The African Energy Chamber’s (www.EnergyChamber.org) African Energy Week (AEW) 2023 conference & exhibition officially started on Tuesday in Cape Town, kicking off the week’s discussions and deals. During the electric opening ceremony – sponsored by Kosmos Energy – African energy and petroleum ministers delivered opening remarks, detailing the needs of the continent, the role investment plays and how a consolidated and unified approach to the energy transition will ensure energy security remains a top priority.
Ministers from across the continent brought forth their visionary policies, highlighting a collective commitment to harnessing Africa’s vast energy potential. Their addresses underscored the imperative of responsible resource management, technology-driven innovations, and equitable access to power for all African nations.
“Energy is the driving force of our economies,” Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua, Minister of Hydrocarbons of the Republic of Congo, said. “Stopping oil and gas production will jeopardize our stability and growth of our nations. Given increasing energy demand, stopping one solution is not a good option. It falls upon us collectively to join forces and define our energy landscape.”
Dr. Omar Faourk Ibrahim, Secretary General of the African petroleum Producers Organization, drew attention to the need to industrialize in Africa. He remarked that, “While Africa is on the verge of industrialization, we are being told not to use the energy that played a key role in getting [developed nations] to where they are today. As we prepare to go to COP28, it is important that we go with our own agenda.”
This unified approach will be crucial for achieving continent-wide energy security while accelerating a transition to a low-carbon future. Integrating renewables in the current hydrocarbon-centric energy mix was identified as an important next step for Africa.
Specifically, Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, South Africa, highlighted that, “Sub-Saharan Africa has less than 45% energy access – that is what we should be debating. Let us leave this conference with a renewed commitment to working together on a just transition. Let us not neglect development priorities. If we move from high carbon emissions to low carbon emissions, it is important to ensure there is resilience and reliability of the new energy technologies before we stop using the old ones.”
As such, speakers drew attention to the need for a unified approach to the energy transition. Antonio Oburu Ondo, President of OPEC and Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, explained that, “Equatorial Guinea strongly believes that the energy transition must move forward, but needless to say, we need to do a lot more talking to decide the path we choose. It must be a fair and just energy transition for our continent.”
With shared visions and collaborative efforts, Africa is poised to emerge as a global energy powerhouse, illuminating the path towards a brighter, more prosperous future for its people.
#AEW2023 takes place this week in Cape Town under a mandate to make energy poverty history by 2030. Keep following www.AECWeek.com for information and updates about Africa’s premier energy event.