Publication Economic / Social Policy - Globalization - West Africa - Socio-ecological Transformation - Climate Justice A Just Energy Transition for Whom?

The new gas partnership between Senegal, Germany, and France is neither just nor transitional



April 2024

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A mule-driven cart passes by a petrol station in Kaolack, Senegal, 13 October 2022.
A mule-driven cart passes by a petrol station in Kaolack, Senegal, 13 October 2022. Photo: IMAGO / UIG

In June 2023, the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) was launched between Senegal and the International Partner Group (IPG), coordinated by Germany and France. JETPs are new plurilateral intergovernmental partnerships that coordinate financial resources and technical assistance from countries of the Global North to support recipient countries in accelerating the phase-out of fossil fuels.

Ann-Katrin Hähnle holds a Master’s degree in Global Political Economy and Development from the University of Kassel and recently completed an internship at the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation’s Dakar Office.

Just one year earlier, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was accompanied by the country director of the KfW development bank, Karl von Klitzing, on a visit to Senegal, where he announced Germany’s support for Senegal’s future gas exploration, including investment, technical assistance, and purchases. Both economic and political actors in Germany have remained silent on this gas deal, not least because it is still framed as “sensible”.

Through the JETP, the German government (among others) is contributing financially to the transition to renewable energy in Senegal. In an obviously contradictory move, it is also investing in the consolidation of Senegalese gas extraction, to which the country will then be bound for decades to come. In a bid to justify gas deals, governments and the fossil fuel industry have falsely branded gas a “transition fuel”, despite the fact it has a more adverse impact on climate than other fossil fuels.

Gas development and the JETP represent opposing worldviews. However, the main claim of this policy paper is that Germany's contribution both to future gas infrastructure and to a renewable energy transition in Senegal in the form of the JETP should be understood not in terms of climate compatibility in the Global North and South, but in terms of the logic of private capital in an era of financialized capitalism. In particular, this development should be seen against the political and economic backdrop of the “financialization of development”.

The current paper elaborates on that claim and outlines the consequences for countries in the Global South that are driving global inequality. It does so by outlining the structure of the JETP, the status quo of gas exploration, and the geopolitical and financial context surrounding them. The final section highlights which economic and political paths are possible and which of them have been followed. All in all, the aim is not to give a complete picture of the negotiations surrounding the JETP and gas exploration, but to analyse the oft-omitted core financial dynamics involved.

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