Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), as well as Nigeria’s gas initiatives, will help transform Nigeria into a gas-based industrialized nation. (Courtesy of pulse.ng, Tolani Alli)
April 29, 2022
Nigerian Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, over the last year, has repeatedly demanded ending global energy poverty, which is a life and death necessity for the majority of the world’s population. Speaking at the Atlantic Council on April 13, VP Osinbajo challenged the prevailing green-environmental dictates against using fossil fuels to supply energy to energy starved nations. He told his virtual audience, “climate justice must include ending energy poverty .” (Osinbajo seeks justice for Africa.) (Emphasis added)
For sub-Saharan Africa, there is no more vital need to the survival of these African nations, than energy, energy, and more energy. Over 600 million Africans living in sub-Saharan Africa are without access to electricity. Another 300 million use charcoal and firewood to cook, both environmentally harmful. For Africa to end poverty and hunger, nothing is more essential than to have on-grid, plentifully, and accessible energy, with the capability to power an industrialized economy, for which solar and wind are insufficient. Any advocate for Africa, who does not fight for the creation of abundant energy for the continent, does not have Africa’s best interest at heart.
My own estimate is that for African nations to achieve the levels of energy consumption of the advanced sector, a minimum of 1,000 additional gigawatts of electrical power must be created. In his remarks VP Osinbajo stated, “For every Nigerian to consume the Modern Energy Minimum of 1,000 kilowatt hours per year by 2050 would require a 15-fold increase in our national power generation.” To achieve that goal, “Nigeria must add 200 gigawatts of new power capacity by 2060…”
West’s Green Hypocrisy
Writing in Foreign Affairs, August 31, 2021, The Divestment Delusion: Why Banning Fossil Fuel Investments Would Crush Africa, VP Osinbajo, confronted the discriminatory green anti-development “policies directed at African nations.
Hitting at the hypocrisy by developed nations, the Vice President wrote:
“After decades of profiting from oil and gas, a growing number of wealthy nations have banned or restricted public investment in fossil fuels, including natural gas. Such policies often do not distinguish between different kinds of fuels, nor do they consider the vital role some fuels play in powering the growth of developing economies, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. As development finance institutions try to balance climate concerns against the need to spur equitable development and increase energy security, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union have all taken aggressive steps to limit fossil fuel investments. The World Bank and other multilateral development banks are being urged by some shareholders to do the same. The African Development Bank, for instance, is increasingly unable to support large natural gas projects in the face of European shareholder pressure. Even UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called on countries to end all new fossil fuel exploration and production. ”
(Courtesy of Inside Africa-Facebook)
Under the subhead: Little Gain, Much Pain, he wrote:
“Curbing natural gas investments in Africa will do little to limit carbon emissions globally but much to hurt the continent’s economic prospects. Right now, Africa is starved for energy: excluding South Africa, sub-Saharan Africa’s one billion people have the power generation capacity of just 81 gigawatts—far less than the 108-gigawatt capacity of the United Kingdom. Moreover, those one billion people have contributed less than one percent to global cumulative carbon emissions.”
But limiting the development of fossil fuel projects and, in particular, natural gas projects would have a profoundly negative impact on Africa. Natural gas doesn’t make sense in every African market. But in many, it is a crucial tool for lifting people out of poverty. It is used not only for power but for industry and fertilizer and for cleaner cooking. Liquified petroleum gas is already replacing huge amounts of hazardous charcoal and kerosene that were most widely used for cooking, saving millions of lives that were previously lost to indoor air pollution. The role of gas as a transition fuel for developing countries, especially in Africa, cannot be overemphasized.
Yet Africa’s progress could be undone by the rich world’s efforts to curb investments in all fossil fuels. Across sub-Saharan Africa, natural gas projects are increasingly imperiled by a lack of development finance.
Gas pipelines and power plants in the most energy-hungry markets need development finance to attract other capital and enable such projects to proceed
But many more such power plants are needed to deliver electricity to our people, to power our industry and growing cities, and to balance intermittent solar power. A blanket ban on finance for all fossil fuels would jeopardize those objectives.” (Emphasis added)
African Leaders Contest Green Agenda
Gwede Mantashe (Courtesy of bussinesslive.co.za)
Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy of South Africa, has echoed VP Osinbajo, in his ddetermination to use South Africa’s abundant energy resources to end energy poverty. On December 9, 2021, Minister Mantashe, issued a powerful statement asserting that South Africa’s “deserves the opportunity to capitalize on its natural resources.” (Shell: Gas and oil industry in SA under attack).
He wrote in language more vigorous and iconoclastic than VP Osinbajo:
“Oil and gas exploitation has been carried out for decades across other economies in the World, including for more than 50 years in Norway, more than 80 years in Saudi Arabia and over 100 years in Germany. These economies are thriving today, and they were built on the back of the exploitation of these resources. Africa deserves an equal chance to develop its economies on the strength of her natural resources.
“Several countries on the African continent have announced their oil and gas finds which present massive opportunities for economic growth, industrialization, and job creation. As these developments unfold, we have noted with interest, the pushback, and objections from environmental lobby groups against the development of these resources.
“I cannot help but ask myself, are these objections meant to ensure the status quo remains in Africa, in general, and South Africa, in particular? That is, the status quo with regards to energy poverty, high unemployment, high debt to GDP ratio at country level and economies that are not growing and, in some cases, jobless economic growth. Could it be possible that this is an extreme pure love for the environment or an unrelenting campaign to ensure that Africa and South Africa do not see the investment inflows they need?”
“South Africa deserves the opportunity to capitalize on its natural resources including oil and gas, as these resources have been proven to be game changers elsewhere. We consider the objections to these developments as apartheid and colonialism of a special type, masqueraded as a great interest for environmental protection. South Africa’s economic development is oppressed in the name of environmental protection when we have environmental framework that ensures that licensing is done with the utmost environmental care founded on Section 24 of our Constitution. We therefore appeal to all objectors to acknowledge this and allow South Africa to exploit its natural resources for the benefit of its citizens.” (Emphasis added)
Presidents Yoweri Museveni-left and Muhammadu Buhari-right (courtesy of dailypost.ng)
President Buhari of Nigeria has also challenged the attempt to keep African nations from utilizing their resources to industrialize their nations for the benefit of their citizens. Read: President Buhari of Nigeria, Demands More and Reliable Energy for Africa from COP26. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has raised similar objections. Read: Solar and Wind Force Poverty on Africa: Africa Needs Reliable Energy-Nuclear-to Power Industrialized Economies
Live With Energy or Die with Green
Will the Western dictated green-reset to shield civilization from climate change end up killing more people than it purports to save? How many lives will perish from the dearth of plentiful and reliable energy, which is required to end poverty and hunger in Africa?
At the highest echelons of the corporate and financial world, in conjunction with Western governments, it has been decided that investments in fossil fuels-hydrocarbons will be halted. Coal, oil, and gas production will be replaced by channeling money into solar and wind renewables, which are both unreliable to supply energy 24/7. Given that it is known that neither solar nor wind are capable of providing sufficient power to drive an industrialized economy,* it should be obvious the intent of these policies: prevent African nations from industrializing. The fact there is not an all-out effort to invest in nuclear energy, especially Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), which will provide safe, reliable power, indicates that there is an intent to keep Africa in energy poverty.
From slavery, through colonialism, and following independence, African nations have been denied what Kwame Nkrumah, and Cheikh Anta-Diop knew was essential for their sovereignty: the right to have industrialized economies.
Without energy dense, and infrastructure dense economies, to include mechanized farming, and robust manufacturing sectors, large portions of African nations will be forced to exist in miserable living conditions, which will lead to higher death rates.
It is criminal to prohibit African nations from using their own natural resources for the development of their economies, without which, hundreds of millions of their citizens will remain in wretched poverty.
*The sun “miraculously” maintains life on our planet, but is not an efficient energy source to perform work, because solar radiation reaching the earth’s surface is too diffuse i.e., has a low energy-flux density. Windmills are not cost efficient when one compares the energy required to construct acres of windmills, to the net energy produced. Both solar and wind are also dependent on weather conditions.
Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton.