H.E. Mahamane Sani Mahamadou, Minister of Petroleum, Energy and Renewable Energies, Niger and H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, Equatorial Guinea
Also available in French
Africa is on the precipice of an energy sector revolution, with significant resources, progressive regulations, and industry advancing policies and initiatives driving growth across the oil, gas, and renewable energy sectors. Focused on driving investment and development in African energy projects, African Energy Week (AEW) 2021 is proud to host Ministers from across the African continent. Representing both mature and emerging energy sectors, the Ministers introduced key topics to be addressed at AEW 2021, promoting the role of oil and gas, and making a strong case for international investment in Africa.
Speaking at the opening address of AEW 2021, African Ministers including; H.E. Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua, Minister of Hydrocarbons, Republic of the Congo; H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, Equatorial Guinea; Hon. Tom Alweendo, Minister of Mines and Energy, Namibia; H.E. Mahamane Sani Mahamadou, Minister of Petroleum, Energy and Renewable Energies, Niger; H.E. Ernesto Max Elias Tonela, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Mozambique; H.E. Diamantino Azevedo, Minister of Mineral Resources, Petroleum and Gas, Angola; H.E. Puot Kang Chol, Minister of Petroleum, South Sudan; H.E. Mohamed Oun, Minister of Oil and Gas, Libya; and Hon. Dr Mohammed Amin Adam, Deputy Minister of Energy, Ghana as well as Mallam Mele Kolo Kyari, Group Managing Director & CEO, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Nigeria.
During the opening remarks, H.E. Adam emphasized that the western imposed energy transition will hold significant challenges for Africa’s development. He noted that, accordingly, the continent is urged to develop its own strategies to reduce emissions – establishing innovative financing solutions to drive exploration and production.
“Africa has been described as the last oil and gas frontier in the world. Many countries have discovered hydrocarbons showing great potential for our economies. There is no doubt that energy transition will be disruptive to the economies of Africa and producers of oil. The effects of the transition ranging from revenue losses to underinvestment in hydrocarbon, what I call the transition curse, will ensure that Africa is left behind the rest of the world. African natural gas must be given the status as transition fuel for a longer period to allow gas reserves to be used when replacing a more carbon intensive fuel such as coal. The transition should not be divorced from the necessity of addressing energy poverty,” stated H.E. Adam.
“We have come together at a decisive moment. There has never been a better time for Africa to chart its own path. Our continent produces 6% of the world’s natural gas and 9% of the world’s oil. At the same time, we account for just 3% of global emissions. Thus, it is safe to say that Africa is the last energy frontier. Such vast potential cannot go unexploited. We need a just transition. we have an obligation to future generations to exploit our resources and use the proceeds to improve access to healthcare, food, and fight energy poverty,” stated H.E. Mahamadou.
“Listening to all the speakers, none of us is against renewable energy. But we are all saying, and continue to repeat ourselves, that it must be inclusive, equitable, and we must all sit on the table and agree. South Sudan’s budget depends on oil by 98%. Yes, we need to transition and are committed to it. But if the basic reason is that it affects human life, those of us that cannot produce what we have will suffer, making it even more important that it is a process and is inclusive. For the first time ever, South Sudan will hold its first oil license block featuring five open blocks in June 2021, inviting investors to present and explore. And yes, I am promoting it and inviting people to bid. Of the two blocks that we have offered, they have been offered to Africans,” stated Hon. Chol.
“We highly appreciate the return of investors in the country. Libya has vast resources in minerals. Our country is stabilizing steadily, and we are proud that we are coming out of the difficult times we have gone through. The government of national unity has encouraged foreign investment. The last few years, there have been awards of contracts to help build electricity, roads, and infrastructure. We also have a shortage in the production of fuel in terms of the refining and petrochemical industry and are willing to see foreign investment in this side,” stated H.E. Oun.
“The time has come for Africa to redefine its E&P priorities. It is now or never. The issues surrounding energy poverty, climate change and development are not mutually exclusive. The approaches to dealing with them should not be separated but facilitated in a cooperative manner. Climate change is of great concern to everyone as of equal importance is the issue of energy poverty. The battle is not between climate change and energy poverty, or between fossil fuel and renewables, or between energy rich and energy poor. It is about creating a win-win environment and putting a human face into the actions and proposals that are being put forward. An unfair world cannot be a peaceful world,” stated Dr Odulaja.
Additionally, with Africa’s position in global energy dialogue emphasized, panel participants promoted the role that AEW 2021 has and continues to play in Africa’s energy future.
“It is not uncommon for Africans to be invited to conferences on Africa, outside of the continent. That is why it is so important to be discussing issues faced in Africa on the African continent. AEW 2021 comes at a time where drastic action is required in order to accelerate energy developments and electrify Africa. Representing the first and only Africa-focused energy event to take place in Africa in 2021, AEW 2021 will serve as a catalyst that will help transform the African energy space, making energy poverty alleviation a reality by 2030. With national electricity plans being implemented across the continent, and the widespread redirecting towards renewable power generation alternatives, significant developments have emerged within the solar, wind, and hydroelectric industries,” stated H.E. Alweendo.
“So, why are we here? Because we care. We care to be able to represent our countries and discuss these important matters. We care for our people, people who have given us the responsibility to exploit resources. We care for our countries, countries that have not finished development. We care about our natural resources. We also care about our continent and our future. We also care about South Africa, as there is an unofficial secret that once a year, we come together to discuss the industry. I cannot go to Houston or Dubai and discuss problems about electricity because they will not understand. This is why Cape Town and South Africa are so important. We also care for our planet and climate change and also recognize that our continent is the least polluter,” stated H.E. Lima.
Meanwhile, Ministers brought attention to the significant potential of renewable energy in Africa. With global players pushing for the transition to clean energy sources, Africa’s renewable energy resources can be leveraged to drive socio-economic growth and address energy poverty.
“World-known economists have said that the next latest shift in the world economy will be Africa. How can we be the future and the future leader of the economy of the world while developing our continent without an engine? To require Africans to stop developing all different kinds of energy we have on the continent, it doesn’t make sense. We are talking about energy transition. People in Glasgow say that the solution, the only solution is renewable energy. Yet, the highest potential in the world is in Africa. If we talk about any kind of renewable energy, the most important potential is in Africa,” stated H.E. Itoua.