Africa uniting forces to challenge the fossil industry on May 25

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.

2018 is a crucial year in fighting for a Fossil Free Africa!

With great admiration for the efforts to freeze fossil fuel energy developments in Africa, we report back from the inaugural meeting of Non-profit Organisations (NPOs) advocating for the end of coal in Africa. On February 1, 2018, more than 15 activists representing regional organisations from across Africa gathered in Johannesburg as part of a series of anti-coal organising and campaign capacity building meetings. In sum, participants were introduced to the platform and shared knowledge, experiences and approaches to advocating for a coal-free Africa. The days' discussions focused on approaches to strengthening African anti-coal solidarity, strengthening capacities for organising, mobilising, and engaging with the media through participant-led storytelling, in addition to putting forward ideas of how we as a collective can engage with upcoming global and regional anti-fossil fuel moments in 2018.  

The campaign platform aims to unite campaigns and movements working to end the age of coal in Africa. Inspired by campaigners in Kenya, the objective of the platform is to highlight the impact of coal on affected people through strengthening solidarity and providing regional campaigns with tools and resources to scale up their efforts to achieve a coal-free Africa powered by 100% renewable energy.

The day's dialogue was kicked off by Chris Kif, Digital Campaigner at 350 Africa. His presentation on what the platform seeks to achieve, and spotlight on how its already working in Ghana and Kenya was followed by participant stories of their campaigns and discussion on how best organisations that are spread across the continent can work together. After some discussion and suggestions, the Decoal platform was endorsed as a useful tool with clear objectives and a solid vision. The remainder of the day was spent discussing how to implement the organising guidelines into their campaigns and how to energise the platform with opportunities to work together.  

This first meeting was both inspirational and full of learning. It was valuable to witness and feel the excitement and energy around, and the possibilities it holds for resisting the importation of dirty energy developments into Africa. We’re all back in our respective countries, cities and communities, but bound by an unyielding commitment to stand up against coal. Going forward, participants will meet virtually on the 1st and 6th of March 2018 to plan for key global and regional moments in 2018 - if you are interested in joining this call, you can sign up here. Join us, and let’s set Africa on a coal-free path through people power!

#ThumaMina – call on the DBSA to publicly commit to not financing new coal

350Africa is calling on the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) to publically commit to not funding Thabametsi coal-fired power station because of the devastating effects this will have in Lephalale, Limpopo, South Africa.

We all know we don't need another coal plant. Besides the immediate impact on the health of people living close to the plant, emissions from coal-fired power plants contribute to climate change. Burning more coal will only lead to more catastrophic climate change, more extreme weather and even more impacts like the drought in the Cape and dangerous storms. Coal is killing us and our planet and it's time we took action to stop it.

South Africa is at the shore of a national water crisis. Corruption within the coal sector threatens the country’s democracy and has been entrenched into the highest levels of governance. Reports on how load shedding was used as a money-making scheme, irregularities within the Water and Sanitation Department and ensuing economic misfortune has reached extreme levels and has South Africans feeling despondent in the midst of a water crisis. In order to avoid the situation becoming any worse, public and private financial institutions need to be persuaded to break ties with the coal sector, which threatens our collective well being.

This is why 350Africa has launched the Thuma Mina(lend a hand) DBSA campaign calling on the DBSA to permanently withdraw from financing Thabametsi. The plant will use outdated technology and as a result will be a coal plant with disproportionate emissions, impacts on human health, water availability, and agricultural productivity in an age when any new coal plant cannot compete economically with renewable energy and is a climate crime. Set to begin operating in 2021 with a lifespan of 45 years, the plant would mean that either South Africa will not be able to meet its climate change obligations, or that the power plant will close early, becoming a stranded asset.  

The Life After Coal campaign has made incredible progress towards stopping Thabametsi. We now call on the DBSA to continue their work supporting renewable energy and commit to not funding this new coal power plant. Their slogan is #MakeChangeHappen, let’s do it sustainably.

You can join the call by visiting the campaign website and signing the petition asking the DBSA to commit to not funding coal.