Germany’s race to cut its reliance on gas from Russia has injected urgency into the first official visit to Africa by Olaf Scholz as he hunts new sources of energy supplies.
The German chancellor arrived in Senegal, which is tipped to become a big gas producer, on the first stop of a three-nation tour that began with a visit to a solar power plant followed by talks on a deal to develop renewable energies.
Last year 55 per cent of Germany’s gas came from Russia. This reliance has been reduced to below 40 per cent, but making further cuts will require new partnerships, analysts said.
Scholz has invited Senegal and South Africa, where he will be tomorrow, to be guests at the G7 summit he is hosting in Germany next month. For now, Europe receives substantial gas supplies from only two countries on the continent: Algeria, which provided about 8 per cent of EU gas imports last year, and Nigeria, which accounted for 2 per cent. The war in Ukraine is likely to lead to a scramble for Africa’s natural resources.
“We should use Germany’s G7 presidency to conclude a comprehensive deal for investments in sustainable technologies with Africa,” Stefan Liebing, chairman of the German- African Business Association, said.
Scholz, who was elected in December, is a fresh face for Africa’s leaders, who have been courted strongly by President Putin. Senegal and South Africa were among 17 countries that abstained from voting on a United Nations resolution against Russia’s invasion.
Africa is bearing the brunt of Russia’s Ukrainian grain export blockade, which has worsened the food crisis, especially in the east and Horn of Africa.