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Africa: energy transition, the new step requested by the continent

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“When we talk about energy transition and climate change and compare the positions of Africa and the West, there is on the one hand the awareness that challenges and problems concern everyone, and on the other hand that there are, however, some significant differences ”. The analysis of Giovanni Carbone, professor at the University of Milan and head of the Africa Program at the Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI), starts from these assumptions, heard by Infomundi on the sidelines of the presentation conference of the International Network on African Energy Transition, organized in Rome by Eni and Luiss University.

“First of all – says Carbone – there are differences on an operational level or there are initiatives that may be good for Europe but are not good for African countries. For example, there was talk of the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, a mechanism that allows the EU to unilaterally impose a levy on imports from countries that do not meet the environmental standards established by the European Union. Well, Africans speak badly of this mechanism because they consider it a disadvantageous initiative for continental economic development”.

And then there are differences that concern a more general approach. “Despite having to address the issue of climate change and the energy transition, African countries have the perception of being forced to provide answers to problems not caused by them. The fact that responsibility for polluting emissions, for example, lies elsewhere is not sufficiently recognised: ‘you made the mess, you take the broom and clean’ is the dominant thought in Africa. The African feeling is that the efforts required are unfair and are disproportionate to the available financial resources and other aspects.”

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All this, according to Carbone, in turn flows into a period of growing distances or in any case of growing resentment, anger at certain times, in different corners of the African continent. “We cannot be one but there are many manifestations of this resentment, ranging from positions taken by African countries at an international political and diplomatic level, to declarations by the leadership, to various protests, to regime changes adverse to the West, to rebalance international alliances”. All this, the teacher underlines, complicates acting together, because it makes Africans less available and more inclined to underline the presence of other partners and other ideas.

“In the West – concludes Carbone – we have begun to understand it, and in some cases it has been the abrupt awakening of those who had been used to dictating the line and being followed. The West is realizing that this is not always the case even though it still holds very strong leverage over several African countries. The latter, in turn, began to play on more tables and realized they had more alternatives. A trend strengthened by the continuous mistakes made by the West, by the failure to respect the commitments made, by an attitude of superiority that is not appreciated”.

[Da Redazione InfoAfrica]

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