Speaking at the 2022 ARDA Virtual Storage and Distribution workshop with the theme of ‘Reducing Carbon Footprint of Africa’s Storage and Distribution Supply Chain,’ the International Energy Agency (IEA) and CITAC Africa also expressed concern about projected growing demand on the continent, lack of refining capacity, inability to diversify economies as well as the rising emissions from major African oil and natural gas producers, especially in the area of gas flaring.

This came as the African Refiners and Distributors Association (ARDA) raised serious concerns over the continent’s growing population, the demand for energy and the infrastructure required to store and distribute cleaner energy products.

An expert at IEA, Tae-Yoon Kim, who spoke on ‘Africa’s Road to Net Zero Emissions,’ during the virtual event, said Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan Africa countries provide a significant share of the world’s mineral resources that are critical to clean energy technologies.

He stated that the explosive growth in clean energy deployment over the next decades could create a market opportunity for manufacturers of key equipment worth a cumulative $27 trillion globally through to 2050.

According to him, fuel cells, electrolyze, battery packs, wind turbines and solar PV modules, are expected from solid minerals like copper, cobalt, manganese, graphite, platinum, chromium, bauxite and others would spur cleaner energy technologies and a new industry for Africa.

Kim noted that Africa’s expansive land and abundant natural resources provide potential for production of low-carbon hydrogen from renewables cost-effectively.

He stated that the high share of imported used cars in most African countries results in poor fuel economy and limits the scope for reducing emissions in the medium term.

“Without rapid progress on economic diversification, global energy transitions are set to take a heavy toll on the export revenues of key producers”, he added.

Speaking on the projected exponential growth in population, Executive Secretary, ARDA, Anibor Kragha noted that fossil fuels demand and products imports would grow over the next two decades in Africa alongside major urban population growth which could result in increased pollution.

Kragha stressed the need for sustainable transition to cleaner fuels as imperative to addressing public health issues, adding that coordinated storage and distribution investments were required to deliver Africa’s Energy Transition plan.