18 Comments

Your exploration of this matter is intriguing, both thoughtful and informative. Much as I don't support foreign donors undermining the effort of African Development Bank in developing the energy sector, the truth must be told that the failure of African countries in providing uninterrupted electricity led to the meddling of these foreign donors in the power sector. Do we need to look far to cite an example? Of course not! Our dear native land Nigeria's electricity agency, NEPA or whatever new name it has become, is a poster child of gross inefficiency in power sector management. The epileptic power supply led to the massive importation of all manners of generators that depend on fossil fuels- diesel and petrol to generate electricity. The adverse effect of the greenhouse gases emitted from the burning of these fossil fuels into the environment is well documented as causative agents to global warming. With our " government work no be my Papa work" or nonchalant attitude towards public policy for public good, Nigeria is unlikely to fix its energy "wahala" (problems) in our lifetime. I believe that it was the realisation that uninterrupted electricity supply is impossible for over 200 million Nigerian living in mostly forgottten rural settings that made renewable energy especially off grid solar technology gain increasing attention in recent times. Solar energy is a low hanging fruit for a country that is planless with rudderless leadership and its citizens lacking compassion for their neighbours. My community Emeabiam in Owerri West local government, one of the most marginalised communities in Imo state has been in darkness for almost two years due to non-replacement of spoilt transformer and vandalised NEPA transmission lines but with four solar panels, two batteries and one inverter, a 24/7 electricity supply to your home is guaranteed. This is a technology that is within our reach made possible by years of continuous research on efficiency and cost reduction of materials. So what are we waiting for?

In conclusion, power generated by fossil fuels can still go hand in hand with renewable energy in order to meet our energy needs. However, evidence abounds that fossil fuels are finite while renewable energy sources like solar are clean and inexhaustible! If you ask me, which way forward? Given the abundance of sunlight in Nigeria and Africa in general, I will say, let's invest in solar technology! The world is moving towards that direction and we must not be left behind. Let's review the curriculum of engineering departments of our universities to embrace the innovations in the renewable energy sector. With the emerging trend in the sector, before you say Jack Robinson, NEPA will become a foot note like NITEL.

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Jun 3·edited Jun 3

The "Foreign Agents" bill, which was recently passed by the Georgia Parliament, is a starting point in terms of mitigation of foreign-funded CSO activity. The fact that it has been so controversial (the EU and US are reported to be working on sanctions against the government of Georgia) suggests that it is exactly the right measure.

Here is an article where Reuters journalists hyperventilate on the topic: https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/georgian-parliamentary-speaker-signs-foreign-agents-bill-into-law-2024-06-03/

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The guts on these guys. Openly fighting to preserve their means of controlling another sovereign country and rationalizing it by applying tired labels.

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Thanks David for all you do in creating awareness and helping people think.

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Great overview of current geopolitical situation in Africa and western oligarchic overreach there, for those of us who live in the west and don't really understand what's happening there. "There is a war coming, and we are currently set up to be roadkill."

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Thanks for sharing

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founding

This is an interesting take and one that is worth teasing out a bit more. Full disclosure - I work for a US organization and I cover their work in Africa. The logic in your video suggests that one cannot do pro Africa work if funded by the Gates or US Institutions. But that is not always true. Would you agree?

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Jun 3·edited Jun 3

In most cases, it is impossible to serve both masters. There might be situations where the interests of American donors align with those of ordinary Africans, but they are rare. Even in these rare cases, the objective/motive stated by the donors is never the real one, because the real one would not sell well. Follow the money, and you will find the real motive.

American oligarchs like Gates do not care about defending human rights, true democracy, or bettering the lives of Africans. They do not care about ordinary people, period. If American billionaires cared about ordinary people, the ordinary people in their OWN country would not be dealing with multiple crises of homelessness, drug addiction, crushing medical debt etc.

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founding

What about African billionaires. Can we say they care about the ordinary people

In Africa? Do they also have an agenda - sometimes a business agenda to stay ahead and get wealthier? Again, I don’t entirely disagree with the main idea being discussed, I just feel it is not a clear cut as presented.

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Jun 3·edited Jun 3

Billionaires (including African ones) do not generally care about ordinary people. They care about money and power, which is how they end up amassing so much of both. They are not loyal to the quaint idea of countries either, so the "African" ones are only nominally so.

The class war never really ended - the billionaires simply won it. They won decisively 40 years ago and they now use NGOs, think tanks, universities, and multilateral orgs etc. to protect their gains. I personally do not think it is that complicated.

Now, there will be the odd occasion where their interests are aligned with those of ordinary people. However, I think these are purely incidental.

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Jun 3·edited Jun 3

I don't think it's a binary situation in every detail but the overall picture is for a single purpose.

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founding

I agree.

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Jun 3·edited Jun 3

Although, I think it should be a sideshow and proven energy sources should be priortized; is the new energy landscape not an opportunity for africa to take a leading role in the renewable power arena? Especially in photovoltaics. This is without reading the article you referenced.

As a sidenote, there is nothing like free money anywhere from American billionaires and government. There is always an agenda in the interest of the money source. This is an eternal gospel that can easily be forgotten. So thank you for continually putting it in the public consciousness.

I want to believe that this is a project and you are building up to a structured means of having OUR own voice and championing our own collective interests. The time is right.

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Jun 3·edited Jun 3

For Africa to "lead" in the manufacture of anything at all, it must first produce enough cheap energy for household and industrial consumption. This energy will invariably come from fossil fuels. Even solar panels and Tesla batteries are produced in factories that run on fossil fuels.

This is what David means when he says the idea of "leapfrogging" is unfounded. Every country that has industrialized has gone through steps - African countries will have to do the same. I don't think the continent has enough resources for the main show, so it may hinder our progress if we try to accommodate sideshows.

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Jun 3·edited Jun 3

All agreed. Although, my point on "leading role" is about power generation from renewables, not manufacturing the paraphernalia. If nothing else, and there's something else; there's definitely a PR opportunity there. The sunshine we enjoy is probably the cheapest, most abundant and unshackled energy resource we have. The western world is charting this course even though they have less of the resource. Are we going to wait till they master it and then come seize ours again? There are already plans to locate photovoltaics in Africa and ship the power to Europe. Renewables and conventional energy production can co-exist and co-develop.

Again, I have not read the article David referenced and I am not endorsing the criticism by that Kenyan CSO. This is just a loosely related discussion.

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-solutions/2023/04/13/morocco-europe-solar-desert/

This country probably doesn't even produce enough power for it's own citizens. Very terrible joke.

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Everyone with eyes that can see, and ears that can listen, know what you’re saying is the truth, we as a collective need to grab the reins of leadership in this country to ensure our survival in the future. But alas I don’t know if we are ready for the sacrifices that will require.

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Thanks for Sharing David. Your work is inspiring and makes more impact that actually shows

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