African leaders insist Africa will utilize all its abundant natural resources to meet its energy needs

Oredola Adeola

Africa leaders including petroleum industry experts have insisted that Africa will determine how best to balance its development with sustainability, adding that the continent will have to utilize all forms of abundant energy resources to address its energy poverty.

Keynote speakers, government representatives, analysts, industry leaders, and panelists made this known at the Africa Oil Week, held at the Cape Town ICC, which ended on Friday.

They shared the same view insisting that the hardships of energy poverty in Africa are every bit as dangerous as the risks of climate change.

The leaders agreed to a consensus that  Africa is best equipped to determine how it can meet its climate commitments while giving its people access to the energy required to deliver a better future for its people.

H.E. Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy for the African Union Commission at one of the sessions during the event said, “We must all remember that more than half of our continent’s people do not have access to modern energy – specifically electricity.

“Africa’s low levels of access to modern energy means that Africa will have to utilize all forms of its abundant energy resources to meet its energy needs.”

Abou-Zaid also noted that the AU was guided by Africa Agenda 2063, a development blueprint that calls for universal access to affordable and reliable energy for both production and household use in Africa.

EnergyDay gathered that the  AU recently adopted the African Common Position on Energy Access and Just Transition, which charts Africa’s development pathways to accelerate universal energy access and transition without compromising its development imperatives.

Rashid Ali Abdallah, Executive Director for the AU’s Africa Energy Commission (AFREC) said, “ Africa’s energy transition was about the continent transitioning from “no energy to energy, to fill the gap of energy access”

“Decarbonisation or aiming to reach zero emissions by 2050 is not fit for the African context.

“Perhaps it’s fit for other regions of the world. For that reason, as Africa, we need to push development and exploration in the oil and gas market,” he noted.

Recall that the AU estimates that more than 600 million Africans live without electricity, while 900 million lack access to clean cooking facilities.

Paul Sinclair, VP of Energy & Director of Government Relations, Africa Oil Week and Green Energy Africa said, “we are delighted to have partnered with the AU this week to ensure we drive regional oil and gas markets in an Afrocentric energy transition.

They all shared that view that a balance between ensuring access to electricity for socio-economic growth and smoothly transitioning to an energy system based on renewable energy sources.