Climate Activists Seek Pope's Support In Calls To Halt Oil & Gas Exploration In DRC

Climate activists are deepening calls for a halt to plans for oil and gas exploration in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and seeking the Pope's support in this, as he embarks on a visit to the country.

The activists have been opposing oil exploration activities in the Virunga National Park, Africa's oldest national park, as well as the recent plans by the government to auction oil and gas blocks, some of which fall in sensitive areas in the DRC.

They cite the grave risks posed by oil exploration activities to the environment, endangered species of wildlife, and the livelihoods of local communities.

Pope Francis, who is on a 4-day visit to the country, is an advocate for environmental justice who has been consistent in calling for urgent climate action, the abandonment of fossil fuels and a transition to renewable energy.

Bonaventure Bondo, Climate activist in Kinshasa, DRC said: "We are concerned by our government's continued push for expansion of fossil fuel exploration in our country, which will come at great cost to our environment, wildlife, our communities and the climate.

Our protected areas are under threat - from the oil exploration activities in Virunga National Park, to the oil and gas blocks that the government is auctioning off in the Congo basin. This comes at a time when all the signs point to the urgent need to shift away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, to contain global heating and avert catastrophic climate impacts.

We appeal to Pope Francis, to engage our government on this very crucial matter, to call for the stop to these fossil fuel projects and the prioritization of renewable energy."

Ashley Kitisya, Fossil Fuel Free Campaigner Laudato Si Movement said: "Pope Francis in Laudato Si shares, 'There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gasses can be drastically reduced, for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy.'

The exploration of oil and gas in DRC sets us on the path of more climate catastrophes that will disproportionately affect the poor. We therefore come together to call for the end of unjust actions to profit a handful of people. Instead, we call for a transition away from fossil fuels and the use of clean, renewable energy that primarily addresses the needs of local communities and economies."

Seven African Countries To Benefit From AfDB Energy Fund

The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) of the African Development Bank Group will provide a $1 million technical assistance grant to the Green Mobility Facility for Africa (GMFA).

GMFA provides technical assistance and investment capital to accelerate and expand private sector investments in sustainable transport solutions in seven countries: Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and South Africa.

The SEFA grant will support the creation of an enabling environment for Electric vehicles (EVs), the design of EV business models and guidelines for the public and private sector, the development of a bankable pipeline of e-mobility projects, regional coordination, and knowledge-sharing amongst other upstream activities to help catalyse follow-on private sector financing during the subsequent investment phase of the GMFA.

"Mobility is a fundamental lifeline that connects people to critical services, jobs, education, and opportunities," said Nnenna Nwabufo the Director-General of the Bank's East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office.

"The African Development Bank is committed to building a sustainable and more climate-resilient future by catalysing private investment in low-carbon solutions. We believe GMFA will have a tremendous impact on the African market by accelerating the shift to green mobility, reducing over 2,175,000 carbon dioxide equivalent tons of greenhouse gas emissions and facilitating the creation of 19,000 full-time jobs."

"Future demand for mobility solutions and vehicle ownership is expected to increase with rapid urbanisation, population growth, and economic development. We are delighted to receive this support from AfDB. We see this as a vote of confidence in our efforts to shift to e-mobility solutions and advance Rwanda's transition to a low-carbon economy," said Clare Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board. Rwanda is one of seven pilot countries for GMFA.

Afreximbank To Drive Finance Dialogue At South Sudan Oil & Power

Afreximbank will lead commercial discussions at the fifth edition of South Sudan Oil & Power (SSOP) 2022 by participating in a special high-level panel discussion alongside the Trade and Development Bank, together with regional banks and pan-African institutions, including invitees Stanbic and the African Development Bank.

Organizations such as the Afreximbank have made notable progress to drive oil and gas project developments across the continent.

Afreximbank's participation shows its dedication to the South Sudanese energy sector by aiding the development of its petroleum assets – showcasing its ongoing and growing interest in the market.

The bank is sending top level representative Rene Awambeng, Global Head, Client Relations to hold discussions with government and the private sector, and appear on stage at the event.

"Mr. Awambeng's presence at this year's event validates our theme Gateway to East African Energy and the Ministry of Petroleum's work to make South Sudan a hub for regional energy services, exploration and exports," says James Chester, Senior Director, Energy Capital & Power (ECP), adding that "SSOP 2022 has developed a strong foundation over the last five years for tackling questions on how to finance South Sudan's energy sector and growth."

Organized by ECP and taking place September 13-14, 2022, the event is supported by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning of South Sudan as well as the Ministry of Petroleum. It serves as the country's official energy event and meeting place for the region's oil, gas, and power industries.

Death Of OPEC's Muhammad Barkindo Is An immeasurable Loss - African Energy Chamber

Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Secretary General H.E. Muhammad Barkindo, oil industry veteran, away at 23:00 on July 5, 2022, in his home country of Nigeria at the age of 63.

Barkindo's death has been described by African Energy Chamber an immeasurable loss and tragedy. The legacy left behind by H.E. Barkindo, African Energy Chamber, will be remembered by the global energy community for years to come.

"With a career spanning four decades, H.E. Barkindo dedicated his life and career to growing the Nigerian, African and global oil and gas sectors. His journey with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) started in 1986 where he served as Nigeria's delegation to the organization.

"Thereafter, his role in the organization grew as he took on other positions including acting OPEC Secretary General in 2006, representing Nigeria on OPEC's Board of Governors from 2009 to 2010 and finally appointed as Secretary General in 2016, re-appointed for a further three years in 2019.

Who was Barkindo?

Prior to his roles in OPEC, H.E. Barkindo was a leading figure in the Nigerian energy space, having served as advisor to former Minister of Petroleum Resources and OPEC Secretary General, H.E. Dr. Rilwanu Lukman KBE, Deputy Managing Director of Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas and Group Managing Director and CEO of the NNPC.

H.E. Barkindo had been a leader of Nigeria's technical delegation to the UN climate change negotiations since 1991, served as chair of the Group of 77 and China at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and was elected to serve three terms as Vice President of the Conference of the Parties – COP13, COP14 and COP15. However, H.E. Barkindo's true achievements came in his tenure as Secretary General of OPEC.

Representing the longest serving delegate to OPEC, H.E. Barkindo navigated through and oversaw some of the most turbulent periods in the history of the organization. This started with the creation of the OPEC+ coalition a few months after his appointment as head of the organization, with H.E. Barkindo ushering a new, unprecedented era for the organization and once-unimaginable partnerships with non-member countries including Russia. In less than a year following his appointment, H.E. Barkindo took the organization to greater heights, uniting global energy producers in a feat of diplomacy.

Meanwhile, following his reappointment, H.E. Barkindo led the organization through one of the world's biggest crises: the COVID-19 pandemic. His second term as Secretary General saw the leader navigate through production cuts, global oil price fluctuations and never-before-seen geopolitical tensions that brought significant impacts to producing nations worldwide. In his position, H.E. Barkindo was instrumental, often considered key for easing tensions and strengthening relations across the alliance.

"H.E. Barkindo was our leader, our role model and our friend. The AEC is devastated at the news of his passing. In Africa, he will always be remembered as a patriot, an instrumental figure who fought for the continent's right to develop our oil and gas. H.E. Barkindo lived a life of loyalty, friendship and perseverance. He will be remembered as the man who united producers, helped create OPEC+, fought for alleviating energy poverty and strengthened Africa's position as a global energy supplier. He will be greatly missed," states NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the AEC.

As we mourn the passing H.E. Barkindo, the AEC urges every energy stakeholder to remember what our OPEC Secretary General fought for: the development of Africa and the world for the benefit of future generations.

Natural Gas Exploitation Key To Solving Africa's Deforestation, Emissions & Energy Security Issues

Despite having 620 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, Africa's over reliance on wood-based biomass energy remains high, resulting in an increase in land degradation, deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions, and in over 900 million people across the continent living without access to clean cooking.

However, if fully optimized and exploited, the continent's natural gas resources present an opportunity for Africa to address environmental destruction, ensure clean cooking for its population while also guaranteeing energy security and economic growth.

With over 81% of households in sub-Saharan Africa relying on wood-based biomass energy for cooking, the World Health Organization has linked millions of deaths in rural Africa to indoor emissions resulting from the continued and increased use of biomass.

In this regard, countries such as Nigeria, Malawi, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe, where biomass use is particularly high due to limited access to reliable electricity, could expand the exploitation of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to ensure clean cooking for the population while also improving energy access.

With over 600 million in Africa living in energy poverty, resulting in increased use of wood-based biomass to meet daily energy needs, expanding the continent's gas market will help accelerate electrification while reducing stress on the national grid.

South Africa has taken a bold move in this regard with the government recently approving the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy's LPG Rollout Strategy, designed to leverage LPG to diversify the energy mix for energy security, affordability and decarbonization reasons.

With Africa seeking to achieve universal access to energy, the continued reliance on wood-based biomass remains a threat to improving energy access. With the United Nations Environment Programme predicting that over 65% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa will still rely on wood fuel for cooking by 2050, the time for Africa to invest more in its gas market is now.

Furthermore, with the reliance on biomass, the continent's industrialisation and economic growth is limited. Biomass represents an inadequate energy resource to power industry, hence, the need for Africa to prioritize the development and expansion of its gas market to fuel its industries while improving energy access and championing its climate stewardship is clear, now more than ever.

The African Energy Chamber (AEC), as the voice of the African energy sector, strongly advocates for the scaling up of gas investment and development across Africa, recognizing the role the resource plays in improving energy access and security, while enabling emission and deforestation reduction.

"With the increased use of natural gas, the African continent is well positioned to achieve energy independence, security and decarbonization targets at the same time reducing emissions and the destruction of our forests. Africa needs to come up with new ways to fund and fast-track the exploitation of its gas resources to achieve this. Not only will gas help reduce emissions but also provides African governments with much-needed GDP to fund the growth of the overall economy," stated NJ Ayuk, the Executive Chairman of the AEC.

African Energy Week (AEW) 2022, Africa's the premier event for the oil and gas sector, which will take place from 18 – 21 October 2022, in Cape Town, will discuss the role of gas in Africa's energy future. Under the theme, Exploring and Investing in Africa's Energy Future while Driving an Enabling Environment, AEW 2022 will host panel discussions and high-level meetings to discuss how Africa can increase investments across its gas value chain to ensure energy security while addressing unsustainable energy practices.

Africa Builds An Integrated Energy Economy

By Paul Sinclair

The continent is making policy and legislative progress towards a new dispensation where firms from the region can exploit and develop its own resources for the benefit of its people. Key to this is ongoing regional engagement.

Africa is increasingly taking ownership of its own energy destiny in the private-sector space. But – equally importantly – it is also developing the policy and regulatory tools that support economic self-determination.

Nowhere is this more evident than in Nigeria, where the long-awaited passing into law of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) last year is poised to unlock vast potential in the domestic and regional energy sector.

The Act has legislated the creation of two regulatory agencies to oversee critical parts of the industry. The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) will be responsible for the technical and commercial regulation of petroleum operations in their respective sectors.

The upstream comprises resource exploration, as well as drilling and operation of crude-oil and natural-gas wells. Midstream usually refers to the transportation and storage of petroleum products by pipeline, barges, tankers or trucks, while the petroleum downstream is mainly concerned with refining and processing of petroleum and natural gas and marketing and distributing end products to consumers.

The establishment of these regulatory bodies will provide a rich space for engagement with industry associations representing the enterprises that help to drive the industry. Prominent among these is the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN), an association of Nigerian technical oilfield service companies straddling the upstream , midstream and downstream sectors.

This long-established association brings together Nigerian oil and gas entrepreneurs specifically for the exchange of ideas with major operators and policymakers, and to help develop Nigeria's petroleum-technology industry for the benefit of Nigerians.

Under the leadership of charman Nicolas Odinuwe, PETAN looks to support and enhance the involvement of indigenous companies in the Nigerian petroleum-products sector.

Across sectors, there has long been talk of the need to enhance Africa's beneficiation capacity, to help the continent move downstream from being a primary commodity producer, and to reverse the centuries-old pattern of developed nations exploiting Africa's resources, then processing them elsewhere for enormous profit.

PETAN is in the forefront of helping Africa achieve this in the petroleum sector. It describes itself as "the initiator of local content in Nigeria ... championing the quest for increased local participation in the Nigerian oil and Gas industry."

As an association that focuses on local content, PETAN also has a role to play in the regional context, in ensuring Nigerian businesses are equipped to win international or regional tenders for the processing of primary commodities such as crude oil and natural gas.

In the petroleum industry, there are already numerous situations where a shallow-water asset owner in Nigeria might contract a European company to service its wells, despite there being a local supplier who can do the same thing.

The solution to overcoming this misalignment lies on ongoing industry communication, to ensure standardisation of local content so that it meets local needs, thereby boosting private-sector participation in domestic production.

The establishment of Nigeria's new regulatory bodies offers an exciting opportunity to drive this kind of intra-industry partnership, and to help build an African energy industry characterised by mutual benefit, instead of unequal power relations.

A critical forum for this kind of engagement will be the forthcoming Africa Oil Week in Cape Town, (AOW), the global platform for stimulating deals and transactions across the African Upstream.

The event brings together governments, national and international oil companies, independents, investors, the geological and geophysical community and service providers.

Within this context, the African Union's strategy for an Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement ( looks to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of capital and investments.

A better integrated African energy sector can be a major driver of this vision, with, for instance, Nigerian firms partnering on Angolan energy projects and vice versa. In the long run, there is potential to establish a semi-autonomous oil and gas industry that delivers product to domestic, and external markets on its own terms.

Reaching this stage requires communication and ongoing strategic engagement. The foundations for this are being laid through progressive policymaking and regulation. To take its rightful place as an energy powerhouse, Africa must continue to engage and partner across domestic and regional borders.

Paul Sinclair, Vice President of Energy & Director of Government Relations, Africa Oil Week.

Leveraging An Energy Mix For Industrialization

Namibia is on a track towards sustainable economic growth on the back of multi-sector expansion. With the growth of the energy market, in particular, comes new opportunities for industrialization, and a ministerial panel session during the fourth edition of the Namibia International Energy Conference in Windhoek on Wednesday examined this very concept.

Moderated by African Energy Chamber Executive Chairman, NJ Ayuk, speakers during the panel included Hon. Tom Alweendo, Minister of Mines & Energy, Namibia; H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines & Hydrocarbons, Equatorial Guinea; Hon. Peter Chibwe Kapala, Minister of Energy, Zambia; and H.E. Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, Secretary General, the African Petroleum Producers Organization.

Despite having 11 billion barrels of oil reserves, 2.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves and significant renewable energy resources, Namibia heavily relies on energy imports and continues to struggle with energy reliability. Approximately 50% of the population have no access to energy, and critical industries and economic activities such as mining, manufacturing and transportation are heavily impacted by an unreliable energy supply. However, with the discovery of sizeable resources, Namibia is well positioned to drive socioeconomic development and industrialization.

"You should never hear about abandoning what God has given to you to develop. Europe and North America have used oil and gas to develop themselves for centuries. Since the 1800s there have been studies about CO² emissions damages to the environment, but they have chosen to use it to benefit their people to the point that they no longer need to use oil and gas for their economies to grow. Our continent is the most poverty stricken in the world, and we need to use these resources to develop ourselves," stated H.E. Dr. Ibrahim.

In this regard, the development of oil and gas in Namibia will enable the country to secure sustainable energy supply to fuel its economic growth while ensuring GDP growth. As the country progresses with expanding its energy sector, regional countries have a role to play in helping Namibia realize its energy and developmental goals.    

"Namibia shouldn't apologize to anybody for having a discovery and developing its oil and gas. Namibia has the right to utilize and develop with its own resources. My advice to you Minister, is that you have to visit other African countries that have already developed their resources and are already producing, at the ministerial level, at mid management level, and technical level. That will teach you how to advance the development of the industry according to your needs, and not according to the needs of the IOCs," stated H.E. Minister Lima.

The development of Namibia's energy sector will be critical for a number of reasons, such as price stability, job creation, power generation and industrialization. With oil prices increasing globally due to the Russian-Ukraine tension and demand for electricity increasing across the continent, the use of local oil resources would enable Namibia to reduce the vulnerability of its industries and businesses from the global price volatility while also maximizing the monetization of these resources. By so doing, Namibia will also generate revenues which can be directed to fund the development of other sectors and industries.

"Whether it will be a blessing or a curse, depends on what we decide to do. Things happen because of the policies you take and the strength of your institutions. Things can go wrong for two reasons. Either economies are dependent on the sector completely and do not produce anything else, or the resources coming from the sector do not serve the public and serve the elites. I have every reason to believe that it will be a blessing for us, because I have faith in our institutions," stated Hon. Alweendo, adding that, "Regarding oil and gas permits, I am not saying make it easy, but make sure that whatever system you have in place is understood by everyone and that it allows you to make decisions quickly. Because investors don't have time to wait, they want to realize their return on investment, and if you make it too hard or complicated, they will leave and not come back. That is what we try to do."

Finally, the panel emphasized the role Namibian energy can play in the wider region, with opportunities for oil and gas exports, regional power networks and multi-sector deals on the cards.

"Currently it is a tragedy that 60% of Zambians use wood fuel. You can see the rate of deforestation that is going on. Our aim is to reduce this 60% to 40% usage of wood fuel. As a result, this will accelerate our exploration of other energy resources within the country. While we wait for the exploration and setting up of gas hubs, we are also waiting on Namibia to set up the gas pipeline to Zambia," stated Hon. Kapala.

Following on from these discussions, the continent's premier energy event, African Energy Week (AEW), which will take place from 18 – 21 October 2022, in Cape Town, will continue industry-advancing dialogue while making a strong case for Namibian investment. Under the theme, "Exploring and Investing in Africa's Energy Future while Driving an Enabling Environment," AEW 2022 represents the AEC' official energy event and the premier investment platform for the African energy sector.

Harnessing & Investing In Africa’s Natural Gas Market Expansion

Africa is well positioned to utilize its domestic gas resources to address energy poverty, spurring socioeconomic growth and industrialization in the process. However, regulatory reforms, massive investments and improved regional cooperation are required to enable the continent to harness its gas resources. These are some of the key takeaways from a panel discussion which explored the opportunities and challenges within Africa's gas market at the Namibia International Energy Conference which runs from 20 – 21 April in Windhoek.

Speakers for the panel discussion, "Harnessing and Investing in Natural Gas: Opportunities and Strategies," included Dr. Klaus Endresen, General Manager, BW Kudu; Angie Helmi, Chief Investment Officer, Egypt Kuwait Holding; and Dr. Riverson Oppong, Commercial Operations Manager, Ghana National Gas Company. Representing Namibia, Ghana and Egypt, the speakers provided insight into the respective gas markets.

Highlighting the progress made within Namibia's gas sector and what needs to be done locally and continentally to improve the market, Dr. Klaus Endresen, made a strong case for natural gas in Namibia.

"For gas development to take place, the government has to play an important role. Gas is something new. So, government must be a champion, they must take an active position and demonstrate that gas shall and can play a significant role in the economy. It is also up to government to shed misconceptions; gas is not a threat to renewable energy but an enabler. Government should also have international perspective. The Namibian market is limited so it is only through international energy cooperation that we can reach the full economics of scale. Government should pay more attention to transmission capacity. Generating is not enough," stated Dr. Endresen.

The recommendation by Dr. Klaus Endresen come at a time Namibia seeks to maximize the exploitation and monetization of its 2.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves to address domestic energy woes while increasing energy exports. In this regard, the Namibian government is increasing exploration activities and the development of infrastructure such as a pipeline which BW Kudu is developing to transport gas from the Kudu Gas Field to power a 420 MW power plant to be established in Elizabeth Bay.

Additionally, while Africa has remained a climate champion, the exploitation of gas will enable the region to fast-forward its energy transition by ensuring the decarbonization of the transport and power generation segments in addition to ensuring clean cooking. Egypt is one of the leading African countries when it comes to utilizing gas for domestic consumption and economic growth.

"The industry is relying on natural gas. Natural gas has an important role regarding clean cooking. Half of Egyptian households are connected to natural gas networks. The government is now shifting to gas as a source of fuel. Today, we have around 800 CNG filling stations and more than 450,000 vehicles running on natural gas. We believe that developing natural gas has significant socioeconomic benefits in terms of capacity building and employment. The government has given gas significant priority," stated Helmi.

Meanwhile, Africa still has 900 million people without access to clean cooking and 600 million people living in energy poverty, and gas is expected to play a key role in addressing this. On the power generation side, gas will enable African countries to diversify the energy mix and to supplement existing coal and hydropower generation to ensure energy security and affordability.

Highlighting the role gas plays in ensuring sustainable energy generation in Ghana, Oppong added that "Energy sustainability has to do with availability. As it stands, Ghana produces over 100% power in accordance with the demand. We are doing around 40% hydro, 58% gas and the rest is renewable. When we talk about energy transition, Ghana transitioned in terms of crude oil and coal some years back. We have been using gas for some time now and that has to do with availability. Secondly, accessibility is key. We are covering around 85% of demand in Ghana. Lastly, affordability and costs of electricity. However, we still have to do more."

With natural gas representing a central theme in the upcoming African Energy Week (AEW) 2022 conference in Cape Town on the 18-21 October, discussions introduced during the Namibia International Energy Conference will be expanded upon, with speakers elaborating on gas, energy poverty and opportunities for development in Africa.

AEW 2022 is the African Energy Chamber's annual conference, exhibition and networking event. AEW 2022 unites African energy stakeholders with investors and international partners to drive industry growth and development and promote Africa as the destination for energy investments. Key organizations such as the African Petroleum Producers Organization, as well as African heavyweights including Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria, have partnered with AEW, strengthening the role the event will play in Africa's energy future.

Renewable Energy: Examining The Prospects Of Green Hydrogen In Africa

Namibia has made significant progress through project announcements, the signing of deals and adjusted policies to kickstart a green hydrogen boom both domestically and across the southern African region. Rich with renewable energy resources and focused on accelerating energy access and economic growth, the country has partnered with international and regional stakeholders to develop large-scale green hydrogen facilities that will be used both domestically and regionally. But why has this resource emerged as a point of focus in Namibia and what will its development bring? This very concept was the topic of discussion during a green hydrogen panel at the Namibia International Energy Conference in Windhoek on Thursday April 21.

Moderated by Sophie Masipa, Co-Founder, Mwungano ESG, speakers on the panel included James Mynupe, Presidential Economic Advisor, Namibian Presidency; Ipeleng Selele, Group CEO, RRS Trade and Investment; Helena-Tashiya Walenga, Business and Project Developer, HDF Energy Namibia; and Dr Jane Olwoch - Executive Director, Southern African Science Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Management.

During the session, the panel brought attention to why green hydrogen is so important for Namibia. Speakers discussed how the country has positioned itself as an attractive green hydrogen destination and what steps need to be taken to ensure the country is now competitive for green hydrogen development.

"It is not just for ensuring Namibia gets on a green or just transition, but we wanted to use this as an opportunity. There is a need for Namibia to change its economic structure. We are very much an export driven economy, exporting raw materials. We really want to start focusing on the manufacturing aspects of our economy," stated Mynupe, adding that, "We are looking at crafting a whole new synthetic fuels act that will be one of the most competitive around the world. Countries like the US are considering a post-tax credit mechanism that could lower their cost of hydrogen from $3.09 to below a dollar. Even though Namibia will have a superior resource, just that mechanism or tax act reduces our competitiveness. For Africans looking at developing this industry, you have to have an enabling environment."

Extending on Mynupe's notion that green hydrogen represents an opportunity in Namibia, both Walenga and Selele emphasized how the resource can be used to tackle energy poverty as well as intermittency challenges associated with renewable technologies including wind and solar.

According to Walenga, "We develop strategic technologies such as gas-to-power and power-to-power which can be utilized in solving some of the challenges we have with regards to electricity. Most of the time we look to intermittent energy resources because they are cheap. But it is just a matter of time when wind and solar becomes a challenge because of their intermittency. The future is now. For so long hydrogen was considered for 2030 or beyond, but things are moving fast, and the youth are onboard. We must Namibianize and localize as much as possible."

Selele added that, "What is critical is the skills development. What we did and will continue to do is be in tune with our realities. While we understand the enablers, it is important that we are in tune with the challenges we are facing. We have inequality and declining economic growth; these issues are being compiled. Let's be in tune with our realities so when we negotiate terms they will be in line with our realities."

Meanwhile, with a global focus having been placed on climate change mitigation and the role new technologies such as green hydrogen will play, the panel discussed what needs to be done to ensure that adequate and comprehensive information is available regarding Africa's climate crisis, energy transition and socioeconomic needs. In this respect, Olwoch emphasized the need for data, particularly regarding the development of green hydrogen in countries such as Namibia.

"We need data, data that is regular, timely and produced in the best possible way and that is enough to get what we have to do. Africa can be described as a data poor continent. This is what we must focus on regarding the advancement of green hydrogen," stated Olwoch, adding that, "Data has to be collected locally and archived and processed and reprocessed. My focus is on research and capacity development when it comes to green hydrogen. Our universities have inadequate funding. Fund researchers and institutions so that we can fund our own future using our own data. We must strengthen innovation as we go into this industrial revolution. There is a gap we must fill and that is strengthening research."

The panel on green hydrogen serves as a form of prelude to discussions expected to be held at the continent's premier energy event, African Energy Week (AEW) 2022 – set to take place from October 18-21 in Cape Town. AEW 2022 will hold a dedicated Hydrogen Summit, expanding on the very discussions held during the Namibia International Energy Conference this week. The Hydrogen Summit will focus on emerging green hydrogen destinations including Namibia, and represents the ideal platform for new deals to be signed that will fast track Africa's green hydrogen boom.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Energy Chamber.

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AEW 2022 is the AEC's annual conference, exhibition and networking event. AEW 2022 unites African energy stakeholders with investors and international partners to drive industry growth and development and promote Africa as the destination for energy investments. Key organizations such as the African Petroleum Producers Organization, as well as African heavyweights including Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria, have partnered with AEW, strengthening the role the event will play in Africa's energy future.

Towards A Just Energy Transition In Africa: Africa Needs To Develop Its Own Narrative & Use Oil & Gas

African governments, energy stakeholders and industries need to develop and define the continent's own narrative of what a just energy transition across the region looks like. In addition, Africa needs to develop resilient financial solutions to fund its own energy developments, drill more oil and gas wells, and develop capital attractive energy regimes while improving the participation of women. In this regard, the African Energy Chamber (AEC) (, as the voice of the African energy sector, is committed to driving dialogue around these issues, with discussions introduced during a panel discussion held at the Namibia International Energy Conference (NIEC) in Windhoek on Thursday, April 21, expected to be expanded upon during African Energy Week (AEW) 2022 in Cape Town.

The NIEC session, titled 'Africa Energy Outlook: Towards a just energy transition,' was moderated by Afra Schimming-Chase, Chase & Associates and included Paulo Gomes, Founder and Chairman, Orango Investment Corporation; Marie Thérèse Laguerre-Ndiaye, Head of Africa Strategy, Veolia; Kelvin Tan, CEO of Origin Capital Management, Vice Chairman, Africa Business Group, Singapore Business Federation; and NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman, the AEC as speakers.

Highlighting the lessons Namibia and other African countries can take from Singapore in utilizing gas to decarbonize, Tan, said that "Countries like Gabon, Rwanda and Namibia which are similar to Singapore with resources, should establish themselves as energy hubs, aggregators and neutral, safe and trusted parties to bring together continental and international parties to cooperate on energy resiliency and sustainability. You need to engage beyond a zoom conversation. You need to engage and make people feel good. You have this strength, turn it into an advantage. Trust is key in any project so use it to your advantage."

As the continent navigates its own energy transition, the panel emphasized the role that inclusivity, equitability and contribution play in ensuring Africa transitions and industrializes at the same time.

According to Gomes, "When we talk about the just transition it won't be an overnight process, there is not total consensus to what we call energy transition. We agree that we need to move quickly to decarbonize, but it is important to say it shouldn't be done in a way that is rushed or in a way that is not thought out rationally. Looking at Singapore, they are still using gas while they plan on using hydrogen. Gas needs to be introduced as an element in the transition. it is important to send that message. Since 2000, the consumption of gas has increased worldwide. We need to be much more forceful in building our narrative and defending our interests."

Meanwhile, Ayuk expanded on the topic of decarbonization, emphasizing the role oil and gas will continue to play in Africa's just transition.

"You get a just transition by drilling more wells. You cannot have a just transition without oil and gas. With COP27 coming to Africa, the first thing you need to do is invite everyone in the room. You cannot have a just transition without having a just conversation. We need to share the burden. You cannot tell poor people to pay the price of the wealthy," stated Ayuk, adding that, "Our daughters will not be able to sit in those classrooms because they will be in the dark. What are you decarbonizing from? Outside of South Africa, Africa's greenhouse gas emissions are 0.5%. Look at Mozambique, it can go from zero to the third largest gas producer in the world. Senegal, with 150 trillion cubic feet of gas around there. Why bank our futures on technologies that are not proven and do not exist? We need to use gas and oil and drive that conversation. We need to drill more wells."

Commenting on the importance of diversifying the energy mix, Marie Thérèse Laguerre-Ndiaye, added that "Financing access to energy will enable access to education and the growth of economies. Our industry and economy cannot run without oil and gas. We will not switch off oil and gas just like that. We will keep using but again look at the other technologies that will enable the use of renewables to ensure power security and decarbonization at the same time. What we can do is that we can connect some parts of the economy like houses to solar and wind and leave heavy industries to run on oil and gas. Africa need to also use biogas which we are strong in and carbon capture to diversify the energy mix."

With natural gas, capital raising and a just transition representing central themes at the continent's premier energy event, AEW, taking place from October 18-21, 2022, in Cape Town, topics introduced during the executive panel discussion will be expanded upon. Under the theme 'Exploring and Investing in Africa's Energy Future while Driving an Enabling Environment," AEW 2022 represents the official platform whereby deals will be signed, partnerships formed, and discussions held that will impact the future of the African energy sector. 

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