A top U.S. energy official says Russia’s war on Ukraine has driven home the need to diversify supply chains, and that Africa can benefit from this. Jose Fernandez made the comment on Wednesday at an annual conference on African mining in Cape Town, South Africa.
Jose Fernandez, the U.S. Undersecretary for economic growth, energy, and the environment, is the highest-ranking American official ever to attend the Investing in African Mining conference, or Indaba. Indaba is a Zulu word for discussions.
Fernandez said the U.S. is very interested in working with African partners to make the kind of investments that will benefit both sides.
“That’s a message that I’m not sure has been made here in the last few years,” he said.
He said Russia’s attempts to weaponize its oil and gas exports to Europe highlights the fact that the U.S., and other countries, cannot depend on one, or two, or even three suppliers for important products.
“Something we need to diversity is our sources of energy. We need to invest more in renewables. That requires wind turbines, it requires solar panels, it requires electric batteries and other components that are going to be critical for the energy future,” he said.
Fernandez said the U.S. geological service has identified almost 40 critical minerals that are going to be needed for a clean energy future as well as in products like cars, computers and chips noting that Africa has many of them.