Africa Energy Bank to be Launched this Year

The African Energy Bank (AEB) is set to commence operations in the first half of this year, according to officials.

A Council of Ministers has authorised the selection of a host country, signalling the imminent start of AEB’s operations.

AEB is a joint initiative of the African Petroleum Producers Organisation (APPO) and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), with planned participation from APPO, national oil companies, and African investors as shareholders.

Its primary objective is to finance energy projects, particularly in the oil and gas sector, across the continent, amidst ongoing discussions surrounding the global energy transition largely advocated by Western nations. Africa remains frustrated by the West’s failure to fulfill a 2009 promise of providing US$100bn to reduce emissions and facilitate adaptation to climate change.

Addressing participants at the recent 8th Sub-Saharan Africa International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (SAIPEC) in Lagos, Nigeria, APPO Secretary General, Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim emphasized the need for Africa to find solutions to its energy challenges. He cautioned against blindly accepting solutions imposed by developed nations, warning that such an approach could relegate Africa to a secondary role in the industry.

According to available data, Africa possesses over 125 billion barrels of crude oil reserves. Despite ongoing exploration projects by Western nations, Africa is urged to reconsider its projects due to their perceived impact on climate change. However, the International Energy Agency’s African Energy Outlook reveals that 600 million people, or 43% of the total population, lack access to electricity, with the majority residing in Sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, 970 million Africans lack access to clean cooking facilities.

The continent's widespread lack of efficient and affordable energy has led to detrimental effects, including extensive deforestation for charcoal and firewood. Nonetheless, oil and gas projects provide governments with crucial revenue to improve energy services, such as access to LPG.

Dr. Ibrahim reiterated the importance of African-led initiatives like AEB in addressing these challenges. He also announced plans for African centers of excellence in oil and gas to facilitate training and knowledge sharing. Furthermore, he underscored the significance of infrastructure development, particularly pipelines, to facilitate resource transportation.

The Lagos conference, themed "The Next Steps: Accelerating African Content," emphasized the importance of leveraging African content to drive transformation. Nicholas Odinuwe, Chairman of the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN), stressed the role of local goods and services in this endeavour.

As in previous years, UNOC participated in the conference, showcasing Kasuruban, an oil and gas block requiring joint venture partners, as well as the National Content plan aimed at retaining value. UNOC’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) plan was also discussed. Notably, National Content Specialist Jessica Kyeyune received the SAIPCE's Winning With Women Award in recognition of her efforts in fostering relationships between Ugandan and Nigerian businesses and championing National Content policies across the continent.

On the conference sidelines, PETAN and UNOC agreed to strengthen relations, facilitating mutual benefits such as Nigerian companies' participation in Uganda's oil and gas sub-sector in accordance with established guidelines. END