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Letters to the editor: Tackling energy poverty requires a 'gas is good for Africa' approach

Letters

RECENTLY, African energy ministers convened at the second edition of MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power 2022, where discussions largely centred around how gas is integral for the continent’s economic transformation.

While developed nations call for the end of fossil fuel utilisation in the name of climate change, Africa still faces its biggest challenge yet: energy poverty.

In 2022, over 600 million people lack access to electricity and over 900 million lack access to clean cooking solutions, with even more people falling into extreme poverty following the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

However, to date, over 620 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas has been discovered in Africa, with a further 300 tcf expected to be revealed in the upcoming years. This clean, accessible and widely available resource offers the solution to Africa’s energy crisis, and as such, various African stakeholders have been committed to the narrative that ‘gas is good for Africa.’

It would be an aberration to give up the exploitation of our resources while more than 600 million Africans still live in the dark.

Even if Africa exploited all of its current gas discoveries over 30 years, its cumulative emissions would represent barely 3,5% of global emissions.

What counts in the end is that the exploitation of our resources is done in the best conditions of transparency and efficiency, for the improvement of the conditions of our populations and the progress of our countries. This is our duty.

For Africa, the benefits of gas are multifold. In addition to producing far less emissions than coal and oil, the ability of the resource to electrify the continent, kickstart industrialisation and unlock new opportunities for socioeconomic growth on the back of job creation, domestic market resurgence and multi-sector development is unparalleled.

African countries need a reliable energy supply to provide the livelihoods to their people.

In harnessing our oil and gas resources, we can reap the economic benefits that come with eradicating energy poverty.

We can grow and diversify our economies; we can industrialise our economies; we will create well-paying jobs for our citizens and create opportunities for our private sector companies and entrepreneurs.

This year, the Russia-Ukraine conflict has enhanced interest by international destinations in African gas projects, with the European Commission going as far as labelling gas as green.

While Africa has been calling for this association for years, a looming energy crisis overseas has altered global energy plans.

However, before Africa exports to Europe, the continent should capitalise and utilise its own resources for the good of its own development.- Emmanuel Chilamphuma

 

A tribute to Magaisa (Mamvura Part 2) DUE to the excitement which has overwhelmed Mamvura that he was now able to manoeuvre the bus from its parking bay to the road, he gained a little bit of knowledge on how to drive, but lacked experience despite being an assistant to uncle Genaro.

Mamvura did not know that it was his duty to keep a routine check on the level of water and oil in the engine everyday in the morning before he starts driving the bus.

Every morning, Mamvura started the bus without even checking all these fundamentals.

His neighbour always advised him to keep a general regular check on the bus and attend to any problems.

This did not make sense in Mamvura’s mind. His excitement was just on steroids to such an extent that he ignored some very important issues.

One day, Mamvura drove the bus from Harare to Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe and back the following day without checking water and oil.

The engine started heating up, but Mamvura did not pick it because he did not know how the temperature gauge works.

Whenever his friends were telling him to always keep maintaining and looking after the bus, Mamvura would always answer back saying that the bus did not belong to anyone — the kind of “chinhu changu” mantra.

On several occasions, Mamvura threatened to drop everyone who reminded him that his bus needed service.

Some parts of the bus had worn out and needed to be changed and thrown away as they were making it difficult for the bus to perform well.

Most of the time Mamvura was advised to change the parts, he would go berserk and was always arrogant to his fellow bus crew members who always complained that his driving skills were outdated. They told him he needed a refresher course.

Mamvura failed to follow simple things like the service plan book of the bus and at times, he referred the bus to unqualified mechanics to fix it instead of referring it to approved mechanics.

He would also threaten to throw anyone who disagreed with him under the bus.

Mamvura has been always caught on the wrong side of the law, where he always wants to be selfish while on the wheel.

On several occasions, he failed to read and obey road signs. Most of the times, he would get arrested for speeding after drinking home-brewed beer.

Surprisingly, his die-hard passengers still argue that Mamvura has what it takes to drive and take care of the bus. They have faith in him.

To be honest, Mamvura should be retired and a qualified bus driver must be interviewed for the job as soon as possible.

Mamvura is still trapped in the old ways of driving. He cannot be trusted with driving a modern bus.-Leonard Koni

 

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