The African Energy Chamber is aghast at Africa Oil Week’s decision to relocate the conference venue for its flagship event from Cape Town, South Africa to the United Arab Emirates.
As the voice of Africa’s energy sector, the African Energy Chamber fully supports and commits to conferences of African nature being held on African terrain. With this in mind, the Chamber acknowledges the increased difficulties of the Covid-19 restrictions and governmental guidelines imposed on Africa and the rest of the world during this time.
In the same manner, mothballing a conference in South Africa, an African nation that has handled the Covid-19 pandemic remarkably well, is a clear sign of opportunism and detachment from the pledge to support African venues and our continent.
“While Dubai is a fabulous venue in its own right, we do believe that events of African nature should show strong commitment to African communities, cities and the local workforce. An event of the magnitude of Africa Oil Week is a big local employer. Reneging on its long-standing partner, the African people and the continent, is a truly unfortunate sign of disinterest in African values of trust, loyalty and companionship, and is in fact very unscrupulous in nature,” said NJ Ayuk, Executive Chair of the African Energy Chamber.
“Keeping to Covid-19 travel restrictions and how they have particularly strenuous burden on the conferencing industry, there are smart ways to hold hybrid conferences of both online and offline nature. Further, vaccination rates are increasing rapidly across the Northern hemisphere, which would allow business travellers to visit South Africa in a safe manner by November”, he added.
The African Energy Chamber expresses its discontent with the decision made, and continues to support both local and international conferencing operators willing to prioritize African venues for African events.
Given the relentless attack that the oil and gas industry is facing, there is no better time for the oil and gas industry to stand with Africa but now. The Chamber will continue to push for a discussion on energy transition, fiscal responsibility, free markets, upstream, midstream, downstream, renewables and petrochemicals in Africa.
As a first step, the Chamber will encourage, advocate and provide support for an energy event in October or November this year with African ministries, entrepreneurs, NOC’s, IOC’s, Civil society and possibly four African heads of States. The Chamber will continue to be the voice of the sector and work towards building bridges that brings together governments and companies in the African energy industry to find a common ground.