In an exclusive interview with the African Energy Chamber, AEICORP’s Zakaria Dosso said African banks and fair legal frameworks will enable Africa to boost its oil and gas market.
With investments across Africa’s hydrocarbon sector decreasing due to global climate policies, calls for Africa to develop domestic and innovative financial solutions to accelerate projects development continues to expand. Ahead of the African Energy Week, Africa’s leading investment platform for the oil and gas sector which takes place from 18 – 21 October, 2022 in Cape Town, the African Energy Chamber spoke with Zakaria Dosso, Managing Director, African Energy Investment Corporation (AEICORP), to understand investments trends across Africa’s energy market.
What sectors do you feel have the best potential for growth in Africa?
Currently representing just over 17% of the world’s population, Africa accounts for only 4% of global power supply investment while only 58% of its population have access to electricity. With Africa’s population growing rapidly – to reach 26% and 39% of the global population by 2050 and 2100, respectively – demand for food, transportation, energy, housing, health, education and all those sectors pertaining to basic subsistence needs will face substantial growth.
Most of the sectors will require more energy to support their growth. Much remains to be done in the energy sector to bring the rest of the sectors to cope with this demographic growth. Thus, Africa’s production capacity will need to be doubled by 2030 if we are to improve living standards and foster economic growth. African governments are well aware of these challenges and are taking action to anticipate them.
On a regulatory front, what needs to be done to ensure African countries are competitive investment destinations, particularly in a post-COVID-19, reduced capital expenditure environment?
Africa needs to establish fair and reassuring legal frameworks which attract foreign direct investments and protect all types of investment. The policies need to facilitate incoming and outgoing financial flows and the recruitment of expatriate staff for highly technical sectors if the required skills do not exist internally.
Return on investment is generally higher in Africa because of the very high needs, the weak mechanisms for raising funds locally and certain country risks, however, policies also need to prioritize the development of local African markets.
What role do Africa’s domestic financiers play in meeting investment demand seen across Africa’s oil market?
Despite African financiers not sufficiently equipped to respond to the strong demand of investments, they are key to addressing inadequate funding in the hydrocarbons sector. Their role is to mobilize the necessary funds both locally and abroad to direct them towards financing needs. Africa is a net importer of petroleum products while we export more than 70% of our crude oil. With demand for hydrocarbons also expanding, African financiers and National Oil Companies must work together to invest more in crude refining on the continent.
Do you believe an African Energy Bank is feasible and what steps need to be taken to establish an institution such as this?
An African Energy Bank is quite feasible and we are well on the way to getting it started. The first step, and which remains the most important, is the will of political leaders to put it in place. This will was translated into action through the formation of AEICORP in January, 2019 to mobilize financial resources from APPO member countries and other financial institutions to finance the development of the oil & gas and renewable energy sectors. With Afreximbank and APPO signing an agreement in Luanda on 16 May, 2022, this bank will be ready to operate in the coming months.
With Europe looking to Africa as an alternative gas supplier, do you foresee gas-directed investments increasing across the continent?
It is clear that African gas is a real alternative to the current situation with Russia. The question was even raised during the recent visit of the German Chancellor to Senegal. I foresee a growth in investments for African gas. It is true that the sale of gas like any other raw material provides Africa with foreign currency which is used to finance other parts of our economies. However, part of the investments must be used for local processing for local needs. Gas must therefore be used to increase access to energy for our populations and our manufacturing industry.
What deals do you foresee or hope to see signed at African Energy Week this year?
I would like to see Cooperation Agreements signed between AEICORP and African National Oil Companies present at Africa Energy Week.