Climate activists want AFCON title sponsor kicked out over pollution

Climate activists want AFCON title sponsor kicked out over pollution

Artists performing during the opening ceremony of the African Cup of Nations Group [Sunday Alamba/AP]

Various civil society organizations on the continent have teamed up to push for TotalEnergies withdrawal from the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) sponsorship.

The continent-wide campaign led by Africa Climate Change activists is targeting the tournament’s main sponsor, TotalEnergies.

The ‘Kick Total Out of AFCON’ campaign is challenging the company’s sponsorship of AFCON and accusing it of sportswashing in an attempt to distract from its perceived destructive footprint on the continent.

Pressure to have TotalEnergies withdraw its sponsorship for AFCON has continued to build up with more organizations joining the campaign, the accusers have further invested heavily on various means to have the fossil fuel company bow.

The #KickTotalOutOfAFCON campaign has moved to device an English ironical film to allegedly portray the negative strings attached to the sponsorship.

According to Nnimmo Bassey, Director of Home of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) in Nigeria, the gesture is ironic and is meant to inflict wounds on Africans, more so to those who understand the climate change narrative.

“It is insulting to have any oil company including TotalEnergies to sponsor AFCON. This corporation has inflicted serious damage to communities in the Niger Delta. They owe Africa a heavy ecological debt which they should urgently pay for remediation, restoration and reparation purposes. Football will never roll away this debt,” he stated.

According to Power Shift Africa, multinational fossil fuel companies have promoted one side of a complex story, stating extraction as a source of public revenues, jobs, and energy access, but that the lived experiences of Africa’s communities with oil and gas producers tell a rather different story.

Amos Wemanya, a senior advisor of climate and energy at Power Shift Africa lamented that fossil fuels development sabotages all seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, and that the extraction has overwhelmingly generated private riches concentrated in the Global North rather than public revenues for Africans, while creating conditions for corruption and loading governments with debt.

“While African people and communities bear the risks of fossil fuel development, multinational corporations reap the rewards of oil and gas extraction. Sponsoring AFCON is an old tactic employed by these companies to conceal the devastation they cause African communities, and destruction of people’s support system,” he reiterated.

Scientists have termed fossil fuels to be the major cause of global warming. Despite the call at the United Nations conference on climate change meetings to phase out fossil fuels, many developed countries have remained adamant as fossil fuel business is their economic driver.

When fossil fuels are burned, they release huge amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the air.

Greenhouse gases are known to trap heat in the atmosphere, resulting to global warming, hence various climatic change effects on the earth.

 The men’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations began on January 13, in Ivory Coast while Women’s Africa Cup of Nations 2024 will take place in summer of 2024 in Morocco.

The two cups of Nations are being title sponsored by the energy firm TotalEnergies, through a major eight-year deal struck in 2016.

The campaign by Kick Polluters Out is convened by Magamba Network (Zimbabwe) with an East Africa content hub run by Buni Media (Kenya), and West Africa work covered by Journal Rappé (Senegal).

Kick Polluters Out is a movement of African creatives fighting against alleged sports-washing and greenwashing by Big Polluters.

The #KickTotalOutOfAFCON campaign is being run in partnership with Greenpeace Africa and allies across the African continent.

Tags:

AFCON TotalEnergies Kick Out Polluters Sportswashing

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