Energy giant Sahara Group has advocated for more stakeholder collaboration in the design and adoption of enforceable policies and regulations which can effectively curb the menace of climate change in Africa.
June 5 of every year is celebrated globally as World Environment Day. The theme for this year is #BeatAirPollution.
Pearl Uzokwe, Director-Governance and Sustainability, Sahara Group, said while it is commendable that some African nations have started implementing several environmental protection policies, the continent requires “holistic and tailored multi-stakeholder cooperation to achieve sustainable milestones”.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 9 out of 10 people in the world are exposed to polluted air; and worse still, air pollution kills 7 million people each year. A new World Bank report found that air pollution costs the global economy more than US$5trillion annually in welfare costs, with the most devastating damage occurring in the developing world.
Uzokwe said Africa needs to establish incentives that promote investments in renewable energy, pollution control technologies, energy efficiency and clean production mechanisms to combat air pollution effectively.
“Quite impressively, we have seen policies targetted at increasing industrial energy efficiency and reducing fuel sulphur content for refined petroleum products (Afri4); increasing investments in public and non-motorised transport systems, and improving access to clean cooking and heating fuels.
“What we need now is a higher level of commitment and cooperation from governments, energy companies, regulators, civil society and other stakeholders to ensure these policies are backed by laws and enforced as appropriate across the continent,” she said.
Uzokwe said Sahara’s commitment to protecting the environment inspired the recent partnership between Sahara Energy Resources, DMCC Dubai and Brooge Petroleum and Gas Investment Co (BPGIC) geared toward setting up an oil refinery with up to 250,000 barrel per day capacity to produce clean bunker fuel in the Emirate of Fujairah.
The facility will be one of the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa to comply with new regulations of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) 2020 by capping sulphur content in shipping fuels.
Working through West Africa Gas Limited (WAGL), a Joint Venture between Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Sahara Group, the energy conglomerate contributes to the supply of Liquefied Natural Gas to enhance access to clean and safe energy in Africa via WAGL’s ultra-modern vessels, MT Africa Gas and MT Sahara Gas.
In addition, Sahara recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to facilitate access to affordable and sustainable energy in Africa.
“Sahara Group is constantly reviewing its business practices to promote effective environmental governance, resource efficiency and ecosystem management.
“We are passionate about pursuing and promoting multi-stakeholder collaboration between regional and global organisations to drive the achievement of Goals 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) and 13 (Climate Action) across the world,” Uzokwe added.