Tayebwa: Africa shouldn't be compelled to abandon fossil fuels

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Tayebwa: Africa shouldn't be compelled to abandon fossil fuels

Thomas Tayebwa urges African parliamentarians to reject such proposals and advocate for a fair and equitable transition to clean energy.

LUANDA | The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, has challenged African countries not be coerced into abandoning fossil fuels, especially considering that Europe developed through the use of fossils and coal.

He made these comments during the 64th session of the OACPS Parliamentary Assembly and Constitutive Sessions of the OACPS-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, which took place in Luanda, Angola.

Tayebwa said Africa should not be forced to transition away from fossil fuels without a well-negotiated plan in place.

He called upon African parliamentarians to reject such proposals and advocate for a fair and equitable transition to clean energy.

"We believe that these countries have made substantial profits by utilizing dirty fuels and emitting harmful emissions into the atmosphere. Therefore, they should bear greater responsibility," he said.

According to energy reports, this energy transition requires approximately $25 billion per year until 2030.

The European Union has committed only €20 million, which is insufficient. We need more substantial support," he added.

He urged leaders at all levels to reject the European Union's unacceptable proposal, which imposes heavy penalties for climate change on Africa, despite the continent being the least emitter.

"We must ensure a fair and gradual transition that is not rushed," stated Tayebwa, who was recently elected to represent East Africa in OACPS-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

Referring to Uganda's upcoming oil exploration in 2025, he questioned how someone could suggest that Uganda should not exploit its oil, deeming such a notion unacceptable.

Tayebwa also appealed to the European Union to invest more in affordable solar energy in Africa, as the continent possesses 60% of the world's best evaluated solar resources.

"Africa has immense potential for clean energy, with 60% of the world's best assessed solar resources located here. However, only 1% of global installed solar capacity is in Africa. This signifies a significant opportunity for us," Tayebwa said, echoing the voice of the global south.

He further urged the European Union to cease shipping counterfeit electrical accessories to Africa, emphasizing that the continent requires quality and sustainable products.

Verner Ayukegba, senior vice-president of the African Energy Chambers, highlighted the fact that over 600 million Africans lack access to reliable and affordable energy. Additionally, 900 million Africans have no access to clean cooking fuels, with women and children being the most affected.

"We need to acknowledge that what these people desire and require is power. They don't necessarily care about the source of energy, be it gas, solar, or hydro. Their priority is reliable and affordable energy," Ayukegba stated.

While acknowledging the importance of energy transition, Ayukegba emphasized Africa's need to industrialize and create jobs. If utilizing gas resources is necessary to achieve this goal, then it must be expedited.

He expressed that every African child deserves access to the same opportunities as children elsewhere.

Marc Angel, Vice President of the European Parliament, highlighted the European Union's commitment to partnering with Africa in providing reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy. The EU has pledged up to €20 billion to support the deployment of at least 50 gigawatts of renewable energy in Africa and to provide electricity access to at least 100 million people by 2030.

"The EU aims to enhance access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy services for African people and businesses. This involves promoting the generation of renewable and sustainable energy as well as improving energy efficiency," stated the EU vice president.

He also mentioned the construction of key interconnectors at the regional level to enhance electricity trade, regional integration, and economic development.

Micheal Gahler, a Member of the European Parliament, urged African and European investors to find common ground in implementing the proposal for a clean energy transition.

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