Dakar / Berlin – Germany intends to pursue gas and renewable energy projects closely with Senegal, Chancellor Olaf Schulz said during his first visit to Africa on Sunday against the backdrop of the Ukraine war and its impact on energy and food prices.
Scholes began a three-day tour of Senegal, which has billions of cubic meters of gas reserves and is expected to become a major gas producer in the region.
Following the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany seeks to reduce its heavy dependence on Russia for gas. It has begun talks with Senegalese authorities about gas extraction and liquefied natural gas, Schulz said.
“This is a matter to be closely pursued,” he told a news conference with Senegalese President Macky Sall, adding that progress in the talks was in the common interest of both countries.
Scholz said Germany is also interested in Senegalese renewable energy projects. He did not provide further details.
On Friday, a German government official said Germany could help explore a gas field in Senegal.
Sal said Senegal is ready to work to supply LNG to the European market. He forecasts Senegal’s LNG output to reach 2.5 million tonnes next year and 10 million tonnes by 2030.
In terms of gas exploration, project financing and other questions, “everything is open, and we are interested in working with Germany in this regard,” Sal said.
Germany has invited both Senegal, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the African Union, and South Africa, as guest countries, to attend the G7 summit in June.
Both countries abstained from voting on a UN resolution against Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, which Moscow says is a special military operation to disarm a neighbor that threatens its security.
Ukraine and its allies say the war is an unpleasant aggression.
Speaking as chairman of the African Union, Sal said that many African countries did not want to take sides in the war by condemning the attack.
“Clearly, we want peace,” he said. “We are working for a de-escalation, we are working for a ceasefire, for dialogue … that is the African position.”
Sal said he would visit Moscow and Kyiv next week.
The conflict in Ukraine, a major grain and food supplier, has disrupted supplies, pushing up food and energy prices in Africa.
“I express my deep concern to Chancellor Schulz about the effects of the war,” Sal said, calling for international help to reduce the decline of African countries.
Scholes will travel to Niger after Sunday, from where he will travel to Johannesburg on Monday evening, the last leg of his tour. (Additional report by Alessandra Prentice and edit by Ludwig Burger by Frank Jack Daniel)