A win-win for Europe and Africa – Economy and Ecology

Africa must not delay in implementing projects to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, while the inhabitants of the continent are also among those who live in ‘overall “hotspots of high human vulnerability” to climate change. Meanwhile, the environmental crisis appears to be progressing alongside an energy crisis in Europe following Russia’s war on Ukraine. As Europe faces the possibility of a gas shortage this winter, Brussels needs a quick solution. Ironically, the continent that darkens at sunset because little having access to electricity has a solution. But if Africa can be up to it, Europe must also be up to it for Africans.

Appealing to Africa with its REPowerEU plan, Europe expects the continent to help offset the cut in Russian gas by importing LNG from some 14 countries. And there are many in Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea-Conakry, together constituting a so-called MSGBC Basin now feeding an’gas rush.’ Nigeria had been gas export of his Bonny Island in Europe. Perhaps to mitigate the risks associated with doing business in Africa and boost industry confidence, the Commission backs its plan with “financial and legal measures.’

Vulnerable Africa also needs a ‘safety net’.

So far, the most significant political development since the European Commission announced the plan has been German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s trip to Africa. Upon arriving, he made his host understand that he “deliberately chose Senegal as his first stop”. Germany consumes more gas than any other European country and since the activation of its gas emergency plan, reports the ‘situation is tense and a further aggravation of the situation cannot be ruled out.

As ‘strict difficulties arise in the supply of certain products, particularly in the field of energy”, the EC has brought into force Article 122 of the Treaty on European Union. His ‘to register “gas for a safe winter”, as well as its REPowerEU plan, must compensate for certain 155 billion cubic meters of natural gas imported from Russia last year, reducing demand for 15 percent until March and diversifying energy suppliers, among other goals. The basis of the reduction is solidarity.

As Commission President Ursula von der Leyen puts it, “energy solidarity is a fundamental principle of our treaty”. As with climate change between developed and developing regions, von der Leyen acknowledges the inequalities between EU member states’ ability to deal with energy disruptions, saying that “there are some member states that are more directly exposed to Russian gas than others, and they are, of course, more vulnerable than others to disturbances.Thus, according to the principle of solidarity, the Commission provides a “safety net”.

A safety net for Africa

Vulnerable Africa also needs a ‘safety net’. As Europe takes with one hand, it must lend a hand with the other. This is consistent with moral responsibility, demonstrating much-needed international leadership on climate change and expressing solidarity. At the height of the energy crisis in Europe, there seems to be a desire, as Chancellor Scholz’s trip shows, to put aside old concerns, imagined or real, about Politics, economic and governance issues that have long been associated with doing business in Africa. By extending solidarity beyond European borders, unity to solve climate change can serve as a guiding principle. Here’s how Europe can exercise universal brotherhood in these difficult times.

Europe’s expression of solidarity with Africans could include addressing the trade imbalance between Europe and Africa. In a decade, trade between the two has not even been 2 percent of “total exports and imports outside the EU”, despite an exhaustive list of bilateralal and multilateral commercial agreements.

Europe should loosen the purse strings of climate finance by guaranteeing more grants and not loans to African countries for climate change mitigation and adaptation projects. Adapting to climate change means investing in crops and farming techniques to coax an inflexible parched land to continue feeding the world’s fastest growing population. Most African economies depend on agriculture and in February the IPCC tells us that ‘FWell and drought-related acute food insecurity and malnutrition have increased in Africa.’

Africa has vast arable land, but governments’ foreign exchange funds are drained each year by $35 billion import basic products, such as rice, wheat and maize.

In exchange for gas exports, the EU can lend a hand to fight the inflation that has challenges in South Africa, Sierra Leone and Ghanaamong others. Compared to European countries where the price of inflation increases on average by around 5 percent, Africans will pay almost 9% more for food this year. Now, 10 out of 18 the countries where food prices are “at abnormally high levels” are on the continent. Africa has vast arable land, but governments’ foreign exchange funds are drained each year by $35 billion import basic products, such as rice, wheat and maize. This is an old problem made worse by the impacts of climate change. European solidarity with Africans should take both short-term and long-term approaches.

Europe’s responsibility

Europe must lead the way in solving the food emergency by providing the $418 million the WFP needs to prevent millions of people in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya from starving. The IMF says food prices will continue to rise until 2023, which will help make people food insecurity. In the midst of this deadly famine in Africa, there is a ‘food waste index‘ and the European Commission has hit the nail on the head with ‘A common definition of food waste’ and ‘legally binding targets to reduce food waste” in Europe, where “88 million tons of food waste [is] generated annually. Clearly, there is enough food in Europe to board ships to deliver life-saving emergency food to Africans today.

The EU’s long-term solutions must focus on increasing Africa’s agricultural production to ensure that the continent, first and foremost, feeds itself, before exporting food, such as cocoa, in demand in developed countries. With the EU supporting agricultural production of indigenous African cereals, such as millet, teff and sorghum, African countries could reduce wheat imports and the continent’s agricultural sector will focus on producing food for consumption local.

As the Covid-19 pandemic has hampered all kinds of development, economic hardship will also derail progress on climate action if it turns into civil unrest.

After the energy and economic crisis, the Commission must pursue renewable energy in Africa with the same political and legal support as industry to secure the continent’s gas supply. If doubts about technology and solar radiation are no longer relevant, then what exactly is holding back climate change mitigation projects in Africa? Silver. The time is long past for politicians to accept that climate change is not an economic issue. It is a new reality of environmental disaster that is certain to create a humanitarian crisis and on a scale and scale perhaps never seen before.

As the Commission now supports industry sourcing gas from Africa, it must, in a spirit of solidarity, do the same by capitalizing on the continent’s abundant renewable natural resource from the Sun.With 180,000 terawatt hours (TWh) per year of wind potential, ‘27 countries alone could meet the entire continental electricity demand.

Much has been devoted to the development of democratic governance on the continent, which is under threat because the cost of a meal a day continues to rise. As the Covid-19 pandemic has hampered all kinds of development, economic hardship will also derail progress on climate action if it turns into civil unrest. Europe must measure this unique chance, as an economically rich continent seeking the help of the poorest, to assume moral responsibility and political leadership by expressing solidarity, fraternity and humanity with Africans.