Africa Oil Week: Call for Africa-Led Energy Transition

by Adenike Adeodun

Africa’s path towards sustainable energy hinges on pan-African unity and cooperation among energy stakeholders, as emerged from the AOW50 panel discussion ahead of AOW 23 in Cape Town from October 10–13.

The session, abiding by the Chatham House rules, garnered insights from energy ministers across Africa, top financial institutions, and significant private-sector energy entities.

“A race to the bottom ensues when African nations compete,” emphasised a principal speaker. According to an Energy News Africa report, the speaker added, “For progress, we shouldn’t see this as a competition but as an opportunity for mutual growth and support.”

Participants at the AOW50 event engaged in lively panel conversations and split into roundtable groups, focusing on the energy sector’s challenges and prospects.

Speakers emphasised each African nation’s unique energy resources and the necessity for collective policy formulation to free Africa from the clutches of energy poverty.

Natural gas emerged as a prominent discussion point, acknowledged for its potential as a transition fuel. Emphasising the appeal of sustainable projects, a panelist remarked, “Investors gravitate towards gas projects, especially when paired with renewables, rather than traditional gas and oil.”

Another pivotal theme revolved around financial stability. “Consistent stability attracts the crucial financing required for energy projects,” said a speaker. They also highlighted the importance of leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to shape cohesive investment policies.

Country delegates discussed their hurdles, such as anti-hydrocarbon activism, poor credit evaluations, and infrastructural funding challenges. A strong sentiment resonated regarding Africa’s sovereign right over its resources. One delegate said, “We stand firm on our prerogative to develop our natural resources sustainably for the welfare of our population.”

This dialogue sets the scene for the ongoing AOW conference in Cape Town, an esteemed platform fostering strategic deals within the African energy domain, hosted at the Cape Town International Conference Centre 2 under the theme “Maximising Africa’s Natural Resources.”

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