- Yesterday, over 400 activists, environmental, climate justice and human rights organisations in South Africa gathered at Innesfree Park in Sandton, Johannesburg to stage a protest targeting the Chinese delegation and other delegates attending the BRICS Summit.
The demonstration was aimed at calling on China to immediately cease financing all new fossil fuel developments and extractive projects in Africa that undermine global climate goals and which cause irreparable harm to local communities. Protestors specifically targeted the China-backed East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), and its associated oil drilling sites, in Uganda and Tanzania. The protest also targeted China’s involvement in the Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone in South Africa, the Hwange coal-related projects in Zimbabwe, and the Cabo Delgado gas projects in Mozambique. These projects are incompatible with China’s climate action and cooperation pledges to global south countries.
The demonstration in Johannesburg was bolstered by the hundreds of activists CSOs and CBOs from across the African continent (including in Uganda, Tanzania, the DRC, and Kenya, to name a few) who took to twitter under the hashtags #StopEACOP #EndFossilFuelFinancing and #BRICSProtest to add their voices to the calls on China to withdraw its involvement in all new fossil fuel projects in Africa.
The protest follows China’s signing of a climate declaration with Africa in 2021, where it pledged no new coal projects abroad and greater support for adaptation. Destructive projects like EACOP contradict these promises entirely. Activists say they will continue escalating pressure until China stops bankrolling fossil fuel expansion in Africa. Instead, China must prove itself as a true friend to the continent by making a dramatic and practical shift toward the rapid and widespread development of renewable energy alternatives which promote sustainable and lasting job opportunities, far-reaching energy access and socio-economic and environmental well-being for communities across the continent.
“Projects like EACOP show China’s rhetoric doesn’t match reality. A true friend to Africa would not fund projects that displace communities, unravel livelihoods and destroy ecosystems. We are demanding a new partnership and development modelone rooted in the principles of justice, equity, transparency, sustainability and collective benefit. Africans should not have to suffer through another epoch of careless extraction and exploitation. We are here to assert the potential and need for Africa to lead the renewable energy revolution,” said Zaki Mamdoo, , to reporters at the summit.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal
#StopEACOP is a global campaign against constructing the East Africa Crude Oil pipeline (EACOP). This proposed 1,443-kilometer heated pipeline will transport oil from Hoima, Uganda, to the port of Tanga in Tanzania. An alliance of local groups, communities, and African and global organisations leads the campaign. The #StopEACOP Coalition has called for a stop to the proposed pipeline and associated oil fields at Tilenga and Kingfisher. The #StopEACOP campaign is gathering momentum, building pressure on the remaining supporters and financiers of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline. AEGIS London, Arch Capital Group Ltd and Britam Holdings recently announced they would not offer the project insurance coverage. So far, 27 major banks and 23 major (re)insurers have ruled out support for the pipeline. Some financial institutions yet to commit to not funding EACOP include AIG, ICBC and Standard Bank.