Chairman of Heirs Oil and Gas (HHOG) Limited and United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Tony Elumelu has called on developed nations to consider Africa’s energy poverty and attendant underdevelopment and allow the continent to use its God-given hydrocarbon resources to industrialise and tackle its socio-economic challenges.
The UBA boss made the call in his conversation with the United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, Senator John Kerry, together with the Chief Executive Officer of Heirs Oil and Gas (HHOG), Mr. Osa Igiehon, at Transcorp Hilton Abuja at the weekend.
Elumelu also said that Africa’s focus in the current global campaign for energy transition, driven by the climate change crisis, must be on providing energy for its citizens from both traditional and green sources.
During the discussion, Elumelu argued that as the world continues to experience the daily impact of global warming in several parts of the developed nations, with equally harmful, persistent environmental degradation of Africa’s Sahel region, world leaders need to act and not just talk.
He noted that Africa should not just be in the conversation, but actively set the agenda, adding that while Africa’s 3.8 per cent contribution to global emissions was immaterial compared to others, the continent remained the most vulnerable region to the effect of climate change.
Elumelu maintained that it was clear that climate change is not just a threat to the future but also a threat to the present and that Africa’s rain-fed agriculture focus and a large share of agriculture in her Gross Domestic Product (GDP) add to the continent’s vulnerability.
“Global conversations around climate change are geared towards a focus on green and renewable energy,”he said. “However, Africa’s focus is, and should remain, providing energy from both traditional and green sources for its citizens”.
Speaking further, he said “we must be realistic about the inequalities that exist between Africa and the rest of the world. Africa has a significant energy deficit, with a substantial amount of its population living with minimal or no electricity”.
He explained that Africa transiting fully to green and renewable energy sources would require considerable investment and this cannot be at the expense of the drive to address the current energy deficit urgently.
“Green energy transition must allow room for Africa to power its development and sustain its economic growth. Anything else will be potentially detrimental to us all,” he said.
He maintained that Africa’s green revolution requires immediate and significant funding that is larger than the resources available to African governments, which have several competing priorities such as poverty, economy, education, healthcare, security, and more.
Story was adapted from Thisday.