Energy economists have made a strong case that it is time for Africa to own its resources and determine their use for the benefit of its citizenry and the continent at large.
The experts also argued that the continent must develop a holistic approach toward harnessing resources, especially in the energy sector, and tackle challenges rather than always depending on others.
They advise that the continent should work together and develop pragmatic strategies to guide the utilisation of resources to satisfy domestic demand and ensure security.
Speaking on the theme ‘The Future of Petroleum Industry Investment in Africa’ at the maiden Africa Energy Conference, the CEO of African Energy Consortium Ltd., Kwame Jantuah, said the continent must take a commanding stance over its resources to harness gains and boost development.
“I think Africa as a continent must take a commanding stance and determine exactly what it is the nations want to do with their hydrocarbons. We tend to keep following and being dictated to by those who have already used hydrocarbons to make their countries richer.
“It is high time that as African countries we sit to determine what we really want to do in this cocktail of challenges where energy is concerned. When you look at pollution, Africa is the least contributing continent when it comes to climate change. If we are the least, we need to have an Africa transition plan that is for us and not one in which we are following others.
“This is because there are matured countries in the oil industry, and I believe whatever financing we require we can raise it in Africa. If you look at the resources we have in Africa, and if we work together, there is nothing we cannot do,” he said.
He stressed that Africa must work together and be strategic about the oil resources; if not, the continent “will end up having stranded resources in the ground”.
Again, he said Africa must recognise its need and develop solutions to drive growth on the continent – adding it is also important for countries to diversify, develop and carry each other along.
“At this material moment, what we should be doing is looking at how our banks can be positioned to be the ones which can finance these projects. We have to strategise and know what will work for us in terms of our fossil fuels,” said Mr. Kwame Jantuah.
For his part, Energy Economist Dr. Theo Acheampong is of the view that Africa must prioritise so that it is not caught up in the world’s geopolitics.
He said the continent must prioritise its energy mix to satisfy domestic needs rather than “sending these energy resources out there to meet other consumer needs, as our people continue to struggle in this regard”.
He reiterated that it is essential to develop strategies and leverage the AfCFTA to raise financing and a different regional energy market.
“We need more collaboration and partnerships to carry citizens along in decision-making,” he said.
The maiden Africa Energy Conference focused on highlighting the infrastructure gap, financing options and energy transition opportunities in the African energy sector, and was held under the theme ‘Africa’s energy future – achieving all-round competitiveness and sustainability to support the continent’s development ambitions’.