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Concerns over Africa energy transition as 850m use polluting fuels

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A woman cooking with firewood

African Refiners and Distribution Association (ARDA) and other experts in the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) industry have warned of imminent danger if Africa fails to quickly adopt modern clean energy as over 850 million Africans still depend on solid fuels (biomass) for cooking.

Without strategic efforts towards energy transition, especially for cooking, the experts, who gathered at a workshop organised by ARDA on the need for the adoption of clean cooking fuels, said solid fuels may continue to kill over 600,000 Africans yearly due to household air pollution.

Industry majors, including Global LPG Partnership (GLPGP), World LPG Association, Clean Cooking Alliance, Shell Foundation and Oryx Energies, at the meeting, insisted on the need to develop a robust African LPG value chain.

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Speaking on the backdrop of the continent’s growing population, the stakeholders led by the Executive Secretary of ARDA, Anibor Kragha, said the need for the energy transition in the face of projected growing energy demands remains sacrosanct.

Kragha highlighted LPG as a credible near-term solution for reducing carbon emissions against polluting solid fuels, stressing that health burdens loom in Africa if steps are not taken to transition into cleaner fuels in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Kragha, at the workshop which is a part of ARDA’s seven-part virtual workgroup workshop series, said the continent must aim at fostering collaboration and sharing of best practices to mitigate projected challenges that could undermine energy transition on the continent.

The Nigerian-born energy expert, said: “The deployment of the planned Africa LPG Sector Development Fund to finance National LPG ecosystems at country-level will ensure a robust, full value chain approach to drive sustainable investments and accelerate LPG adoption across the continent.”

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“An integrated ecosystem approach for deploying sustainable investments across the LPG value chain is essential in Africa’s drive towards world-class per capita consumption of LPG”, he stated at the close of the workshop.”

ARDA, which is currently working with the African Union to reduce sulphur content in fuels, according to Kragha would hold other workshops on storage and distribution, refining and specifications, HSE and quality, human capital, sustainable financing and regulation as a build-up to the annual ARDA conference in October this year which will focus on developing Africa’s downstream energy transition plan.

Also speaking at the event, Chairman/CEO of GLPGP, Kimball Chen said LPG for Clean Cooking in Africa remained a priority issue for the international community – governments and various institutions – as well as private sector capital providers as evidenced by recent LPG feasibility studies in DRC, Kenya Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Uganda.

Global Head, Oil & Gas Coverage at Standard Bank, Dele Kuti, said there was the need to ensure an enabling environment for financing of LPG projects, stressing that population growth, new product lines and the drive for cleaner energy supply in the future make LPG investments a viable option.

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