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Energy For Africa Week: Climate Activist Aid Groups Accused Of Colonial Mentality


GWPF Samizdat 30/06/20
Energy For Africa Week

Aid Groups Accused Of Colonial Mentality

1) Energy For Africa Week: Aid Groups Accused Of Colonial Mentality
The Zimbabwean, 30 June 2020

2) Eco-Colonialism In Africa
GWPF TV, 30 June 2020

3) Geoff Hill: Heart Of Darkness & Energy Security
GWPF, 30 June 2020

1) Energy For Africa Week: Aid Groups Accused Of Colonial Mentality
The Zimbabwean, 30 June 2020

Dr Peiser said it was important for donors and the World Bank to support local solutions rather than imposing what he called “a new form of colonialism”.

Zimbabwe can set an example to the world in domestic power supply, according to the head of a London think tank.

Dr Benny Peiser who leads the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) said the building of Lake Kariba in the 1950s — still the world’s largest dam — and the coal-fired power station at Hwange “are cases where Africa looked after itself”.

Dr Peiser was speaking on Monday 29 June at the start of the Energy for Africa week.

“Zimbabwe is now in a dire state economically due to mismanagement and a terrible record on human rights,” he said, “but Kariba is still there and the power stations near the coal fields are being re-tooled.”

Dr Peiser told The Zimbabwean it was important for donors and the World Bank to support local solutions rather than imposing what he called “a new form of colonialism”.

“More than 600 million Africans lack something so basic as electricity and yet we have donors denying funds for a power plant because it uses fossil fuel. Imagine that in a country like Tanzania with four billion tons of coal in the ground.”

In recent years, Nigeria, Tanzania, Mozambique, Botswana and Zimbabwe have all voiced criticism of aid groups over what they say is a dictatorial policy on energy.


“Electricity is a human right,” Dr Peiser said. “We accept that in Europe, the US, Australia, but somehow Africans should get by on diesel generators, or fire wood when the winter cold sets in.”

He said clean technology for coal has seen countries like India and China using it increasingly to reduce air pollution.

The GWPF was established by Lord Nigel Lawson who in the 1980s served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in charge of Margaret Thatcher’s reboot of the British economy.

Lord Lawson (right) with Dr Benny Peiser of the GWPF

Dr Peiser said the GWPF had no preference for solar, wind, hydro or fossil fuel, and that every country had a right to make its own choice.

“There is a new colonialism just as oppressive as the original,” he said. “Some in the environmental movement believe they can sit in London, New York or Paris with the comforts of modern life and dictate to Africa how they should generate power.”

The week-long focus on energy in Africa will include release of videos and discussion papers on how to lift the supply of electricity across the continent.

Ethiopia has embarked on a dam-building project for hydro power while South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe get almost all their energy from coal. Kenya and Uganda are installing solar plants in arid regions.


Dr Peiser said industry was “all but impossible” with electricity and this lay at the heart of unemployment.

“The loss of hope that comes with poverty drives young people to join militia and even terror groups, or to emigrate, with thousands drowning or being taking hostage in their desperate attempt to reach Europe.”

Wits University in Johannesburg has one of the world’s most advanced clean-coal laboratories.

“If we can burn fossil fuel cleanly there is no reason not to use it,” Dr Peiser said. “But that decision must be taken by sovereign states in Africa and Asia, and not be imposed from outside.

“The colonial mentality of the World Bank and in the donor industry needs to end and it needs to end now,” he said.

2) Eco-Colonialism In Africa
GWPF TV, 30 June 2020

In the 2010s, the World Bank ended its financial support for developing economies’ fossil fuel projects such as coal-fired power stations. 

Click on the image above to watch the short video

That decision was the result of pressure from green campaigns, which continue to lobby public institutions such as universities to divest from fossil fuels.

Green political campaigns have also targeted financial institutions, warning them that their investments could become ‘stranded’ by climate policies.

The UK government has followed this political agenda and diverted international development and aid funds towards green energy projects.

But the consequences of these campaigns and decisions are not felt in the places where they are made.

They are felt thousands of miles away, where the need for energy and development is urgent.

The result of switching emphasis away from the cheapest, most abundant and most reliable forms of energy has been a vast opportunity cost.

Western demands for sustainability put limits on economic growth in the developing world, that would not be tolerated anywhere else.

African countries’ economic and industrial development has been inhibited by the ‘sustainability’ agenda that has been imposed on them.

3) Geoff Hill: Heart Of Darkness & Energy Security
GWPF, 30 June 2020

Be afraid of the dark

You could have knocked me over with a candle. It was October 2017 and I was with a group of journalists quizzing US energy secretary Rick Perry on his first visit to Cape Town, when someone asked why Washington was spending billions on electricity plants in Africa. I expected a politician’s answer: human rights, good work, a policy that cares about the less fortunate.

‘It’s a security issue’, he said. ‘Militia and terror groups are a magnet for young men without jobs, and if there’s no grid or power, you can’t industrialise’. He rolled off the numbers. More than 600 million Africans – half the population – are not on the grid. America uses more electricity in a day than Ghana or Tanzania generate in a year.Investors are keen on the continent, but a lack of capacity keeps them away.

Perry comes across as someone who understands how tough life can be for some Americans and how much harder it is in the developing world. He hasn’t always been a politician; he served in the US Air Force, rising to the rank of captain, and flying humanitarianmissions to Africa and Central America. He has a grasp of the world outside Washington. In his youth he worked in many roles, including as a door-to-door salesman. And he holds the record as the longest serving governor of Texas where, he says, he was exposed to ‘the anguish of unemployment and the hopelessness people feel when they can’t get a job’.

The border between Mexico and the US is more than 3000 kilometres long, and two-thirds of it lies in Texas. As governor, Perry took a special interest in immigration. The number of illegal crossings fell during his 12 years in office, but he insisted that poverty, poor governance and unemployment is what drove people to seek a better life.

‘I see the same problem when young people trek hundreds of miles through the Sahara Desert to try crossing the Mediterranean into Europe’, he said. ‘Thousands have drowned, others made it, but many are deported. I don’t believe we should vilify these exiles, butthe answer also doesn’t lie in moving them somewhere else. Rather, we need to make their countries of origin a better place to live’. These, he said, were issues of conscience. Good things to do.

‘They’re what American aid and foreign policy is about: making a better world’. I sensed a ‘but’ coming on:

But I and the administration, along with Congress, we represent the American people. So while we’re helping Africa, there has to be something for the tax-payers because it’s their money. Bringing real levels of power to Africa, the kind we take for granted at home, is good for America because it helps us end the scourge of terror. It cuts illegal migration and it makes economies stronger, so they have the buying power to trade with the US and boost American jobs.

After nearly four decades of reporting on Africa, I have heard a lot about aid, usually from two perspectives. The first says it’s some kind of moral responsibility for rich countries to help the poor, and I get that. The second points to billions spent across half a century with little to show. So Mr Perry made sense to me. Widening access toelectricity wasn’t America’s duty or Africa’s right. It was money on the ground with potential for both sides to reap a profit.

Left or Right, from Donald Trump to French President Emmanuel Macron or Sweden’s Stefan Löfven, there’s agreement that Africa has a problem with jobs. From a poor city like Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to Africa’s richest shopping zone at Sandton in Johannesburg – with the likes of Chanel and Gucci plying their trade – there are young people out of work, or serving tables in spite of having good grades for English and algebra.

When it comes to unemployment, numbers are hard to find, and not because the state doesn’t come up with them. The UN, World Bank, and most national governments have detailed charts on the workforce. In South Africa, for example, the figure depends on whether you count part-time jobs, subsistence agriculture and those not looking for work. Pretoria puts the jobless rate at around 25%, most of them urban.

However, when polling companies ask, ‘Do you have a job?’, more than double that number say ‘No’. The difference lies in what’s known as the informal sector. Across cities and towns, you’ll see people from their mid-teens to middle age sharpening knives or fixing tyres and exhausts along the roadside. Others stand at traffic lights, holding fruit or a tangle of phone chargers. Officially, they have jobs but, when polled, most say the opposite. Vending, they say, is a way to pay the rent while looking for work.

South Africa is the continent’s richest nation, with a GDP of close on $400 billion, so what chance for the Central African Republic, whose total economy is less than 2% of that? Nothing will change there without access to electricity; according to the World Bank, close on nine out of ten are not on the grid. In many places, it’s about what engineers call, ‘the last half mile’. Electricity is there, but minus the lines connecting it to homes. With rapid urbanisation, slums and squatter camps spring up around cities. People use paraffin stoves or make illegal connections to a pylon, resulting in the so-called ‘shack fires’ that kill thousands every year.

Rick Perry’s speech made headlines. I wrote a front-page story for The Washington Times and, after the press event, he held meetings with African energy ministers to set his plan in place. But he had one more rider. ‘When people don’t have electricity, they don’t care where it comes from’, he said. ‘In Texas, we’ve done wonders with wind power, and Africa has potential there, and especially for solar. But on a continent rich in gas and coal, countries must have a right to use their own resources’. America, he said, was there to help, ‘not to dictate’. He closed as he’d begun. This was a security issue, reducing the pull of al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and the human traffickers. Bringing jobs and industry to a continent out of work.

‘More than anything, our power project is there to give people hope’, he said. ‘Because, make no mistake, if we don’t, someone else will’

You can read Geoff Hill’s full essay here