The Kick Total Out of AFCON campaign challenging Total Energies’ sponsorship of AFCON, grows.

– We call for accountability and true environmental stewardship, urging Total Energies to align their operations with the global consensus for a sustainable and fossil-free future, the conveners demanded.

John Cassim

Harare, Zimbabwe – A continent-wide campaign has been launched challenging Total Energies’, the French oil giant’s sponsorship of the Africa Cup of Nations. The campaign is demanding they stop any planned or new fossil fuel projects, seriously invest in renewables, and begin a just and equitable transition for staff and communities involved in existing projects.

AFCON kicks off in Ivory Coast on January 13th, amid accusations that the multinational oil company is sports washing in an attempt to distract from its negative footprint on the continent.

The campaign is convened by a digital media organisation, Magamba Network, based in Zimbabwe, an East Africa content hub run by Buni Media in Kenya, and West Africa work covered by Journal Rappé in Senegal. .

A statement issued by the conveners two days ahead of the official start of AFCON in Ivory Coast said football captures the heartbeat of Africa—the most widely loved, watched, and played sport that unites the continent.

“While we love football, we hate pollution! And even more than that, we’re concerned that companies like Total Energies are infiltrating our beautiful game with the green washing sponsorship,” read the statement.

“Africa is disproportionately affected by the climate crisis, yet Total continues to drill for new oil and gas resources on the continent, flying in the face of their own ‘net zero’ claims as well as global calls for a transition to renewable energy,” the statement added.

Total Energies has been accused of casting themselves in a positive light by sponsoring AFCON while detracting the world from the destructive effects of their activities on the continent.

The following are examples of exploitation on the continent:

  • Total’s EACOP pipeline in Uganda and Tanzania will displace more than 100,000 people, has caused food insecurity, caused children to leave school, and is likely to have devastating consequences for the environment.
  • In northern Mozambique, Total’s US$20 billion natural gas project has exacerbated the conflict in an already unstable region.
  • Local residents claim that the majority of jobs created in the region have gone to internationals or Mozambicans who hail from the economically advantaged south of the country, exacerbating the already stark regional marginalisation.

As such, ‘Kick Polluters Out’ is calling on CAF to ditch big polluters like Total Energies ‘who do not deserve’ to be associated with the world’s beautiful game.

“Total Energies is guilty of foul play. They like to portray a clean, green image of themselves with their sponsorship of AFCON. But the reality is very different. At a time when scientists are telling us to stop any new fossil fuel projects, Total is developing more oil and gas resources in Africa than any other company,” says Kick Polluters Out co-founder and Magamba creative director, Samm Farai Monro.

“For example, their EACOP pipeline in East Africa will involve the release of global heating gases more than 25 times the current annual emissions of Uganda and Tanzania combined.

How can Total say they are aiming to be net zero when they are setting our continent on fire? It’s time to show Total Energies the red card. Because there can be no football on a dead continent.”

“The Kick Total Out of AFCON campaign is crucial for highlighting corporate environmental responsibilities in the context of African football. It brings attention to the environmental impacts of big companies like Total Energies, emphasising the need for sustainable practices in a continent rich in natural beauty and biodiversity,” says popular Senegalese rapper Xuman, a member of the Kick Polluters Out movement.

“This campaign is a movement that combines the passion for football with the urgency of protecting Africa’s environment, ensuring that the love for the game is aligned with preserving the continent’s natural resources for future generations,” the Senegalese rapper protested.

The Kick Total Out Of AFCON campaign will be running concurrently with the AFCON football tournament and will include online actions, comedy content, explainer videos, animations, creative youth engagement, music videos, and online bootcamps.

Greenpeace Africa notes that the recent COP28 resolution clearly mandates a global shift away from fossil fuels’.

“Total Energies’ ongoing drilling and exploration in Africa blatantly contradicts this global commitment. Their sponsorship of AFCON should not distract from their actions that risk the health of our planet and future generations. We call for accountability and true environmental stewardship, urging Total Energies to align their operations with the global consensus for a sustainable and fossil-free future.

Africa’s rich natural heritage and the well-being of its people should not be compromised for short-term profits. It’s time for Total to play fair, both on and off the football field,” says Thandile Chinyavanhu, Greenpeace Africa’s Oil and Gas Campaigner.

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