Africa’s Fossil-Fuel Investment Trap

(Foreign Affairs, Congers NY, 17 February 2022) By continuing to finance gas expansion in Africa Nnimmo Bassey and Anabela Lemos argue that outside investors, including ECAs, are in fact displacing renewables, delaying Africa’s energy transition, and making it harder for countries to decarbonize and escape a harmful extractive economic model. Investments in renewable energy would produce an economic model that is cheaper, more reliable, and more democratic. Africa need not be seen as a site of destitution and need. It is a continent with rich knowledge, practices, and potential for establishing ecologically sound socioeconomic systems — ones that don’t replicate the mistakes made by so many others in the past century. Ending coal finance now but oil and gas investments later, as advocated by Nigeria's Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, puts off African development now and continues to channel these investments into corrupt regimes and/or inefficient technologies, and not into more immediate benefits from new efficient long-term electricity/energy technologies for Africans now.