[Analysis] African push to spend money on fuel met with warning by EU

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The EU’s large supply on the two-day EU-AU summit was the International Gateway Africa — a €150bn initiative that, amongst different targets, goals to attach Africa’s mineral wealth to the worldwide market and spend money on the continent’s electrification, ideally utilizing clear power.

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“Africa is wealthy in hydropower, solar energy and wind energy,” European Fee president Ursula von der Leyen stated Friday (18 February), on the shut of the two-day summit in Brussels.

“To finish local weather change the world wants Africa,” she stated.

The provision of much more energy from renewables has been amply demonstrated in Africa, with international locations like Kenya and Morocco already vital mills of cleaner power.

But for some African international locations, the main focus could also be as a lot on fossil sources — particularly pure fuel — which are not so climate-friendly.

Nigeria, Mozambique and Senegal are sitting on big pure fuel reserves, and so they have lobbied arduous in current months for Europe to proceed to make monetary assist accessible for brand new fuel initiatives.

Macky Sall, the Senegalese president who presently presides over the African Union, has stated that chopping off funding for brand new fuel exploration would quantity to “a deadly blow” for rising African international locations.

Sall commonly makes the purpose that some 600 million Africans — greater than all the inhabitants of Europe — nonetheless lack entry to electrical energy.

And it is not as if efforts aren’t underway to faucet African fuel.

European vice chairman Margrethe Vestager and Nigerian vice chairman Yemi Osinbajo forward of the summit agreed to “discover all choices for elevated provide of Liquified Pure Fuel from Nigeria to the EU.”

That pledge got here towards a backdrop of Osinbajo writing in Overseas Affairs journal about rich nations banning or proscribing public funding in fossil fuels, together with pure fuel, after “a long time of benefiting from oil and fuel” themselves.

However the African push on power is a troublesome matter for the EU, the place many member states do not need to be seen investing in fuel at a time when local weather motion is centre-stage.

Europe itself is also deeply divided over the function of fuel as a transition gasoline to a cleaner future.

Questions of equity

African international locations now need their alternative to industrialise — and, for some, that will imply a unbroken reliance in some international locations on fossil fuels.

African policymakers additionally level to the hypocrisy in Europe’s enthusiasm for Africa to embrace renewables whereas Germany, for instance, has allowed building of Nord Stream 2, a pipeline connecting Europe to Russian fuel suppliers.

And questions of equity loom massive over how far and how briskly Africa must be anticipated to make a transition to renewables, significantly given the wealthy world’s duty for the overwhelming bulk of emissions accountable for local weather change.

“There’s a query of whether or not Europe is definitely utilizing Africa as a guinea pig, even whereas [Europe’s] personal energy consumption patterns, and usually its consumption patterns, aren’t critically put into query,” Faten Aggad, a senior advisor on the African Local weather Basis, told the EU Scream podcast forward of the summit.

Unsurprisingly, given the sensitivities surrounding power points in Africa and Europe, leaders didn’t seem like in a rush to announce large, new financing offers for fossil fuels on the summit.

“The transition to scrub power will likely be a course of, particularly for international locations that rely closely on coal,” von der Leyen stated on Friday.

A brand new assembly between the European and African commissions is now deliberate for the spring.

“Then we actually need to ship an answer,” she stated.

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