Lobby protests West’s stance on African oil projects, threatens boycott

Tuesday July 13 2021

Workers undertake the first flaring test at the Waraga 1 well in Kaiso-Tonya in Hoima district in western Uganda. FILE PHOTO | NMG


The African Energy Chamber (AEC) has called for a boycott of Western countries and climate change advocates opposed to the development of the continent’s oil and gas sector, in its latest sparring with the developed world to protest what it describes as a move to perpetuate energy poverty.

In a statement released July 13, the Johannesburg-based AEC said that Western elites are using the global climate crisis to “disrupt African progress” by waging campaigns for their multinationals to discontinue investments in the African energy sector. 

The Chamber says that as a result of these campaigns, Western financial institutions now discriminate against Africa’s oil and gas industry, as these nations continue to interdict fossil fuel developments on the continent.

“The AEC will urge African countries to boycott or refrain from working with international companies that discontinue investments and reject the African oil industry,” the statement reads.

East African pipeline

As a result of campaigns against fossil fuels, several European and American banks have declined to participate in the financing of the $3.5 billion East African Crude Oil Pipeline, which is expected to transport oil from Hoima in western Uganda to the Indian Ocean port of Tanga, in Tanzania.


French oil major Total, the lead investor in Uganda’s oil, says the pipeline project will unlock other investments in the region of up to $15 billion, with 10,000 jobs to be created and multimillion-dollar contracts to local companies.  

European oil majors BP, Shell and Total have all started to invest in multibillion-dollar projects in clean energy to help transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and liquefied natural gas.

But, as international oil companies dump fossil fuels and push investments in clean energy, experts say Africa continues to lag and will still require oil and gas projects to bridge its energy deficit.

The AEC says the proposed $100 billion for developing countries to enable them to transition from fossil fuels to clean energy is a non-starter, especially considering that Western nations will be spending about $6 trillion to transition annually.

NJ Ayuk, chairman of the AEC, says that by boycotting fossil fuels now, the international community is defectively boycotting any possible development in Africa, alleviating the opportunity for a transition and leaving millions in energy poverty.

“If the goal is to move Africa towards increased renewable energy usage, a healthy oil and gas industry is a good and cost-effective way to get there,” he says.

The Chamber says that even when African countries like Nigeria, Angola, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo have heeded the international community’s push and made reforms in policy, regulatory framework and investor attractive initiatives to create an enabling environment, Western elites have “decided to end investment.”

The leaders of this campaign include the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, BlackRock, Royal Bank of Scotland, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and the International Energy Agency, which have previously declared the end of investment in African oil and gas.