The African Energy Chamber (AEC) has officially launched its inaugural advisory book, dedicated exclusively to strategies and recommendations as to how the African energy industry can ensure an effective post-COVID-19 comeback. Titled ‘African Energy Road to Recovery: How the African Energy Landscape Can Reshape Itself for a Post-COVID-19 Comeback’, the book provides an in-depth perspective of Africa’s energy landscape, and is built around industry expert views and advice.
The AEC launched the publication at a public virtual book launch yesterday attended by a panel made up of Kola Karim, CEO of Shoreline Natural Resources; C. Derek Campbell, CEO of Energy & Natural Resource Security, Inc; Jovita Nsoh, Regional CTO Strategy & Innovation at Microsoft; Akinwole Omoboriowo II, Chairman and CEO of Genesis Energy Group; and Nosizwe Nokwe-Macamo, Executive Chairman & Founder of Raise Africa Investments and was moderated by Verner Ayukegba, Senior Vice President at the Chamber.
In the launch, the AEC aimed to explore the current energy context by providing solutions and recommendations as to how different stakeholders can approach the different challenges. The panel provided a discussion as to the various ways the industry can recover, offering advice and information that is dealt with in further detail in the book. Insight into the importance of strategic security measures and policies, the drive for local content in a post-COVID context, and the value of technology was discussed.
“It has to be a whole nation approach in dealing with security,” stated Campbell. “You cannot hire an international security firm as this will not address the problem. You need to develop a narrative directed to the local population about the energy assets … You need to let citizens know that if we optimize and monetize assets, the community will directly benefit. This is called an ‘information operations campaign’ and needs to be woven into security.”
“Post-COVID-19 is actually benefiting local content,” stated Karin. “With lockdowns restricting travel, the international workforce cannot travel and so a lot of technology is being deployed with local companies. The reality is, local companies that are savvy enough are able to benefit from growing their business, building and forming partnerships. Local content is seeing a resurgence.”
“When COVID struck last year, it was understood that companies that have already invested in technology will benefit from their investment, whereas those who have not are going to struggle,” stated Nsoh. “With an industry that is totally globalized now being presented with travel restrictions, what do you do? You have to use technology.”
Additionally, the panel provided insight into the importance of private-public partnerships and the value of collaboration for Africa post-COVID. By providing insight into the value of regionalization and COVID’s acceleration of the energy transition, the panel provided an indication of what is to come in the book.
“The future of Africa is in the hands of Africans,” stated Mouchel. “This does not mean Africa is alone, Africa needs the rest of the world and the rest of the world needs Africa. Private and public collaboration between national oil companies and international partners is very important.”
“The issue of cross-border projects becomes crucial in Africa,” stated Macamo. “If we can increase the markets and regionalize some of our projects, it will be beneficial for the whole continent. The African continent is poised for growth post-COVID and we need to look at how Africa can assist itself.”
“The beauty of the energy transition is that it has been a deliberate policy by countries pre-COVID,” stated Omoboriowo II. “We have found that there has been significant progress post-COVID as COVID has brought to the forefront the importance of accelerating the transition.”