East African CSOs call on EAC Presidents to halt fossil fuel investments in favor of renewables


East African Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working on energy, human rights and climate change issues have written an open letter to all Heads of State of East African countries, calling for an end to fossil fuel investments in the region.

The CSOs expressed their concerns regarding the 10th East African Petroleum Conference and Exhibition (EAPCE), which is taking place from May 9-11, 2023, in Kampala. The conference aims to showcase investment opportunities in East Africa’s petroleum sector under the theme, “East Africa as a hub for investment in exploration and exploitation of petroleum resources for sustainable energy and socio-economic development.”

The CSOs emphasized that fossil fuel investments in the region pose significant risks to socio-economic development and energy access for East Africans. They cited major concerns about ecological disasters, economic impacts, job losses, conflicts, and negative effects on renewable energy access.

The CSOs urged the East African heads of state to redirect private and public investments into renewable energy and green economic alternatives that promote job creation, economic growth, and environmental sustainability.

The CSOs working in the region have already seen the negative impacts of the controversial East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) -the planned 1443-km pipeline expected to transport oil from the Lake Albert region in Uganda to the port city of Tanga in Tanzania. The CSOs are also concerned about the ongoing auctioning of 30 oil and gas blocks in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). If any oil finds are found in the Albertine Graben in the DRC, they may also be transported via the EACOP.

The CSOs have expressed concern that the East African Petroleum Conference and Exhibition could raise investor appetite in the EACOP, Tanzanian gas and the oil blocks in the DRC, rather than promoting sustainable investments like renewable energy that the region needs.

The CSOs are therefore calling on all East African Heads of State to:

Abandon any further investments in oil and gas projects, including EACOP and auctioning oil and gas blocks in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Redirect private and public investments into renewable energy by jointly working towards implementing enabling policies, increasing budgetary allocations, and lobbying investors to invest in renewable energy.

Promote green economic alternatives that employ the region’s youth and provide real, sustainable economic growth opportunities.