The COVID crisis has been given highest priority over the last year, even more than the hunger, poverty, gender-based violence and energy insecurity crises put together. The question is, why do these pandemics not seem to elicit the same focused response from governments?
Energy is needed to drive and underpin economic development. Africa is blessed with abundant renewable energy resources, with sunshine and wind that can drive our economies to serve the people of Africa. But, instead, our governments seem hellbent on driving us to destruction. The time for fossil fuels is over. The dawn of renewable energy is part of a new sustainable economy. Yet, we see military force and violence to push fossil fuels down the throat of Africa. Why?
Climate change is real and already causing droughts, floods, storm surges and the impact on sub-Saharan Africa is predicted to be far worse than that on other regions of the world.
Local fishing communities are being marginalized still further, deprived from their small livelihoods, that give them dignity and food security, to serve the greed of international corporations and governments, who seem either complicit or turn a blind eye.
In 1995 Ken Saro Wiwa, environmental justice activist was hanged by the Nigerian government, for standing up for the people whose livelihoods were threatened by oil companies. Why should the Namibian and Botswana government permit actions that add to climate crimes and affect coastal communities, through the commencement of highly polluting and oil drilling activities in the Okavango Basin?
In 2021, South Africa seems intent on pushing South Africa into an oil and gas path which has already show a scant regard for the voices of local communities and the environment that they depend on. What has changed for the people of Africa? What has changed for the people of Africa?
African-led local development, that builds on the renewable resources of the continent, needs to be harnessed to benefit local communities. This should be Africa’s future, where the climate crisis can be averted. This is the alternative world that we need and demand. Let us use the Covid crisis, not to follow bad choices faster, but to chart a new way forward.
People’s power is renewable and sustainable – let’s democratize energy and put power back in the hands of people.
Happy Africa Day
The Green Connection Team