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Exploiting Natural Gas Can Be a Win-win for Both Africa and Asia — Experts

Against the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and its impacts on food and fuel prices worldwide, representatives of the private and development sectors attending an online conference organized by the African Development Bank expressed consensus that exploiting Africa’s natural gas resources offered benefits for both African and Asian countries.

The African Development Bank’s Asia External Representation Office and its African Natural Resources Management and Investment Centre jointly organized the event, titled “A New Vision for Africa: Asia-Africa Cooperation on Natural Gas.

It aimed to spur exploration of the challenges facing global natural gas markets, including inadequate long-term investments, climate change risks and energy security concerns. The event brought together  over 140 participants, including representatives of government agencies, the private sector, development partners and academics from Asia and Africa with a view to developing a new vision for Africa’s gas sector that will ensure energy security and as well as serve as an energy source that will advance the transition to  net-zero emissions

Naoshige Kinoshita, African Development Bank Deputy Head and former Chief Investment Officer for Energy Financial Solutions spoke first. He explained that partnerships between Africa and Asia have recently unlocked significant investments in Liquefied natural gas and potential transfers of technology.

 Nosizwe Nokwe-Macamo, Executive Chairman and Founder of Raise Africa Investments Pty Ltd, raised the issue of energy poverty in Africa. She said: “we have challenges on the supply side, and we’ve got huge challenges as well on the demand side.” She emphasized the urgent need for reliable and affordable energy sources.

Dr. Farouk Omar Ibrahim, Secretary General of the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO), outlined current regional initiatives to address natural gas funding and investment challenges, “Africa should be able to raise the funds necessary for the operations of its energy industry,” Ibrahim said.

Adly Kafafy, Vice President for Africa at TAQA Arabia, a Cairo-based energy provider, said: “We need to make sure that we will be utilizing natural gas for the consumption of Africans.”  Drawing on Egypt’s experience, he urged cooperation among African countries and external partners to build robust value chains to maximize the continent’s potential of the natural gas sector.

 Batchi Baldeh, African Development Bank Director of Power Systems Development, stressed the role of natural gas as an enabler of Africa’s energy transition by providing a robust base-load for energy systems. Outlining the Bank’s strategic vision to support the green transition, he said, “Our job, as a bank, is to support our member countries to create the policy framework and regulatory environment that will maximize or attract the investments, both public and private.”

Dr. Vanessa Ushie, Acting Director of the African Development Bank’s African Natural Resources Investment and Management Centre, called for a balancing of short to medium term opportunities for Africa to meet rising energy demand from Asia, against longer term climate change and energy transition risks. “Africa needs to move on the value chain. This is our strategic approach for all commodities, including natural gas.” She also underscored the importance of exploring inclusive and sustainable long-term solutions that are of benefit to both regions.

Other speakers included Prof. Yongzhong Wang of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Mr. Jong Kwon Lee of Korea Gas Technology Cooperation, Mr. Yosuke Noguchi of Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security, and Mr. Ruquan Lu of China National Petroleum Corporation shared valuable insights from China, Japan, and Korea.

A follow-up event focused on commodities will be held in the latter half of 2023.

Source: African Development Bank