For Africa to overcome its energy poverty which has plagued over 600 million of the population, the continent should not be railroaded into adopting the concept of renewable energy as propagated by developed countries.
Rather, Africa should evolve an energy transition programme that harnesses a rich energy mix that includes fossil fuels and renewable energy sources. Such transition should enable Africa harness the power of technology, innovation, and collaboration, while unleashing the full potential of the oil and natural gas resources.
At the just concluded African Energy Week in Cape Town, South Africa, experts and the Africa Energy Chamber held that the continent’s energy renaissance should be anchored on monetizing petroleum resources to industrialize its countries, build and diversify their economies and pave the way for a just energy transition.
And going by the positions at the event, Africa’s energy poverty should be eradicated by 2030.
The forum insisted that a quick transition to renewable energy as advocated by developing countries is not viable, noting that, given the high number of people plagued by energy poverty, fossil fuels, which are yet to be optimally harnessed by African countries, cannot be dropped wholesale in the short and medium terms.
“We unapologetically insist upon an African energy transition that occurs at the right time for Africa. That harnesses a rich energy mix that includes fossil fuels and renewable energy sources and allows Africa to reap the same benefits that the wealthy nations of our world enjoy and, in many cases, take for granted. This will be our push in 2024”, the forum declared.
The path to energy transition that benefits Africa lies not in continuing the debilitating pattern of relying on aid and utilizing free-market solutions, but in empowering Africans to create a better future for themselves.
The declaration comes just ahead of the 2023 edition of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly referred to as COP28. It will be held in Dubai from November 30 to December 12, 2023, at the Expo City.
The African Energy Chamber, it was advised, should adopt a common position on incentives that allow businesses to innovate and prosper in Africa and not succumb to the demonization of the continent’s energy industry by Western elites while they use energy to grow their economies.
The strategic sessions at the Energy Week explored opportunities ranging from Coal, Oil and Gas to green hydrogen. Key goals ranging from capacity-building to strengthening African supply chains were also delved into.
The chamber recently reported in the State of the African Energy 2024 outlook report that oil and condensate supply for the year is expected to increase from 2022 levels, with output estimated at 6.66 million barrels per day. This is driven by growing natural gas output in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, and Nigeria while Algeria and Nigeria are leading in LNG output.
A pointer to a brighter horizon is a report that merger and acquisition activities have been surging with announced and completed transactions totaling $1.85 billion in the first half of 2023.
On renewable energy, plans for high-capacity projects have been announced this year in Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco, Namibia, and South Africa. Similarly, interest in green hydrogen has been so acute that Africa’s planned hydrogen capacity has grown more planned solar energy capacity this year.
Africa Energy Week remains committed to cultivating an energy mix in Africa that includes renewable energy projects that provide well-paying jobs and business opportunities for Africans and investors while supporting ongoing oil and gas activities that allow African states to industrialize, while creating opportunities for African job seekers, businesses, young people, and women.
It maintains that African energy transition should happen at the right time for Africa, mindful of African priorities.