Sudanese-British Magnate Ibrahim Blasts West’s Hypocrisy Over Green Agenda, Use of African Resources

Al-Yurae- (Sputnik)-Sudanese-British billionaire Mo Ibrahim took part in the “Reuters impact” conference in London on Monday, where world leaders, businessmen, scientists and thinkers gathered to discuss climate issues.

Businessman and philantropist Mo Ibrahim criticized the so-called Global North for obstructing African nations’ attempt to develop their own gas reserves, citing environment concerns, while at the same time seeking opportunities to gain from African resources themselves.

Ibrahim started by describing the 26th UN Climate Change Conference Glasgow as the gathering of the “well-minded” people of the developed nations, who decided to stop financing fossil and gas internationally, out of the goal to curb global emissions. 

“The Global North always talks and decides, without understanding whatever happens in the Global South, and the Global South [is supposed] to listen […] and do whatever those guys decide,” he pointed out.

Saying this, he implied that the Western leaders have probably not thought of Africa’s own problems with power, and even likely are not aware of them, finding the situation “ridiculous.”

“African contribution to carbon [in] the air is about 3%, as a total contribution of Africa. However, the 10 most affected countries by climate change are all African,” Ibrahim said. “People polluting in the North and the guys in the South are bearing the front of it. It’s just really unfortunate.”

“By the way, before you run out of the room here, they are not coming to you, okay?” he reassured the audience, emphasizing that most of the migrants will remain on the continent.

More to that, the environmental issues are causing conflicts in the affected areas, Ibrahim noted. 

“We have violence in Nigeria, we have violence in Sudan, my own country, in Darfur, we had in the Sahel terrorism, etc,” he went on to say. “All that has a real environmental element underlying the problem. So we’re having a lot of suffering, when we did not put this stuff up there.”

Ibrahim added that these days because of the events taking place in Europe, the Western leaders come to Africa and ask for more energy sources.

“Now, because of the war, they are running to Africa and saying ‘Oh, can we have more gas?’,” Ibrahim said. “Africa has a lot of gas, by the way. We are not allowed to use our gas. But half our gas is sent to Europe.”

Last month, John Kerry, the US climate envoy, warned against investing in long-term gas projects in Africa in an interview. His words matched similar points made in a report by the International Energy Agency from the previous year, which said that such actions could undermine the worldwide net-zero goal of 2050.

According to Ibrahim, the developed Western countries prohibit Africa from developing and using its own gas resources, which the continent has a lot, about “500 trillion cubic feet of gas.”

“This kind of injustice, this kind of stupidity cannot continue,” he said.

“The Global North always talks and decides without understanding whatever happens in the Global South”, Ibrahim said, arguing that this kind of injustice can’t continue and the Global South should finally get its seat at the table.

“Then we talk about justice. What justice? There’s no justice,” he underscored.

Another speaker at the conference, Samaila Zubairu, CEO of Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) noted that the US and the EU, on the contrary, are responsible for 19 and 15 percent of emissions respectively.

Zubairu argued that “80% of the people globally without access to electricity” live in Africa, renewable energy should be used where it is possible, but “you can’t say don’t use gas, when the alternative is to import diesel, fuel oil or coal from Europe.”

The AFC’s president said energy access should be “efficient, reliable and affordable”, “we need [energy] access that doesn’t compromise economic development in Africa.” This point of view was echoed by Ibrahim, who noted that 600 million African people still have no electricity, and “without power, you have no education, you have no jobs, you have nothing, you don’t live, you are not a human being.”

‘Who is Funding Whom?’

The speakers stressed that African countries do “go for green” but energy sources balance is essential “to take those guys out of poverty.”

“Africa has a lot of energy sources. We have 60% of the best solar resources on the continent, yet only 1% is build. We have significant hydro resources, they are not build, we have natural gas – not developed,” Zubairu stressed, explaining that all these resources play key role in resolving issues the world is currently confronting, such as energy and food shortages.

Ibrahim, in turn, reminded that 21 countries, whose main source of energy is renewable, are all African, saying “we are doing more than anybody.”

Ibrahim and Zubairu called for the Global North to invest in African renewable energy, as well as in minerals needed for green technology, because all of these minerals “are in Africa”. However, Ibrahim also warned that “contracts should be transparent and clean.”

“Elicit financial flows out of Africa annually is between 89 billion and 107 billion dollars […] and North’s total aid to Africa is 52 billion dollars. Who is funding whom?” asked Ibrahim.

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