"Africa must have natural gas to complement its renewable energy," African Development Bank's president said Friday on the sidelines of the U.N. conference, being held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
"We must recognise the special nature of Africa. Africa has the highest level of energy poverty in the world," Adesina said.
The AfDB is seeking to raise $25 billion through the African Adaptation Acceleration Program - the biggest created by any comparable lender, Adesina said. It has also put 85% of its investments between 2016-2021 into renewable energy.
Still, natural gas is needed to balance out the electricity supply given the intermittent nature of renewables, he said.
"My interest is how Africa uses natural gas as part of its energy mix to provide electricity for 600 million people today that don't have access to electricity," Adesina added.
Since the industrial revolution, developed countries have emitted around 2,400 gigatons of climate-damaging carbon emissions, leaving only around 400 gigatons left if the world wants to hit its temperature goal, Adesina said.
"And so Africa, that did not really emit, should not now be penalized for not even being able to use a little bit of gas to complement its natural resources."
Even if Africa were to triple its production of natural gas from current levels, its contribution to global emissions would only rise by 0.67%, he said.
With the world currently on course to miss its climate goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average by mid-century, one focus at the UN COP27 conference in Egypt has been on countries accelerating their shift to renewable energy.