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This article appears in the November 19, 2021 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

[Print version of this article]

Africa Briefs

Africa Pushes Back at COP26

Twenty-three African heads of state travelled to Glasgow for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). Their speeches show that the leaders universally attended with an eye to acquiring development funds, which have been otherwise squeezed off by the Great Green Reset activities of UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance (and former Governor of the Bank of England) Mark Carney: If any development finance is to be doled out, leaders must participate in the COP26 process, like it or not.

Of the speeches monitored by EIR, the most forceful in delivering the message that “Africa sees this as modern imperialism,” was that of Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, who told his imperial hosts that, “it would be wholly unfair for the world to demand that Africa abandon the exploitation of these [God-given] resources.” [emphasis in original] Making the same point in earlier statements were Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in an Oct. 24 Wall Street Journal op-ed and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who defended Nigeria’s use of petroleum in an October 30 statement in Newsweek.

No African speaker would go so far as to criticize the alleged “science” of climate change, perhaps because the extensive research casting doubt on it, as reported in EIR, is censored in the media. Meanwhile, they are exposed to an intense, unending media barrage that paints the human consequences of every flood, drought, or tornado—most of them the result of underdevelopment—as the result of sins against Mother Nature. The leaders are aware that Africa’s population (18% of world population) contributes less than 2% of global carbon, yet they are being arm-twisted to sacrifice the development of their countries.

Nigerian VP Osinbajo Exposed ‘Climate Change’ Process Two Months Ago

Two months before the climate change alarmists met Oct. 31 in Glasgow, the UN climate change process was exposed by Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, as a modern reincarnation of 19th-century imperialism, denying the right to develop to the world’s poorest countries. Writing in Foreign Affairs on Aug. 31, in a piece titled, “The Divestment Delusion: Why Banning Fossil Fuel Investments Would Crush Africa,” Osinbajo wrote that “After decades of profiting from oil and gas, a growing number of wealthy nations have banned or restricted public investment in fossil fuels, [a move which] will do little to limit carbon emissions globally but much to hurt the continent’s economic prospects.”

Taking Nigeria as an example—but with implications for the entire developing world—he stated: “For countries such as my own, Nigeria, which is rich in natural resources but still energy poor, the transition must not come at the expense of affordable and reliable energy for people, cities, and industry.” Natural gas, for example, “is a crucial tool for lifting people out of poverty. It is used not only for power but for industry and fertilizer and for cleaner cooking. Liquified petroleum gas is already replacing huge amounts of hazardous charcoal and kerosene that were most widely used for cooking, saving millions of lives that were previously lost to indoor air pollution.”

Osinbajo notes the bitter irony that, “Institutions such as the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation were specifically created [in the 1950s and 1960s] to help spur high-impact projects,” the very kind of which they are now refusing to let go forward.

South Africa Becomes the Poster Child for Glasgow Climate Summit

Announced with fanfare on Nov. 2, four Western countries—the UK, U.S., France and Germany—and the EU, have promised $8.5 billion to fund a Just Energy Transition Partnership with South Africa, to “accelerate the decarbonization of South Africa’s economy, with a focus on the electricity system,” according to the UK government announcement. The agreement—the largest financial commitment to emerge during COP26—was hammered out in South Africa and will be devastating for a large segment of South Africa’s workforce in both coal mining and power production. It is being called by critics a “jobs bloodbath.”

The deal further specifies that to “satisfy creditors” that their money is being properly spent, an international economic task force will oversee every aspect of the “transition,” with specific mention of state electricity provider Eskom, whose debt is above $27 billion. In exchange for providing “support, including finance, to developing countries’ mitigation and adaptation efforts ... an inclusive task force between South Africa and international partners” will be established to manage Eskom’s debt and accelerate the (ominous) unbundling of the company.

The plan sounds similar to the infamous Financial Control Board that downsized New York City in the 1970s and then Washington, D.C. in the early 2000s.

Mantashe: Africa Must ‘Seize the Moment,’ Put Hydrocarbons at Forefront

South African Minister of Energy Gwede Mantashe, in addressing African Energy Week 2021 in Cape Town on Nov. 9, called on African governments to unite to form a strategy in defense of hydrocarbons. He said, “We are being pressured, even compelled, to move away from all forms of fossil fuels … which have been regarded as a key resource for industrialization … Africa must get together to develop a strategy to deal with this reality. Africa must seize the moment, we must indeed position African oil and gas at the forefront of global energy growth.”

He said that Africa should not be “coerced to take missteps,” but should create an institution to raise capital for investment in hydrocarbons.

Nuclear power is also needed, he said, to achieve development and industrialization.

Mantashe’s speech “was well-received by the applauding audience at the oil and gas–oriented conference,” Fin24 reported Nov. 9.

He had been preceded by N.J. Ayub, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, who said: “While some people believe we should give up our natural resources, at this time, Africa is going to be the voice of humanity … it is time for us to stand together.”

Energy Deputy Director General Ntokozo Ngcwabe explained the necessity of continuing to use coal on Radio 702 the next day. She emphasized, “You can never have baseload from renewables.” If we go 100% clean, she said, we will breathe clean air—in darkness.

South African Voters Give a Slap to Ramaphosa’s Government and Party

South Africa went to the polls in municipal and district elections Nov. 1. The results amount to a harsh rebuke of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government and the ruling African National Congress (ANC). For the first time since coming to power in 1994, the ANC received less than 50% of the vote.

The ANC now holds a majority in only two of South Africa’s eight metropolitan municipalities—Mangaung (Bloemfontein) and Buffalo City (East London)—and must form coalitions, if it can, in the others, including Johannesburg and Pretoria (the ANC vote was 34% in each), and Durban, the previous ANC stronghold (now at 43%).

The vote was variegated elsewhere, but national vote totals show the ANC at 46%, down from 54% in 2016.

Newzroom Afrika even headlined its coverage, “Calls Increase for Ramaphosa To Step Down,” and mentioned the advent of the hashtag, #RamaphosaMustGo, which had 15,000 occurrences as of Saturday, Nov. 6.

Ramaphosa had been actively campaigning around the country. When he cast his vote in Soweto, he was booed. Sowetan demonstrators then marched to city hall to protest high electricity prices and the government’s poor service delivery. Other booing and other forms of disrespect occurred around the country.

Unofficial (actual) levels of unemployment are running near 50%, only partly due to pandemic lockdowns. State electric power company Eskom has been plagued with problems for years, resulting in part from poor maintenance—even while the ANC government was steadily building out the distribution network to bring electricity to more of the country—and rolling blackouts are now a regular part, and in some townships a daily part, of life.

Voter turnout was a record low at 46%, down 11% from the last municipal election in 2016. The Democratic Alliance, the main opposition party, also lost ground (21%, down from 27%). Local governments in many places will now be formed of coalitions of the diminished parties—the ANC and the Democratic Alliance—the populist Economic Freedom Fighters, and lesser parties.

F.W. de Klerk, Former South African President, Dead at 85

South Africa’s former President, F.W. de Klerk, died at his home in Cape Town on Nov. 11. De Klerk had had a political career supporting apartheid. Yet after less than 6 months as President, and after the Berlin Wall fell, he announced the release of Nelson Mandela, de facto leader of the African National Congress, on Feb. 2, 1990, so that a peaceful transfer of political power to South Africans as a whole could be negotiated.

De Klerk and Mandela rose “above their destinies” in initiating the peaceful transfer. Each had to contemplate the alternative, a race war—then a very real prospect. Serious problems not solved at the time are still not solved, yet one could not speak of solving them if they had not made that choice.

De Klerk left behind a video message in which he said: “I, without qualification, apologize for the pain and the hurt and the indignity and the damage that apartheid has done to black, brown and Indians in South Africa.”

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