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Africa’s Switch to “Cleaner” Petroleum Products

African nations need to spend about $15.7bn on their refineries to curb emissions and meet climate change targets as demand for oil and gas surges, according to an industry lobby group. Governments on the continent should focus on reducing sulphur levels in petroleum products because Africa’s consumption of fossil fuels will rise quickly in the coming decades even as the supply of clean energy expands, said Anibor Kragha, executive secretary of the African Refiners and Distributors Association (Arda). The pan-African body, based in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital of Abidjan, promotes the interests of the downstream oil industry. A “leapfrog” switch by African nations from oil and gas directly to renewables is not realistic, Kragha said in an e-mailed response to questions. “Africa needs a unique energy transition road map.” Governments in wealthier nations have set ambitious targets for a rapid shift to renewable energy to slash carbon-dioxide emissions, with many countries and companies making commitments to achieve so-called net zero by 2050. Arda is also promoting tighter restrictions on the age and quality of used vehicles that can be shipped to African countries and liquefied petroleum gas as an alternative cooking fuel to charcoal and firewood, Kragha said.