NJ Ayuk, chairperson of the African Energy Council, recently shared his thoughts about partial or full privatization of Africa’s energy market. He feels this move is necessary to make Africa’s energy supply more efficient. Based in Johannesburg, the African Energy Council exists to create an environment focused on results for companies within the energy sector.
Ayuk feels that the energy sector should take advantage of the reduced entry barriers in energy to bring in more new investors and workers. Africa is a continent rich in natural resources, which provides the ideal opportunity for fresh players to develop markets for natural gas. These markets could potentially serve as the foundation for the entire energy industry in Africa.
NJ Ayuk Discusses Whether Africa Should Shift Their Focus to Renewable Energy
When asked whether African nations should start relying exclusively on renewable energy or continue to exploit current oil and gas reserves, Ayuk affirmed the latter. He feels that leaders of African nations have no choice but to further exploit oil and gas at present. Ayuk referred to the energy deficit in Europe due to the war between Russia and Ukraine as proof that Africa still needs a strong oil and gas market.
The African Energy Council chairperson went on to explain that the demand for oil and gas is approximately 100 million barrels worldwide and that there simply isn’t enough of either commodity to go around. The lack of available oil and gas hits Africa especially hard due to minimal industrialization and too few people having access to it. Heavy industries cannot operate on wind or solar power, but that doesn’t mean the nation should avoid investing in them in the future.
What Does Africa Need to Meet the United Nations Sustainable Energy Goals?
Ayuk feels that the government and businesses in Africa need an abundant supply of affordable energy to drive industrialization. Oil and gas are also necessary to create jobs locally, so younger workers don’t leave Africa to start their careers elsewhere. He also pointed out that more than 600 million Africans cannot access electricity.
Exploiting oil and gas must continue if Africa hopes to meet the UN’s sustainable energy goals, according to NJ Ayuk. He feels it would be an unfair burden to expect Africans to rely solely on wind and solar power at this stage of the transition to sustainable energy. Ayuk also states that it’s hypocritical for the leaders of other countries to have this expectation when many nations have started using coal as a primary energy source.
Oil and Gas Have Both Helped and Harmed Africa
Some African states have been able to achieve greater wealth and independence due to the availability of oil and gas. However, several multi-million dollar corporations have taken oil and gas from Africa to enhance refineries in the United States and Europe. Ayuk feels that Africa can learn from that experience by bringing in host communities to become part of the oil and gas industry at a national level. He proposes relying less on government by forming more partnerships with the private sector.