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Africa recognises the importance of addressing energy poverty which continue to impede socio-economic progress in the region

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Nj Ayuk 

THE Africa-Paris Declaration aligns Africa’s position on the global energy transition and climate  justice debate, following the conclusion of the Invest in African Energy forum in Paris. 

African civil society, human rights groups, environmental groups, governments and the  private sector stand firm in their commitment to align Africa’s efforts in combating energy  poverty and fostering industrialisation, all while advocating for a just energy transition and  ensuring climate justice. 

This steadfast commitment was underscored by the conclusion of  the Invest in African Energy forum held in Paris on May 15. 

The Forum brought together key stakeholders from across the continent and  beyond to address the pressing energy challenges facing Africa. 

Held in Paris – the  city where the Paris Climate Agreement was signed in 2016 – the discussions focused  on strategies to attract investment, promote sustainable energy development and  drive economic growth while prioritising environmental responsibility. 

Address energy poverty 

African civil society, human rights groups, environmental groups, governments  and the private sector recognise the critical importance of addressing energy  poverty, which continues to impede socio-economic progress in many African  countries. 

By fostering an environment conducive to investment and innovation,  Africans aim to unlock the continent’s vast energy potential and empower  communities with access to reliable, affordable energy sources. 

The Paris Declaration calls for fruitful discussions and collaborations, highlighting  the shared commitment of African nations, global investors, and industry leaders to  drive sustainable energy development across the continent. 

Moving forward, we remain dedicated to championing Africa’s energy agenda,  advocating for policies that balance economic growth with environmental  stewardship, and empowering African nations to realise their energy potential  while advancing climate goals. 

We recognise Africa’s sovereign right to develop its energy resources – which  include north of 125 billion barrels of oil and 620 trillion cubic feet of natural gas – in a balanced and sustainable manner. 

Ramping up energy investment, deploying  continuous finance and advancing energy projects represent Africa’s core  priorities, as 600 million Africans lack access to reliable power and 900 million  Africans lack access to clean cooking fuels. 

Projects like the TotalEnergies-led Mozambique LNG development and the East  African Crude Oil Pipeline seek to maximise Africa’s resources for the benefit of  local communities. 

In West Africa, developments such as Perenco’s Cap Lopez  LNG Terminal and associated LPG facility, the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline and  the Eni-led Congo LNG project will catalyse long-term economic growth and energy resilience, with natural gas, LNG and LPG are set to play a critical role in the  continent’s energy poverty reduction strategy. 

The Southern African region is only just starting to realise the full potential of its  oil and gas resources, with recent discoveries made in Zimbabwe’s Cabora Bassa  Basin by Invictus Energy and Namibia’s prolific Orange Basin by Shell,  TotalEnergies and Galp. 

Namibia is also home to the development of sub-Saharan  Africa’s largest green hydrogen project led by Hyphen Hydrogen Energy, while  Mauritania is pioneering green hydrogen through Chariot’s Project Nour and CWP  Global’s AMAN Project, coupled with expanded gas development from the bp operated Greater Tortue Ahmeyim LNG project. 

Finance challenge

Despite Africa’s unmet energy requirements, global energy lending has only  tightened, as major European and other Western banks exit the fossil fuels industry  in Africa, while financing fossil fuels in Western countries. 

These institutions have not been equitable when it comes to facilitating adequate  energy and climate finance for African countries, where local populations are  disproportionately affected by both climate risks and restrictions on fossil fuel  development. 

Europe has made repeated calls for natural gas and green finance, yet there is a  considerable blockage on energy finance for African countries. This chokehold  continues to inhibit Africa’s industrial growth and the establishment of critical gas driven industries like power, petrochemicals, fertilisers and mining, keeping the  continent at a developmental lag. 

Africans deplore the continuous polarisation of the energy dialogue in Western  countries and call on the demonisation of African oil and gas to stop. 

Free  market solutions for Africa need to be adopted and not a continuous push for aid so that Africans  pledge to leave their resources in the ground. More aid is not the answer.  Investment is key. 

From Cape to Cairo, from Nairobi to Dakar, we stand united  toward meeting our shared obligations to fight climate change, noting that wealthy  nations need to decarbonise and Africa needs to industrialise.

It is the position of African civil society, human rights groups, environmental  groups, governments, and the private sector that African countries must diversify  available pools of capital and create financial instruments outside of traditional  institutions – tapping into private equity and non-conventional bonds – to fund new  exploration and energy initiatives. 

Moreover, African countries must put in place attractive regulatory and fiscal  terms, thereby creating an enabling environment and removing all barriers to  investment, such as incoherent regulation, excessive red tape or nationalistic  policies. 

With competitive terms and incentives in place – followed by the  integration of ESG principles and capacity building requirements – African energy  projects will be able to compete effectively for global capital and work towards  making energy poverty a history across the continent.

Ayuk is Executive Chair of the Africa Energy Chamber.

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