Coal plant bi dou fi takke. This is the slogan hammered by the community in Bargny, a village located 30 km south from Dakar that the 350 Africa team recently met on the site where Senegal’s first coal plant has just been built.
Coal plant bi dou fi takke means ‘the coal-fired power plant will not get launched here’. The completion of the plant did not affect the determination of the Bargny and Sendou communities who continue to oppose this project.
In Senegal as in Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria and Mozambique where governments seem to be fond of coal-fired power stations, we are hearing and seeing this same strong feeling of resistance and opposition from communities, local groups, and civil society in general. Collectively, they denounce the so-called energy projects with disastrous social, health and environmental impacts.
Conscious of this fierce opposition from communities against the proliferation of coal-fired power plants on the continent, 350 Africa in collaboration with these same communities and regional partners is organising a Regional Day of Action called “Break Free from Fossil Fuels” on May 25.
On that day, communities, civil society groups and other activists will organise various mobilisation actions – from street walks to the community forums, field visits to affected sites, exhibitions and press conferences – all of them united by the same message : No to fossil fuels in Africa, targeting the existing and proposed fossil fuel projects on the continent.
Now more than ever, the time has come for Africa and its people to reject this type of obsolete energy, which is being phased out across the world. It is unanimously recognised for its major contribution to the ongoing climate crisis. Being the most vulnerable continent to climate impacts, it is inconceivable to consider a polluting, destructive and obsolete energy model in the name of development in Africa.
No, Africa does not need fossil fuels to meet its growing demand for energy. Africa has a wide range of renewable resources that can be used to boost its economy. This is the message that African activists are going to convey to their local and national leaders, as well as to international institutions like the African Development Bank that continues to fund coal projects on the continent.
The registration of events for Break Free from Fossil Fuels 2018 has already started and is still going on. We encourage you to register yours as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter at this stage if you don’t have a clear idea or plan in place – register your action and we’ll help you with the rest. We’ll encourage and help you plan powerful, public actions that pull the mask of respectability off the fossil fuel industry.