In anticipation of African Energy Week 2023, Minister Mantashe establishes a precedent for heightened focus on Africa’s oil and gas resources.
South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, advocated for the ongoing and collaborative development of Africa’s oil and gas resources during Africa Oil Week on Tuesday – a stance that is fully supported by the African Energy Chamber (AEC).
Minister Mantashe’s acknowledgment of Africa’s substantial oil, gas and mineral deposits aligns with the AEC’s mission to leverage these resources for the continent’s development and his sentiments will be further unpacked at African Energy Week (AEW) 2023 – scheduled for 16–20 in Cape Town – where the Minister will provide a keynote speech during the opening ceremony.
Mantashe emphasized Africa’s substantial oil and gas reserves, citing recent discoveries of oil in Namibia and the Ivory Coast, as well as gas discoveries in South Africa. These findings not only underscore the continent’s resource wealth but also the growing need for increased investment in refining capacity across Africa.
The Minister’s discussion on the global transition to low carbon emissions and its implications for fossil fuels is a pivotal subject that warrants careful examination. Given Africa’s unique energy poverty challenges, a balanced approach to the shift towards a low-carbon economy while recognizing Africa’s existing assets is crucial.
His insights into the evolving energy landscape, including the resurgence of fossil fuels in some developed nations, further highlights the complexities of the energy transition. This reinforces the importance of maintaining energy security while embracing renewable energy sources.
“We are convinced that the development of Africa’s oil and gas sector will be the game changer for Africa as it was the case for developed nations. Any further delay in this regard prolongs the acceleration of the continent’s energy security and undermines our concerted efforts aimed at eradicating energy poverty,” he noted.
The Chamber agrees that Africa should no longer be a net importer of refined petroleum products when it possesses abundant oil and gas reserves. With 600 million people in Africa living without access to electricity and over 900 million without access to clean cooking solutions, the emphasis on expanding the Liquified Petroleum Gas industry to address clean cooking and heating becomes even more crucial for addressing the continent’s pressing energy needs.
The Minister also underscored the importance of consolidating the oil and gas industry’s annual events, advocating for a single major conference in Cape Town. This vision aligns with the AEC’s objectives and resonates with the proactive steps the AEC took in 2022 to transform this vision into reality. Recognizing the potential benefits of streamlining industry events, the AEC has been diligently working to create a cohesive platform that brings together stakeholders, experts and participants from various sectors of the energy industry.
Despite the AEC’s sincere attempts to foster collaboration with the Hyve Group – the organizers of Africa Oil Week – it has become evident that they are unresponsive to the idea of working in unity with Africans on a consolidated conference.
“This underscores the persistent challenge of fragmentation within the energy sector. Individuals and entities from outside Africa have raised objections, suggesting that we lack the authority to shape the discourse surrounding oil and gas, which should ideally be driven by an African narrative,” says NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the AEC, adding “In pursuit of trying to consolidate into a single conference, we have undertaken numerous initiatives. We have extended invitations, dispatched multiple correspondences, and endeavored to arrange several meetings. We have also engaged with influential figures across Africa to facilitate dialogue and collaboration. Regrettably, the response we received from the Hyve group has consistently been negative – a resounding ‘no.’ We are left with no alternative but to devise our own strategies, as it appears that Hyve group appears solely interested in financial gain.”
The AEC has collaborated closely with Afreximbank, APPO and numerous industry stakeholders to bring this initiative to fruition. Regrettably, it seems that Hyve Group is not inclined towards fostering unity, and consequently, the AEC is determined to press forward independently.
During AEW next week, attendees can expect discussions focusing on facilitating intra-African trade, investment in Africa’s oil and gas space, ensuring energy security, addressing energy poverty and much more.
AEW is the AEC’s annual conference, exhibition and networking event. AEW 2023 will unite African energy policymakers and stakeholders with global investors to discuss and maximize opportunities within the continent’s entire energy industry. For more information about AEW 2023, visit https://aecweek.com