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U.S.-Africa Engagement and South-South Cooperation to Fuel Africa’s Just Energy Transition

The African Energy Chamber is making a large play for investment and global collaboration, engaging with government and private sector leaders in Guyana and Houston.

The African Energy Chamber is making a large play for investment and global collaboration, engaging with government and private sector leaders in Guyana and Houston.

While Africa is not short of commercial quantities of oil and gas resources, challenges associated with investment and global pressures to transition away from hydrocarbons has left the continent in a difficult situation. Growing regional demand and efforts to industrialize are marred by capital and technology restrictions, and ahead of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP 28) this year, the African Energy Chamber (AEC) is on a mission to engage with global partners to promote the need for a just energy transition in Africa.

Hot on the heels of the African Energy Week (AEW) conference in October 2023, a delegation from the AEC is making a strong play for investment, collaboration and multilateral trade ties in Guyana and Texas, meeting with American and Guyanese stakeholders during a high-level working visit. Led by Executive Chairman NJ Ayuk, the AEC delegation travelled to one of the world’s hottest hydrocarbon plays, Guyana, in late October, participating in the African Caribbean Trade and Investment Forum 2023. Thereafter, the delegation travelled to Houston, Texas, meeting with energy companies, service and technology providers, government, hedge funds, and private equity and geoscience firms under efforts to strengthen dialogue and collaboration.

As a continent with over 600 million people without access to electricity, Africa has long-advocated for an energy transition that takes into consideration economic development needs. While global authorities are calling for the shift away from hydrocarbons, Africa is promoting investments in oil and gas, citing hydrocarbons as a catalyst for sustainable growth. As the backbone of every economy, energy brings a wide range of economic opportunities such as security, job creation, revenue generation and the development of industry. However, to realize these benefits, there needs to be a change in U.S. investment and attitude towards African energy.

As one of the world’s powerhouses, the development of the U.S. economy has largely been driven by oil and gas. Today, the U.S. represents the biggest producer of oil and natural gas globally, a title which it has held for several years. Through the monetization and development of hydrocarbons, the U.S. has effectively developed its economy, and Africa can learn a great deal from this success. The meetings between the AEC and American partners drew attention to this very point. Key topics of discussion included the critical role U.S.-Africa engagement and enabling environments play in unlocking the full potential of Africa’s energy sector. With global investment more competitive than ever, the meetings underscored the need for collective action to reverse some of the unworkable or unnecessary regulations that stand in the way of investment in Africa. Parties emphasized how red tape and complex processes have withheld African growth, and going forward, the AEC committed to supporting African countries and policymakers strengthen their respective enabling environments.

The support of active and potential U.S. players is instrumental in monetizing Africa’s oil and gas resources. Dubbed the ‘energy capital of the world,’ Houston-based companies stand to unlock high returns in Africa’s energy sector while contributing to the development of the continent’s economies. U.S.-based energy companies including ExxonMobil and Chevron continue to make sizeable investments in African oil and gas, integrating decades-long experience with technological expertise and unlocking reserves in both established and emerging markets. ExxonMobil is driving the Rovuma Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project in Mozambique; in three deepwater blocks in Angola; while Chevron represents one of the biggest producers in Angola and Nigeria and holds interests in Cameroon, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea and more. Meanwhile, U.S.-based service and technology providers such as EnerGeo Alliance; SLB; Halliburton and more – all of which are Houston-based – continue to provide a strong pipeline of support to African projects.

In addition to investment, American companies and stakeholders offer the tools and expertise African countries need to thrive. Through capacity building, technology transfer and continuous bilateral engagement, Africa will be in a better position to not only develop and industrialize but transition to a cleaner energy future on the back of low-carbon solutions.

“We had a series of great meetings in Houston and the message was clear: we must all work together to improve the environment for doing business in Africa. We need to collectively reverse some of the restrictive regulations and red tape that continue to impact investment. This is a major priority for the Chamber this year and going forward,” states Ayuk.

Meanwhile, the AEC’s Guyana visit brought to the fore how South-South cooperation will help support Africa’s energy transition. Meetings between the AEC and Guyanese stakeholders including President Irfaan Ali highlighted how collaboration between the country and African states will not only advance oil and gas developments but strengthen global alliances ahead of COP 28. Guyana and Africa have similar development needs and resource potential, and through enhanced collaboration, are poised to transform their respective economies while contributing to stabilization in global markets. 

“Our meetings in Guyana emphasized the need for a global-south voice when it comes to the energy transition. Guyana and countries in Africa desperately need their oil and gas resources, and a message of unity with regards to energy agendas will be instrumental for ensuring productive discussions at COP 28. Guyana and Africa have the right to monetize their resources and this is the message we will be driving during COP 28 in Dubai,” continued Ayuk.

The AEC delegation will travel to COP 28 to engage with global authorities. Representing the voice of the African energy sector, the AEC is set to promote global collaboration, African investment and the creation of a just energy transition in Africa. 

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