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Energy Chamber head says promises made at US-Africa Leaders Summit must be kept

Africa’s Energy Sector is in need of practical and not reactionary, solutions at the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington DC, said Nj Ayuk, executive chairman of the African Energy Chamber.

US President Joe Biden will be hosting around 49 African leaders for the summit, which is set to take place in Washington DC from December 13-15.

According to Biden’s office, “the summit reflects the US strategy towards sub-Saharan Africa, emphasising the critical importance of the region in meeting this era’s defining challenges”.

However, Ayuk thinks otherwise.

“As history has demonstrated… promises made at such lofty meetings, no matter how heartfelt, are frequently not kept.

“History tells us that time and time again, the high ideals, good words, handshake commitments (and even contractual obligations) which are reached at these meetings have, for any range of intervening reasons, been ignored, set aside, overlooked, or found to be too ambitious to complete. (Consider, for example, the West committing to giving $100 billion a year by 2020 to help emerging economies reduce emissions and prepare for climate change.”

When the original target was missed, it was moved — and has yet to be met, said Ayuk, in an opinion article posted to the African Energy Chamber’s website.

“To the extent possible, dear Sirs, let’s avoid building such bridges to nowhere in this summit.”

Ayuk said that under the banner of “climate justice”, many in the developed world have cut off public financing for new African fossil fuel projects — although that hasn’t stopped them from bankrolling or even subsidising their own hydrocarbon activities, or seeking feverishly to secure increased hydrocarbon commodities for a European Union threatened by an unprovoked and unjust war.

“Wealthy nations contend that because Africa is more vulnerable than most to the severe effects of climate change, the continent must abandon its oil and gas opportunities, and the economic and social improvements that come with it, and switch to renewables.

“Most of all, we are asking that everyone who attends the summit only makes promises they can keep. The time for empty gestures is over. Today calls for action. The true test of how successful the summit is will not be the news reports about it afterwards, but the results we see in the months and years to come.”

IOL