Rejecting carbon colonialism

African Development Bank breaks with anti-fossil fuel banks to fund coal power, prosperity

Paul Driessen and David Wojick

We recently explained how Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) use manmade climate change alarmism to justify lending policies that reject funding for fossil fuel electricity generation, promote expensive and unreliable renewable sources, and thereby help keep impoverished nations poor.

Now, in a daring show of humanity and common sense, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has broken ranks with the World Bank and its like-minded carbon colonialist brethren. The AfDB has announced that it will once again finance coal and natural gas power generation projects. As AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina puts it, “Africa must develop its energy sector with what it has.”

In a formal statement, Adesina noted: “The key challenge for Africa is the generation of power. The continent has the lowest electrification rate in the world. Power consumption per capita in Africa is estimated at 613 kWh per annum, compared to 6,500 kWh in Europe and 13,000 kWh in the United States. Power is the overriding African priority.

“The investment is expensive, yes, but the long-term returns will be much greater. To fast track universal access to electricity, the Bank is investing US$12 billion in the power sector and seeks to mobilize $45-$50 billion from other partners.”

Put in understandable everyday terms, those numbers mean the electricity that makes modern lives, jobs, productivity, living standards, health, communication, computers, entertainment and life spans possible is available to Africans a paltry 4.7% per capita of what Americans rely on. Just imagine having electricity available only 1 hour a day … 8 hours a week … 411 hours per year – at totally unpredictable times, for a few minutes, hours or days at a stretch when you have power. And at three times what Americans pay.

Try running your life that way – or with wind and solar systems that are just as sporadic and unreliable – and might increase your per capita electricity to 10 or 15% of US levels.

Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe and many other sub-Sahara African countries have vast coal deposits. South Africa’s state-owned utility Eskom estimates that South Africa’s 53 billion tons of coal reserves could meet its needs for 200 years! Many also have enormous natural gas resources.

Those fossil fuels must not be ignored and “kept in the ground,” to appease eco-imperialists.

The AfDB is being encouraged by the Trump Administration, which may partly account for the new policy. The Trump USAID is now running the Power Africa 2.0 program, a vital upgrade of the Obama era program that promoted renewable energy and strongly discouraged the use of affordable fossil fuels.

USAID says Power Africa 2.0 is “one of the largest public-private partnerships in development history, with more than $54 billion of commitments from its more than 150 public- and private-sector partners.”

The Obama program managed to facilitate financing for just 7,300 MW of electrical generating capacity (15% of what Germany generated with coal in 2016) – and most of that was from expensive, unreliable wind and solar units. Even Bloomberg said President Obama’s “signature initiative for Africa” fell “well short” of its goals, producing less than 5% of the new electricity it promised; and virtually all that power was intermittent, expensive wind and solar – leaving hundreds of millions of Africans “in the dark.”

The only fossil fuel theoretically allowed under the Obama Power Africa con was natural gas. And even then his Overseas Private Investment Corporation refused to support construction of a 130-MW power plant in Ghana that would burn clean natural gas that was being “flared” and wasted.

USAID Administrator Mark Green says the new Power Africa goal is 20,000 MW by 2020, using “affordable, reliable energy,” meaning coal in many cases. More broadly the Trump Administration has spearheaded creating a “global fossil fuel alliance.” Energy Secretary Rick Perry often refers to this as “new energy realism” in global power development, noting that fossil fuels are absolutely essential for developing countries, especially in those where many people still have no electricity. How refreshing.

Even in South Africa, the most electrified and advanced nation in sub-Saharan Africa, insufficient electricity means too frequent brownouts that hamper factory and mining output, and keep hospitals and schools far below optimal levels. Its maternal mortality rates are some 35 times higher than in the US, tuberculosis rates 230 times higher, and thousands still die every year from lung and intestinal diseases.

But World Bank carbon colonialists still rebuffed South Africa when it applied for a loan to finish its coal-fired Medupi power plant, despite its advanced clean coal and pollution control technologies. Claiming the project violated climate change and sustainability goals, the Center for American Progress, Sierra Club and other agitator groups pressured the bank to deny funding. The Obama Administration ultimately voted “present” and the loan was approved by a bare majority of other bank member nations.

Excluding South Africa, sub-Saharan nations “enjoy” a minuscule 181 kWh annual per capita electricity consumption – 1.4% of the average American’s! In fact, Africa is home to 16% of the world’s population – and 53% the world’s people without electricity. It’s no wonder Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania and other countries are taking charge of their own destinies and building dozens of coal-fired power plants.

As Professor Rosemary Falcon points out, clean coal is not just feasible; it is also about the cheapest way to generate electricity on a continent where twice as many people as live in the United States are without power. Her “sustainable coal research group” developed a process that separates poor-quality coal from better fuel, crushes it and removes components that don’t burn well. Burning it in advanced power plants generates more electricity with “less ash, less fumes, more heat and a longer burn.” That’s clean coal.

Every country could do this, if they had the “political will” to do so, says Nigerian Sam Bada, a member of Falcon’s team. “I am tired of being lectured by people in rich countries who have never lived a day without electricity. Maybe they should just go home and turn off their fridge, hot water, laptops and lights. Then live like that for a month and tell us, who have suffered for years, not to burn coal.”

All this helps explain why the AfDB is doing what all MDBs should do. It has committed $12 billion to a “New Deal on Energy for Africa” program. As Mr. Adesina says, “Africa has a lot of energy potential, but potential doesn’t create anything. We cannot continue to accept Africa being referred to as the ‘dark continent.’ We need to … accelerate our plans to light up and power Africa.”

It helps explain why Africa, China, India, Indonesia and others refuse to reject coal and gas – and rely on “green” energy technologies that don’t exist … except in classrooms, computer models, IPCC reports, Al Gore lectures, and renewable energy company promotional literature.

Claims that 97% of scientists agree that we face a manmade climate change “tipping point” are right only if they are talking about the bureaucrats, activists and climatologists who take taxpayer and foundation money and blame humans for supposed climate chaos. Beyond their narrow confines, rational scientific discussions rage over global warming and cooling, floods, droughts, extreme weather, carbon dioxide enrichment and a host of related issues: here, here, here, here, here and here, to cite just a few places.

And how can anyone compare alleged climate problems with very real, immediate, lethal Third World problems caused and perpetuated by being forced to continue relying on wood, charcoal and dung – the fuels of poverty, misery, disease and early death? People in these countries are not expendable laboratory animals, on which to test renewable energy schemes. They must no longer be treated that way.

Many countries signed the Paris treaty because they were promised countless billions in “mitigation, adaptation and compensation” payments. The Green Climate Fund is now all but defunct. Its director has resigned, and virtually no one is contributing to it. That should be another loud global wake-up call.

Developing countries increasingly realize they are largely on their own. Other nations should follow their lead, and end this tragic fascination with green energy pixie dust. The world still needs oil, gas, coal, nuclear and hydroelectric power – the fuels of modern living standards, prosperity, health and life!

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of books and articles on energy, climate change and economic development. David Wojick is an independent analyst specializing in science and logic in public policy.

128 thoughts on “Rejecting carbon colonialism


    Take a look at the world according to cholera [] [cases reported to WHO 2007-2009]. Cholera flourishes where masses of people have converged on areas without sufficient infrastructure to support them. They often do this in an attempt to escape rural poverty. It also flourishes along major rivers, such as the Ganges and historically the Thames [choleraand…], again where infrastructure for water filtration and sewage treatment is lacking.

    Now look at the world according to (lack of) access to electricity [] [Numbers in Millions and % of People without access to Electricity, 2008. Source: WHO & UNDP]

    Electricity means clean water and waste processing.
    Cholera hates electricity.

    That is because with electricity comes deeper wells, better filtration, distribution, active media filtration of surface sources and sewage treatment with water effluent ready for discharge into rivers — along with the basics such as refrigeration for food and medicine. It was infrastructure and not better health care that eliminated the threat of cholera in North America, and other diseases besides. Energy (and its infrastructure pal water) does seem to be the thread that runs through everything. Even money is illusory. You can toss money into a village and it is still a village. Give it electricity, water and sewage treatment and it becomes a town. Who would want less for Africa, or anywhere?

    (from my rante)

    • YES, a thousand times YES. Our lifespans have doubled since the 1800s. Around half that increase can be attributed to clean water. link, link Decent water and sewer systems are vital.

      • Significant contributions to extending life spans have meen multifold, with the top spot going to less intensive wars since the 1950s.
        WWI caused a major deterioration in average life spans along with WWII.

        Increased access to better trained doctors, antibiotics, vaccinations and better sewage handling contribute the next major improvements toward increased life spans.

        Possibly second only to fewer war dead, preventing deaths of babies and young children likely contributes the second greatest increase towards longer average life spans. Instead of 30% to 50% of the children in a family dying before adulthood, most now easily reach that milestone; in civilized locations.

        Along with improved medicines and vaccination understanding; Doctors changing to a sterile environment and sterilization procedures caused immense increases to average life spans. Previously, significant percentages of children died before adulthood, from nonsterile conditions

        Clean water is far down the list. N.B. Improved sewage processes that prevent sewage from entering drinking does make for cleaner drinking water; but, it is the improved sewage handling processes, not a simple “clean water” claim.

        Even when people did not understand why, they knew that drinking alcoholic beverages, wine, beer, mead, stout, porter, etc. prevented people even in areas where water pollution was rife, rarely caught water borne illnesses. Unless, they swallowed their bath water.

        Drinking alcoholic beverages was actively practised for centuries. Clean water? Unnecessary.

        Added to that alleged clean water issue, common sense alone dictates that water tastes better without someone else’s fecal matter in it. Discovery of bacteria and other pathological critters, along with people accepting that such critters exist; gave people incentive to drink clean water whether from rainwater, springs or purchased.

        * As Hocus points out, infrastructure controlled and prevented epidemics, including yellow fever, malaria and cholera.
        * Improved personal habits controls or prevents typhus. So long as one does not ingest river water, or introduce it to cuts, washing in river water is almost as effective as washing in pristine spring water.
        * Improved use of sterile equipment, sterilization, clean wounds, clean bandages contributed greatly to average lifespans, eliminating or reducing childbed (Puerperal ) fever and wound infections.
        e.g. Large numbers of wounded soldiers died as a result of their wounds.
        * Improved surgery procedures, especially sterile practices; and use of pain control drugs that reduced deaths from shock.

        Clean water…, a side effect of improved infrastructure.

    • Not completely disagreeing, but the chlorination of drinking water had a lot to do with the reduction of cholera and other water born diseases.
      Where I live, it was first used for taste and odor control. It was noticed that cholera cases decreased. That led to it being used for disinfection. If I remember correctly (what I read, not that I was there) that happened in the 1940’s.

      • And the chlorine, whether in the form of elemental chlorine or hypochlorite, is produced by the electrolysis of NaCl (usually in aqueous solution). Production of chlorine on an industrial scale is only possible with electricity.

    • Trump continues to impose reality on the people caught up in their delusional socialist/alarmist dreamworld.

      Africa now has an ally in its efforts to bring electricity to the African people.

  2. The blue colored text, which I thought should mean a hyperlink, don’t hyperlink to anything.

    • Weird, me also. WordPress, in its zeal to redraw them as underlines when you hover over them, swallows the click. CSS and JS are conspring to do evil. They’re still links though and browser willing… you should be able to bypass the click-muncher with right-mouse-button then select menu item like ‘open in new tab’.

  3. A great idea. I’ll have a cold beer to celebrate.
    I remember the small Philco refrigerator with a tiny freezer compartment my folks owned. This was not a very early model, rather a mid-to-late 1940s model.

    I think they might have gotten it after I was born, but before I remember things.
    As far as I know, I have never lived in a place without a refrigerator.
    Now, out in a rural area we own a couple, and an extra chest-type freezer.

    Go for it Africa! Cheers.

    • John, One of the first things villagers in Indian buy when they get electricity and enough money is a refrigerator. Some villagers even make money by rent space in theirs to others in the village.

    • In Winnipeg, we had an iceman when I was a boy. Ice in blocks (cut in winter on a Lake along the CN mainline about 70 miles east of the city by the Arctic Ice Company) were delivered to households by horse-drawn vans. The ice blocks, carried over the iceman’s leather-padded back with heavy scissor tongs was loaded into top of the ice box twice a week, 25cents a go. We used to jump up into the van and get ice chips to suck on on a summer’s day.

      We got a sulphur dioxide fridge in the late 40s that had to be removed by the fire department when it sprung a leak and gassed us out of the house. After that my father bought a mod 1950s fridge and we never looked back! We also had a big coal fired octopus of a furnace in the basement that was my job to get roaring mornings before breakfast in winter. I thought the world was paradise when we eventually installed an electrically powered stoker auger for this task.

      • Im 71 and when I was 10 we moved from the farm which had a space oil burner we gathered around in the winter, to a big house in suburban Indianapolis that had an octopus coal fired furnace like yours that never got an auger but my parents and boys fired it. My cousins in inner city Indianapolis shared a house with their elderly grandmother and her fridge was an actual ice box which the ice man with his horse drawn wagon —Yes, this was 1956—–brought ice for. As an adult I lived in Sumner county TN and there was a historical home that had an ice house, mounded grassed-over dirt about 30 ‘ diameter. The ice was cut from the river in the winter and stored inside under layers of straw. Lasted until late summer. River long since impounded so no ice now.

  4. Coal? Why Coal?

    We’ve been told time and again that “renewables” are cheaper to deploy AND cheaper to run! If they are cheaper, then why do countries turn to coal?

    Is Africa so backwards that they choose to buy the more expensive-to-deply plant that locks-in higher operational costs, too? Or are the greens simply lying when they claim “renewables” are cheaper?

    • I really don’t know the figures but wind in the west has the subsidies and back up generation/ added to their overall cost. That is probably not the case for Africa, so wind may be chepaer but it’s not effective so cost really shouldn’t be a factor in choice of generation type.

    • Shanghai eh, well several things:
      1. The Shanghai/Beijing-Tianjin/Guangzhou Manufacturing Mafia will be most unhappy with this news. They’ve spent squillions ensuring electricity stays out of Africa.
      2. There’ll also be a group of angry World Bank and UN officials when their regular swiss-bank-account payments are terminated by their angry Chinese benefactors.
      3. AfDB will now suffer a sustained period of recriminations including the attempted removal of Akinwumi Adesina and the current board.

      • Not to mention trying to keep those billions out of the hands of corrupt African leaders. Africa doesn’t have a great track record in that regard.

        • How exactly do coal fired plants keep money out of the pockets of corrupt leaders compared to wind and solar?

          • Chris, where did I say it did. Money is money, that’s my point. Corruption is the problem, regardless of what the money is for.

    • I believe “fraud” may be the best operative word to describe what the green dreamers are doing……But I believe most of them when they say they are sincere in their intentions. Some really scary stuff.

    • Subsidized Green is cheaper. And those at the top make more profit.
      Cut off the subsidy, not cheaper and not profitable.

      • That’s right up there with the e-mail from a Nigerian prince who needs your bank account number.

        Corrupt officials want more western money.
        Color me surprised.

      • Chris

        An article on the BBC, citing Ban Ki-moon.

        I’m not sure I could find a less credible reference.

      • Chris

        Oh!…..I almost forgot.

        Whilst Africa may be suffering the impacts of climate change, they are also being denied the benefits, unlike you.

          • Chris

            No, I mean the benefits. Care to look and see where your PC is manufactured? That’ll be China. Your TV? Mobile phone? Bicycle? Light bulbs? etc. etc.

            All brought to you by good old Chinese coal. But Africans are not allowed to develop their own energy sources because funding and investment into fossil fuels is taboo in the west so Africa can’t borrow money on that basis.

            As you’re such an AGW warrior, I don’t suppose we’ll hear from you again as you’ll have dumped all your Chinese products shortly after reading this.

            Or are you just another virtue signalling hypocrite?

          Massive amounts of CO for decades from burning plant material.
          Here you see the stupidity behind the plan to force pit toilets on Africa to generate profits for the western world.
          Does anyone besides me see the tragedy here?
          ALL the schemes for pit toilet waste collection to a central site for composting fail. WHY? Same as in China’s towers that were to use composting toilets. NO DRY MATERIAL TO USE.
          Does anybody see this?
          Prepare the dry material for use in composting toilets, sell it to the cities for use in its toilet areas, compost locally without having to send to a central location, then send it back to the farms in 6 months for spring planting.
          The excellence of this idea fails because it does not directly enrich the western world. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    • If I might, Walter Sobchak, environmentalism is the latest, not the last (unfortunately), socially acceptable form of anti-humanism.

      Environmentalists do not see race. They only see species and all are sacred to them,… except humanity which must be exterminated as quickly as possible.

      • So true! I did a research paper nearly 30 years ago and discovered that the environmental leadership really believed that we need to cull the world’s population to 250 million (yes *million*) with them on top, obviously. And you know which part of humanity would be eliminated. Not the white part.

        • The idea that there are too many brown babies, is the heart of environmetalism. It is a racist idea.

  5. Ethiopia is building the largest hydro-dam plant in Africa and the left/greens don’t want that. Africa should go it alone, they have the resources to do so if the UN, IMF and World Bank etc left them ha at it.

    • Does the rest of the world want China to finance it? Everything that China finances; comes with a heavy toll that is extracted by the CCP. That toll is manifested in many evil ways.

      • I am not sure who is funding this work in Ethiopia. The dam, albeit not complete, is already controlling water flows down the Nile.

        China is already “investing” heavily in Africa, certainly true in my own personal knowledge of Ethiopia, with very little being returned to the locals, most are not even being employed in various projects.

        • Patrick MJD

          It seems Chinese Colonialism is acceptable, whilst European Colonialism remains a dirty word.

          • Complete nonsense. European colonialism involved taking over countries. And yeah, that is generally frowned upon nowadays. China’s Rust and Belt Initiative involves economic investment deals signed with country leaders. And it IS being called out due to onerous interest terms, not to mention requirements that Chinese companies perform most of the work with Chinese workers.

          • Chris

            India’s ‘takeover’ was accomplished by no more than 7,000 British troops.

            The Colonialists were responsible for much of the infrastructure that exists today in the country. The English language is not merely a second language, it’s engrained into their culture. Their laws are largely founded on British law, and commerce has evolved from that introduced by the British.

            The country collapsed into mayhem after Ghandi provoked dissent against the British, which saw the country divided by the partition. It has taken generations to recover, but with British Colonialism, it might have been challenging the USA as a global super power now.

            But you continue with your ill informed condemnation of Colonialism, despite it being the foundation America was built on.

          • Commerce introduced by the British?
            The reason the British invaded was:
            1) to acquire the nitrogen rich soils created by human dedication along the Ganges.
            2) to destroy the established cloth dying industry on the west coast of India as it was a threat to the nascent British weavers.
            3) The British takeover was aided and abetted by the caste system.
            4) Delhi sanitation was established long before as the sewage was sent thru a series of lagoons cleansing it.
            5) The most infamous sign of colonialism is the pitting of one group against another in a previously homogenous society.

          • katesisco

            And the other colonists? The Portugese established trade with India in the 15th Century. The Dutch, English, France, Denmark and Norway all established trading posts in India in the early 17th century.

            The Mughal Empire disintegrated in the early 18th century, then the Maratha Empire after the battle of Panipat.

            The British then had to compete with France for dominance in the region amongst the now fractured tribes.

            So where was your homogenous society?

            When the British left, it disintegrated again into mayhem.

            I’m not claiming everything about British Colonialism was right, the world was a different place and other than opposing slavery, the British didn’t understand the people they ruled and considered them ill educated.

            But can you blame them, when travelling from a country that enjoyed mechanisation, they were faced with nothing, not even railroads, which they built.

            With what we have learned, Colonisation is a viable option for places like Zimbabwe where, under Mugabe, inflation rose from an eye watering 38% to over 1,000,000% with 80% unemployment, after kicking out the farmers who operated on modern era Colonial principles.

            The blind condemnation of Colonialism is ignoring a policy that could energise entire countries with inward, independent investment, and a free market economy.

            Mugabe identified himself as a Marxist, unsurprisingly, everything he touched failed except his personal wealth.

          • katesisco

            Colonialism was not, as you put it “aided and abetted” by the cast system, the caste structure existed long before the British got there, and has continued to this day, long after the British left.

            Possibly the most ridiculous argument I have heard levelled against Colonialism.

      • The Chinese also aren’t renown for their commitment to quality as witnessed in the Three Gorges River Dam project. Ethiopians aren’t known for their skill in large scale building projects either. There must be a pretty strong and comprehensive infrastructure in place. The infrastructure alone will be very valuable outside of the building project.

      • Chris

        “Hey Patrick, perhaps acquaint yourself with the facts about a project instead of knee-jerk blaming it on greens?”

        The BBC is a hotbed of liberalised greenery.

      • Ethiopia is the only country in Africa, that I know of, that was never colonized by any other invading nation. Italy had a go around end of WW2, stole some ancient artifacts from around the country, espcially Axum, returned in 2005 IIRC. Didn’t last. Well the Fiats did, but that’s it!

        Ethiopia also tried Communism. That didn’t last either.

        Either way, the Greens don’t like hydro for the ecological damage a large scale dam inflicts on the environment. BTW, Hydro-Tasmania was one of the top 250 “carbon polluters” in Australia.

        And to pour water on your fire, quoting BBC is about as valid and unbiased as quoting Wikipedia in terms of climate and energy production.

  6. In 1966 (67?), as a geologist with the Geological Survey of Nigeria, I examined newly drilled samples of ‘Enugu’ coal and as a young overly optimistic fellow, I said to a co-worker chemist in the GSN lab that this would be a turning point in development here and the rest of Africa would follow, developing coal, oil and gas, iron and steel etc from this superbly endowed continent. The older, jaded British expat, laughed and said not in a 100yrs!

    Little did he know that he came close to being right but not because of deficits in African capabilities, but because of the rise of a neomarxbretheren, misanthropic European colonialism more ugly than anything that came before. The left in America added their might to this evil cause and came close to pulling it off. The literally 100s of millions of useful ‘tools’ duped by these morally
    bankrupt “progressives” was a product of the deliberate de-education of two generations of students.

    This story of Africans taking charge of their own destiny is the best news to come along in a very long time. They were never fooled like young westerners were and still are. Shame on European and North Americans who were inveigled into this terrible enterprise by people it would be impossible to number as friends, permitting all this terribly destructive stuff to happen. The western left cynically tried to buy the Third World leaders into sacrificing their people and it looked like they were succeeding.

    I’ve tried to argue with a few of the seemingly entranced idеолоgцеs and I can assure you their faithful followers who troll this site are at least salvageable – they are victims of the designer brain education foist on them by these awful people. Boy oh boy, we may need African missionaries to come and straighten us out.

    • Boy oh boy, we may need African missionaries
      The pope is not on board with fossil fuel electrification of Africa. His solution is for Africans to immigrate to europe . except for Vatican city. NIMBY.

      • Actually, that is where it gets quite interesting. A few of the many reasons why there is so much immigration from Africa into the West has to do with the extended lifespans brought about by the West introducing medicines, food and industry. The African population has exploded in recent years while the West has been systematically killing itself.

        So here you are, a young African, right now you are getting all kinds of free stuff from the West and then the Banksters and Chinese come in and tell you that you can have all of the Western stuff if you just continue to live at a sustenance level yet now toil away in the heavy construction industry so that maybe after several decades you can have what the West is throwing away in their home countries Right Now. (that assumes that the millennia long custom of gross political corruption and strife is magically settled)

        Why wait? Why work? Why not? Particularly when Western leadership is begging to have their socialist and naïve cultures destabilized in the name of Diversity?

    • Gary Pearse

      Did you ever meet a guy called Jim (Jock) Masson a UN forester who was there about your time?


    ” As of 2017, According to data compiled by CoalSwarm, an industry watchdog, more than 100 coal-generating units with a combined capacity of 42.5 gigawatts are in various stages of planning or development in 11 African countries outside of South Africa—more than eight times the region’s existing coal capacity. Nearly all are fueled by foreign investment, and roughly half are being financed by the world’s largest coal emitter: China.”

  8. This article is light on factss for its coal aspect. It quotes AfDB people saying that they want to encourage power generation. But not saying anything about coal. The article seems to be based on
    this AfDB statement. It also talks of the energy needs, but doesn’t mention coal. It gives a list of example prospects; solar for Côte d’Ivoire, off-grid for Ethiopia and Zambia (presumably not coal), gas for Nigeria. Nothing about coal.

    The aims spoken of seem out of line with past performance. AfDB has been there for over 30 years. I
    searched for actual Energy and Power grants. None in 2017/8; 2016/7 lent $500 million to Egypt and $100 million for Ethiopia. Neither loan was obviously coal-related.

      • I was looking for recent projects. Two of those were appraised in 2009; I couldn’t figure out the third. And they are pretty small on the scale talked of here. The pipeline ones were very vague.

        ” keeping them under the radar in press releases”
        Or is it wishful thinking here? There seems to be a lot of imagination based on very little actually said about coal by AfDB.

        • It is wishful thinking Nick. We wish that the people of Africa would stop being manipulated by the green pressure groups who don’t give a d@mn about their quality of life, harness the resources they have available to them, and claw their way out of the human abyss of misery that most of them live in.

        • Of the pipeline energy projects, 4 of 23 are coal. One is hydro. So almost 25% of their new projects are going to actually provide some benefit. If the corruption doesn’t skim all the money off the top.

          • “Of the pipeline energy projects, 4 of 23 are coal”
            Actually, there are only two, Lamu and Itobe, though each seems to have two applications. Itobe is reasonably specific – a 300 MW station that might be upgraded to 1200 MW. But there are no details at all about Lamu (Kenya) or what the AfDB might actually be called upon to do.

          • That’s why they’re called pipeline Nick. Because the details aren’t settled yet. Doesn’t change how many of them there are.

          • That one location has two different projects changes the fact that there are two different projects by zero.

        • Nick, fully understand that depriving African nations reliable energy is racist, clear and simple. Economic development requires good health. Clean water and reliable medical care require cheap, reliable energy. Renewables without subsidies are incapable due to their basic nature of proving cheap reliable energy.

          • Edwin, fully understand the depriving African nations assistance with dealing with climate change impacts caused primarily by Western nations is racist, clear and simple.

    • Nick

      Do you support the efforts the Africans show, here? To have cheap affordable electricity? Remember, wind and solar are not reliable nor cheap. And fossil fuels will be needed to backup all installed, expensive renewables. Of which, colonialism refuses to support.

    • Given the current political climate, I cannot blame them for keeping the coal in the footnotes.

    • Africa will have to do coal a little differently… North America and Europe had just undergone massive rail expansion when its mass electrification began… when they built coal burning power plants, they were sited near the population centers they would serve. Coal on rail cars was trusted and true technology. The limiting factor of the day was efficiency of long haul electrical transmission.

      Today Africa has yet to build out rail to many of the places coal will come from, BUT there do now exist great methods of bridging vast distances with high voltage feeders. They would be smarter to site power plants where the coal is and spread out with pylons.

  9. The EU would do well to embrace this policy and help power the development of Africa to bring a decent standard of living to people across the continent.

    It would end the mass economic migration that is destroying culture and community in European nations;

    It would free millions from disease, poverty and I’ll health from having to use wood or dung for cooking;

    It would reduce population growth because as their economies grow people no longer need to produce large numbers of children to survive and can and do Choose to have less children;

    It will provide for education for all and with that a growth in civil society and democratic accountability;

    It would bring the money and time to raise environmental standards which protect and preserve fragile environments and ecologies that are threatened, damaged and destroyed through otherwise inescapable subsistence farming;

    And above all else these things would set people free to make real choices about their lives and lifestyles

    BUT the EU won’t do that as it runs counter to the UN’s plans for an unelected and unaccountable global government in similar mould to the EU;
    It won’t because the EU is in thrall to the Green Blob that it has funded to develop ‘Green policies for the EU;
    It won’t because the EU is inherently marxist-socialist and, in line with U.N. policy and dogma, seeks the destruction of the industrial-capitalist economic model that has raised standards of living throughout the developed world .

    Trump and humanist policies may just break that mould as the EU continues in its death-spiral of democratic and economic decline.

    • Old England

      “BUT the EU won’t do that as it runs counter to the UN’s plans for an unelected and unaccountable global government in similar mould to the EU;”

      Nor will it, because it introduces a financial competitor into the market.

      The EU doesn’t want that because it deems fair, international market trading unacceptable. And as a competitor on their doorstep, Africa must be suppressed.

      Nothing must threaten the German industrial machine.

  10. Great post, as always, Paul! I’m glad to see somebody has some sense and some vision in the AfDB! Let’s hope he has enough backing to survive the inevitable backlash from the greens and their ill-informed coterie of followers!

  11. a global map of coal deposits appears to correlate with map of present forests except for Brazil and Congo so you’d think there would be coal there ?

  12. Great news for Africa!


    This post is from 2014:


    We knew with confidence over a decade ago that global warming alarmism was technically false, extremist and wasteful.

    We also knew with confidence over a decade ago that the green energy schemes proposed to “fight global warming” would not be green nor would they provide much useful energy.

    Since then, there has been no global warming.

    Since then, over a trillion dollars has been squandered on failed green energy schemes that have produced little net energy, but have caused energy costs to soar.

    There is no real global warming crisis.

    Cheap abundant energy is the lifeblood of modern society.

    Regards, Allan

      • Jeff – the entire post below the word {excerpt} is the excerpt.

        The full post is here (the url changed with the new wattsup server, etc):

        The preceding paragraphs are:

        In 2002 we engaged in a written debate with the Pembina Institute at the request of APEGGA, my professional organization, as published in their journal.
        PEGG, November 2002
        now at

        Our side consisted of Sallie Baliunas, Tim Patterson and Allan MacRae.
        [Our side of the debate was reprinted at the request of many professional journals, the Globe and Mail and la Presse]

        In 2002 we wrote:

        On Global Warming:

        “Climate science does not support the theory of catastrophic human-made global warming – the alleged warming crisis does not exist.”

        On Green Energy:

        “The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.”

        These are just two of our eight (8) predictions. I suggest that all eight have come true in those jurisdictions that have fully embraced global warming alarmism.

        The Pembina Institute quoted the alarmist IPCC reports, and every one of their scary scenarios has failed to materialize.

        [The above-posted excerpt goes here.]

        {continuation of the 2009 post]

        Post Script

        All these truths have not changed the Pembina Institute’s failed position.

  13. Correction. South Africa does not suffer ‘brownouts’ . It is better managed than that. It imposes pre announced load shedding where districts are simply cut off from electricity for extended periods

    Its bid to build new nuclear has been stymied by the ‘liberals’ who want ‘renewables’. Whilst as you point out, new coal has been outlawed for ideological reasons.

    One of the biggest problems is that the state owned Electricity utility is plagued by internal corruption which diverts money into individuals pockets and by the total unwillingness of the township populations to pay their electricity bills. Or the authorities to make them. What is, after all, the point of having the ANC in power if you have to pay for electricity and satellite TV?

  14. (Obama’s) Overseas Private Investment Corporation refused to support construction of a 130-MW power plant in Ghana that would burn clean natural gas that was being “flared” and wasted.

    It is clear that ‘they’ don’t want Africans to experience the bounties of modern life (like living to 80). It is very hard to take back benefits once people get used to them. ‘They’ think it is wiser that the majority of Africans never get a taste of how good life could be.

    The left thinks it knows what’s best for us. In this case that attitude looks like racism or colonialism but it is vile no matter what you call it.

    • Very true. Because they want to increase, and further entrench, their own power. Strong and idependent African nations wouldn’t need them, or their paltry “aid.”

    • commieBob

      Leave it at racism.

      Colonialism brought many benefits to the world, including the USA.

      The indigenous population were’t advancing terribly quickly, and left to their devices, America would probably be much like Africa is now.

      Colonialism had it’s issues, but it was the first time it had been seen as a formalised economic initiative rather than simply an armed invasion.

      We learned from our mistakes (and of course the UK usually bears the brunt of criticism) and still have colonies which shares our values and culture, and enjoys our protection.

      There are many countries now, especially in Africa, which could benefit from a modern version of Colonisation.

      A sort version: Mugabe’s Zimbabwe kicked out Colonial style government and then it’s farming community. The country was suffering 38% inflation at the time, which rose to 1,000,000% inflation with 80% unemployment.

      Colonialism could not possibly do any worse.

      *Yes, I did say One million per cent inflation.

      • Thomas Sowell agrees with you. link That said, the left uses colonialism as a four letter word. I enjoy throwing it back in their faces.

  15. if they get power lights water and all that goes with it, then the masses “invading “the EU region might well cease to arrive..

    • If it happens, it will take decades to build the infrastructure. So the “invasion” won’t stop any time soon.

  16. Don’t know if this is true. Read somewhere that you can cut the pollutants by 50% simply by washing brown coal prior to burning .

    • Washing coal has a lot of advantages:

      Less Ash
      Smaller Sizing
      More Consistent
      Less Abrasive
      Lower Slagging Potential
      Improved Power Plant Operation

      On top of those advantages there is a reduction in sulphur (and other pollutants) content.

      It is “more expensive in cost per calorific value” and has higher moisture content but it seems that washing coal is pretty standard. link

        • I did a lot of googling and found many references to washing coal in general as well as brown coal in particular. The link I provided was the only one that gave much detail on the many reasons why you might choose to wash your coal.

  17. “Just imagine having electricity available only 1 hour a day … 8 hours a week … 411 hours per year – at totally unpredictable times, for a few minutes, hours or days at a stretch when you have power. And at three times what Americans pay.”

    That is a silly argument that pretends that every electron is spread equally among all the people, the bushmen to the corner office suite. I don’t think that their power system has achieved perfect socialist re-distribution goals.

    That is no different than arguing for Net Neutrality by stating that someone checking their email on a cruise ship has the same bandwidth need as Netflix or availability and security as NASDAQ.

  18. While we hear a lot about so called “social justice” and how racists the average American is, Obama and his “friends” were just flat out racist snobs when it comes to Africa and the Third World. They believed they had the power, after all they had our tax dollars, to control how Africa and other third world nations develop. Though certainly nothing new, this article details the arrogance, elitism and extreme hypocrisy of the Left in the West.

    • Edwin

      Obama was an inverted racist. One who promoted black equality by insisting the white community should consider the black community in everything they do, whilst the black community consider nothing other than the black community.

      I have never met a black man I didn’t like or respect, unless they projected the same values as many unsavoury white people. And I include every race and culture under the term, not just African Americans.

      I don’t need a black POTUS to tell me it’s acceptable for a black man to call me ‘ghost’, or ‘honky’ (showing my age now) but I’m not allowed to use the ‘N’ word. I don’t want to use the ‘N’ word, but to be denied the right to use it whilst I can be called anything anyone likes, just because I’m white is anti democratic. It is, in itself, racist.

      I had such hopes for Obama, dashed on the rocks of futility.

  19. How can we invest our money to fund electrical generation and distribution in sub-Saharan Africa?

  20. I have a question for anyone with experience in the poorer sections of Africa: just how much use will a rural area get from a new power station a hundred miles away? I would think the infrastructure to deliver that power is completely lacking and the cost of building and maintaining it is more than the power plant itself. Then there’s the problem that to make use of electricity, the people will have to buy electric appliances and other gadgets.

    IMHO, what would provide more immediate relief would be liquid fuels (e.g. kerosene) for cooking and boiling water, together with simple, rugged stoves.

    But I have no experience with rural Africa so I’d be interested in hearing from those who do.

    • Alan Watt, Cliamate Denialist Level 7

      Look at your own community. Mankind migrates to where life is easiest and cheapest. That’s why we have towns and cities in the west. That’s why they are growing.

      One of the principle attractions to communities is cheap energy. It provides jobs, income, sanitation, health, education etc.

      A bit like America 200 years ago. People colonised remote areas in the hope prosperity would emerge. Cattle and farming was a start, but it was remote and diverse. It wasn’t really until cheap, abundant, reliable electricity arrived that people moved to within it’s reach.

      Africa is no different. It takes investment to encourage prosperity. And prosperity is inevitably centralised. Provide the source of prosperity and people will migrate towards it.

      • I wonder if the determinant isn’t the climate? Need water and weather to cooperate to produce civilization. Maybe that translates to easiest and cheapest but it is obtuse to put it so crudely. Anytime you are combatting weather, extreme heat, extreme cold on a regular basis, that limits what ever civilization can accomplish.

        • katesisco

          The Romans and Egyptians managed pretty well in extreme heat.

          Most major cities are around rivers, especially estuaries where goods can be landed easily. So before cheap fossil fuels that may have been the determinant. Presumably these communities had the income to afford communal power, sewage, clean water etc. before outlying communities therefore development would have been faster.

          Today it’s a recognised phenomenon that people are migrating into cities as agriculture is mechanised and jobs are fewer. You will of course note these people are not moving away from cheap energy.

          And of course, its a thumbnail sketch, there are many reasons why people move towards a city although I doubt climate is one of them assuming they have adequate access to energy and jobs where they are.

          If climate was a determinant, why would so many live in equatorial regions. Or for that matter in Canada, Sweden, Norway etc.?

  21. I spent time in Africa. Saddest thing in the world is to see the damage done by NGO’s and Green Marxist to keep a country dark and hungry. The EU is also just as evil in the things they force on Africa . The EU voted against a capital investment in mega farming so the continent could grow their own food. The Greenies got involved along with the union farmers and stopped the deal. No modernization for those who have no power on the world stage.

    • Exactly. My wife has been doing TB research in Africa for the last 10 years (also a lot of other places). She was in Uganda, Zimbabwe, Namibia and of course South Africa. In all these places she personally experienced the waste and damage caused by NGOs. She was told in Zimbabwe that “Trump was doing the right thing” by cutting off NGO funding from the CDC.
      It seems the the previous administration was more interested in spreading the wealth instead of producing results.

  22. People in these countries are not expendable laboratory animals, on which to test renewable energy schemes. They must no longer be treated that way.

    I’ve just stumbled across an interesting article, The Earth’s Carrying Capacity for Human Life Is Not Fixed, which expresses a similar sentiment.

    Viewing humans in the same way that we view single-celled organisms or insects risks treating them that way.

    The prophets of environmental doom, from Malthus to Ehrlich to Suzuki have imagined that humans, in the same manner as protozoa, would breed past the resources necessary to maintain their population. The article points out that humans behave nothing like protozoa in that respect.

    It disgusts me to say this, but the left has to learn to treat third world populations like fully functioning human beings rather than like protozoa.

    • commieBob

      Dream on mate.

      The left considers no one other than (unwittingly) it’s elite as more than protozoa.

  23. Hahahaha – Paul’s go-to quote is from the head of the Fossil Fuel Foundation, who has spent her entire career in coal research. No bias here!

  24. ‘Try running your life that way’ – that’s exactly what global warmist believers are trying to achieve for everyone in the West

  25. The World Bank seems to have relaxed it’s view on financing fossil fuel projects – From a RNS released on 22 June 2018:

    “Edenville Energy plc (AIM: EDL), the company developing a coal project in southwest Tanzania, is pleased to note that it has been announced that US$455 million of World Bank funding has been approved for the Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya (ZTK) power transmission line.Â

    This funding will allow the construction of high voltage power infrastructure, which specifically includes the transmission line from Sumbawanga to Tunduma and the associated Sumbawanga substation near to the Company’s Rukwa project area in southwest Tanzania.

    Edenville believes that this news, in conjunction with the Company’s operational mining activities, has the potential to be transformational for the Company’s planned Rukwa Coal to Power project…..”

  26. American and European liberals simply don’t care about people who live in Africa as much as they care about the sense of superiority they feel when implementing their elitist dogma on the unwashed masses.

    Sticking poor African nations whose people live on the cusp of survival with expensive and unreliable electricity? Are you kidding me?

    Massive amounts of CO for decades from burning plant material.
    Here you see the stupidity behind the plan to force pit toilets on Africa to generate profits for the western world.
    Does anyone besides me see the tragedy here?
    ALL the schemes for pit toilet waste collection to a central site for composting fail. WHY? Same as in China’s towers that were to use composting toilets. NO DRY MATERIAL TO USE.
    Does anybody see this?
    Prepare the dry material for use in composting toilets, sell it to the cities for use in its toilet areas, compost locally without having to send to a central location, then send it back to the farms in 6 months for spring planting.
    The excellence of this idea fails because it does not directly enrich the western world. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

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