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Activists urge UK to promote clean sustainable energy sources instead of oil drilling in Malawi

Author: Alice Ross, The Guardian, Published on: 24 November 2016

"UK aid money spent trying to boost British role in Malawi oil sector"

The British government spent thousands of pounds of aid money on a project aimed at “establishing the UK as the partner of choice” in the nascent oil and gas sector of one of the world’s poorest countries. Malawi is believed to have substantial oil deposits, including under Lake Malawi, a pristine freshwater lake – the third largest in Africa – whose southern shores are a protected Unesco world heritage site. Unesco has warned that any oil activity near the lake risks causing an ecological disaster.

Kate Osamor, the shadow international development secretary, said: “The issue isn’t the amount of money...But using money that’s supposedly for sustainable development to encourage oil exploration seems highly questionable.” Greenpeace’s senior climate advisor Charlie Kronick told the Guardian: “The UK government is using aid money supposed to promote, among other things, clean energy and climate projects to help the fossil fuel industry that’s causing the climate problem in the first place. “What’s worse, this is happening in a country that’s extremely vulnerable to climate change and where oil exploration is largely concentrated around Lake Malawi, a Unesco world heritage site and one of Africa’s largest and most biodiverse lakes.” He added: “Instead of using aid money to grease the wheels of the fossil fuel industry, the UK government should help Malawi develop the clean, sustainable energy sources many African countries are racing to exploit.”

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