Africa’s energy sector is on the precipice of a transformation owing to a series of sizeable oil discoveries, various large-scale natural gas projects, continental efforts to accelerate the penetration of renewable energies and new focus placed on infrastructure roll-out. Historically, French investors and project developers have played a key role in expanding the continent’s energy sector, and this trend is expected to only continue as new opportunities and markets come to the fore. Going forward, a change in dynamics will see French companies representing partners, playing a much larger role as local content becomes a requisite to operating in the continent.
With the next leg of the African Energy Chamber’s (AEC) investment roadshow coming up on June 1, Europe-Africa relations will be top of the agenda, with a strong slate of speakers exploring how these shifts in dynamics open up new opportunities for local content development in Africa. The Invest in African Energy Forum in Paris – taking place at the Westin Paris Vendome in partnership with Rystad Energy and the African Export-Import Bank – will not only promote investment opportunities across Africa’s evolving energy landscape but will facilitate knowledge exchange and policy dialogue, ensuring local content is at the fore of any and all energy deals in Africa.
Since early discoveries of oil and gas in Africa, French companies have been instrumental in developing the continent’s energy sector, providing capital, developing large-scale projects, and working closely with governments to advance energy access and industrialization. However, France’s role in Africa transcends project developments, with new policies and regulations implemented by African governments ensuring all energy-related developments incorporate local content specifications in contractual terms. These terms ensure energy investments translate into tangible opportunities for local communities, ushering in a new era of capacity building and knowledge transfer and shifting the dynamics of Europe-Africa relations.
For example, in October 2020, Angola adopted a new Legal Framework for the Promotion of Local Content, which outlines requirements for energy companies including the supplying of goods and services, the transfer of skills and knowledge, and improved access to financing for Angolan businesses. Nigeria has been spearheading local content efforts through the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board – tasked with overseeing the implementation of local content policies – while Ghana introduced Local Content Regulations aimed prioritizing local goods, services and employment opportunities. With the emergence of its Liquefied Natural Gas industry, Mozambique implemented local content regulations that aim to maximize the benefits of gas for the local population.
With these regulations, new opportunities for Europe-Africa cooperation have emerged, and already French players are making progress to strengthen local content in Africa. Through various programs aimed at developing Africa’s human capital, companies from across the entire energy value chain are leveraging their expertise to boost knowledge and technology transfer; capacity building and workforce training; and sustainable development initiatives. French energy service provider Technip Energies, for example, – whose COO Marco Villa is participating at the Invest in African Energy Forum in Paris – works closely with Senegalese government agency COS-Petrogaz to carry out local capacity building in the country while French energy major TotalEnergies has various workforce training initiatives underway in Nigeria.
On the partnership front, French companies continue to collaborate with African firms to develop projects. TotalEnergies partnered with local companies in Nigeria to develop the Egina deepwater field while French multinational electric utility company Engie partnered with local communities and businesses to develop the Kathu Solar Park in South Africa, contributing towards job creation, skills development and economic empowerment. TotalEnergies is also engaged in joint ventures with various national and independent energy companies in Africa. These partnerships enable knowledge exchange, technology transfer, and create mutually beneficial opportunities.
“As Africa’s energy sector grows, so do the opportunities for job creation, capacity building, and improved participation by African stakeholders and businesses in the market. On the back of policy reforms and regulations, European companies have begun to play a much larger role in Africa’s energy market, engaging in various capacity building, technology transfer and collaborative initiatives, all of which enable Africa to develop a competitive workforce and economy. During the Invest in African Energy Forum in Paris, we will explore the success of local content between Europe and Africa, while investigating strategies for improvement and growth,” states NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the AEC.
The Invest in African Energy Forum in Paris aims to solidify Europe-African energy relations by bringing together investors, project developers and movers and shakers from across the African and European energy markets to explore investment opportunities, bilateral relations and the impact local content has in Africa. By facilitating direct interactions and showcasing the potential of African energy markets, the Forum will lead to stronger relations and long-term partnerships.
Taking place on June 1, 2023, the Invest in African Energy Forum in Paris is open to all guests and RSVP is essential. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.