Mining Indaba: America touts green energy as key to closing Africa’s growth gap


“We also know that the transition to a clean energy transition will not happen overnight. In some cases where carbon-neutral options are not available, commitment to natural gas projects, minimized, may be necessary,” he said.

The United States has identified a more efficient electricity supply as one of its top foreign policy priorities for Africa. This goes hand in hand with the continent navigating towards a just and inclusive clean energy transition, leading to economic growth and prosperity; building strong, sustainable and transparent supply chains for critical minerals in support of the clean energy transition; and improving the sector’s financial and regulatory environment and promoting transparent and responsible management of natural resources.

For this reason, the Obama administration’s Power Africa program, administered by USAID, has supported the development of more than 5,700 megawatts of new generating capacity since 2013. According to USAID data, it aims to add more than 30,000 megawatts of generation by 2030. , enough to power 60 million homes and businesses.

Among the projects highlighted by Fernandez is the Mega Solar initiative in Namibia and Botswana, which will facilitate the purchase of up to 5,000 MW of renewable energy, according to Fernandez.

Southern Africa’s largest solar power generation program will power millions of homes and create thousands of jobs while avoiding an estimated 3.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year.

Power Africa has stepped up its activities. In April, it launched a new public-private partnership aimed at electrifying 10,000 additional health facilities in sub-Saharan Africa over the next decade.

Fernandez also pointed to an initiative called Prosper Africa, which was announced by the Trump administration seeking to connect American and African businesses. The US government is using this initiative to push Africa towards cleaner energy.

He helped facilitate a $2.1 billion solar project in Angola led by US developer Sun Africa, and a $3.5 billion refinery built by a consortium led by Quanten LLC. Fernandez said the latter would produce 100,000 barrels of refined petroleum products per day that meet the Euro 5 emissions standard.

Fernandez also warned that government initiatives are likely to be insufficient to meet Africa’s energy needs and that the private sector should drive progress.

“Race to the Top”

Regarding US foreign policy, Fernandez said that the United States is not opposed to China investing in Africa as long as the investments are centered on respect for human rights, democracy and the creation of jobs for locals, he said at a press briefing.

“Our policy is not to ask our partners to choose between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. We don’t do that.

“We believe we offer an alternative vision of economic development that more sustainably promotes democratic governance, respect for human rights and transparency. And we keep talking about the word ‘sustainable’, which means serving the long-term interests of the people here in Africa in a more sustainable way,” he said.

Fernandez continued, “I am here because African countries are important partners in pursuing shared global and regional priorities – from ending the Covid-19 pandemic to rebuilding a more inclusive global economy to address the climate challenge and building resilience. We are encouraged to see many African countries creating clean energy opportunities, advancing democracy, promoting respect for human rights and working towards lasting peace and security,” he said. he declares.

Fernandez stressed that the United States was not “in a race to the bottom” to undermine China and other investors by sacrificing quality, safety and wage standards. “Here in Africa, we propose to do this by creating a race to the top in terms of environment, social and governance,” he said.

“What African governments want is that all investments, including Chinese investments, respect local laws and interests, respect human rights, including labor rights, and protect the environment. environment,” he said.

The US government has emphasized that successful business relationships require predictable regulatory and legal environments, whether private or public. “Governments will need to enable investment through reform, and companies will need to manage and pursue business plans that promote the energy transition while taking on reasonable levels of risk themselves.”

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