March 1, 2024

US-Africa Energy dialogue: African energy leaders warn Joe Biden not to influence narrative of continent’s energy transition strategy

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Oredola Adeola

African energy leaders have compelled the United States Government not to influence the pace or narrative of Africa’s energy transition strategy, insisting that the continent has the sovereign right to exploit of its resources to address its energy.

African leaders made this known during the Africa-U.S. Energy Dialogue, with President Joe Biden of the United States,  which was one of the major activities headlining the just concluded African Energy Week 2022, held in Cape Town, South Africa, on Thursday, to discuss the current global energy crisis and Africa’s acute need for energy security.

The African team at the session, interrogated  American technology, capital and technical expertise that were available to meet African demand for natural gas, renewable and power sector investments.

EnergyDay gathered that within the energy sector, U.S. investment in Africa has been heavily concentrated in gas and renewables, as demonstrated by the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s financing of TotalEnergies’ Mozambique LNG project, and the successful start-up of Chevron’s Alen Gas Monetization project in Equatorial Guinea.

According to them, African countries which is the least emitters in the world must be allowed to define its narrative and defend its stand in the context of the global energy revolution.

Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua, President of OPEC and Minister of Hydrocarbons of the Republic of the Congo in his remark at the dialogue said, “Africa needs finance, technology and human resources support. But regarding the issue of energy security, it is no longer an African issue. It’s a worldwide issue.

“Because of the conflict in Ukraine, we’re talking about energy in terms of crisis, which gives another meaning to the transition.

“We want to move to low-carbon energy for all the world. The remaining question is how to move from the current situation to the future? Who is accountable? Is it Africa? The energy transition must face key issues, and the first one is energy poverty.”  noted H.E. Minister Itoua.

Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Hydrocarbons of the Republic of the Congo on his part said that Africa is in a very tight situation due to energy poverty to be having a conversation about transition, suggesting that the Africa-US energy dialogue should rather be focused on energy security and how it reduced the energy poverty limiting the development of the continent.

He said, “Once we have energy security, then we can talk about transition. Where are we going to transition – from the dark to the dark?”

Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, Secretary General of the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO), “Right now, Europe and the U.S. do not need intensive energy for their economies to grow. Africa is on the verge of industrialization. Energy transition, in every region of the world, should be able to move at its own pace.

The African leaders presented the U.S. with the choice of advancing it interest by playing the critical role in financing the continent’s energy infrastructure development needs, despite the private investment available for hydrocarbon development that has been limited to date.

They revealed that the US has been met with competition from other countries, like China’s multi-billion-dollar belt and road initiative.

Meanwhile, American energy stakeholders in the response to the statements of the African energy leaders at the panel also discussed the impact of global climate concerns on new oil and gas investments and their own domestic energy supply as well as the growing need for a just transition in the U.S. as well.

Suzanne Jaworowski, Former Chief of Staff, Senior Advisor-Nuclear Energy for the U.S. Department of Energy affirmed that the US is realistic about how its everyday energy policies impact people, industries, and jobs,”

Suzanne who was the Former Chairman of the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation further said, “The reality is that a just transition means eliminating energy poverty and being realistic about how each generation source contributes to or undermines our electric grid. Renewables have their place. Yet fossil fuels are essential to keeping the lights on.

Joseph McMonigle, Secretary General of, the International Energy Forum, on this part said, “We have made structural changes in reducing supply, and that is coming back to bite us in this current energy crisis.

“Unless we come to grips with that, we will see multiple years of high prices and volatility. The transition is not just wind and solar deployment,” he noted.

Derek Campbell, Executive Chairman, African Metals Group Ltd in his remark, said, “One of the problems is that U.S. companies don’t have relationships and access on the continent. It is inexcusable that a nation like ours – where 40% of our population hails from the African continent –  why are we in a battle with China and Russia for hegemonic pole position in Africa?” asked C. Derek Campbell.”

EnergyDay however gathered that the companies from the United States  have in recent times invested in African ventures through initiatives like the $60-billion Development Finance Corporation (DFC) which has substantially increased the availability of funds for American

The U.S. Government has also been increasingly encouraging financial institutions and investors to engage in private-sector development projects, rather than development aid.

A further check by EnergyDay showed that the creation of the DFC in 2019, reflects a larger shift in foreign direct investment flows, with emerging markets serving as the target of global investment strategies.

It was revealed that the U.S. is hoping to adopt a larger and more proactive role in African trade and investment.

The session was moderated by Jude Kearney, Managing Partner of ASAFO & CO, Washington D.C., the panel comprised H.E. Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua,

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