The prolonged dispute between Russia and Ukraine has forced the European Union to diversify its dependence on Russian fuel and is focused on building renewable energy infrastructures.
Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission said on Tuesday at the opening of the 2023 World Economic Forum in Davos that Nigeria and other African countries are the new replacement for Russia.
The EU has cut several partnerships with Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.
Europe was heavily dependent on Russian fossil fuels including coal, oil and gas.
At the time of the invasion, 60 per cent of the Russian budget’s revenues was from fossil fuels.
But Von der Leyen said the EU sees new opportunities to meet its energy demand in Africa and is willing to invest €300bn over the next five years.
The European Commission President said, “We have completely decoupled and diversified the way that this demand of course for new trusted long-term suppliers and we have to be very careful that we do not create a lock-in event in fossil fuels but that we use this opportunity to leap up forward to clean energy.
“Here comes the opportunity for a global gateway. Our friends for example on the African continent have resources for renewable energy in abundance and what is missing is the infrastructure.
“And therefore, we have a common interest that Global Gateway is investing in infrastructure for green hydrogen, for example, solar panels, and wind. This infrastructure is being built up with a common interest on both sides that we want the added value fairly placed unpredictably.”
The Global Gateway targets mobilizing up to €300bn in investments between 2021 and 2027 to underpin a lasting global recovery.
It also takes into account EU partner’s needs and EU’s own interests.
She said, “Global Gateway is our €300bn investment plan for infrastructure abroad for the next five years. There is a huge need for investment in infrastructure and we want to be the offer as a partner where the investment in the infrastructure coupled with the added value that stays locally, transparent, reliable and predictable.
“And I give you some examples of what Global Gateway is, I have spoken about the enormous dependency of the European Union on Russian fossil fuels before Russia unleashed the war against Ukraine. The European Union was the biggest client for all the pipeline gas worldwide and Russia was the biggest supplier worldwide this huge demand of the European Union is now completely shifted away from Russia.”