Rich countries pushing ‘dirty energy’ in Africa, report claims

Rich countries pushing ‘dirty energy’ in Africa, report claims

Wealthy governments have been accused of promoting fossil fuel development in Africa at the expense of clean energy.

Analysis showed 60% of public aid for energy projects was spent on fossil fuels, compared with just 18% on renewables.

Oil Change International, a clean energy advocacy group that conducted the study, estimated aid to Africa’s energy sector was $59.5bn (£45.3bn) between 2014 and 2016.

It found governments that were moving away from fossil fuels at home continued to fund such projects in Africa, where communities are experiencing the worst impact from climate change.

Egypt, Angola and South Africa received nearly half of the aid for energy over this period.

Total Public Finance for Africa’s Energy Sector, FY 2014 to 2016 [Source: Oil Change International]

Of the regional and multilateral development banks and 10 countries examined for the study, China gave the most to the energy sector, providing $5bn a year, 88% of which was spent on fossil fuels. It did not appear to finance any renewable projects on the continent. Nearly three-quarters of the money supported oil and gas extraction, and another 13% supported coal-fired power generation.

After China came the World Bank Group (WBG), Japan and Germany. The report estimated the Bank financed mostly fossil fuel infrastructure over this period, although such lending is expected to fall after a recent announcement that it would for upstream oil and gas from 2019.

The WBG disputes the estimates.

Mohamed Adow, international climate change lead at Christian Aid, said: “These countries are using their aid budgets to promote development in Africa on one hand, while their climate change-causing subsidies cancel out these gains with the other. Rich countries must stop pushing their dirty energy on Africa and use their wealth to provide energy that is clean, green and will serve Africa and the world for years to come.”

He described the analysis of China’s aid spending on energy in Africa as “shocking”, given that it is heavily investing in renewables at home to stop pollution in its cities.

Annual Average of European Bilateral Public Finance for Energy in Africa by Country and Type, FY 2014 to 2016 [Source: Oil Change International]

The report showed less than 2% of aid to Africa’s energy sector went to renewables or small-scale de-centralised energy schemes, which experts say are ideally suited to the continent’s scale, development status and sparse population density.

A recent report by the NGO Tearfund, which calls for more renewable energy, found that, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, would still be without electricity in 2030.

“When deciding on energy projects in Africa, the most important question should be: is this project in the best long-term interests of the people?“ said Thuli Makama, senior advisor for Africa at Oil Change International.

Source: The Guardian

Date: November 2018

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