4 November 2021
Akinwumi Adesina Photographer: Christopher Goodney/ Bloomberg
Natural gas remains key to Africa’s energy security and economic prosperity, even as political pressure grows to speed up the transition away from fossil fuels, according to the continent’s biggest development bank.
“Gas is fundamental to Africa’s energy system,” African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said in an interview with Bloomberg News on Wednesday. “We’ve got to make sure that we’re pragmatic” and that a system is created to support long-term development, he said.
While natural gas is less polluting than other fossil fuels such as coal and oil, some environmentalists want to end its use because the industry is responsible for methane that has far more planet-warming power than carbon dioxide.
For African governments like Mozambique and Tanzania, where more than $50 billion-worth of gas projects are being discussed with companies including TotalEnergies SE and Equinor ASA, it tops the development agenda. In Kenya where the national electricity grid is already 90% renewable, authorities are considering converting the remaining fossil-fuel power plants to use liquefied natural gas.
Even if Africa tripled its natural gas output, it would add under 1% to its less-than 3% contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions, said Adesina. The world needs to “be fair to Africa” because the continent needs to industrialize and create jobs which requires a stable energy supply, he said.