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WHO Stands with African Nations, Calls for Borders to Remain Open

As a growing number of countries impose flight bans on southern African nations due to concerns over the new Omicron variant, World Health Organization (WHO) urges countries to follow science and the International Health Regulations (2005).

Travel restrictions may play a role in slightly reducing the spread of COVID-19 but place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods. If restrictions are implemented, they should not be unnecessarily invasive or intrusive and should be scientifically based, according to the International Health Regulations which is a legally binding instrument of international law recognized by over 190 nations. This week, nations will be joining a special session of the World Health Assembly, organized by WHO to discuss how to collectively prepare and respond better to pandemics, building on their commitments to the International Health Regulations.

South Africa followed International Health Regulations and as soon as its national laboratory identified the Omicron variant informed WHO of this on 24 November.

“The speed and transparency of the South African and Botswana governments in informing the world of the new variant are to be commended. WHO stands with African countries which had the courage to boldly share life-saving public health information, helping protect the world against the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “On the eve of a special session on pandemic preparedness, I urge all countries to respect their legal obligations and implement scientifically based public health actions. It is critical that countries which are open with their data are supported as this is the only way to ensure we receive important data in a timely manner.”

With the Omicron variant now detected in several regions of the world, putting in place travel bans that target Africa attacks global solidarity

While investigations continue into the Omicron variant, WHO recommends countries to take a risk-based and scientific approach and put in place measures that can limit its possible spread. Flight bans have been imposed on southern African countries, but so far only two have detected the new variant. Meanwhile, countries in other regions have reported cases of Omicron.

“With the Omicron variant now detected in several regions of the world, putting in place travel bans that target Africa attacks global solidarity. COVID-19 constantly exploits our divisions. We will only get the better of the virus if we work together for solutions,” said Dr Moeti.

WHO is scaling up support to genomic sequencing in Africa. Sequencing laboratories should have access to adequate human resources and testing reagents to work at full capacity. WHO is ready to support the additional human resource needs as well as mobilize funds and technical expertise to reinforce COVID-19 response activities including surveillance, treatment, and infection prevention and community engagement in southern African countries. In addition, WHO is reaching out to all countries in the Region to ensure they receive the necessary resources to detect and prepare for potential cases of Omicron.

WHO is urging countries to take key steps to enhance efforts to track the Omicron variant, including ensuring their PCR testing equipment can detect it, increasing their sampling and sequencing of COVID-19 test samples by at least double to 150 samples a week from the current average of 75, and review past sequencing samples for potential signs of Omicron.

In September 2020, WHO and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention launched a network of 12 laboratories to reinforce genome sequencing of the virus. Genomic surveillance has advanced significantly since the start of 2021, with the continent recording a five-fold increase in the number of genomes sequenced.

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Aviation

Zanzibar Airports Set for New Era for Economic Development

Passenger services at Zanzibar airports are set for significant improvements, thanks to the newly signed business deal between the government and experienced service providers. And, President Hussein Mwinyi on Wednesday directed all government institutions at the airports – immigration, Tanzania Revenue Authority, fire brigade, and the police – to work closely with the new operators to provide the most appropriate services to customers.

He told the public institutions to facilitate instead of impeding operations. “Many tasks and decisions remain on government institutions; you should always facilitate instead of impeding the work.” Dr. Mwinyi said the government has made the bold decision to engage the internationally reputed companies – Dubai National Travel Agency (DNATA) and EGIS Group – to offer superb services that match the huge investment in the airport infrastructure.

The goal is to increase flights; bring more visitors and strengthen the national economy

“We have as a country investment a substantial amount of money in the development of AAKIA’s (Abeid Amani Karume International Airport) terminal three; wisdom dictates that we should equally provide services that mirror the imposing infrastructure,” President Mwinyi said at the well-attended signing ceremony at Vuga-based State House. He told his audience that the government is determined to provide world-class services to our visitors, and these are multinational companies with acceptable repute and capacities to perform.

The President explained that improved services at the airports will attract more visitors, leading to economic growth. “The goal is to increase flights; bring more visitors and strengthen the national economy,” he said. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works, Communication and Transport, Amour Bakari and Zanzibar Airports Authority (ZAA) Acting Director-General, Seif Abdallah Juma signed the agreement on behalf of the revolutionary government while DNATA Executive Vice-President, Steve Alen, and Christian Lugier inked for DNATA and EGIS, respectively.

The four-component deal entails ground handling services at Zanzibar’s AAKIA; airport management services; first and business class airport lounge handling; and duty-free shops at the airports. Works and Communication Minister, Rahma Kassim Ali said Zanzibar has experienced challenges in the provision of standard services in its airports, a serious impediment to tourism, which is the country’s key economic sector.

She said a thorough and painstaking process was used to pick the airport operators from many companies, which had expressed interest in the job. The Minister informed that construction works on the 25,0002 metre airport, capable of handling 1,6 million passengers annually, has reached 99 percent and will be commissioned before the end of this month.

DNATA’s Alen thanked the revolutionary government for the trust on his company, pledging to deliver world-class services to Zanzibar visitors. He said his company operations at the airport are expected to create over 400 jobs for the islanders.

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Economy

Kenya, South Africa Sign MOU on Bilateral Cooperation, Trade Relations

President Uhuru Kenyatta and President Cyril Ramaphosa witnessed the signing of the agreements shortly after they led their delegations in bilateral talks at Union Buildings in Pretoria, the official seat of the South African Government.

The eight agreements included MoU’s in transport, health, diplomatic consultations, and training as well as tourism and migration.

Others were a Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) as well as MoU’s on Government Printing Works and the return of nationals refused entry and illegal entrants.

Addressing the press after the signing ceremony, President Kenyatta said the Kenya-South Africa diplomatic relationship of close to 30 years had come of age.

“In addition to strong bilateral relations which span a wide range of areas, Kenya and South Africa are close partners at the regional and global stage,” said President Kenyatta, on the second day of his three-day State Visit to the Southern Africa country.

President Kenyatta, once again, reaffirmed Kenya’s commitment to work with South Africa in driving the aspirations of the people of the two countries through the promotion of the African agenda.

“…you will agree with me that it is only by working together that we can achieve the desired outcomes for closer bilateral cooperation and strategic partnerships. We have definitely made good strides. However, there is scope to even do better,” President Kenyatta said.

In addition to strong bilateral relations which span a wide range of areas, Kenya and South Africa are close partners at the regional and global stage

At the same time, President Kenyatta commended President Ramaphosa for his exemplary leadership during his tenure as chairman of the African Union last year.

“The Africa Bureau that you led, and which I was delighted to be a part of, established the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 which continues to guide our successful response to the pandemic to date,” President Kenyatta said.

The Kenyan leader further thanked his South African counterpart for the support that enabled Kenya to join the United Nations Security Council as a non-permanent member for the period 2021 to 2022.

On his part, President Ramaphosa said President Kenyatta’s State Visit has provided an opportunity to take stock of the current state of bilateral relations and explore new areas of mutual interest and benefit for the people of the two countries.

Saying South Africa owes a debt of gratitude to the people of Kenya for the unwavering support during the struggle for its freedom, President Ramaphosa emphasized the need to elevate the two countries’ ties to a strategic partnership.

“President Kenyatta and I have reaffirmed the strategic importance of bilateral relations between our two countries and reiterated our desire to elevate the nature of the relationship, which would include the conclusion of a Strategic Partnership Agreement,” the South African President said.

Earlier, President Kenyatta was formally received by his host President Ramaphosa in an elaborate state reception that included a 21-gun salute, a military ceremony reserved for Heads of State and Government.

Thereafter, President Kenyatta was invited to inspect a guard of honour mounted by a detachment of the South African military before he proceeded for one-on-one talks with President Ramaphosa.

President Kenyatta was accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries Raychelle Omamo (Foreign Affairs), Betty Maina (Industrialization, Trade, and Enterprise Development), Najib Balala (Tourism and Wildlife), Mutahi Kagwe (Health), and James Macharia (Transport, Infrastructure, and Housing) as well as Kenya’s High Commissioner to South Africa Catherine Muigai Mwangi.

Other senior Government officials in the President’s delegation included State House Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita, Housing, and Urban Development Principal Secretary Charles Hinga, and Deputy State House Comptroller George Kariuki.

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Africa

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta lauds UNICEF over successes in promotion of children rights

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has applauded the role played by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the global promotion and entrenchment of children’s rights.

Reflecting on the UN agency’s long history, the First Lady said UNICEF has over the decades impacted the lives of millions of children across the world.

“Looking back at the journey this institution has traveled since 1946, impacting the lives of millions of children, saving lives, and protecting their rights is a visible legacy that makes us all proud to be part of,” the First Lady said.

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta spoke in Nairobi on Friday in a recorded video message delivered during celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of UNICEF and 50 years of its presence in Kenya.

She noted that UNICEF’s contribution to the progress of humanity has helped in the achievement of great milestones for children including the eradication of polio, humanitarian relief, and universal primary education.

“The legacy of your work dwells in generations of children whose lives have been enhanced, particularly children living in vulnerable and marginalized communities,” the First Lady said.

She pointed out that UNICEF’s contribution to protecting girls from harmful cultural practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early marriages resonates with Kenya’s commitment to ending all forms of gender-based violence by 2026.

The legacy of your work dwells in generations of children whose lives have been enhanced, particularly children living in vulnerable and marginalised communities

The First Lady, who is also a champion of efforts to end child malnutrition, commended the UN agency for helping advance the global agenda of children’s rights to nutrition.

“Nutrition remains a priority for me because of the impact it has on our children’s growth and development, to reach their full potential. This way, they can excel in education and become productive citizens in society,” the First Lady said.

On HIV prevention, the First Lady said UNICEF had contributed significantly towards the achievement of Kenya’s goal to end the mother-to-child transmission of HIV and Syphilis by 2023, and thanked the organization for the support it gave at the development of the country’s eMTCT strategy.

“We look forward to a stronger partnership in raising the profile of maternal, newborn, and child health in Kenya. We have a collective commitment to deliver on our global promise to leave no one behind,” the First Lady said.

Chief Justice Martha Koome, who also spoke at the celebration, said the judiciary had prioritized the protection of child rights in the country and regretted that despite having a strong legal regime, Kenyan children remain vulnerable due to an implementation gap.

Justice Koome rallied state and non-state actors to give the agenda more prominence vowing to continue with her life-long commitment to the advancement of children’s rights.

UNICEF Kenya Country Representative Maniza Zaman said her agency had contributed so significantly to the wellbeing of the country’s children and listed the reduction of under-5 mortality rate by 57% between 1990 and 2020, rise in enrolment under the Free Primary School Education Programme to 10 million pupils and increasing social protection coverage from 500 families in 2005 to 1.3 million this year as some of the major milestones achieved over the years.

She said UNICEF had provided 9.3 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines and congratulated First Lady Margaret Kenyatta for her tireless advocacy work for vulnerable children.

During the celebrations, two Kenyan children Angela Andia, 12, and Daniel Mose, 11, were awarded for outstanding performance in Nation Media Group and UNICEF-sponsored Wisdom Project.

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Africa

Tanzania at 60: Trade, Industry Lifeline for Development

For the past six decades, Tanzania has recorded huge strides in the trade and manufacturing- industry, which will continue to be a lifeline for the development and co-development of all other sectors and services. Addressing journalists on the achievements that have so far been recorded by the Ministry of Trade and Industry during 60 years of the country’s independence, Minister of the docket, Professor Kitila Mkumbo said the government has made several interventions that helped the sector to grow significantly.

Tanzania’s industrial sector has evolved through various stages since independence in 1961, from nascent and undiversified to state-led import substitution industrialization. The industrialization has been characterized by shifts in roles of the state and private sector, Minister Mkumbo said the current development agenda, however, has brought industrial development back to being one of the policy priorities.

In fact, in the past six decades, the most dynamic subsectors in terms of output growth, export growth, production innovation, and product diversity are food products, plastic and rubber, chemicals, basic metalwork, and non-metallic mineral products. Prof. Mkumbo said industrialization has taken an upward trend in the areas of manufacturing, agriculture, mining, and other extractive industries and services.

He noted that the government has always insisted that the key underlying notion to industrialization is value-addition, occasioned by knowledge and skills accumulated through experience and training. The principle, he added, applies to all productive sectors and services, improving productivity and inventiveness to enhance competitiveness. At present, Minister Mkumbo said there are about 80,697 industries in the country that contribute to over 17 percent of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a sign that the country’s ambitious industrialization agenda by 2025 will be perfectly achieved.

On average mega industries have so far provided direct employment to about 400,000 Tanzanians

Prof. Mkumbo gave the statistics in the country’s capital, Dodoma yesterday, saying industries were contributing to about 8,4 percent, while trade was adding up over nine percent to the country’s GDP. The Minister was optimistic that come 2025, the target of his ministry was to see the Trade and Industries sector contributing up to 30 percent in the GDP. He said that an assessment that was conducted in July 2021 this year, found out that there were about 80,696 industries countrywide, adding that on Tuesday this week Prime Minister launched yet another factory-SIKA Tanzania located at Salasala in Dar es Salaam, putting the figure at 80,697.

With mushrooming of industries in the country, Prof. Mkumbo said employment opportunities had increased whereas 99 percent of direct employment was occupied by Tanzanians with the remaining percent going to foreigners. He said employment opportunities in the industrial sector continued to grow significantly with statistics indicating that by 1961 the sector contributed to nine percent of total direct employment in the country.

Minister Mkumbo further noted that by 2015, employment in the sector reached 254,786, adding further that following the government’s initiative to massively promote industrialization, the number of people employed in the sector has now reached 482,601. “On average mega industries have so far provided direct employment to about 400,000 Tanzanians. According to statistics available in the ministry and in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), 100 percent of the people within the sector are locals,” he added.

On the total number of industries in the country which stands at 80,697, Prof. Mkumbo said out of that figure, mega factories which need a minimum capital of over 800m/- as well as employing 100 people were 618 and those middle-sized industries which need a capital of between 200m/- and 800m/- as well as employing between 50 to 99 people were 684. According to him, the small-scale industries which require an initial capital of at least 5m/- and not more than 200m/- were 17,267.

On Special Economic Zones (EPZ) and Export Processing Zones (SEZ), the Minister said so far, a total of 174 companies have been registered, injecting a total capital of 2.23billion US Dollars (about 5,13tri/-). He said through EPZ and SEZ investments, some 57,563 direct jobs have been created. Prof. Mkumbo further took the time to explain how Tanzania was doing well on trade with the rest of the world. He said participation in global and regional trade, including importation, attracts domestic and foreign investments and access to new technology and managerial skills.

He explained that exports reduce foreign exchange constraints; create jobs and higher capacity utilization of domestic resources, in turn, contributing to overall growth. Tanzania’s exports are concentrated, dominated by primary exports, including minerals and semi-processed agricultural exports. They have a low technology-development impact on domestic producers as well as jobs in the domestic market.

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News

African Leaders Meet in Niger to Support Girls’ Rights

African leaders should prioritize education for pregnant girls and married adolescents at the Third African Girls’ Summit in Niamey, Niger, from November 16-18, 2021. Governments attending the summit should commit to stronger human rights protections for girls’ education.

Even though many governments in Africa have protective laws and policies, hundreds of thousands of girls and young women in Africa are denied an education because they are pregnant, married, or mothers. Gabon and Côte d’Ivoire are among the countries that guarantee girls the right to continue school during pregnancy and after giving birth. However, governments such as Tanzania have policies that ban or expel pregnant girls or adolescent mothers from school. Even where laws and policies exist on girls’ education, protections to continue education, as well as implementation and adherence, vary.

“The Third African Girls’ Summit points to the growing commitment by African leaders to end discrimination against girls, but governments need to take further actions to ensure that all girls can enjoy their childhood and contribute to their society’s development,” said Agnes Odhiambo, senior women’s rights researcher and Nairobi office head at Human Rights Watch. “African governments should ensure access to education for all girls by providing clear school and community-based plans to support those who are pregnant or mothers to return to school and succeed academically.”

The summit platform brings together stakeholders from across the region and beyond to galvanize support to end harmful practices against girls in Africa. Participants include the African Union and its human rights entities, national governments and political leaders, the United Nations and non-governmental organizations, girls and young people, and traditional leaders.

While there is legal and policy recognition of all girls’ and women’s right to education in many African countries, there remains a large gap in enabling them to get to school and to stay until graduation. Many girls, for instance, lack financial and psychosocial, or mental health, support to continue with education during pregnancy or after they have given birth.

The Third African Girls’ Summit points to the growing commitment by African leaders to end discrimination against girls

The African Union and its human rights bodies can provide further guidance and take action to ensure effective implementation of girls’ and women’s rights to education.

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) should consider issuing guidance in the form of a general comment, Human Rights Watch said. A general comment could provide detailed guidance to countries about their legal obligations to provide equal education to girls and women without discrimination and ensure effective monitoring of compliance.

Model policies are an established strategy to push for policy change on the African continent. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has developed two model laws – one on ending child marriage and another on HIV in Africa – that have stimulated policy dialogue and change in the region. The African Union Commission (AUC) should also consider developing and popularizing a model regional policy for ensuring continuing education of pregnant girls and adolescent mothers and “re-entry” for those who leave school, Human Rights Watch said.

To support these efforts, the African human rights expert bodies should consider conducting a regional study on the status of education for pregnant, married, and parenting female learners, Human Rights Watch said. The African Commission should appoint a special rapporteur on education who would be the liaison with the other bodies to conduct the study and monitor implementation. Many government officials told Human Rights Watch over the years that there is a need to identify shortfalls, gaps, and good practices to support pregnant girls and adolescent mothers to go to school.

African governments also need to address widespread teenage pregnancy, which drives many girls out of school and contributes to abuses such as child marriage. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, sub-Saharan African countries had the highest adolescent birth rates in the world. For various reasons, which may have included prolonged school closures, weak child protection, poor knowledge, and loss of access to sexual and reproductive health services, the pandemic has led to an increase in adolescent pregnancies in many African countries, according to the UN, media, and civil society reports.

African governments should adopt mandatory national school curricula covering sexual and reproductive health and rights, responsible sexual behavior, forming healthy relationships, prevention of early pregnancy and marriages, prevention of sexually transmitted infections, gender equality, and awareness and prevention of sexual exploitation and sexual and gender-based violence, Human Rights Watch said. Evidence-based technical guidance shows that children should be introduced to age-appropriate content on sexuality and reproductive health in primary school, prior to puberty.

“African governments should be fulfilling the right to education for pregnant girls and adolescent mothers not only by opening school doors but also by putting in place comprehensive measures to address their challenges and needs so that they remain in school,” Odhiambo said. “The African Union as a whole should show greater leadership and consistently promote the education of pregnant girls and adolescent mothers.”

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Education

Global Education Coalition Announces Annual Meeting

Hybrid Side event of the 41st Session of the UNESCO General Conference

12 November 2021, 1:15 pm to 2:45 pm (CEST) // 7:15 am to 8:45 am (EST)

To attend virtually via Zoom, please register here (https://bit.ly/3c2ISVJ). After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information for joining the session. For more information, please visit the website of the meeting (https://bit.ly/3c85CUc)

Agenda
1:15 – 1:30 Opening Session

  • Ms Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO
  • Mr Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Cares

Presentation

General presentation of the work of the Global Education Coalition and its strategic directions.

  • Mr Borhene Chakroun, Director, Division for Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems and Coordinator of the Global Education Coalition
1:30 – 1:50 High-Level roundtable: What did we learn and what are the remaining challenges for the digital transformation of education?

Moderator: Mr Dimitri Sanga, Director, UNESCO Dakar Regional Office

  • H.E. Mr Rabiou Ousman, Minister of Education, Niger
  • H.E. Mr Curtis King, Minister of Education and National Reconciliation, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • H.E. Mr Devendra Paudel, Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Nepal
  • Mr Samuel Sasu Adonteng, Programmes Coordinator for Tertiary Education, All-Africa Students Union
1:50 – 2:15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Partners’ roundtable: How to achieve digital transformation of education through partnerships?

Moderator: Mr David Atchoarena, Director, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning

  • Ms Ethel Agnes Pascua-Valenzuela, Director, Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Secretariat
  • Mr Gustav Praekelt, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Praekelt Foundation
  • Mr Danny Gauch, Director-General, Worlddidac
  • Ms Marie Bancal, Director for Partnerships and Development, PIX
  • Mr Arman Rahmatullah, Chief Executive Officer, TeachforAll Afghanistan
2:15 – 2:40 What should shape the future of the Global Education Coalition?

Moderator: Ms Maki Katsuno-Hayashikawa, Director, Division for Education 2030

  • Ms Alexa Joyce, Digital Transformation and Skills Director, Microsoft
  • Mr Robert Jenkins, Global Director of Education, UNICEF
  • Ms Serena Brown, Director of Sustainable Development, KPMG International
  • Mr Jaime Saavedra Chanduvi, Global Director Education, the World Bank Group
  • Mr Taguchi Yasushi, Assistant Minister & Director-General for International Affairs, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) / Secretary-General, Japanese National Commission for UNESCO
2:40 – 2:45 Conclusion and next steps

  • Ms Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO

.

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Sports

Sports News: Training Opportunity for African Sports Journalists

In order to improve the performance of Media Professionals willing to cover the next TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations and other Major Sporting Events, the African Union of Broadcasting (AUB) (www.uar-aub.org), RAI-Italia based in Roma and the Training Centre of Perugia will organize a High-Quality Online Course for the benefit of African Sports Journalists. The training will kick off on Tuesday, 21st December 2021.

It should be noted that qualified candidates will access the online lessons at the time of their choice following a well-elaborated Shift to be sent to them in due time.

Nevertheless, they will be called to complete the Course before the live webinar scheduled to take place from January 3rd to 5th, 2022, and exchange ideas with Experienced Media Professionals in the field of sports reporting.

We expect to receive your kind and most welcomed personal greetings in Two Clips, in professional or High-Quality Resolution, of a maximum 2’30” each, in the English and French languages, in two separate files, not later than 18th November next (ultimate delivery day), in order to allow us to edit and insert them in the opening welcome remarks. Requested material should be sent directly to: contact@uar-aub.org. For Training Registration Form and other inquiries, please visit AUB Website: www.uar-aub.org

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Oil & Gas

Developing African Petroleum Value Chains

Despite the global shift towards cleaner sources of fuel, the African continent – representing the highest number of people without access to energy globally – still requires fossil fuel development, if it is to meet its developmental goals. Accordingly, oil and gas-producing nations across the continent are ramping up efforts to develop a sustainable, viable, and high-reward petroleum sector in Africa. Speaking at an African energy producers’ forum at African Energy Week (AEW) 2021, African oil and gas ministers provided insight into Africa’s oil potential, strategies to expand the energy value chain, and opportunities for regional and international cooperation.

Opening the African energy producers’ talk, Irene Etiobhio, Senior Petroleum Industry Analyst at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), emphasized the role of oil in Africa’s energy future. Presenting OPEC’s World Oil Outlook 2021, launched earlier this year, Etiobhio offered key insights into both Africa’s and the world’s oil outlook.

“The OPEC outlook provides an in-depth view and analysis of global oil issues. It is important to restate that the outlook is not about projections, but should be viewed as a helpful and insightful guide. Our data is based on key assumptions,” stated Etiobhio.

Oil will play a significant role in the African energy mix and will take the highest share over all forms in the future mix

Alongside the presentation, African energy ministers elaborated on the role of oil in Africa. Panel participants included H.E Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea and Hon. Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, Deputy Minister of Energy of Ghana.

Africa’s oil and gas industry is facing a dual challenge: to satisfy growing demand for petroleum products and to outpace the deployment of alternative, non-fossil sources of energy. Taking these two challenges into consideration, the panel participants provided insight into how the sector, and oil and gas companies in particular, plan to increase production while decarbonizing industry activities.

“Oil will play a significant role in the African energy mix and will take the highest share over all forms in the future mix. However, with the demand of over 600 million without access to electricity, Africa must do this in a modern way. We must not solve one problem while creating another. Africa needs to also take care of the environment,” continued Etiobhio. “We must have a clear mandate and one voice on how we are going to meet our emissions targets. China has said that by 2060, it will achieve carbon neutrality. Europe has set its target for 2025. Africa needs to do this, as well.”

Many African countries are looking to significantly enhance production, and are therefore looking to attract investment, as well capacity enhancement, across the entire energy sector value chain. During the panel, speakers discussed how Africa can fast-track the creation of an investor-friendly environment, while still increasing local capacity.

“At this stage in Africa, we have come to the realization that someone has to be responsible, and for the first time, we have to take responsibility for the sector,” stated H.E. Minister Lima. “When the lockdown started, flights and movements stopped, and many ex-pats could not fly or work. Could we actually continue operations with just national companies? The answer was yes, and for five months, Equatorial Guinea was operating almost 90% domestically. Our installations were operated by our own people, and so it was thanks to COVID-19 that we realized this.”

“Ghanaians took over the Liquefied Natural Gas processing facility. We have built a reasonable local capacity to operate this facility. I am so hopeful that it is potential for Africa to develop, but we have to start doing it. If we make the effort to develop our capacity, then we will be able to do that,” added H.E. Deputy Minister Dr Adam.

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Oil & Gas

Monetizing Natural Gas in Africa: Opportunities and Challenges

Africa’s natural gas resources have the potential to accelerate socio-economic growth and eradicate energy poverty. Accordingly, many nations are seeking enhanced investment in order to maximize and monetize resources. As the continent’s premier energy event, African Energy Week (AEW) 2021, aims to build on this momentum, promoting innovative strategies to monetization, addressing challenges hindering development, and chartering a way forward for the African gas sector.

Speaking at an investor forum under the theme ‘Monetizing Natural Gas: Current Opportunities and Challenges,’ panel participants investigated Africa’s natural gas landscape. Participants at the panel included Mamadou Goumble, CEO Energy Business, JCG; Frank Fannon, Former United States Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources; Olakunle Williams, CEO, QSL; Dr Tshepo Mokoka, COO, CEF; Gabriel Lorenzi, VP of Sales, Galileo Technologies; and Taiwo Okwor; Vice President, Investments, African Finance Corporation.

During the discussion, participants provided insight into how African gas projects can be made more bankable and attractive for international investors. With the continent aggressively pursuing the development of its natural gas resources so as to ensure sustainable socio-economic growth, Africa’s gas has garnered significant regional and international attention.

“The limitation that we as African countries have from a research and development point of view. There are two constraints for us to develop: financing and technology. We have to find ways of financing our own development. You need to find better ways of opening up the space. If we depend more on FDI, we rely on Ministers in Europe,” stated Dr Mokoka.

If you want to develop your natural gas you need to think about transmission aspects and distributions aspects to both the domestic and international market

“At the end of the day, it is about risk and reward. Some of the key things are around the regulatory framework and lack of credibility, of which one of the key points is transparency. There needs to be predictability and a regulatory framework that is planned for the long term. The second aspect is around the security of supply. There need to be ample gas reserves and uninterrupted supply. Another other aspect is around lack of regional integration. There is no realistic approach to planning infrastructure assets. If you want to develop your natural gas you need to think about transmission aspects and distributions aspects to both the domestic and international market. If you can address these, you will see a lot more international and local investors,” stated Okwor.

“We strongly believe small scale is the solution. From a financial point of view, it is always easier for financial organizations to approach the financing of smaller projects that can be scaled. This will be a gamechanger. Start small and then scale up. We need to provide jobs while at the same time providing solutions to scale up,” stated Lorenzi.

Meanwhile, the panel discussed actionable strategies to enhance investor interest in gas infrastructure projects across Africa. With the African Continent Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) providing new and improved trade opportunities for stakeholders within the energy industry, the panel promoted intra-African gas markets, made possible through enhanced infrastructure developments.

“The AfCFTA is a wonderful opportunity for everyone in Africa. it will open up the market. Already the testament of the AfCFTA is already being shown. In June 2021 a 1 single electricity market was passed. How do you integrate yourself into one energy market in Africa? 60% of the world today is used for manufacturing. We need to channel more gas towards our industries, creating a supply chain that will take our gas resources to demand centers around Africa,” stated Williams.

“It is an execution issue in my opinion. How are countries at the individual level going to execute? How are we going to get the high level of coordination down to execution? By having these energy trade relationships, it creates a halo effect of stability, economic integration and cooperation. With the high level and political will, there will be a model of success,” stated Fannon.

Africa’s significant resources and emerging project developments will not only create opportunities for African countries but offer the chance for Africa to assist Europe with its current gas crisis. With existing pipeline infrastructure in place already supplying Europe, panel participants discussed how to enhance supply chain networks.

“In Africa we have two kinds of countries, those with gas and those without. Those with gas are left with the question of how to use it. By using gas throughout the region, it will be able to help us tap into global markets. Let us get the foundation sorted to be able to have a suitable market before we manage to export,” stated Mamadou.

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