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African Energy Ministers Slam as ‘Criminal’ Green Efforts To Stop Africa Using Its Fossil Fuels

Nov. 12, 2019 (EIRNS)—A record number of cabinet ministers, 23, and 1,839 delegates attended the annual “Africa Oil Week”—Africa’s largest oil and gas event—in Cape Town, South Africa last week. Ministers of numerous countries presented plans for expanding oil and gas exploration, transportation and refineries, for which they sought investment.

Extinction Rebellion activists protested outside, demanding African nations stop exploiting fossil fuels, in the name of “fighting climate change.”

Officials from a continent nearly half of whose inhabitants—600 million people—still have no access to electricity, and where the poor quality of power supply that does exist makes it difficult to power industry, and thereby provide meaningful employment, would have none of it.

Gabriel Obiang Lima, Energy Minister of Equatorial Guinea, told reporters: “Under no circumstances are we going to be apologizing.... Anybody out of the continent saying we should not develop those [oil and gas] fields, that is criminal. It is very unfair.”

Gwede Mantashe, Energy Minister of South Africa and national chair of the ruling African National Congress, said bluntly: “Energy is the catalyst for growth. They even want to tell us to switch off all the coal-generated power stations.  Until you tell them, ‘you know we can do that, but you’ll breathe fresh air in the darkness.’ ” Mantashe declared that ensuring a secure supply of oil for the nation is “not negotiable. We want to supply energy at a cost-effective level, because if it is too expensive I can tell you that it becomes ‘a nice to have,’ but people do not access it,” S&P Global Platts quoted him saying.

Noel Mboumba, Minister for Hydrocarbons of Gabon, declared oil to be a major driver of its development, affirming, “we will do all in our power to develop it.”

Somalia’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed was succinct: “We all share the common objective of facilitating the crucial investments that will power Africa’s economies, build communities and shape societies.”

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