THE Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom Alweendo, called on private African investors to invest in Africa’s oil and gas industry, instead of simply expecting governments to do so.
The Minister made this call at the international energy conference that started on Wednesday, where he was part of a panel that discussed how Africa can leverage and industrialise energy.
The minister stated that government should not only be expected to invest but should also facilitate and empower private African investors to invest in the continent’s growing energy industry.
This focus on Africa also came up with regard to the use of energy as the Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea urged African countries to assess and prioritise their own energy needs first.
He argued that any African country that makes an oil or gas discovery should think of themselves first, before exporting to other continents.
According to him, this is particularly important given the ever-increasing oil prices, which he claimed are not entirely due to the Russian-Ukraine conflict, despite popular conjecture, but due to an increased demand coupled with limited supply and production.
The Secretary-General of the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO), Dr Omar Farouk Ibrahim, also agreed with the ideas that were shared by the other panellists but stated that Africa is not opposed to foreign investors.
He stated that the continent can benefit from external expertise, which foreign investors can provide.
However, the framework within which foreign investors can operate should be clear, he added, to allow for mutually beneficial partnerships.
Alweendo concurred with this, particularly with regards to mutual benefits and stated that the African youth is becoming increasingly restless as they see foreign investors taking more than what they bring to the country.
“For this reason, we need to be clear about the responsibility of foreign investors and they ought to be willing to partner up with hosts countries in a way that can benefit both them and the host country,'” he said.