In a bid to secure the future of offshore energy, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPCL), Mallam Mele Kyari, has called on African countries to take advantage of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to work together to prioritize investments in renewable energy infrastructure, research and development.
Kyari, who gave the advice on Tuesday at the ongoing Offshore Technology Conference in Houston Texas, United States, urged African countries to diversify their energy sources into a sustainable, low-carbon energy mix.
Persecondnews reports that AfCFTA is the world’s largest free trade area which brings together the 55 countries of the African Union (AU) and eight Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to boost intra-Africa trade across all sectors of Africa’s economy.
Speaking on the theme of the conference, ”Energy Transition in Africa: The Journey, Challenges and the Way Forward”, Kyari who was represented at the event by the Executive Vice- President, Upstream, Engr. Adokiye Tombomieye, described the theme as apt as the journey towards energy transition in Africa has been challenging.
He said: “As we gather here today, it is essential to acknowledge that Africa is at the forefront of the global energy transition. The journey towards a sustainable, low-carbon energy future presents challenges and opportunities for the continent.
“The energy transition is driving changes in the global energy mix, and it presents significant challenges for Africa (financing, infrastructure, policy/regulatory frameworks, skills and capacity).
“We must adopt a strategic approach to address them to ensure that we remain competitive, sustainable, and relevant in the years to come, said Engr. Tombomieye who is also a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers.
“Despite these challenges, Africa has several opportunities for energy access, economic growth, environmental sustainability, and regional integration in the energy transition.
“Some levels of progress have been attained from exploiting several opportunities, resulting in a growing interest in renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydropower, as well as an increasing focus on energy efficiency and conservation. Governments, private sector players, and civil society organizations have all played essential roles in driving this change.
“We must also discuss the options that abound in energy transition with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to balance economic growth with environmental sustainability.
“One of the key factors shaping this transition is the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which aims to create a single market for goods and services, promote cross-border trade and investment, and enhance economic integration across the continent.
“As an industry, we must take advantage of the opportunities presented by this landmark agreement and work collaboratively to address the challenges that may arise.
“Several reforms must be pursued rigorously to diversify our energy mix, Enhance local content and capacity building, Embrace technology and innovation, and strengthen partnerships and collaboration.
“We should collaborate and share knowledge and help each other in critical areas, including technology, exploration and production, research and development, technical expertise and human capacity development to spread the wealth within the continent.”
Underscoring partnerships in achieving a sustainable energy industry in Africa, Kyari said the company had worked closely with countries, companies and other stakeholders to develop innovative solutions to meet the continent’s energy needs, as demonstrated in the progress of the 5,600Km Nigeria Morocco Gas Pipeline to supply gas to Europe through Morocco and (13) ECOWAS member countries.
“Only through collaboration can we achieve energy security and transition to cleaner energy, unlocking the potential of Africa’s abundant renewable energy resources and ensuring a sustainable and prosperous future for all.
“NNPC Limited is fully committed to partnering with all players in the energy industry to drive Africa’s energy sector towards sustainability and growth to guarantee our Energy for Today and Energy for Tomorrow,” Kyari stressed.