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Africa should insist on just energy transition: Namibian minister

Minister of Mines and Energy Tom Alweendo. Photo via @TomAlweendo

Windhoek, Namibia | Xinhua | Namibia’s Minister of Mines and Energy Tom Alweendo on Thursday said Africans must insist on a just energy transition, as developed countries push for limiting the use of fossil fuels while encouraging the use of renewable energy.

Speaking at the Bank of Namibia Symposium in Windhoek under the theme, ‘Maximising economic growth from renewable energy sources in Namibia’, Alweendo stressed that developed countries are pushing for an energy transition without considering the consequences to Africans.

“Pushing Africa to move forward with an energy transition on any timetable other than our own, is just another example of the lack of respect the global community has for African priorities, not only is this kind of mindset condescending, but it also shows a total lack of concern about the negative impacts of African countries rushing our switch from fossil fuels to renewables,” he said.

“Think about the potential loss of economic opportunities and greater difficulties in delivering reliable electricity to the hundreds of millions of Africans who need it so badly. Think about the ensuing loss of the livelihood that most African countries have been carefully nurturing over the last few decades,” Alweendo said.

Alweendo agrees that renewables are the energy sources of the future, however, Africans are not there yet, and even when that happens, renewable energy may not be sufficient to eradicate energy-induced poverty on the continent without significant infrastructural investment that Africa does not have the capacity for at present.

“What is needed is for us to develop our energy transition timeline actively and purposefully; one that takes into account the urgency of the climate change crisis and the needs of the African people,” Alweendo said, adding that it may not be easy, but it will be necessary to take true ownership and custodianship of natural resources.

Namibia intends to harness fossil fuel resources including natural gas for domestic, regional, and continental needs and at the same time also build a thriving renewable energy industry that will help with climate change, he noted.

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