Lighting Up Central Africa by 2030
Aug. 14, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—Africa has some of the lowest rates of electrification in the world. In Niger only 3% of its population has access to electricity; Chad 9%; Liberia 11%; Burkina Faso, 20%; Mauritania 30%; Mali 40%; and most others have between 40 and 60%. Only the population of South Africa has 95% access to electricity. A total of 580 million Africans lack electricity, according to the International Energy Organization. The worst-affected countries are in Central Africa.
A memorandum of understanding was signed at the meeting of the Central Africa Business Forum (CABEF) to make the Central Africa region an “energy poverty free zone” by 2030. The signers included the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO), Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Gabon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C.), the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), and Africa’s second major oil producer, Angola. Their idea is to create a Central African Pipeline System, which, instead of exporting energy to Europe and the West, where most of the revenues go to pay off foreign debt, would distribute it throughout Central Africa. The project would include the construction of gas-fired power stations, refineries, and gas-liquefaction plants. The energy generation would bring power to homes, businesses, and new industries, including processing resources such as iron ore, bauxite, and copper, which are now exported without any processing. The plan would entail laying 6,500 km of new pipeline, initially, across all central countries.
In Central Africa alone there are reserves of oil estimated at more than 31 billion barrels with five of the ten African oil producers located in the region: Gabon, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, and Angola. There is significant involvement of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) in many of the countries in the region.
Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima laid out a timeline for the project during a meeting organized by the African Energy Chambers at the end of last year. His country and Cameroon are working on the first phase, which will connect through Chad.
“The D.R.C. would connect through Angola and Central Africa, as they are already providing products through that direction. Congo-Brazzaville is developing an FPSO [floating production storage and offloading] for liquefied natural gas, which in the future, will need to be connected with a pipeline.”
In a clearly related development, Chad passed legislation last March to nationalize the country’s hydro-carbon sector, after ExxonMobil pulled out of the country. While the company had sold its concession to the London-based Sahara Energy for over $400 million, the deal was deemed illegal by the Chad government, which has threatened to expropriate these assets.
The plan is initially concerned with Central Africa, but it will without doubt serve as an example for other hydro-carbon producers, such as Niger, which could join the projects. Another example is Egypt, a significant gas producer, which in 2018 had already implemented a similar policy under which Germany’s Siemens had completed the construction of the world’s largest combined-cycle gas-fired power station, generating no less than 14.5 GW. Built in a record 30 months, the plant increased Egypt’s installed capacity by more than 50%.
The Central African Pipeline threatens to overturn the European Union’s policy of so-called “energy independence” from Russia and their fantasies of turning Africa into a source for its proclaimed green energy at the expense of African industrial development, a key component of the murderous climate-change policy.
Naturally, the environmentalists have attacked the plan, including the South Africa-based Africa Climate Foundation, which in the last year alone has received $6.5 million from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.