fuels energy systems that are environmentally friendly and socially just.

Participants also considered the implications of the proposed LAPSET project (Coal power plant, deep Sea Port and Oil extraction) by the Kenyan Government on the socio-economic lives of the people of Lamu, including the impacts of these project on their culture, agriculture, fisheries and livelihoods of the people.

After listening to the Save Lamu movement experiences, the conference noted that Lamu is an example of similar dirty energy and mega projects being pursued on the continent without full consultations with the people and without their free prior informed consent.

The conference further analysed:

  • Africa’s energy needs and the politics of a just transition;
  • The challenges that fossil fuels funding in African countries, including the issues of debt and the resolution of disputes under a jurisdiction different from the involved country;
  • The way Africa should go about renewable energy in relation to land tenure and land use;
  • The political corruption and abuse of political power as a major problem faced by the people;
  • The destruction of livelihoods and local economies by the polluting activities of fossil fuels industries; and,
  • The issues of land grabbing, displacements and the marginalisation of communities in Africa due to fossil fuel industry activities, among others.

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