The African Energy Chamber hosted a webinar to discuss the challenges and opportunities within Africa’s energy sector and the importance of collaboration amongst African stakeholders to boost market growth.
With over 600 million without access to electricity in Africa in 2022, urgent solutions are required. In this regard, signing deals to expand energy production is key to addressing energy poverty and the continent’s energy market stakeholders need to ensure they push for local content and address issues such as gender diversity to unlock the full potential of the energy sector. At the same time, collaboration among African governments to address a lack of adequate funding within the sector and to bring deals into concrete projects that create jobs and address energy security is also vital. These were the main messages by industry stakeholders participating in a webinar hosted by the African Energy Chamber (AEC), on Wednesday, April 13, 2022.
Moderated by the AEC’s Executive Chairman, NJ Ayuk, panellists included Abdur-Rasheed Tunde Omidiya, Managing Director at QSol Consulting DMCC and Head of Nigeria for the AEC; Grace Orife CEO at Adeelar Energy and AEC Board Member; Leoncio Amada Nze Nlang Executive President at the AEC for CEMAC and Founder & Chairman at APEX INDUSTRIES SA; Taimi Itembu who is President for Namibia, AEC; and Verner Ayukegba, Senior-Vice President at the AEC.
During the webinar, the panellists discussed the challenges and opportunities within Africa’s hydrogen and oil and gas sectors, debating investment, infrastructure and how Africa can emerge as the preferred supplier to European markets in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
“Africa has the money to build its own infrastructure, it is getting half a billion US dollars by selling oil and gas per day. We just need to direct that money towards infrastructure development. At the same time, Africa also needs to improve its taxes on energy to attract investments and to avoid majors exiting the market. Chevron and other big firms are leaving the West African market because fiscal terms are not making sense, there are high taxes,” stated Leoncio Amada Nze Nlang.
Verner Ayukegba added that, “Without peace in African hydrocarbon producing countries, there won’t be any deals. Peace is important and with it we will see more oil and gas companies that have a strong base across the continent expanding their operations in oil and gas-rich countries. We are so happy South Sudan has reached a deal to ensure security and this means more energy deals will be signed. Moreover, we need to de-politicize energy deals to ensure long-term energy partnerships are signed.”
Additionally, participants also analyzed the impact of the Russia-Ukraine crisis on the African oil and gas market and its possibility of Africa increasing energy exports to Europe.
Grace Orife, explained that “We need private investors and African investors because Europe is not going to give us the money to accelerate infrastructure deployment. Looking at the huge gas reserves Africa has, domestic gas supply should be a priority before we supply to Europe and other markets considering we have 600 million people across the continent that do not have access to energy. With gas also considered a clean energy, Africa should utilize it to address energy poverty and decarbonize at the same time.”
Abdur Rasheed extended on this notion, adding that “Since Africa is the closest to Europe, why are we not the priority market to get gas to Europe? The challenge we have seen regarding Africa not getting gas to Europe is the lack of infrastructure. However, Africa is already exporting gas to Europe. What we need is more investments and transmission systems. We are glad the Niger, Nigeria and Algeria pipeline deal has been signed. This is something that should have been done years ago. Underinvestment has restrained Africa to expand to Europe. Nigeria and other African countries that have high gas reserves need to ramp up infrastructure development to be able to increase exports to Europe.”
Meanwhile, ahead of the Namibia International Energy Conference 2022, a platform to unite energy stakeholders with investors and international partners to drive industry growth and development, which will take place from 20 – 21 April 2022 in Windhoek, the webinar also highlighted developments and opportunities within the country’s energy sector.
“Namibia is ready in terms of policy and governance but in terms of infrastructure the country has a lot of work to do. This is where foreign direct investments are needed as well as the participation of private sector investors. Namibia is going to need the support of other leading hydrocarbon producers in Africa such as Nigeria and Niger and to partner with firms with high technical experience to ensure local people are skilled. In terms of the green hydrogen sector, Namibia is taking the narrative from America of taking hydrogen into the energy mix. The Netherlands and Germany and the private sector are helping in that regard,” stated Taimi Itembu.
Finally, the webinar also highlighted the importance of collaborations such as the Team-Energy Africa initiative, an initiative between the AEC, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the Secretariat of Sustainable Energy for All, that will launch in Kigali, Rwanda from 17-19 May 2022. With the Team-Energy Africa initiative launching with $1 billion in funding, the project will play a key role in accelerating electrification in Africa to ensure the achievement of sustainable development goals.
The webinar also served as an introduction of discussions that will be held at the AEC’s premier event for the oil and gas sector, African Energy Week (AEW), which will take place from 18 – 21 October 2022 in Cape Town, During AEW, topics such as policy reforms and increasing exploration and production activities as stakeholders align to ensure Africa uses its oil and gas resources to make energy poverty history by 2030.