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African energy ministers meet as developed countries halt oil project funding

The Council of Ministers of the African Petroleum Producers’ Organisation (APPO) has decried the withdrawal of funding for energy activities by international financing agencies as…

The Council of Ministers of the African Petroleum Producers’ Organisation (APPO) has decried the withdrawal of funding for energy activities by international financing agencies as they deepen actions against climate change.

The ministers stated this in a communique issued at the end of the 41st Ministerial Session in Algiers, Algeria, where they discussed the future of the oil and gas industry in Africa in light of the global pursuit of energy transition.

The ministers acknowledged the reality of climate change and expressed their support for any human efforts aimed at tackling the dangers of climate change.

“The ministers identified the imminent challenges that the oil and gas industry will face in Africa as international financiers withdraw funding for the industry and oil and gas research institutions in the developed countries that have always led the technological development are closing their petroleum faculties,” the communique stated.

To counter this challenge, the council urged Africans to look inward for financing.  It said: “The council resolved to look within the continent at both public and private sources to raise the necessary capital to continue to finance the oil and gas industry.

Even for expertise, the ministers believe that the continent has much expertise, technology, finance and markets for its energy resources. The council noted that the potential exists, as Africa has a huge population of 1.3 billion people. All they need is to be mobilised and empowered to be able to buy energy.

The council also called on the technologically advanced and financially capable countries to lend their support to African countries as they grapple with the challenges of Energy Transition. Council noted the need for intra-African energy infrastructures like cross-border pipelines, product depots and terminals.”

The African energy ministers also frowned at what they described as a unilateral imposition of the energy transition plans by developed countries on others that have for over 100 years used fossil fuels to grow their economies and societies.

“They have all along been aware of the dangers of fossil fuel emissions, and are now telling the world that fossil fuels are dangerous to mankind and that all should abandon it,” they said.

Nigeria has also already declared this position this year as the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, recently noted that Nigeria is keying into the energy transition but will do so with gas in line with the Decade of Gas programme of the federal government.

The council, therefore, resolved to continue the exploitation of its member countries’ huge oil and gas resources for the economic emancipation of its people while also exploring the use of renewable energies.

The session was presided by APPO president and Minister of Mines and Energy of Algeria, Mohamed Arkab, with representatives from the 14 member countries which include Nigeria, Niger and South Africa. Although Ghana and Senegal were not members, their energy ministers and a deputy (from Ghana) attended the meeting.

APPO then admitted five new ministers from Congo, DR Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Libya and Niger. The ministers then elected the Minister of Petroleum Resources of Angola, Mr Diamantino Pedro Azevedo, and Minister of Water and Mines of Benin, Mr Samou Seidou Adambi, as president and vice president respectively for the 2022 term.

The new executive board for next year will be chaired by Mr Celestin Enanto, the Executive Board Member for Benin, and will be deputised by Mr Jean Jacques Koum, the Executive Board Member for Cameroon. The next meeting of the African energy ministers will be held in Angola in the last quarter of 2022, the council held.

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