The president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) stated during a panel discussion at the Reuters Impact climate conference on October 3rd in London that the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP) is at danger by up to 35% due to climate concerns.
He asserts that the number will continue to rise as long as Africa lacks climate change-resistant infrastructure.
The AFC, according to Zubairu, thinks that Africa has a chance to seize the moment and develop ecosystems of adaptation because of the difficulties associated with the energy transition, the energy crisis, and the food crisis that Africa and the rest of the world are experiencing.
Africa must create ecosystems that enable reforestation so that trees may absorb carbon and provide women with access to cleaner cooking options because the use of firewood as a cooking fuel depletes the forests, which serve as carbon sinks. Only 1% of the world’s finest solar resources are used, even though 60% of them are in Africa. The underdeveloped hydropower and natural gas resources of Africa could be a major factor in the current global difficulties, according to Zubairu’s statement.
To achieve a just energy transition, Zubairu stressed to the guests of the Reuters Impact conference the importance of dependable access that is affordable for the great majority of people.
In addition, he pointed out that up to 900 million Africans lack access to clean cooking, making up 80% of the world’s population without access to power.
“Just transition for us is access to energy that is affordable, energy access that does not compromise economic development in Africa, and energy access that allows for the key challenges around financing, and adaptation to be resolved at the same time as economic development.
“When we look at projects and opportunities, we are trying to see how we can build an ecosystem along value chains that allow for carbon neutrality as we go along but the focus is on economic development,” Zubairu says.
Numerous parties have urged to cast doubt on the philosophy underlying the Global North’s advice to Africa not to exploit its natural gas resources. Zubairu contends that asking individuals to stop using gas while imports of fuel oil or the use of coal are options is inappropriate. He claims that the AFC built Cape Verde’s first wind farm, which provides 20% of the island’s energy needs.
The company is also constructing the first independent power project (IPP) in Djibouti to replace fuel imported from Ethiopia, a gas-fired plant in Ghana to replace fuel imported in the form of fuel oil and diesel, as well as a gas plant in Senegal to use Senegalese natural gas. He claims that each of these initiatives lowers carbon emissions.
Zubairu urges Africans to be practical in his appeal for a consensus between the continent’s political and commercial elites to address the continent’s current energy poverty concerns.
He claimed that focusing on emissions reductions, to which Africans contribute the least, is not the most sensible course of action. Instead, emphasis should be placed on increasing capacity for solar energy, using electric vehicles, and altering how resources are extracted from the continent.
He claims that after mining, the minerals are sold to Asia, where they are processed before being exported to other regions of the world. He claimed that this could not go on and that Africa needed to process its mineral resources as well so that value could be captured before exports and that it could increase its mining capability.
Africa has to increase its mining capability, more minerals should be found, mined, and processed on the continent, according to Zubairu. Infrastructure capacity will rise with increased investments in adaptation.
Sudanese philanthropist Mo Ibrahim spoke forcefully for energy justice during the same panel discussion. He explained to the audience that a country’s carbon emissions increase with its level of development.
“You cannot discuss environmental justice without addressing energy justice,” he asserts.
Despite being the lowest contributors to CO2 emissions, Africans are the ones most impacted by climate change. Desertification causes disputes between farmers and herders throughout Africa; these conflicts are distinguished by violence in Sudan and Nigeria due to environmental implications.
Africans are suffering as a result of external causes which Zubairu says he finds absurd that some people traveled to Glasgow last year and made the decision to stop funding worldwide fossil fuel projects. 600 million people in Africa lack access to electricity.
On the continent, there would be no jobs, no healthcare, and no education. Without regard for what the global South needs, the global North constantly discusses and makes decisions.
We are not allowed to use our gas, even though Europe receives half of the natural gas produced in Africa. This type of injustice must end; without Africans’ participation at the table, no one should discuss justice, he alleges.