Museveni wants Africa to exploit fossil fuel potential

President Museveni. 

What you need to know:

The President says it is hypocritical for Europeans to take Africa’s fossil fuels for their energy production, but refuse Africans to use the same fuels

President Museveni has said Africa should be allowed to continue exploiting fossil fuels to meet development demands and pull her people out of poverty since Europe is doing the same amid an energy shortage.

In a public letter released yesterday, President Museveni said the Europeans are telling Africans to stop the use of fossil fuels and turn to renewable energies such as solar and wind energy yet they are now demolishing wind farms to make way for open-pit coal mines.

“We will not accept one rule for them and another rule for us. We will not allow African progress to be the victim of Europe’s failure to meet its own climate goals. It is morally bankrupt for Europeans to expect to take Africa’s fossil fuels for their own energy production, but refuse to countenance African use of those same fuels for theirs,” President Museveni said.

His letter comes at a time when world government and business leaders are at the United Nations (UN) climate summit in Egypt to agree on measures to limit global temperature rise. The rise in global temperatures is attributed to the use of fossil fuels such as petroleum products and coals, poor farming methods, among others.

The rise in temperatures has led to droughts, floods, and a rise in water levels that displaced millions of people.

World leaders agree to limit the use of fossil fuels and other methods that affect global weather.

President Museveni said the West has been discouraging Africa from investing in the exploitation of fossil fuels and the Europeans would only allow it if the products are to be delivered only to their continent for their own development.

“Now with Europe reinvesting in its own fossil fuel power industry to bring mothballed power plants back online, in a truly perverse twist, we are told new Western investment in African fossil fuels is possible—but only for oil and gas resources that will be piped and shipped to Europe. This is the purest hypocrisy,” Mr Museveni said.

Uganda has been facing challenges in exploiting oil from the Albertine region and piping it to the coast through Tanzania. The European Parliament asked the project to stop saying it would have a serious impact on the environment and the communities where the pipeline will pass.

The President said the alternative energy sources aren’t reliable and would leave millions of Africans without power for industries, leading to unemployment.

“We see hundreds of millions of our own citizens without access to electricity. We see climate-compulsive Western investment in African energy funneled into the wind and solar that creates intermittent electricity and not the consistent base load generation required to power factories or produce employment. We see Europeans with jobs made possible by diverse means of electricity production, and Africans with neither, forcing tens of thousands to make life-threatening crossings of the Mediterranean Sea to Europe,” he said.

He said some of the counterparts have instead decided to call for reparations or handouts from developed countries.

“But this is the last thing Africans need or most want,” he said.

Empty promise

Thirteen years ago, the developed countries agreed to contribute $100b annually to poor countries to be able to deal with climate change and mitigate it. The developed countries haven’t yet met their goals on their annual contribution.

“Europe’s failure to meet its climate goals should not be Africa’s problem. But that continent’s determination to write one set of rules for Europeans and a different set for Africans makes it so. It means Europe is complicit in forcing poverty on Africa, and that is not acceptable and will not stand. Should no climate agreement be signed at the conference of parties (COP 27) in Egypt this week, we should all recognise who is responsible,” he said.

He said if Western hypocrisy doesn’t stop, Africa will look for other investors in fossil fuels in Asia such as China and India.

Leaders respond to fossil fuels yesterday

Kenya President William Ruto                                                   

“On the subject of the agreement that we signed, I think specifically the agreements there signed in Sharm el-Sheikh (Egypt), were not necessarily about the exploitation of hydrocarbons. I think these were greener agreements on solar energy, on green hydrogen energy, on geothermal energy, wind, and solar energy progressing on the desire to do the right thing.’’

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa                                                

“As a country, we have embarked or we have adopted a nationally-determined contribution where we have indicated how we are giving to address the challenges of climate change and what specific action. We will take the reality of this matter as climate change is here and we have to address it whether we like it or not. For the floods, the drought, and many other horrific occurrences that are happening, we have got to address...’’