Dr Fatima Denton, Director of UNU, presented a lecture to students on the Geopolitics of An Energy Transition in Africa in a post Covid-19 world. The Students were a part of a month-long study program focused on “Global Diplomacy for Energy Transition in Africa (GlobDETA)” held by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) and the University for Foreigners of Perugia on Thursday 10th September 2020.
Dr Denton told the group of students about the energy situation on the Continent of Africa. She explained that Africa’s countries were energy poor as a result of a lack of infrastructure and made it clear that development needs an energy source. “Most countries have not been able to develop without their energy resources.” The UNU-INRA director said, “Coal for instance has played a huge part in the development of most developed countries.”
Despite the clear global dependence on fossil fuel to power, Dr Denton spoke of the urgency to make a just transition and how the COVID-19 pandemic has essentially taken away our choice in the matter. “It’s no longer an issue of when, it’s now a case of must. We have to do that if we want to get past fossil fuel dependency and doing this necessitates accelerating the transition process.”
The current situation was more than just fate being cruel, it was a lesson in the fact that Geopolitics affected a nation’s natural resources and the people that used it. Directly or indirectly, “There is a relisation brought by COVID-19 that the African continent cannot rely on oil and gas,” Dr Denton said. “But for that to happen, it needs to look at its governance system and make sure that it’s fit for purpose.”
By Aseye Banini