The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has established a causal link between climate change and the rise in armed conflicts in sub-Saharan African countries: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, and Sudan. This region has become the global epicenter of violent extremist activity. That and other stories from Afrik21 are below.
“On the Road to Extremism in Africa: Pathways to Recruitment and Disengagement” identifies the climate crisis as a catalyst for the escalation of violence amongst non-state armed groups on the continent. I am chronicling good news stories from this continent of promise, as glimmers of hope. You can read more here and here and here. However, not all stories are good.
Armed groups are taking advantage of “environmental degradation and inequitable land management to position themselves as vigilantes, regulators of access to natural resources and providers of judicial and administrative services, as well as substitutes for livelihoods.” These groups “could easily develop a global narrative presenting it as the ultimate form of structural violence imposed by developed countries on the rest of the world.” Climate colonialism perhaps.
“Deprived of livestock, vegetable gardens and water points, people are migrating to the few remaining resources that have not been damaged by the drought. Once there, competition for access to water or livestock generates tensions that can inevitably degenerate into conflict,” explains Hadjia Zara Mamadou, President of the Association of Nigerian Women Against War and former Mayor of Agadez.
The report recommends that conflict analysis should include not only the “political dynamics between diverse identities, livelihoods, political groups and violent mobilisers,” but also the relationship between human populations and the “ecosystems in which they live.”
In an effort to combat climate change, many organizations are working together to bring climate smart solutions. For example, the E3 Low Carbon Economy Fund for Africa (E3LCEF) is raising $48.1 million to finance the next generation of low-carbon entrepreneurs. E3LCF is managed by Lion’s Head Global Partners and E3 capital, and financed by the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO), Swedfund International, Proparco, the private sector financing arm of the French Development Agency (AFD), and Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), the German development agency.
The fund will invest in early-stage companies and “hold significant capital for later rounds of financing,” says the asset manager. They are seeking the next generation of low-carbon entrepreneurs. “African companies are starting to emerge with a clear market fit and strong commercial potential in the heart of the low carbon economy. The quality of the entrepreneurs we see is striking. We are passionate about helping African entrepreneurs create the next generation of innovative businesses that will innovate, grow and impact the lives of all of us in the years to come,” says Paras Patel, founder and managing partner of E3 Capital. These entrepreneurs bring glimmers of hope.
One part of the solution will be to electrify mobility in Africa. In Morocco, Vivo Energy Maroc, which markets fuels from the Anglo-Dutch firm Shell, and the international testing, research and training platform Green Energy Park, which specializes in solar solutions, recently concluded an agreement for the deployment of technologies and charging stations for electric vehicles.
Vivo Energy Maroc plans to equip 30 Shell stations annually with solar panels. “Our partnership is an example of collaboration between research and development (R&D) platforms and companies to enable all Moroccans to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” says Mostafa Benzaazoua, the Green Energy Park’s general manager.
In March 2023, the new institution supported by the National Federation of Electricity, Electronics and Renewable Energies (FENELEC) announced that it would install 2,500 new charging stations for electric vehicles by 2026. These installations will be distributed in the main Moroccan cities, notably Tangiers, Rabat, and Casablanca.
Ecobodaa in Kenya plans to replace “1.3 million gasoline-powered motorcycles with locally designed and assembled electric motorcycles.” Ecobodaa and four other African companies have just secured £900,000 in funding to roll out 1,000 electric bikes by 2024.
“Motorcyclists have been reluctant to trade in their fossil fuel-powered machines for electric alternatives, due to the high upfront investment cost of batteries and which often requires large down payments,” says the company founded in 2020 by Kimosop Chepkoit.
These glimmers of hope are being provided by UK Aid and the IKEA foundation.
Lagos, Nigeria, has put its first two electric public transport buses into service. The 80-seat vehicles were manufactured by Chinese carmaker Yutong. Lagos has a population of 22 million people. Two buses are a good beginning. “Our team will provide comprehensive and professional training, technical assistance and maintenance services to ensure the smooth operation of electric buses in Nigeria,” promises Frank Lee, Yutong’s Managing Director for West Africa. The buses have a battery range of 280 km and are equipped with an information technology interface.
The government of Mozambique in East Africa is currently negotiating with the Japanese to build a battery manufacturing facility in the province of Cabo Delgado. The province is rich in graphite, an essential raw material for lithium-ion batteries. “Thus, the talks between Mateus Magala, the Mozambican Minister of Transport and Communications, and Kenji Yamada, his Japanese counterpart in charge of foreign affairs, are decisive for the transition to ecological mobility for 32 million Mozambicans.”
“Mozambique provides Tesla with raw materials to produce its batteries and expects more investment from Japan to have electric vehicle batteries produced in our country. This will help to meet the import programme of electric buses planned before the end of 2023, but also the start of the electric vehicle assembly project through the announced future factory,” says the Mozambican government.
Mozambique is being proactive in setting up supply chains with its neighbors Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to provide cobalt. The country is looking forward to being part of the expected $46 trillion electric vehicle market predicted to arise by 2030 by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Egyptian car manufacturer El Nasr Automotive Manufacturing Company and the Indian company Ashok Leyland plan to extend and modernise the El Nasr factory in Cairo. This should lead to significant increases in the share of electric vehicles in the Egyptian car fleet.
Fully electric trucks, vans, pickups and buses will be manufactured there. According to Mahmoud Esmat, the Egyptian Minister of Public Sector Business, “Egypt has a local market capable of absorbing a large number of productions to provide electric vehicles at affordable prices. Ashok Leyland is focussing on electric buses for all African roads.”
Stellantis (formed from the merger of PSA Peugeot Citroen and Fiat Chrysler) will build a factory for the manufacture and export of electric vehicles from Egypt by 2025. Stellantis plans to invest $35 million (about 651 million Egyptian pounds) into this.
Egyptian energy solutions provider Elsewedy Electric in partnership with Chinese manufacturer Wolong Electric is building of a service center for the commercialization of electric motors.
All of these projects, no matter how small, provide glimmers of hope for a continent that is facing rapid change and unsettling violence.
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