On June 2, 2021, OPEC, in collaboration with the African Energy Commission (“AFREC”), the African Petroleum Producers’ Organization (“APPO”), the African Refiners and Distributors Association (“ARDA”), and the African Energy Chamber (“AEC”) (www.EnergyChamber.org) hosted the first OPEC-Africa Energy Dialogue to promote continent-wide cooperation initiatives.
At the AEC we are proud and humbled to have been invited to such a magnificent conversation, where both public and private players were able to voice out their ideas, concerns, and solutions for the problems our energy industry is facing today.
In the first installment of the OPEC-Africa Dialogue, the high-level participants addressed issues of great importance to Africa’s energy industry, such as energy poverty, energy transition and the financing of projects during the highly accelerated transition to a lower carbon future. The key points highlighted during the OPEC-Africa Dialogue included:
- Energy poverty continues to be one of the major challenges African countries face to this date, and it is expected to grow exponentially in the following years. A sudden swift to a zero-carbon future will only exacerbate such problem, leaving many Africans without access to power, consequently affecting health systems, industries, economies, and the lives of millions of Africans. On this matter, Secretary General Barkindo noted that energy stakeholders should work together to ensure an equitable distribution of energy that leaves no one behind.
- All sources of energy are required to address energy poverty and to boost African economies. Secretary General Barkindo noted that the OPEC will continue to advocate for a balanced and inclusive energy transition that promotes all energy sources and prioritizes the investment needs in Africa.
- A finance plan for the continent’s energy sector is required to continue developing energy projects. Considering the recent position of major institutional and non-institutional investors, Africa needs a plan to look for other sources of funding.
Our Executive Chairman noted the importance of allowing African countries to exploit their carbon neutral gas resources to tackle energy poverty. It is unfair to prohibit African countries from exploiting their resources when they have only been responsible for less than 2% of the world’s carbon emissions. “The idea that western nations and the IEA believe that every African will drive a Tesla by 2030 is not in any way connected to a sense of reality. I am worried this is the thinking that defines energy policy. Africans need electricity to power our homes, hospitals, create jobs and opportunities for so many young people. Foreign aid, grants and handouts will not get us to Net Zero”. Stated NJ Ayuk. “We need to work on a strong African position and narrative on energy transition. Oil and natural gas are part of our future and the calls for divestment against oil and gas companies are worse than the calls for divestment against Apartheid. We must defend our natural resource industry and oil and gas companies. Africa is blessed to have H.E. Barkindo leading and speaking for our industry during these critical times” Concluded Ayuk.
Mr. Anibor Kragha of ARDA added that “ARDA, along with AFREC and APPO, is fully committed to this laudable OPEC initiative and that it will ultimately ensure that Africa’s full energy potential is realized and our citizens’ future energy demands are met with cleaner petroleum products, especially low-sulfur fuels and LPG for clean cooking in the near term.”
In closing the videoconference, OPEC Secretary General, Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo said: “Africa will continue to be an integral and essential player in the oil and gas industry’s long-term efforts to meet the rising energy needs of the world’s rapidly growing population”.
At the AEC we believe that this first OPEC-Africa Dialogue is a good step on the right direction. It is very positive that the private sector was invited to the discussions, as they will continue to form a crucial part of Africa’s efforts to address energy poverty with the new challenges presented by the accelerated Energy Transition.
The AEC is determined to help African countries implementing strategies to exploit their natural resources in a sustainable manner and to boost their energy sectors in the benefit of their population. The AEC and our board members are strong proponents of well thought and carefully designed strategies for African countries to transition to a lower carbon future without leaving their citizens and resources behind. We are committed in assisting African public and private stakeholders in addressing the issues our industry is facing today, and we are looking forward to working closely with the OPEC in achieving these results.