By Gloria Dickie
Sudanese-British billionaire businessman Mo Ibrahim accused developed countries of hypocrisy in warning Africans against developing natural gas reserves while also eyeing such investments in response to the energy crisis in Europe.
Speaking at the Reuters IMPACT climate conference in London, Ibrahim, who made his fortune in African telecommunications, criticised those in the global north for dictating how African countries should use their vast natural gas reserves amid climate change concerns. Some 600 million Africans, about 43 per cent of the continent’s population, are without power, he said.
Speaking last month on the sidelines of an African environment ministers’ conference in Dakar, Senegal, US climate envoy John Kerry cautioned against investing in long-term gas projects in Africa. Kerry’s comments echoed similar remarks issued in a report last year by the International Energy Agency (IEA), saying such moves could jeopardise the global net-zero goal of 2050.
Meanwhile, energy firms have been considering $100 billion in new energy investments on the continent, according to Reuters calculations based on public and private company estimates.
“Now, because of the war, they are running to Africa and saying ‘Oh, can we have more gas?’,” Ibrahim said. “We are not allowed to use our gas. But half our gas is sent to Europe.”
“This kind of stupidity cannot continue,” he said.
African countries that currently have little or no oil and gas output could see billions in energy investments in the coming years, including Namibia, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania.
The IEA estimates that Africa’s gas reserves could potentially replace up to one-fifth of Russian supplies to Europe by 2030.
“But for us to use our own gas? No, no no,” Ibrahim said.