Africa-Press – Botswana. Sudanese-British billionaire Mo Ibrahim took part in the “Reuters impact” conference in London on Monday, where world leaders, businessmen, scientists and thinkers gathered to discuss climate issues.
Businessman and philantropist Mo Ibrahim criticized the so-called Global North for obstructing African nations’ attempt to develop their own gas reserves, citing environment concerns, while at the same time seeking opportunities to gain from African resources themselves.
Ibrahim started by describing the 26th UN Climate Change Conference Glasgow as the gathering of the “well-minded” people of the developed nations, who decided to stop financing fossil and gas internationally, out of the goal to curb global emissions.
“The Global North always talks and decides, without understanding whatever happens in the Global South, and the Global South [is supposed] to listen […] and do whatever those guys decide,” he pointed out.
Saying this, he implied that the Western leaders have probably not thought of Africa’s own problems with power, and even likely are not aware of them, finding the situation “ridiculous.”
The businessman pointed out that analysts expect about 14 million migrants due to environmental degradation and desertification in Africa.
“By the way, before you run out of the room here, they are not coming to you, okay?” he reassured the audience, emphasizing that most of the migrants will remain on the continent.
More to that, the environmental issues are causing conflicts in the affected areas, Ibrahim noted. Ibrahim added that these days because of the events taking place in Europe, the Western leaders come to Africa and ask for more energy sources.
Last month, John Kerry, the US climate envoy, warned against investing in long-term gas projects in Africa in an interview. His words matched similar points made in a report by the International Energy Agency from the previous year, which said that such actions could undermine the worldwide net-zero goal of 2050.
According to Ibrahim, the developed Western countries prohibit Africa from developing and using its own gas resources, which the continent has a lot, about “500 trillion cubic feet of gas.”
“The Global North always talks and decides without understanding whatever happens in the Global South”, Ibrahim said, arguing that this kind of injustice can’t continue and the Global South should finally get its seat at the table.
Another speaker at the conference, Samaila Zubairu, CEO of Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) noted that the US and the EU, on the contrary, are responsible for 19 and 15 percent of emissions respectively.
Zubairu argued that “80% of the people globally without access to electricity” live in Africa, renewable energy should be used where it is possible, but “you can’t say don’t use gas, when the alternative is to import diesel, fuel oil or coal from Europe.”
The AFC’s president said energy access should be “efficient, reliable and affordable”, “we need [energy] access that doesn’t compromise economic development in Africa.” This point of view was echoed by Ibrahim, who noted that 600 million African people still have no electricity, and “without power, you have no education, you have no jobs, you have nothing, you don’t live, you are not a human being.”
‘Who is Funding Whom?’ The speakers stressed that African countries do “go for green” but energy sources balance is essential “to take those guys out of poverty.” Ibrahim, in turn, reminded that 21 countries, whose main source of energy is renewable, are all African, saying “we are doing more than anybody.”
Ibrahim and Zubairu called for the Global North to invest in African renewable energy, as well as in minerals needed for green technology, because all of these minerals “are in Africa”. However, Ibrahim also warned that “contracts should be transparent and clean.”
One for Me, None for You It is worth noting that, the “Go Green” agenda actively supported by the West, the main producer of the greenhouse gases, often cunning in its commitment to nature conservation in an attempt to refrain from major economic crises.
For instance, in mid-September, a resolution passed by the European Parliament called for “an end to the extractive activities in protected and sensitive ecosystems,” specifically targetting the proposed East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline, developed by both Tanzania and Uganda.
The MEP-backed resolution also urged “maximum pressure” to be applied to the $3.4 billion project, whose backers include China’s CNOOC International, French oil and gas juggernaut TotalEnergies, as well as Uganda National Oil Company and Tanzania Petroleum Development.
And prior to that, Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, downplayed the notion that African states would increase their exploitation of fossil fuels.
In response to such statements, Thomas Tayebwa, the deputy speaker of the Ugandan National Assembly, retaliated last week that the demand “represents the greatest level of neo-colonialism and imperialism against the sovereignty of Uganda and Tanzania.”
Africa’s development of energy industry has long been hampered due to the legacy of Western colonialism, decades of resource theft by foreign multinational corporations, a lack of funding for domestic investment, and the continuous external pressure by the West to get the region to switch to renewable energy sources.
The experts believe that the pressure will increase in view of the current global energy crisis due to attempts to exclude Russia from the list of energy market players, which may lead to the Western energy companies stirring up activities in Africa.