In the midst of a global oil and gas crisis, Africa must take charge of its own energy destiny, and use its rich resource assets for the benefit of its own people, says former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.
His comments come as the world scrambles to find new sources of oil and gas to meet its energy needs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In this context, Obasanjo says African countries cannot be beholden to the unrealistic ideals of the Global North for an exclusively renewables-driven economy. He says this is particularly true when the developed world is itself accepting the need for hydrocarbons.
“Like the rest of the world, Africa must follow energy policies that promote socio-economic development and sustainable hydrocarbon use.
“Africa is the lowest producer of greenhouse-gas emissions and needs to lift nearly half-a-billion citizens out of poverty. Responsible management of our hydrocarbons and investment in our economies is necessary to ensure a just energy transition and sustainable growth for our people,” Obasanjo says.
The European Union has said it intends to cut Russian-supplied oil by up to 90% by the end of 2022, and the announcement has already caused global energy costs to soar.
Africa is one of the potential new sources of energy to replace this supply, with an estimated 61 billion BOE (barrel oil equivalent) being discovered in the region over the past 10 years.
Obasanjo’s call for Africa to assert its energy sovereignty comes ahead of the Africa Oil Week (AOW) conference in South Africa, where energy companies, investors and governments will meet to negotiate deals that will shape the continent’s future.