Africa Oil Week’s Unabashed Attempt to Usurp Africa’s Energy Narrative Hinders the Continent’s Progress and Hurts Africans

Amid Africa’s concerted efforts to eradicate energy poverty and promote sustainability, the rebranding initiative of Africa Oil Week is viewed as a setback to the continent’s energy development agenda

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, February 6, 2024/ — “AOW: Investing in African Energy” – formerly known as Africa Oil Week – has engaged in a rebranding campaign to pose as allies to Africa’s energy development. Yet this new name fails to reflect Africa or her people and is a slap in the face to the continent’s resource development strategy and vast energy needs. Look at the leadership team of Hyve Group. No Blacks and No Africans. They need to rebrand their leadership team.

AOW claims to heed African interests but has fundamentally and continually contradicted this. Relocating the 2021 edition of their conference from Cape Town to Dubai is one of several instances of their commitment to profits and politics over progress, hindering the advancement of an Africa-led energy narrative on African soil.

This scheme to rebrand themselves as friends to African energy, yet dismiss oil and gas as fundamental pillars of Africa’s energy development, serves as a flagrant and overt misrepresentation campaign, designed to confuse and redefine Africa’s energy narrative using someone else’s voice. To be clear, Africa’s oil and gas industry is not just important, but imperative for the continent to make energy poverty history by 2030 – a central pillar of the African Energy Chamber’s (AECs) mission.

This crusade against oil and gas is particularly harmful given that Africa has some of the largest hydrocarbon resources globally and is entering a new era of energy development. This year, Senegal will achieve first oil and gas from its respective Sangomar and Greater Tortue Ahmeyim LNG projects, while the Republic of the Congo awaits first cargo from its inaugural gas liquefaction plant, Congo LNG.

After more than a decade of development, Nigeria inaugurated its Dangote oil refinery last month – the largest in Africa – and has ambitious downstream distribution and gas monetization plans. Namibia is in the midst of appraising its six offshore discoveries in the Orange Basin, while Gabon is strengthening its commercial terms to drive upstream exploration and breathe new life into existing assets.

Now is the time to define Africa’s approach to climate justice and the energy transition, as demonstrated by the first-ever Africa Climate Summit organized last September. Greenwashing hydrocarbon development at Africa’s expense is not only incorrect but reprehensible, particularly when it undermines job creation and opportunities for African youth.

Hyve Group/ Africa Oil Week AOW, a small London-based entity lacking local content adherence to South Africa’s Black Economic Empowerment policy and devoid of Black leadership in its upper echelons, has no business dictating the narrative of an African-first energy transition. While green energy is crucial, Africa’s energy agenda must not cower from oil and gas.

In this regard, AOW continues to overlook the severity of energy poverty in Africa. Six hundred million people on the continent do not have access to electricity. In order to bring clean cooking, sanitation and healthcare to the more-than-half-billion Africans across the continent who live in complete darkness at night, we must be allowed to explore and drill for our natural resources and engage in the energy transition in a way that is fair and pragmatic.

“AOW has shown time and time again that they are not willing to work with the African oil and gas industry by reneging on its promises to the people and the continent as a whole especially with their decision to go to Dubai, no Africans in their leadership, and certainly we don’t even know if they pay any taxes in Africa or comply with BEE and Local content laws.

Mark Shashoua has done some good work with the company, I urge him today to use that same power and genius to transform the culture and leadership of Hyve Group and AOW to reflect its customer base in Africa. ” states NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the AEC – the voice of Africa’s energy sector. “When it comes to recognizing oil and gas as a key pillar of Africa’s energy development, we owe it to Africa’s youth.
“We owe it to the young Nigerians who are seeking jobs as mechanical and petroleum engineers, and to the young Ugandans awaiting first oil from EACOP. Dismissing oil and gas is a betrayal of trust and loyalty – key African values and values held true by the Chamber in its efforts to combat energy poverty and preserve resource sovereignty.” Concluded Ayuk.

The AEC will continue to deliver on its promise to make energy poverty history by 2030 during this year’s edition of African Energy Week (AEW), which will return to Cape Town and lead the continent’s energy trajectory for the fourth consecutive year.

AEW promotes the central role of Africa in global energy matters and prioritizes African-led dialogue and decision making. Most importantly, AEW represents the only conference on the continent representative of the entire value chain, from oil and gas to refining and petrochemicals, from renewable energy to mining.

AOW has continued to hamper Africa’s energy goals and this rebranding strategy is clearly a ploy to distort the continent’s objectives. AOW continues to masquerade as an ally to Africa’s development and success rather than focus on what’s truly important: eradicating energy poverty. This scheme sends the wrong message and only serves to hinder the continent’s energy progress and hurt Africans.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Energy Chamber.

African Energy Chamber

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