Africa’s largest energy event, African Energy Week (AEW) 2023 – organized by the African Energy Chamber – kicked off in Cape Town with Presidential keynote addresses delivered by the respective Heads of State of Namibia, Senegal and Uganda in an opening ceremony sponsored by Kosmos Energy. Echoing the need to increase investment in Africa to drive a just and inclusive energy transition while advancing the sustainable supply of energy, the Presidential keynotes laid the foundation for the week’s discussions.
Representing emerging energy markets, the Presidential keynotes drew attention to the critical role the conference plays in facilitating deals while solidifying Africa’s development narrative ahead of COP28 this year. In line with the #AEW2023 theme – The African Energy Renaissance: Prioritizing Energy Poverty, People, the Planet, Industrialization and Free Markets – the respective Presidents detailed the significant potential of Africa’s energy resources in meeting dual goals of industrialization and sustainability.
Commencing the Presidential addresses, Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, stated that, “A few weeks before COP28, this meeting in Cape Town reminds us of two major issues related to the exploitation of our energy resources: the industrialization of our countries and the universal access to electricity, of which more than 600 million Africans are still deprived of. We can find local solutions to our problems. I am confident that AEW will help us move forward in a positive way.”
For years, Africa has relied heavily on the export of unprocessed oil and gas and the import of refined petroleum to sustain its growing economies. As the global energy transition diverts investment towards alternative energy resources, the continent is turning to home-grown solutions to finance its development objectives. Now, a wave of industry advancements is kicking off as players move to unlock the full potential of Africa’s energy sector.
In Namibia, the Government is working alongside foreign partners to develop a variety of energy resources. According to President Hage Geingob, “We pursue these efforts concurrently. Access to reliable and quality energy supply is the lifeblood of economic development of any country. Energy drives industrialization, boosts productivity and economic growth. It is crucial for us to reach the goals of Agenda 63 – the Africa we want.”
President Geingob added that, “For the African energy renaissance to be meaningful, Africa should be permitted to explore and exploit its natural endowments for the good of the continent. It should not be for the export to other countries but the benefit of African people.”
The continent itself is home to over 125 billion barrels of crude oil reserves and 620 trillion cubic feet of gas, and large-scale hydrocarbon projects on the horizon promise new opportunities for security. Speaking on behalf of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu, Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, stated that, “Energy is central to the socioeconomic transformation of any society. Africa needs to take deliberate steps to ensuring energy security. You cannot have a constructive discussion without underlying the importance of energy security.”
According to Minister Ssentamu, developing oil and gas will not only enable African countries to develop but use hydrocarbon-generated revenue to grow other industries such as renewables. Minister Ssentamu stated that, “We are cognizant of the ongoing debate of climate change. However, Uganda is lucky in that its energy mix is dominated by renewables. Our strategy, therefore, is to continue developing renewables while developing oil and gas, which will help provide the much-needed revenue to improve the life of our people.”
Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, reiterated the value of oil and gas. He drew attention to global calls for move away from hydrocarbons, stating that, “When you use what is available to [developed nations], which is now available to us, and yet state there will be no investment for us to be able to explore and exploit for our development, you show that you want us to stay in poverty. Energy security, energy sustainability and energy stability have to be ensured for growth and justice.”
With the Presidential addresses, the 2023 edition of the #AEW2023 conference & exhibition officially commenced, with a week of deals, discussions and announcements set to follow.
#AEW2023 takes place this week in Cape Town under a mandate to make energy poverty history by 2030. Keep following www.aecweek.com for more exciting information and updates about Africa’s premier energy event.