Local Content Policies that Reflect the Market

In the final panel of day two of the Africa Oil & Power 2018 conference, panelists discussed local content policy and implementation on the African continent in driving economic development.

Moderated by the CEO of Tsavo Oilfield Services Elizabeth Rogo, the Public Private Partnerships panel discussed institutional support for local content development, local content legislation, private sector relationships with government and the participation of the private sector in public projects.

Joining the panel was Florizelle Liser, President and CEO of Corporate Counsel of Africa, Jude Kearney, Managing Director at Kearney Africa, Pablo Memba, Director General of GML Group, Centurion CEO, NJ Ayuk, Frank Ene, CEO of RoyalGate Energy and Akin Odumakinde, CEO of Deltatek Group

Providing a legal perspective on the panel, Jude Kearney said local content policy implementation was key in driving the advancement of the sector, with it not only benefitting the sector and key players but also the development skills which contribute greatly to securing key investments. But, he said “there needs to be attention between the need and goal for government to create more opportunity for its citizens to give input.”

The panel expressed the need for an environment that is open to collaboration. “Africa has not learned how to work together. Words like ‘strategic alliances’ are not used in Africa,” said Frank Ene. In creating these alliances and local content policies that work, the panel agreed that countries have to be realistic and implement policies that reflect the current state of the market. “There must be interesting targets set for local content. If you set a target in year one, you must be able to adjust them in year three, four or seven,” said Liser

Another key mention on the panel was the perception of local content by foreign companies, “Sometimes people confuse local content as something only for Africa. And a lot of companies do not consider it because they assume it will reduce their output,” said Pablo Memba. Frank Ene described local content as a better way of engaging with locals and communities.

Countries investing in their local content policy and skills development plays a significant role in creating environments that are attractive to private players looking to enter new environments and fostering lasting relationships with government. Furthermore, it is an opportunity for African countries to market themselves and transform the sector, said the panel.