Energy paradise Senegal?
Gas from West Africa could be Germany’s joker
By Andrea Sellmann and Mary Abdelaziz-Ditzow
4/6/2023, 7:13 p.m
Senegal is rich in oil and gas – and democratic. Germany is looking for precisely such partners. Chancellor Scholz was there quickly. But Senegal is more self-confident than before and now chooses their partners. Does Germany even have a chance?
The economy in Senegal is booming: Oil and gas in particular are responsible for growth rates which, according to experts, could even be in the double digits next year. The West African Republic is considered a comparatively safe and stable country in the region. That is why Germany has long been taking a very close look.
Senegal was the first African country that Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited after the Russian attack on Ukraine: During his visit in May 2022, he thought aloud about cooperating in the production of natural gas. Environmental activists have sharply criticized this idea. And Federal Economics Minister Habeck recently expressed criticism of gas exploration in Senegal and public support for it.
From a German perspective, the positions are clear: while one side has its own energy security in mind, the other is concerned about compliance with international climate targets. The view of Senegal, on the other hand, is usually lost in this consideration. Khadi Camara is an expert on Senegal for the German-African Business Association and draws attention to exactly this. “A large part of the population still has no access to energy,” explains Camara in the podcast “Wirtschaft Welt & Weit”.
Improving the supply situation in Senegal is important in order to give the younger generation better future prospects. After all, young people in particular are increasingly taking to the streets to defend their interests. Future gas exports could generate funds to help modernize the country and defuse possible further unrest. After all, the country’s stability is an important factor for economic growth.
Senegal more and more self-confident
According to the German-African Business Association, the preparations for the offshore gas project in Senegal are becoming more concrete: companies are actively being sought that are suitable for implementing the plans. Some German mechanical engineers with experience in gas production are also being discussed. If the original schedule is adhered to, Senegal could start production this year.
If a deal were to be struck, it would be transacted directly through energy suppliers and traders. According to a government spokesman, the federal government is not involved in the financial support for the development or use of Senegalese natural gas fields. Concrete applications from the private sector for corresponding funding are also not available.
Germany needs to think about whether it is enough to have Senegalese gas up its sleeve as an energy wildcard. In the conflict between climate goals and energy security, it could be advantageous to take Senegal’s self-confidence into account: In the end, it will choose its business partners itself – and possibly faster than Germany thinks.
What does Germany have to do in order to still play an important role in the economic world of tomorrow? Who are we dependent on? Which countries benefit from the new world situation? Mary Abdelaziz-Ditzow discusses this in the ntv podcast “Wirtschaft Welt & Weit” with relevant experts.
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