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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ghana at a CROSSROADS; Greening of Africa's secular leader

With oil discovered and in development for production off the shore of Ghana, the nation is facing some difficult decisions. Just at the time when it was becoming evident that Ghana may need to lead Africa's Green Revolution, economic forces are leading it to become even more dependent on oil, though of the local variety.

Here is advice for Ghana:

A) Wherever possible, encourage natural gas development rather than oil, as natural gas is an ideal transitional fuel on the road to a sustainable, clean energy economy.

B) Even though Ghana has oil, most of this will go to export, though Takoradi will also feed domestic markets and take pressure off the pipeline from Nigeria to the east. It is in Ghana's best interest to pursue an off-oil strategy domestically, even as it is concurrently developing the offshore resource. This means advancement of natural gas, biogas, biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, solar, wind and geothermal.

C) Create a National Energy Foundation Fund and put 70% of oil royalties into this fund, which should be earmarked for natural gas and green energy projects that benefit the nation. The technology, systems and expertise garnered from these projects will make Ghana an innovation and business leader of the continent. A second benefit of not taking the royalties directly into government revenue is that this will facilitate continued international assistance, something crucial for Ghana and Africa.

In summary, I realize neither major party in Ghana will agree to not develop the oil fields, so the best strategy for forward thinkers to pursue is bilateral; utilize the economic strength derived from oil exports and royalties to build Africa's leading solar economy on land.

John Evans, do you hear me Bro?

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