During COP 26 in Glasgow, world leaders reiterated their commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, implying upstream a reduction in the use of fossil fuels. A real headache especially for African producers.
In an open letter to world leaders at COP26, African Energy Chamber President NJ Ayuk said that in the face of growing pressure on the continent to reduce its production of fossil fuels, he finds himself in a precarious position.
This is because fossil fuels remain of paramount importance to meet Africa’s economic and energy needs, which are greater than ever at a time of economic recovery. Indeed, many countries in the region depend on the production of oil, gas and coal for their public revenues and for domestic consumption.
He says that pressure is unwelcome as the energy roadmap for many of them calls for increasing use of natural gas to promote universal access to electricity. In addition, he deplores the fact that international companies in the sector are starting to withdraw from development projects in favor of the demands of energy transition.
This will affect, he continues, the incomes of African countries and prevent them from financing renewable energy projects in the future to balance their energy mixes. “We are facing challenges of all kinds. Our economic survival depends on a thriving and strategically managed oil and gas industry, and African governments must act now to protect our industry and our future […].
There is still time for African governments to take the lead and reshape our future. But the window of opportunity is small and we have to take advantage of every trend, ”he explained. For Ayuk, it is essential for Africa to build the infrastructure it needs to be able to industrialize and diversify its economies and calls to turn away from fossil fuels are not helping the current situation in these countries.
He thus joins the Nigerian Minister of Petroleum, Timipre Sylva who declared a few days ago that African countries should be allowed to move towards the transition at their own pace.