Energy poverty in Africa must be addressed if climate change challenges are to be tackled

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 December 2021:

Speaking on the second day of the MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power 2021 Conference & Exhibition, Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima – Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, stressed the importance of addressing energy poverty in Africa.

“Africa first needs to address energy poverty before we can talk about the energy transition.  Energy poverty exists. It’s a reality in much of Africa. You cannot talk about energy transition without first providing electricity to your people. This is why I call on Senegal, Mozambique and Uganda, Africa’s new oil and gas producers, to speak up and defend their right to develop their resources, because they are the ones with the most to lose,” Lima stated.

He pointed the finger at major consumer markets and unsustainable consumer habits as the true challenge to tackling climate change.

“We want to make it very clear that we do not deny climate change. Climate change is real, but there are two sides to this story, that of the producer and that of the consumer. The amount of energy used to play video-games in the United States is equivalent to that used by the whole Nigerian central government. You cannot just blame the producers. You need to address consumption and consumer habits,” the political leader pointed out.

The Minister further underlined that “it’s definitely a responsibility of the consumer to consume in a more sustainable manner. That is why when there are protests against the producers, they seem driven by people that don’t understand that we are the ones keeping the lights on and that they are the ones that need to change their habits in order to protect the environment.”

The MSGBC Oil, Gas and Power 2021 Conference and Exhibition is the leading energy event for the MSGBC region, taking place annually in Dakar, driving investment, debates and networking opportunities for the region’s energy elite.

1 Comment

  1. To boost Africa’s energy consumption, we will need both a systemic and purist approach to tackle this huge deficit of energy supply across the African continent. More like a combination of the old, the use of fossil fuel and renewable sources like solar panels and wind power. Our greatest asset is our people and the weather. .Investing in Green energy is the only solution to meet our energy requirements. Also the need to invest in storage facilities and distribution networks across the continent that is required. So the old name tag of the “AFRICA THE DARK CONTENT ” will in future be replaced by the BRIGHT CONTINENT. Compared to other countries around the world, you can’t escape the dark side of our countries scattered across this cradle of civilization. At the moment, only 24% of sub sharan Africans enjoy full energy consumption. Today, six hundred millon peoples are still languishing in energy porverty. Thats a huge hungry market for energy consumption.

    As a continent blessed with plenty of sunshine, we should not be in position to continue to deny our peoples their energy needs. The way we travel, work, socialise, gather information, do business, explore our creative talents, and everything eles is tied down to our energy needs, and how much access we have. So there are huge opportunities, for governments across the continent to work with the private sector as providers of reliable electricity, whilst at the same time help them with the transition to renewables as the future source of energy that will meet our energy needs. Sub – Saharan Africa should be the future lab where would be investors on renewables will want to come and invest. The potential for growth and employment,and training for our youths are huge. A combination of all of the above will requires, firstly security, political and economic stability, good governance, both in terms of the respect of the rule of law, and transparency and accountability.

    We cannot operate on the vacum. The approach has to follow the path of sustainability, and diversity. Collaboration between African countries should enhance future growth opportunities and sustainability. Maybe a regional block approach should be the primary starting point. MANO RIVER UNION, ECOWAS, SADAC and other regional organisations in Central and East Africa should all work together to eliminate the energy porverty our people are suffering from. It is doable if all hands are on deck. Will they? That’s the 65millon dollar question.

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