The African Energy Chamber (AEC) led a strategic industry intelligence session at Namibia International Energy Conference 2023 on Tuesday, advocating for greater inclusion, employment opportunities and skill building within Namibia’s – and Africa’s – extractive industries.
The 2023 Namibia International Energy Conference (NIEC) on Tuesday featured a strategic industry intelligence session with the African Energy Chamber (AEC) – the voice of the African energy sector – to share its expertise on local business development and skill-building opportunities within the industry. Led by AEC Executive Chairman, NJ Ayuk, the workshop tackled the most pressing issues facing the Namibian and African oil and gas sector, from creating jobs across the energy value chain to implementing effective local content policy.
“Having been operators, leaders and advisors, we have a lot to share with young people about how to enter this industry,” stated Ayuk. “I want jobs. We still have a country where a lot of young people don’t necessarily have experience in enterprise development or building joint ventures. How can we get young people and businesses involved beyond logistics?”
Grace Orife, CEO of Adelaar Energy Limited, expanded on these remarks to include the importance of gender diversity and inclusion within the oil and gas industry. The global energy sector has long been home to complex and often systemic barriers to gender equality, with women making up less than a quarter of the oil and gas workforce globally.
“Collaboration is key. There is an initiative from the AEC – “The African Women Business Energy Network” – meant to connect young girls with other women in the region who have already accomplished a lot in oil and gas. We are also encouraging women to enter STEM,” said Orife.
Meanwhile, Anthony Paul, Principal Consultant at the Association of Caribbean Energy Specialists, emphasized the importance of local sub-contracting in building a sustainable and inclusive extractive industry. Fellow panelist, Dr. Riverson Oppong, Commercial Operations Manager at Ghana National Gas Company, echoed the value of establishing a local supply chain for emerging producers like Namibia.
“Namibia needs to understand that there is much greater socioeconomic value and impact when you run a vertically integrated business,” said Dr. Oppong. “After we took over from the Chinese after three to four years, Ghana National Gas Company is now mostly run by indigenous workers.”
“In the oil and gas industry, you’re building facilities to last for 20-40 years. You want to be able to ensure that the locals in that country are able to manage those assets, as in the long term, it becomes increasingly difficult to hire the necessary expats,” added Seyi Afolabi, CEO of Reservoir & Facilities Solutions Nigeria Limited. “It is in your interest, as an international company, to train the people there. As soon as local governments see huge investment, you need to position your people in order to take over.”