Activist countries

African countries to push for more fossil fuel projects at COP27

  • Africa says fossil fuels vital for home energy
  • The continent accounts for less than 4% of current emissions
  • African nations seek to sell European gas amid Russian crisis
  • Oil has not brought energy security to Africa, critics say

CAPE TOWN, Oct 4 (Reuters) – African countries will use the COP27 climate talks in Egypt next month to push for a common energy position that sees fossil fuels as necessary for expanding economies and access to electricity, the continent’s top energy official said on Tuesday.

Africa’s stance, criticized by environmental groups, could overshadow global climate talks in Sharm el-Sheikh seeking to build on the previous Glasgow summit and deliver on funding targets from rich to poor countries that are a long way off to have reached the promised 100 billion dollars. year by 2020.

“We recognize that some countries may have to use fossil fuels for now, but this is not a one-size-fits-all solution,” said Amani Abou-Zeid, African Union (AU) Commissioner for Infrastructure and Development. energy.

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“Now is not the time to rule out, but now is the time to adapt solutions to a context,” she told Reuters on the sidelines of an oil and gas conference.

An AU technical study attended by 45 African countries on June 16 and seen by Reuters highlighted that oil and coal will play a “crucial role” in expanding access to modern energy in the short term. and medium term.

Alongside renewable sources, Africa also sees key roles for natural gas and nuclear power.

“Our ambition is to have fast-growing, competitive and industrialized economies,” Abou-Zeid said.

“AFRICA WAKES UP”

Considered a renewable energy hub given its vast solar, wind and hydrogen potential, Africa also has around 600 million people in its sub-Saharan region living without electricity and nearly a billion citizens without access to an energy source. clean for cooking.

However, critics point out that in African countries with large fossil fuel reserves, the proceeds have mainly been used to feed the nests of corrupt political elites and have not helped alleviate general poverty or energy poverty.

In Angola and Nigeria, Africa’s main oil producers for decades, access to electricity in 2021 for the population was only 40% and 57%, respectively, according to the World Bank, and the first Nigerian producer has the largest energy access deficit in the world.

Fast-growing Africa produces less than 4% of total global emissions and is seeking to monetize new gas and oil discoveries, among the biggest of this decade, to help meet European demand after the main Russian supplier invaded Ukraine and subsequently cut off gas supplies to EU economies.

“Africa has woken up and we are going to exploit our natural resources,” said Ugandan Energy Minister Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu.

“There is no way to develop an economy, a society without energy,” said Omar Farouk Ibrahim, secretary general of the Organization of African Petroleum Producers.

“We talk about coal, we talk about oil and we talk about gas. At the moment we don’t discriminate,” he told Reuters.

Outside the conference venue, the Cape Town Convention Centre, a handful of Extinction Rebellion activists poured a reddish, oily mixture over their heads in protest.

“We think the fossil fuel industry is killing us,” spokeswoman Judy Scott-Goldman told reporters.

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Editing by Tim Cocks and Bernadette Baum

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