Ghana’s Minister for Energy, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, has charged his colleague Ministers for Energy at this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt to have a united voice and stand up against attempts by environmentalists pushing for Africa to abandon its gas and oil resources and instead shift to renewable energy sources.
“We should not allow ourselves to be divided,” Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh made the call during a panel discussion at the recent African Energy Week 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa.
According to Dr Opoku Prempeh, Africa is awash with huge minerals and oil and gas resources and, therefore, cannot abandon them while the majority of the youth are without jobs and struggling to survive.
Dr Opoku Prempeh stated categorically that Africa would continue to exploit its mineral resources to bring development and lift the majority of the people from poverty.
He warned that any attempt to abandon the continent’s huge mineral resources could trigger chaos.
“We are going to use what God has given us to develop our nations,” he said.
Using Ghana as an example, Dr Prempeh said millions of Ghanaians do not have jobs and “you want me to go and stand in front of them and say we’re not going to exploit our oil and gas? There will be a coup,” he stated.
According to him, it appears that some people deliberately want to set up African leaders for coup d’état.
“It was an existential threat for Africa to be told that don’t exploit your oil resources,” Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh pointed out.
Making a strong case for why oil and gas resources have to be exploited and not abandoned, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh said God in His wisdom created the sea, wind, and sun and put oil and gas resources under the earth for man’s exploitation.
Shooting down the argument and supporting the shift from the use of fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh said if the answer to energy security was in, say, solar energy, God would not have put oil under the desert of Saudi Arabia because of the abundance of sun.
“If we are going to participate in the energy transition process, we are going to use what God has given us to achieve that,” he stated forcefully.
“Why did God put oil in Gabon. He put the trees and He put the oil. We have to exploit both. You can’t say you want to exploit one and leave the other. How are you going to exploit one without touching the other?” He quizzed.
COP27 is scheduled for November 7 and 18 in Egypt.