The crisis has thrown the energy market into chaos, sending fossil fuel prices soaring. This has birthed the global demand for thermal coal, especially from the Asian and European markets; with most countries in both regions having been dependent of Russia, as the country is the world’s third largest supplier of thermal coal used chiefly for power generation. Coal plants that had been scheduled for closure in Europe have been reopened, to fill the deficit in mitigating fuel costs and generating electricity; as the alternative gas, is inarguably more expensive. With energy security under threat, climate policies and commitments have taken a back seat. The EU recently declared that natural gas now qualifies for green investments.
The African coal market is projected to enjoy double its revenue for the next one year. The prevailing energy gap has created a window of opportunity for African coal producing nations. According to a report by Reuters, South Africa’s coal exports rose by 11 folds in the months following the war. Botswana has also projected growth in its coal market. The massive demand far outstrips the available supply, resulting into prices of thermal coal leaping to record levels. African countries with coal resources, have doubled profit margins, with the surge in demand from European buyers. Italy, France, Portugal and Spain have been sourcing from Nigeria, whilst Germany has sought Senegal for gas supplies.
The revenues gained from increased energy exports to Europe and other markets could be reinvested to boost agricultural productivity in Africa to mitigate reliance on Russia and Ukrainian wheat products. In addition, the surplus could boost the continent’s manufacturing sector, pertinently fertilizers to promote agricultural productivity which fuels most economies in Africa.