On October 13, the International Energy Agency released its first ever Africa Energy Outlook. The report promotes the interests of fossil fuel companies and fails to represent environmental and socially just issues. The report sees fossil fuels along with a mix of renewable energies as the key to providing electricity to the 620 million people on the continent who don’t have electricity.
According to the press release, “[Sub-Saharan Africa's] energy resources are more than sufficient to meet the needs of its population, but that they are largely under-developed. The region accounted for almost 30% of global oil and gas discoveries made over the last five years, and it is already home to several major energy producers, including Nigeria, South Africa and Angola. It is also endowed with huge renewable energy resources, including excellent and widespread solar and hydro potential, as well as wind and geothermal.”
Despite the quote above, which seem to promote renewable forms of energy, the report—which the IEA calls a “comprehensive analysis”—is incredibly and blatantly unethical. It is heavily skewed by promoting continued reliance on fossil fuels (which the report calls a “modern” form of energy).
The fossil fuel industry, directly and indirectly, is behind a large proportion of environmental problems with global consequences—such as climate change.
In Africa, the fossil fuel industry has played a major part in deepening the inequalities and injustices begun by colonialism. For example Nigeria, which is the largest producer of natural gas at the moment, is falling apart and can likely expect a full-blown civil war within several years, partly due to the compounding effects of colonialism and the increasing inequality and social and political conflict caused by the fossil fuel industry in the country. The IEA blames oil theft in the country for “deterring investment and production”. This, however, is a myth actively constructed by the oil industry to prevent taking responsibility for the havoc it has wreaked on the local population.
I am not saying the IEA has a responsibility to publish a report that ignores or plots the death of the fossil fuel industry. The purpose of a report is to gather new data and propose solutions based on reasonable assumptions and the data that has been gathered. It would thus not be reasonable to provide solutions that do not take the fossil fuel industry into account. However, it is also ridiculous to promote the fossil fuel industry as the key to world–and African–“development”, given that the fossil fuel industry is at the root of so many of the continent’s problems to begin with.
The report contains data which could have favored interpretations in favor of the growth of the renewable energy industry. For example “renewables grow strongly to account for nearly 45% of total sub-Saharan [power generation] capacity, varying in scale from large hydropower dams to smaller mini- and off-grid solutions”. However, the report consistently favors interpretations in favor of the fossil fuel industry. The press release, in one paragraph, states that demand for oil products has doubled and that coal supply has grown by 50%, but states that per capita consumption of energy is low, and that “widespread use of fuelwood and charcoal persists”. The IEA attempts to blame population growth for the increase in consumption (“nearly one billion people gain access to electricity by 2040 but, because of rapid population growth, more than half a billion people remain without it”), but that doesn’t make sense given per capita consumption patterns and continued use of fuelwood and charcoal. Clearly, the rise in demand is not due to the average African becoming more “developed”, but is due to more consumption by a miniscule group of wealthy people–local elites and foreign business entities–that are profiting from exploiting the natural resources and energy resources of the continent.
The IEA recommends: “Better management of energy resources and revenues, adopting robust and transparent processes that allow for more effective use of oil and gas revenues.” When have “transparent” and “oil and gas” ever made it in the same sentence without comedic effect? Furthermore, the report states that its suggested “actions”, which include “adopting robust and transparent processes that allow for more effective use of oil and gas revenues”, “[will] result in more oil and gas projects going ahead and a higher share of the resulting government revenues being reinvested in key infrastructure. More regional electricity supply and transmission projects also advance, helping to keep down the average cost of supply. But the report warns that these actions must be accompanied by broad governance reforms if they are to put sub Saharan Africa on a more rapid path to a modern, integrated energy system for all.” The profits from oil and gas projects that have been taking place for decades have not been reinvested in key infrastructure and to suggest that they will begin doing so is facetious. So is recommending “broad governance reforms” when the governments of many African countries are intimately linked—even controlled by—the fossil fuel industry itself, and thus powerless against it.
I was intrigued by the list of “Many high-level government representatives and experts from outside of the IEA [who] have contributed to the process, from early consultations to reviewing the draft [of the IEA Africa report]” [whose] “comments and suggestions were of great value”. The first two columns—name and organization—are copied directly from the report. The latter two columns are my own, based on quick Googles of these people. I did not look up everyone, and I selected who I would look into randomly—some from the top of the list, some from the bottom of the list, and some from the middle. The table indicates that the “high-level” “experts” that the IEA chooses to ask for advice lend a very skewed interpretation (if we can even call it that) to the data. Although these people were not directly employed by the IEA, I noticed that many of them have been employed by the IEA in the past or have participated in workshops by the IEA or have contributed to work conducted for the IEA. There is an overabundance of people whose interests lie with oil and gas.
Readers, you are welcome to do more in-depth research—please contribute in the comments!
|Name||Organization||Industry/Interest||What a Quick Google Reveals|
|Emmanuel Ackom||United Nations Environment Programme||Biofuels, renewables||He is a Senior Scientist at the Technical University of Denmark, where he works as part of a partnership with UNEP. His university page reveals a research focus on the urban poor in developing countries, biofuels, “South-South lessons”. Here is his Google Scholar citation page.|
|Abiodun Afolabi||Total||Oil||Mr. Afolabi is Total’s general secretary for Africa. This article, about drilling offshore oil wells off the coast of South Africa (and possibly Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire), quotes him. Here’s a short professional bio.|
|Barakat Ahmed||African Union||Unclear||A quick Google reveals he’s a “special assistant” to the African Union Commission, but it’s hard to figure out what he actually does.|
|Olivier Appert||French Institute of Petroleum||Oil||He’s an expert that has “assessed world oil supply limits”. Here’s his profile on Forbes.|
|Andrew Barfour||Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, Ghana||Oil||Mr. Barfour “serves on the Boards of Companies” in addition to his government role.|
|H.E. Kamel Bennaceur||Minister of Industry, Energy and Mines, Tunisia||Oil and gas||His LinkedIn Summary lists expertise only in the oil and gas sectors. In news articles, he is quoted as promoting renewable energy (here and here).|
|Paul Bertheau||Reiner Lemoine Institut||Fossil fuels and renewables||He is a researcher whose interests include the “hybridization of conventional energy systems with renewable energies”.|
|André Kabwe Bibombe||Energy Commission, Democratic Republic of Congo||Probably oil and gas||He seems to also be “Director (HEAD OF ELECTRICITY DEPARTMENT)” at Empower Newgen C.I.C, a somewhat sketchy London-based Company. (Googling the company yields this, this, this, and this.)|
|Aad van Bohemen||Ministry of Economic Affairs, The Netherlands||Oil and gas||Here is his CV. His area of focus is oil and gas. He has presented on “The IEA Response…for Oil Supply Emergencies”.|
|Federico Bonaglia||Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)||Probably oil and gas||He is a researcher with a definite pro-capitalism focus.|
|François Milere Bouayekon||Ministry of Energy and Water Resources, Cameroon||Unclear||There is not much online information available for him. He participated in a global conference on rural energy access and in a training workshop in energy statistics.|
|Keith Bowen||Eskom||Nuclear||Mr. Bowen is chief economist of Eskom. He comments on the costs of nuclear energy in this article. Here is another short profile.|
|Nick Bridge||British Ambassador to the OECD/IEA||Probably oil and gas||Mr. Bridge blogs here. His goals and that of the rest of the team representing the OECD/IEA are UK prosperity.|
|Oliver Broad||Royal Institute of Technology (KTH-dESA), Sweden||Unclear||Mr. Broad is a researcher who models and analyzes the African energy sector.|
|Nigel Bruce||World Health Organization||Probably renewables||Dr. Bruce has published articles on the heath effects of particular fuel use in Africa, and has also participated in the Global Burden of Disease studies. His research interests include the effects of air pollution, climate change, and household energy.|
|Policarpo Calupe||Ministry of Energy and Water, Angola||Unclear||A quick Google didn’t reveal any information.|
|Peter Cattelaens||EU Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility||Renewables||This summer, he was present at a conference on “Higher Education for the Renewable Energy Sector in Africa”. He has taken part in a “stocktaking mission” to Guinea-Bissau with the goal of developing the country’s renewable energy policy.|
|Promise Chukwu||Energy Commission, Nigeria||Probably oil and gas||Mr. Chukwu, the scientific officer for the Energy Commission”, was present at an IEA Energy Statistics Training last year and presented on the “Challenges of Energy Data Collection in Nigeria”.|
|Lesley Coldham||Tullow Oil||Oil and gas||“Africa’s Leading Independent Oil Company” wants to extend its exploration license in Ethiopia and has already found “commercially viable” deposits in Kenya. Ms. Coldham has also worked for De Beers, the diamond trading company.|
|Emanuela Colombo||Department of Energy, Milan Polytechnic||Unclear||Dr. Colombo has given a speech on “the contribution of research, education and training to the definition of the post 2015 global development agenda”. She has also been present at a conference for universities participating in development to network. She has also had a role with UNESCO.|
|Philippe Constant||Project SIE-Afrique Co-ordinator, Econotec||Probably oil and gas||Econotec is a consulting group of which Dr. Constant is the head. The company focuses on energy and environmental issues. He was present at a contractor’s meeting for “Energy Services for Poverty Alleviation in Sub-Saharan Africa” in 2007. He is listed as a collaborator on an energy information systems report in Togo.|
|Célia de Amor Gomes Correia||National Petroleum Institute, Mozambique||Oil and gas||A quick Google does not reveal any information about this person.|
|Marney Crainey||Foreign and Commonwealth Office, United Kingdom||Unclear||This person is listed as a Programme Manager at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. (S)he is listed in the acknowledgement section in a paper about carbon pricing and energy policies for the IEA.|
|Steve Crossman||Foreign and Commonwealth Office, United Kingdom||Oil and gas||He heads the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s team responsible for climate and energy in Asia, the Americas, and Africa. The team’s work is to “ensure a stable and affordable flow of hydrocarbons to the global market, to work to balance supply and demand [which is] crucial to the UK’s own energy security“.”|
|Bayaornibè Dabire||Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)||Oil and gas||He is the energy director of ECOWAS, and he has been present at a seminars aimed at promoting the natural gas industry in West Africa. He was expected at the Ghana Gas Forum.|
|Codjo Bertin Djaito||Ministry of Energy, Benin||Probably oil and gas||He was present at a workshop representing the interests of petroleum and renewable energies.|
|Jens Drillisch||KfW, Germany||Probably renewables||KfW is a development bank owned by the German government. He is an economist for the bank. In 2010 he gave a speech on financing energy projects in developing countries.|
|Stanislas Drochon||IHS||Oil and gas||Mr. Drochon is a consultant representing the oil and gas sector. “In East Africa the problem is not geology. Rather the question is what to do with the oil and gas produced.”|
|Hussein Elhag||African Energy Commission (AFREC)||Renewables||Dr. Elhag promotes hydropower projects, nuclear energy, and solar energy.|
|Jonathan Elkind||Department of Energy, United States||Probably oil and gas||Mr. Elkind is a fellow at the Brookings Institution and focuses on energy security and foreign policy, with specialized knowledge in Soviet and Eurasian affairs.|
|Mark Elliott||CITAC Africa Limited||Oil and gas||CITAC is a UK-based consulting firm that offers knowledge of oil products. Mr. Elliot is chairman. He has previously worked with Chevron, Gulf Oil, Booz-Allen & Hamilton, and Total.|
|Mosad Elmissiry||New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)||Oil and gas||Dr. Elmissiry is the head of energy programmes at NEPAD, which includes projects “in the Electrical [sic], renewable, oil, and gas areas”. In this article, he talks about hydropower projects and cross-border oil pipelines.|
|Mike Enskat||GIZ, Germany||Renewables||GIZ stands for Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (German Society for International Cooperation), of which Dr. Enskat is Senior Programme Manager. Renewable energy is an interest of his.|
|Joseph Kow Essandoh-Yeddu||Energy Commission, Ghana||Oil and gas||He has contributed to WGIII of the IPCC report (2014). His doctorate thesis is titled “Energy-Economic Analysis of Power Plant Carbon Dioxide Capture and Pipeline Transport in Texas Gulf Coast”.|
|Latsoucabé Fall||World Energy Council, Senegal||Unclear||He has a long career with the Senegalese government. He is on the Steering Committee of a conference titled “Energy, the Key Driver for Africa’s Economic Growth” next year.|
|Jean-Pierre Favennec||Association for the Development of Energy in Africa||Oil and gas||He has degrees in chemical engineering and oil economics. He has spent his career consulting for the oil and gas industry. This summer, he taught a class titled “Gas and oil: the future of Africa”. Here is a PowerPoint he’s presented on the subject; his only mention of renewables is a bullet point: “Are renewables a solution?” (I’m confident in betting his answer is a resounding “no”.) His spin on the topic is that the oil and gas industry promotes youth employment in West Africa. (If that were the case, many more people would have been “gainfully employed” by the oil and gas industry by now rather than participating in local violence and civil wars and joining militant groups such as Boko Haram in Nigeria.)|
|Francis Gatare||Government of Rwanda||Unclear||He is CEO of the Rwanda Development Board.|
|Francesco Gattei||Eni||Oil and gas||He is “Investor Relations Senior Vice President” at Eni, which is “committed to growth in the activities of finding, producing, transporting, transforming and marketing oil and gas”.|
|Adama Gaye||Newforce Africa||Oil and gas||Oxford-educated Adama Gaye is an expert on “China Africa relations” and oil and gas.|
|Elitsa Georgieva||CITAC Africa Limited||Oil and gas||Georgieva is Director of Consulting Services at CITAC.|
|Klaus Gihr||KfW, Germany||Renewables||He is involved in rural electrification projects which are “neutral with regard to the technology although specific consideration given to renewables”. He says KfW is one of the larger financiers of renewable energy in Africa. He has worked on geothermal projects.|
|Fabrice Kermorgant||General Electric||Oil and gas||His LinkedIn profile lists his sector as “Oil and Energy”.|
|Daniel Ketoto||Office of the President, Kenya||This person is an engineer. It is not clear in what type of energy he specialises.|
|Peter Kiss||KPMG||Oil and gas||Mr. Kiss is a consultant on issues of nuclear, renewables, coal, gas, hydro, electricity, and business strategies.|
|John Francis Kitonga||Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Tanzania||Unclear||His Master’s thesis is on “Electricity Industry Restructuring in Tanzania”. He has also written a paper “Power Sector Reform Strategies in Tanzania”.|
|Joel Nana Kontchou||Schlumberger||Oil and gas||At Schlumberger, he is the General Manager of Central West Africa. He is also CEO of AES Sonel, a Cameroonian power generation, transport, and distribution company. Here is another article on this “energy guru”.|
|Ken Koyama||Institute of Energy Economics, Japan||Oil and gas||His fields of expertise include the world oil and natural gas markets, energy security, and the geopolitics of energy.|
|Martin Krause||United Nations Development Programme||Renewables||His areas of expertise include energy access and renewable energy. Here he promotes biodiesel and biogas.|
|Jeffrey Sachs||Earth Institute and United Nations||Unclear||Dr. Sachs is a sustainable development professional and promotes capitalist ways of doing development.|
|Jamal Saghir||World Bank||Unclear||Mr. Saghir is the World Bank’s Sustainable Development Director for the Africa region.|
|Jules Schers||CIRED, France||Unclear||Mr. Schers is a student on modeling green growth in South Africa.|
|Hana-Muriel Setteboun||FK Group||Oil and gas||Dr. Setteboun is an expert in finance and investments. She is mentioned in this release by POWER-GEN Africa. On LinkedIn she lists her sector as Oil and Energy.|
|Panganayi Sithole||Zimbabwe Energy Council||Unclear||Mr. Sithole is Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of the Zimbabwe Energy Council.|
|Henri-Bernard Solignac-Lecomte||OECD||Unclear||Dr. Solignac-Lecomte studies international development.|
|Vignesh Sridharan||Royal Institute of Technology (KTH-dESA), Sweden||Unclear||Mr. Sridharan is a researcher on energy modeling systems.|
|Even Stormoen||Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway||Unclear||It’s not clear what, exactly, Mr. Stormoen does.|
|Glen Sweetnam||Department of Energy, United States||Oil and gas||Mr. Sweetnam is currently Director of the Office of African and Middle Eastern Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy. Prior to that, he focused his career on the oil and gas industry. This article lists him as one of Obama’s “oilmen”.|
|Godwin Sweto||Encorex||Oil and gas||Encorex is a consulting company, of which Mr. Sweto is Managing Director. He specializes in oil and gas.|
|Minoru Takada||United Nations||Renewables||Dr. Takada is involved in renewable energy issues and has experience in Ghana and Angola and in grassroots activities and international development organizations.|
|Mika Takehara||Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation||Oil and gas||Ms. Takehara is an expert in fossil fuel production in China.|
|Constantinos Taliotis||Royal Institute of Technology (KTH-dESA), Sweden||Oil and gas||Mr. Taliotis has been involved in research involving electricity exports, natural gas, and petrochemicals, and has modeled “the energization of the African continent via a cost optimization approach”. He now does research in “Strategic Policies and Investments”.|
|Wim Thomas||Shell||Oil and gas||“Mr. Thomas is an expert on Shell scenarios related to the global energy system.” He’s been employed by shell for over two decades and has quite the illustrious oil and gas career.|
|Mfon Udofia||Shell||Oil and gas||Ms./Dr. Udofia is listed as a former Shell Exploration Geologist. It is not clear if she participated in discussions regarding the report in this capacity. In this article she lends her expertise to issues of exploratory drilling.|
|Michael de Vivo||International Organisation for Large Dams||Hydropower||This article quotes him as promoting more hydropower in Myanmar.|
|Jay Wagner||Plexus Energy||Oil and gas||Plexus Energy is a consulting company that offers expertise to oil, gas, and mining companies. Based in London, Mr. Wagner has worked on projects for Shell and BP.|
|H.E. Alhaji Mohammed Wakil||Minister of State for Power, Nigeria||Oil and gas||Alhaji Wakil has shown an interest in Chinese investors in power in Nigeria.|
|Manuel Welsch||Royal Institute of Technology (KTH-dESA), Sweden||Unclear||Mr. Welsch is a researcher on energy models. Here is his Google Scholar citation list.|
|Rick Westerdale||Department of State, United States||Oil and gas||Mr. Westerdale’s career has been focused on oil and gas.|
|Marcus Wiemann||Alliance for Rural Electrification||Unclear||Secretary General of the Alliance for Rural Electrification, a non-profit.|
|Francis A. Yeboah||Energy Commission, Ghana||Unclear||There isn’t anything on this person online.|
|Florian Ziegler||KfW, Germany||Renewables||He was present at a working group to design a program for scaling up renewable energy.|
Individuals I have not done a quick Google on are Avi Gopstein (Department of State, USA), Haruna Gujba (African Union), Klas Heising (GIZ, Germany), Andrew Herscowitz (Agency for International Development [Power Africa], USA), Mark Howells (Royal Institute off Technology [KTH-dESA], Sweden), Hans-Petter Hybbestad (Statoil), H.E. Elham Ibrahim (African Union), Robert Ichord (Department of State, USA), Godknows Igali (Ministry of Power, Nigeria), Kanya Williams James (Central Bank of Nigeria), Michio Kawamata (Mitsubishi Corporation), Jean Lamy (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, France), Steve Lennon, Eksom), Teresa Malyshev (The Charcoal Project), Wenceslas Mamboundou (Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Hydrocarbons, Gabon), Elizabeth Marabwa (Department of Energy, South Africa), Thierry de Margerie (Alstom), Luigi Marras (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Italy), Lucius Mayer-Tasch (GIZ, Germany), Susan McDade (Sustainable Energy for All), Dimitris Mentis (Royal Institute of Technology [KTH-dESA], Sweden), Russel Mills (Dow Chemical), Vijay Modi (Earth Institute, Columbia University), Jacques Moulot (African Development Bank), Diosdado Muatetema (Ministry of Mining, Industry and Energy, Equatorial Guinea), Grégoire Harmand Ndimb (Ministry of Energy and Water Resources, Cameroon), Francesco Fuso Nerini (Royal Institute of Technology [KTH-dESA], Sweden), Laura Nhancale (Ministry of Energy, Mozambique), Philippe Niyongabo (African Union), H.E. Fidel M. Meñe Nkogo (Deputy Minister of Mining, Industry and Energy, Equatorial Guinea), Günter Nooke (Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany), Petter Nore (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway), Nick Norton (Foreign and Commonwealth Office, United Kingdom), Tim Okon (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation), Ciro Pagano (Eni), Monojeet Pal (African Development Bank), Marilena Petraglia (TERNA), Mario Pezzini (OECD), Volkmar Pflug (Siemens), Almo Pradana (University College London), Pamela Quanrud (Department of State, United States), Pippo Ranci (Florence School of Regulation, European University Institute), Audrey Rojkoff (African Development Bank), Nawal Saadi (Royal Institute of Technology [KTH-dESA], Sweden).