The Executive Director of Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Ben Boakye has asked government and other African countries to identify mineral resources where they have competitive advantage to aid their energy transition agenda.
Speaking at a virtual event on Thursday on the theme ‘Africa amidst the Energy Transition: opportunities in the mining supply chain under AfCFTA’, he said “Ghana has bauxite, lithium, silica deposits which are all important for the transition.
“The sun is also a major resource we can take advantage of, beyond that, the capacity to produce bio-fuel is huge. Ethanol could help transition Ghana from the use of wood fuel for cooking, which causes many diseases and put pressure on health infrastructure,” he added.
According to him the country can undertake exploration with the other untapped deposits including bauxite, and maintains that adapting cleaner fuel was the way to go.
“We need to research more and look within local content, the minerals we can use to be able to produce ethanol at cheaper cost to compete with wood fuel that we are felling from the bushes and causing desertification, so we need to get to those spaces and see the opportunities we do have. It is same across the region.”
He also indicated that the country needs to generate electricity at cheaper rate to encourage industrial establishment to refine the minerals; “if we don’t have cheaper power these factories will not come.”
Mr. Boakye also added that renewable technology is the future of energy and government cannot “fold its arms and not participate by choosing sustainable energy sources over fossil fuels, Africa can create new jobs, experience greater economic growth and harvest social and health benefits while helping to mitigate devastating impacts of climate change.
Furthermore, he suggested that local businesses need cash injections and foreign partnership and adds that people must be advised to work and pool resources together.
For him, a strategy to encourage investments to exist on the continent -services, local businesses must be tied to learn and gain capacity, “the future is the local business and not foreign business.” he said.
Dode Seidu, Trade Advisor at AfCFTA, recommended that countries should develop origin rules to favour resources.
He explained that the origin rules basically provide that products produced with value added on the continent could benefit from reduced tariffs under the AfCFTA.
“There are two criteria namely wholly obtained criteria -which entail that any mineral product, naturally occurring product, raw material which is wholly grown, extracted from any African country becomes tradeable on the continent and that includes agriculture, mineral products, scrap, electricity, aquatic, gas and electricity.
The other criteria, is the substantial transformation which means that the product being traded has undergone manufacturing or processing which significantly changes the characteristics of the product. “
He stated that when it comes to energy transition, African countries need to take a strategic view in a bid to develop and build “ourselves in terms on capacity to accomplish the targets of a gradual transition.”