[Press Release]

  • 13th and 14th February to see global call for banks, universities, faith-based organisations and institutions to divest from the fossil fuel industry
  • Fossil Free Africa campaign to intensify against Nedbank and other South African banks investing in coal and oil
  • Events across Africa and the Arab world including Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cairo, Cotonou, Ougadougou, Douala and Lagos with more to be announced
  • Screening of award-winning climate science documentary ‘Thin Ice’ and Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness (BCUC) playing at GDD events in Johannesburg

JOHANNESBURG: Grassroots climate campaigns 350Africa.org and 350Arabworld.org today announced a string of events across Africa and the Arab speaking world as part of a Global Divestment Day action taking place on the 13th and 14th February 2015.

The worldwide day of action comes as 2014 has been confirmed as the hottest year on record driven by the highest levels of greenhouse gas emissions ever measured. Data released in January 2015 by the National Climatic Data Centre in the United States showed the average combined temperature across sea and land rising to 0.69 degrees Celsius above the 20th century average temperature.

Climate scientists predict Africa and the Arab world regions will be amongst those hardest hit by the impacts of climate change with extreme weather events already on the increase. The latest floods in Malawi and Mozambique killed hundreds of people, drove thousands more from their homes and caused local food shortages. Water scarcity is increasing across both Africa and the Arab world with Northern Kenya experiencing its worst drought in 60 years creating climate refugees who are displaced from their homes and land.

Ferrial Adam, 350’s Africa and Arab world Team Leader said:

“On the 13th and 14th February people across the world will join Global Divestment Day and send a simple message to the fossil fuel industry: if it’s wrong to wreck the planet then it’s wrong to profit from this wreckage.

“We stand in solidarity with the victims of the flooding in Malawi and Mozambique, and the millions of people who are fighting the consequences of our changing climate every day. Those who have done the least to cause climate change are paying the ultimate price, but less water and rising food prices will affect everyone of us.

“It is time to end the age of fossil fuels, because that’s what it really means to solve the climate crisis. More and more people of conscience are demanding that their banks, universities and faith-based communities divest and stop future investments in fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are history, our future is in clean, renewable sources of energy.”

Burning fossil fuels, including coal and oil, is the number one driver of climate change and rising temperatures and this in turn has been increasing the frequency and severity of flooding and droughts that are hitting many of the poorest communities across the continent hard. Globally, at least 80% of all known fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground if global average temperatures are to be kept to a 2 degree future rise.

Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness (BCUC) commented:

“Our people are already being hard hit by the worst impacts of climate change. Brothers and sisters across Africa are facing more floods, worse drought and rising temperatures. In Mozambique people were killed by the recent floods. In SA small-scale farmers and people wanting to access traditional medicines are being affected by drought. We must all act now and back clean solar and wind over dirty fossil fuels if we want a sustainable future”.

On Global Divestment Day, climate activists across Africa will stage a series of protests, film screenings and music concerts as people across the world join the call for institutions and individuals to move their investments out of the fossil fuel industry. The global divestment movement has been growing fast and at present, 181 institutions including universities, faith-based organisations and local governments alongside thousands of individuals – representing over $50 billion in assets – have pledged to divest from fossil fuels.

The day will kick off across Africa and the Arab world in Johannesburg with an exclusive screening of climate science documentary ‘Thin Ice’ followed by a performance by the band Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness (BCUC), whilst events are also planned for Pretoria and Durban, Cairo in Egypt, Accra in Ghana, Lagos in Nigeria, Cotonou in Benin, Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, Douala in Cameroon and Dhahariz Beach in Oman.

The day will also see the intensification of 350Africa.org’s Fossil Free Africa campaign against Nedbank and other South African banks, calling for an end to the funding of future oil and coal projects.

South African banks are playing a crucial role in financing Africa’s growing addiction to fossil fuels. Despite various corporate sustainability claims, figures from the recent annual reports of Nedbank, Standard Bank and Absa / Barclays show a combined R10 billion of direct financing for coal projects between 2005 and 2013 which contributed to combined annual profits of over R32 billion in the 2013 financial year.

Adam again: “We can create a fossil free Africa. It will not happen overnight but a just transition away from coal and oil can be powered by solar, wind and renewable energy. It is time for banks to stop financing the coal and oil industry that is destroying our planet and for people of conscience to call for their universities, faith-based organisations and cities to divest from fossil fuels.

“No more ‘business as usual’, the banks need to play their part. Nedbank is yet to tell us where they invest their billions of rands in dirty fossil fuels. How can the bank call itself the only green bank and then spend nearly R1 billion on fossil fuels?

“Nedbank can easily take the first step and publicly disclose all their fossil fuel investments. We will be intensifying our campaign until Nedbank, Standard Bank and ABSA stop their greenwashing hypocrisy, commit to disclosing their investments and ultimately stop financing future projects.”


Notes to Editors

Global Divestment Day

The Global Divestment Day of action marks a turning point for the movement working to further de-legitimize the fossil fuel industry. On February 13-14, more than a dozen new countries will launch campaigns on new targets with thousands more joining this movement, from South Africa, Nigeria, Japan, France, Ukraine and many more. New campaign targets include cities, universities and faith institutions while existing campaigns will be escalating pressure to accelerate divestment commitments.

While activists still face an uphill battle at many institutions, divestment campaigners are fired up about the year ahead. The campaign has succeeded in sparking an increasingly high profile debate and campaigners are confident that in 2015 they will continue to de-legitimize investments in this rogue industry, successfully moving more money out of these fossil fuel companies and into bold solutions. Global Divestment Day will be another step in the right direction.

For the 350.org global press release announcing Global Divestment Day:


Africa Global Divestment Day events

350Africa.org and Fossil Free Africa present ‘Global Divestment Day’ – Johannesburg, 13th February 2015

7PM – ‘Thin Ice – A screening of the multi-award winning climate science documentary

The Bioscope, 286 Fox Street, Maboneng, City & Surburban, Johannesburg.

10PM – Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness (BCUC) – Curiocity Backpackers, 302 Fox Street, Maboneng, City & Suburban, Johannesburg.

Tickets are free and will be allocated on a first come first serve to those who sign up for tickets at http://www.350africa.org/fossilfreeafrica

For a full list of African and global Global Divestment Day events go to:


About ‘Thin Ice’

Climate science has been coming under increasing attack. Geologist Simon Lamb takes a look at what’s really happening with global warming by filming scientists at work in the Arctic, the Antarctic and around the world. The result is a unique exploration of the science behind global warming and an intimate portrait of a global community of researchers racing to understand our planet’s changing climate.


Fossil Free Africa

Launched in late 2014 the Fossil Free Africa campaign is beginning with a call on ‘dirty banks’ to fully disclose their fossil fuel investments and commit to stop financing future mining, refinery and power station projects in South Africa and across Africa.

South African banks are playing a crucial role in financing Africa’s growing addiction to fossil fuels, the biggest emitters of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions that drive global climate change. Despite various corporate sustainability claims, figures from the recent annual reports of Nedbank, Standard Bank and Absa / Barclays show a combined R10 billion of direct financing for coal projects between 2005 and 2013 which contributed to combined annual profits of over R32 billion in the 2013 financial year.

Communities across South Africa, including in locations around Witbank and Springs, have been paying this real cost of coal for decades. Extracting and then burning coal uses and pollutes huge amounts of scarce water and creates poor air quality, both of which impact on the health of the communities who have to live near mines and power stations.

Globally, 80% of all known fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground if global average temperatures are to be kept to a 2 degrees future rise. Even at 2 degrees climate scientists predict that the impacts will fall hardest on Africa and with temperatures already rising, the impacts are happening now. Increases in drought and flooding are driving up food prices and making water even scarcer, hurting people from all walks of life.

Against this backdrop, the South African government is considering backing future coal power stations and hundreds of new coal mining licences are also under consideration. In places like the pristine Waterberg biosphere, and at Mtunzini and the Imfolozi National Park, both in Kwa Zulu Natal, new mines post a twin threat to the wellbeing of people and to cherished natural heritage.

For further information please contact the 350 Africa & Arab world Regional Press Office, Adi Mistry Frost at adi@350.org or +27767699302.