In the framework of COP27, a report has been released that points out which companies and banks are investing in fossil fuels on the African continent.

Oil, gas and coal companies are developing or exploring the possibility of developing new fossil reserves in 48 of the 55 African countries.

Banco Santander and BBVA enter the list of the main banks investing in fossil projects, most of which are designed to exploit energy for the global North.

By Ecologistas en acción

Between 2019 and 2022, 352 banks invested more than 98 billion dollars in companies developing or planning to develop new fossil projects in Africa. Of this total, $44 billion was provided through loans and $54 billion through the subscription of new shares and equity bonds. These are some of the conclusions contained in the report Who finances the expansion of fossil fuels in Africa, published by a network of African social organisations in the framework of the Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Summit. In its pages, Banco Santander and BBVA appear as members of the list of the biggest investors in this type of projects.

The report reminds us that Africa is already in the midst of a climate emergency and that its countries are not the biggest contributors to global warming: “Our communities, ecosystems and economies are experiencing increasingly intense heat waves, droughts, cyclones and disasters. Millions of people in the Horn of Africa are suffering from famine and high-water stress is expected to displace up to 700 million Africans by 2030. Although Africa accounts for only about 3 % of greenhouse gas emissions, we suffer disproportionately from each additional degree of global warming”.

On the other hand, the authors of the report point out that, historically, fossil fuel industries have brought nothing but conflict, ecological and economic destabilisation to the continent. They emphasise that most of the projects identified are export-oriented. They add: “Instead of the dirty and polluting energy sources of the past, Africa and its people deserve the clean and renewable energy sources of the future. Africa has 39% of the world’s renewable energy potential, more than any other continent”.

Ecologistas en Acción joins the denunciation of the African organisations that have published the report and their demand that energy must come from renewable sources, as well as being accessible to the population of the African continent. Something that has not been achieved with fossil fuels, since a large part of the population suffers from energy poverty.

The environmental organisation concluded: “We denounce the investments of Banco Santander and BBVA, which in recent years have financed fossil fuel projects with 1,984 and 1,352 million dollars respectively. This investment is diametrically opposed to the objectives of the Paris Agreement and perpetuates the dependence of African society on the economies of the global North and its impoverishment”.