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.
This is the call from 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,” he says.
“Africa is the lowest producer of greenhouse-gas emissions and needs to lift nearly half-a-billion citizens out of poverty,” says Obasanjo. “Responsible management of our hydrocarbons and investment in our economies is necessary to ensure a just energy transition and sustainable growth for our people.”
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.
The African Petroleum Producers’ Organization (APPO) has also called on member countries and other global institutions to use petroleum as a catalyst for energy security, sustainable development and economic diversification in Africa through collaboration and partnerships.
Both Obasanjo and APPO have called for accelerated dialogue on the sustainable development of hydrocarbons, and the role of Africa as a supplier of global energy needs.