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Best Practices voor een duurzame toekomst
06 november 2007

Shell: Afrika moet meer energie gaan gebruiken

We plukken enkele veelzeggende quotes uit deze toespraak, die Jeroen van der Veer hield voor de TU van Delft, op 1 november. We laten ze onvertaald.
Over het recht van de Afrikaan om juist meer energie te gaan gebruiken: “Unfortunately, for the most part, Africa uses the wrong kind of sustainable energy: charcoal, firewood, animal dung and harvest residues. In fact, this energy is just the opposite of “sustainable”, since it degrades the environment and affects negatively the health of people. Burning biomass to cook or heat houses release gases and fine particles, which shorten life expectancy. Africa’s limited energy footprint on the Planet Earth is the footprint of poverty. Whereas Europeans and North Americans have to reduce their footprint, Africans are entitled to a bigger one.”
Hoe denkt Van der Veer de Afrikaan aan meer energie te helpen? “Modern energy is the mother of all economic development. People can only climb the prosperity ladder after having made the first steps on the energy ladder. Hundreds of millions of Africans haven’t reached the first rung of this ladder. Gains in African energy consumption per capita have been almost zero for 25 years. Small-scale innovations can make a big difference. The poor rural masses can be helped with small windmills, water mills, solar panels, biomass furnaces and LPG burners. Such measures increase prosperity and reduce environmental pollution and sickness. That is why people in Africa must get all the help of the world to increase their energy consumption.”
De CEO van Shell ziet sommige Afrikaanse landen het door good governance nu al beter doen dan andere. Het is het enige succesje dat hij aan jaren van ontwikkelingshulp toeschrijft: “Peace, stability and good governance is more important for economic growth than possessing oil or natural gas reserves. Which, in turn, shows that the emphasis on good governance in development cooperation strategies is a good one.”
Bovenal moet Afrika de ruimte geven aan het ontwikkelen van het midden- en kleinbedrijf. Van der Veer is onder de indruk van de ontwikkeling van vele Aziatische landen. “Business is the real poverty killer.” En het is de Shell Foundation die Afrika daarmee helpt. Onder andere door oventjes te verkopen met een hoge rentabiliteit. “You heard me correctly: the Foundation is not giving the stoves away, but selling them, in order to create business opportunities for local entrepreneurs.”

P+ webtip: Jeroen Van der Veer over Afrika