Friday, 03 December 2021 03:30 GMT

Qatar - Gas is answer to Africa's energy woes: GECF


(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Doha: With nearly 60 percent of Africa's population under the age of 25, policymakers across the continent can guarantee the future prospects of the youngest region in the world by using the affordable, cleaner, and abundant natural gas in their energy plans, Yury Sentyurin, Secretary General of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) has said. 

Speaking at the recently-held African Energy Week, the representative of the 18-nation association of the world's largest gas producers emphasised that communities in Africa deserve access to sustainable modern energy, such as natural gas, and become an integral part of the global movement to eradicate energy poverty. 

UN estimates show that currently 789 million people in Africa do not have access to clean cooking fuel and more than 535 million with no access to electrification.

“These grim figures diminish the progress made on UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and certainly the SDG7 of“Affordable and Clean Energy”.

And the pressure on African countries is mounting to curtail investment in natural gas as part of the energy transition. This is despite the fact that when it comes to CO2 emissions, sub-Saharan Africa is collectively responsible for barely half a percent of all global emissions,” said Sentyurin in his message to the audience. 

“The GECF will continue to speak up for Africa for we believe that it is very much in the power of Africa – a power that rests with Africans themselves – to change the destiny of the continent by harnessing the true potential of gas and transform itself from an energy-poor region into one that can drive the world forward.” 

According to latest figures available with the GECF Global Gas Outlook, Africa is bestowed with numerous natural resources, including vast reserves of natural gas. Countries in Africa account for 8 percent of global gas reserves, 6 percent of global marketed production and 7 percent of global gas exports.

However, they account only for 4 percent of global gas consumption. The GECF forecasts Africa to witness the highest growth rate in natural gas among all regions of the world, at nearly 150 percent up to 2050. Countries such as Senegal and Mauritania in Africa stand on the precipice of the league of gas exporters in the short-term, while Mozambique and Tanzania are expected to become natural gas exporters in the medium- and long-term. 

Furthermore, the GECF's first-ever Annual Gas Market Report emphasises that Africa boasts a number of promising growth indicators, for example, in the area of power generation, in transport through natural gas vehicles (NGVs), and in innovative investments. 

The Secretary General explained why Africa dominates the GECF's mission to advocate for the use of natural gas to bring prosperity in disadvantaged regions of the world. 

“There are several important reasons. Six out of our 18 member countries represent this continent, accounting for more than 90% of Africa's proven natural gas reserves. Since 2018, during my tenure, the Forum has welcomed the Republic of Angola as a newly-joined member. Together, these Members reflect the pulse of Africa at the Forum and influence our focus that Africa rightfully deserves.”

This spirit was on display at the 5th GECF Summit of Heads of State and Government in Equatorial Guinea in November 2019 – a first-of-its-kind event in Africa – where the GECF's highest leadership reiterated the crucial role of natural gas in Africa's uplift and resolved their common determination to“promote the GECF cooperation with African countries to use gas as the core source of energy in their development programmes and climate change policies, with the aim to overcome energy poverty, enhance development and to mitigate CO2 emissions”.

In order to mobilise its members' strength to meet this most urgent issue facing Africa, last December the GECF entered into an MoU with UNESCO with the goal of researching and developing technologies and mechanisms that will enable Africa to unlock its energy potential, while safeguarding the global environmental ambitions. 

“Our latest initiative, the Gas Research Institute, which will pioneer innovation and technology breakthroughs in the field of natural gas, is based in Algeria.” Sentyurin also appreciated the efforts GECF is undertaking to bolster stronger partnerships with other Africa-based organisations such as AFREC, APPO, and AEC. 

“An increase in gas consumption could trigger the economic growth in Africa, facilitate the social development of African countries, and help achieve the UN SDGs. Importantly, the gas industry's development will mitigate energy poverty, create new jobs, and improve living standards in the region,” concluded HE Sentyurin. 

On the sidelines of the event, the GECF Secretary General has been acknowledged with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the African Energy Chamber in recognition of the unremitting work the Forum has done in the context of Africa's energy development. 

“I am truly honoured to have been nominated for this prestigious Award. But this isn't about me, it's about you, all the passionate advocates on Africa, who are unremittingly fighting to bring energy equality to this immensely resource-rich yet untapped continent. This is about Africa” pointed out HE Yury Sentyurin in his message to the participants.

Organised by the African Energy Chamber (AEC), the inaugural African Energy Week united global and African energy stakeholders with an aim to drive industry growth and promote Africa as the destination for Africa-focused events. Running from 9-12 November, the four-day high-level conference comprised of networking sessions, innovative exhibitions, bilateral meetings, and more.

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