Poor Policies, Corruption May Impede Africa’s Energy Transition, Analysts Say

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By Juliet Ukanwosu

As the world inch closer to the end of fossil fuel age with intensified clean energy transition campaign, analysts have said that Africa’s transition options may be severely limited by corruption and inadequate policies.

This position was brought to the fore on Friday during a Special Panel Session titled “The Energy Transition in Africa: An anti-corruption perspective” hosted by Policy Alert at the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) holding at Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

The hybrid event attended by extractive360 was co-organised with the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) and other partner organizations. It had Olanrewaju Suraj, Executive Director, HEDA Resource Centre, Tengi George-Ikoli of the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) and Emir Suljovic of CISLAC/Transparency International –Nigeria, as panelists.

In his opening statement, Executive Director of Policy Alert, Mr. Tijah Bolton-Akpan, pointed out that energy transition has been heralded as a solution for both the energy and the climate crises, adding however that corruption has not only exacerbated climate change but also severely limited the options for the energy transition.

“The reality we must face is that the road to a low carbon energy future is actually strewn with governance risks, and an effective and just transition must address those risks,” Bolton-Apkan said.

He explained that the objective of the special panel session was to reflect on the linkages between two big global challenges – corruption and climate change.

“It will promote cooperation between state and non-state actors across regions to support the low-carbon energy transition by resource-rich African states through an anti-corruption perspective,” he said, adding that the panel was also intended to explore trends and options for resource rich African countries energy transition.

Speaking on how Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) can contribute to the process, Bolton-Apkan charged them to engage the downsides of fossil fuel production as well as to thoroughly scrutinize the operational activities of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and International Oil Companies (IOCs).

He maintained that production declaration by companies are in many cases not honest, even as there are evidences indicating that fossil fuel subsidies are fraught with corruption.

To this end, he urged CSOs not to allow the elites and state actors dominate conversations around these issues, but to work more towards getting relevant information and data to the doorsteps of communities

“CSOs should begin to unpack these issues; they must come out with information and data and take it to the right people who need it, which are members of the communities. The communities need to be empowered with this information and data to enable them engage adequately,” Bolton-Apkan stressed.

In her submission on policies and governance challenge, George-Ikoli posited that Nigeria in particular, has not done enough to holistically bring all actors together to chart a path towards energy transition.

She noted that the country missed an opportunity to chart a clear energy transition path with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), stating that the law only addressed issues around petroleum and gas, without taking a concrete position on energy transition.

“There’s no concrete stance around how to transition when oil goes out of demand. The PIA didn’t provide a comprehensive energy transition plan,” George-Ikoli said.





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