At a time when African countries, governments, and oil and gas industry players have made a strong case for the need for a just energy transition in Africa, one that prioritizes making energy poverty history and mitigating climate change impacts, correspondingly, Africa Oil Week (AOW) continues to misrepresent their conference attendees, stating that ministerial confirmations have been made when, in fact, they have not. Through these misrepresentations, AOW continues to drive their Green Energy Africa Summit narrative on the industry, a narrative established in London and forced on Africa. As the voice of the African energy sector and an organization that remains committed to African energy and the African people, the African Energy Chamber (AEC) condemns AOW for these misrepresentations, especially at a time when Africa’s energy future hinges on unity and transparency.
For years, Africa has been committed to ensuring transparency, certainty, and an enabling environment, promoting investment in the continent’s significant oil, gas, and renewable energy resources with the aim of making energy poverty history by 2030. However, London-based conferences such as AOW continue to undermine any progress made in this regard, with the group consistently misrepresenting and lying about their conference delegates. In 2021, AOW lied about ministerial attendees, and now in 2022, this trend has only continued.
“We have sent AOW a message and we will be going to court to ask them to correct their distortions,” states NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the AEC, adding that, “Imagine if we did that in London or Europe? AOW did this last year in Dubai as well and then lied about it. This is the same group that wrote to African leaders, lying that Hon. Gwede Mantashe attended their Dubai conference when they knew fully well that he did not. They then went on to lie about H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria’s former President, along with other African dignitaries. Now, they continue to misrepresent, lying to their delegates, energy industry players and investors in an effort to undermine African Energy Week.”
While misrepresenting sends the wrong message to both global and African energy stakeholders, AOW has taken it one step further, driving a narrative that the only suitable energy transition strategy in Africa is their strategy promoted via the conference’s Green Energy Summit. Established in London without taking into consideration Africa’s needs, AOW’s ‘go green’ solution calls for the continent to abandon its oil and gas resources in the name of climate change. What AOW fails to consider is that in 2022, over 600 million people are without access to electricity and over 900 million are without access to clean cooking solutions, with the COVID-19 pandemic pushing even more people back over the poverty line. While climate change continues to impact the continent, simply ‘going green’ is not the solution. In 2022, Africa desperately needs its oil and gas resources, and thus, the AEC and other African stakeholders continue to promote the need for a just energy transition: one that has been established by Africa and for Africa.
“On behalf of the oil and gas industry, the AEC is shocked by these brazen misrepresentations just to force Africa to buy into AOW’s Green Energy Africa Summit narrative formulated in London. AOW’s idea of forcing Africans to run away from oil and gas and to go green is unacceptable. If the green movement means misrepresentations from Simon Ford and Master Mark Samuel Shashoua, then we are all in trouble,” continues Ayuk, adding that, “This is not the time to run away from oil and gas. At this stage, we should be investing more. We should be closing deals, exploring more, and making energy poverty history.”
During African Energy Week (AEW) 2022, the biggest energy event taking place on the continent this year, discussions will largely be centered on an Africa-based and driven just energy transition. By prioritizing deal signing, exploration and production, and investment, AEW 2022 is committed to promoting Africa’s position on the energy transition, the continent’s energy future, and how oil and gas fit into that future.