Ugandan Activist challenges European Leaders over Crude Oil project support

Construction at the East African Crude Oil Pipeline

Hilda Nakabuye, a Ugandan climate and environmental rights activist and founder of Uganda’s Fridays for Future movement, has challenged top European decision-makers over their support for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue on Tuesday.

The activist delivered a powerful speech to other keynote speakers including Annalena Baerbock the German Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kwasi Kwarteng the British Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, and António Guterres the Secretary-General for the United Nations.

In her speech, Nakabuye said: “I have come here today to remind you that the greed exhibited by your leaders and global north corporations is a danger to the lives of people in Africa. It is a danger to wildlife and a threat to future generations.”

“Despite promising time and time again to cut fossil fuels at home, European backing for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline is clear evidence the region continues to support devastating fossil fuel projects in the global south,” she added.

According to Nakabuye, Europe developed by burning fossil fuels but that is not the path young people want to take.

“Uganda and the rest of Africa wants to develop but not at the expense of nature and human lives,” she stressed.

In response, Annalena Baerbock the German Minister for Foreign Affairs said “it is our global responsibility to ensure that we don’t export our energy crisis to countries of the global South, and that the energy transition is equitable, even in the rest of the world.”

The EACOP is a proposed 1,443-kilometer crude oil pipeline from Hoima in Uganda to the port of Tanga in Tanzania that, if completed, would be the longest heated crude oil pipeline in the world.

Environmental activists say that the likely risk of oil spills pose a huge threat to the livelihoods and welfare of tens of millions of Ugandans and Tanzanians, and would generate over 34 million extra tons of carbon emissions every year, accelerating the climate crisis.

Ugandan climate activists, including Vanessa Nakate, have been traveling across Europe to raise the awareness and support for their ongoing campaign to halt the construction of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline.

With the support of European climate activists they want to end European support for this project that they have called “devastating”.

Currently EACOP is financed and supported by European companies like Total, financiers that include Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered, and insurers like Munich RE and Allianz.

Nakabuye, in an interview, said that they want people in Europe and around the world to know about the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline.

“We want financial institutions and other big companies supporting Total to withdraw their support. We want to see this project stopped, as well as any other new oil projects in Africa and around the world,” she said.

To date 15 major banks and five major reinsurers have ruled out support for the pipeline.


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