On Wednesday, the African Union and its Infrastructure Commission launched, in Sharm El-Sheikh, the Green Industrial Digital Path initiative in the African Continental Free Trade Area, on the sidelines of the COP 27 climate summit.
During the session held on the sidelines of this occasion, the four-dimensional digital industrial corridor was revealed, and the transition process of the African Union towards oversight and acceleration of regulatory management (TRANSFORMA) was launched.
During the session, Egypt’s Parliament Deputy Speaker Mohamed Abou El-Enein welcomed the launch of industrial initiatives in Africa to benefit from our natural resources, especially the green ones, which we desperately need.
He emphasized that there is a dilemma for the advanced industrial West as part of its climate plans, whereby the European Union, under the ” Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism,” will impose heavy taxes on imports that have been produced using the heavy manufacturing of fossil fuels.
Abou El-Enein stressed that this proposal was sharply criticized by African leaders. He noted that in Mozambique, for example, where huge reserves of liquefied natural gas were discovered, nearly $70 billion in expected gas revenues for the country would be at risk in light of developed countries’ actions to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
The Egyptian MP explained that nearly half of the total population of the African continent currently lacks energy, saying: “We do not want African countries to be just a temporary solution for Russian gas.”
The Parliament Deputy Speaker spoke about that there are a large number of countries in Africa where less than 50% of the population has access to energy.” He added: “They have a huge infrastructure gap, and I think everyone understands that these countries will need to increase the use of conventional fuels.”
Abou El-Enein expressed his happiness that the African Union and the Energy Commission chose Egypt to launch the initiative, on the sidelines of the climate summit held in Sharm El-Sheikh.
The Egyptian MP said that all the leaders are concerned during the Sharm el-Sheikh summit with nothing but defeating the climate issue and searching for another clean world.
Addressing the African leaders, he added that there are three observations he would like to talk about, including that it is necessary to pay attention to climate issues as an inevitable matter. As for the second observation, it relates to what President Abdel Fattah El Sisi called for and his speech at the opening session of the Sharm el-Sheikh summit, where he called to search for a solution to the Russian-Ukrainian war.
The President asked the world leaders to search for all of this crisis because of his knowledge of the benefit that will accrue to the international community as a whole, especially in light of the high prices, the lack of jobs and the suspension of supply chains, stressing the support of all Africans for this demand to bring peace and stop conflicts.
MP Abou El-Enein stressed the need for new initiatives to transform Africa into an industrial continent. He stressed the importance of this matter and the need to support it from governments and international financial institutions, and to find an effective strategy to accelerate implementation
The Parliament Deputy Speaker also presented the Egyptian experience in exploring gas in the Mediterranean, which enabled Egypt to be a center for energy and export the surplus to Europe, east and west.
He expressed his admiration for the inauguration of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum, which links Egypt, Greece, Cyprus and other countries, and which African countries must emulate, especially since a large part of them possess natural gas in huge quantities.
He praised other energy initiatives that are in the interest of African countries and maximize the utilization of natural gas across the continent.
Esperança da Costa, Vice President of Angola, stressed that the opportunities for using natural gas as a transitional fuel are very large and can be used at the highest level.
During the session, da Costa said that Africa is home to nearly 9% of the world’s gas reserves and produces about 6% of the world’s natural gas. She added that African countries must use natural gas to power their economies so that they can build climate-friendly renewable electricity grids
She added that the question was at the center of a heated debate this year, pitting potential fossil fuel powers like Senegal and Mozambique against climate activists on the continent, who say a new round of resource extraction will lead to more corruption and pollution.
Angola’s vice president criticized Europe’s pledges just a year ago to withdraw funding from gas projects in Africa, as it is now touring the region with a new face as it looks to offset energy shortages caused by sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
For her part, Patricia Nseya Mulela, Vice President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, emphasized that one of the big arguments in favor of developing our gas resources on the continent, and this argument is that we will be able to address the energy access gap on the continent.
She added that while it is clear that gas could technically play this role, economies in general favor exports. So those developing resources on the continent have very little interest and incentive to favor domestic consumption over global markets .