SA’s Energy Minister – Biggest Challenge Confronting Africa is Energy Poverty

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  • South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Mr Gwede Mantashe, delivered a key not address at the 2022 Africa Energy Indaba in Cape Town this morning. 

“The biggest challenge confronting our continent is energy poverty.This is despite the abundance of our individual countries’ energy resources, including mineral resources that are catalytic for a low carbon and environmentally sustainable world.” – Gwede Mantashe

“The ‘Africa We Want’ must be shaped against the backdrop of global commitments towards net zero carbon emissions,” said Mantashe. “This is what the African Union means by an “environmentally sustainable and climate resilient economies and communities,” he added.

Energy transition

On the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables, Mantashe reminded attendees that we must not be ambivalent about the just energy transition debate and added that there is a need to engage with this reality in a pragmatic manner, and refocus the debate away from the narrow techno-determinist view to one that focusses holistically on what this means for developing African societies. “The assumed pendulum swing, or what others call “accelerated transition”, intent on replacing one system with another in a flash, is both irrational and dangerous,” he said.

Gas sector

“There is ample opportunity for a massive expansion of gas trade, especially from the Gulf of Guinea and the broader West Coast of Africa, where we have many producers and some already exporting'” said Mantashe. He hghlighted the recent oil discoveries in Namibia as a massive welcome impetus for development in that country, but also for South Africa. “We trust that the development of the domestic Namibian gas market emanating from these finds, will benefit the region in terms of substituting diesel usage in power generation. Our sources inform us that the Namibian oil fields, when fully developed, could catapult the country to among the top five (5) oil producing countries in Sub-Sahara,” he said.

Mantashe pointed out that Africa must define its own just energy transition that will economically empower and enable the continent to grow. Our own agenda, our own execution, where we cooperate, and invite others to partner with us to achieve the Africa We Want,” he concluded.

Link to the full speech HERE 

Author: Bryan Groenendaal


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