Africa Oil Week’s move to Dubai, and away from its home in Cape Town, is wrong, short-term in its thinking, and sends a negative message about Africa. The move underestimates our preparedness to host events that define our future economic and energy sector success. Imagine the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament being hosted in Dubai because one company says Africa is not the right place anymore because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Africa Oil Week was always seen as a crucial gathering for African NOC’s and international IOC’s to interact as well as a forum for African governments to discuss policy decisions and seek contributions from the oil and gas industry. In 2021, this particular conference would be taking place at a crucial time, when the debate about net zero gas emissions by 2050 is threatening the future economic developments of several African countries.
This year’s Africa Oil Week was expected to amongst other very relevant matters, allow Africans and its energy sector to craft a narrative for COP 26 that takes into account the developmental and poverty reduction objectives of our oil and gas producing and non-producing countries. We can’t give up in Africa. We should build our own platform with Africa Energy Week in October.
“I am deeply concerned about the decision to move the Africa Oil Week to Dubai under the guise of protecting participants from COVID-19 contaminations in Cape Town. Their excuses and final decision to move are both unacceptable and wrong. It sends a message that when things are hard because of COVID-19, Africa should be abandoned for other locations irrespective of the loyalty and the sponsorship Africa has shown for more than two decades,” stated Florival Mucave, President of the Mozambique Oil & Gas Chamber.
“When you take commerce or business opportunities out of Africa, you are taking jobs and opportunities away from Africans. Africa Oil Week has made their decision, the onus is on us to demonstrate that as a continent, we are capable and willing to organize a conference that proudly showcases the African oil and gas industry and takes into account all COVID-19 protocols and preventive measures” continued Mucave.
“I have great respect and admiration for Dubai and their remarkable socio-economic development. However, Dubai and Africa cannot be interchangeable insofar as the social development of the African continent is concerned. Africa deserves partners that are unreservedly committed to showcasing its valuable resources and potential” concluded Mucave.
This boycott of Africa in favour of Dubai should not be accepted and promoted by the oil and gas industry and African governments. With the signing of the Paris Agreement, which called for an unprecedented commitment to decarbonize economies, the African oil and gas industry has come under tremendous pressure and there have been unprecedented calls for investors and energy companies to stop investment into African oil and gas.
Important discussions about how we in Africa can work with government and upstream companies to create an environment which attracts the required oil and gas investments, local content in a post COVID-19 Africa, economic diversification, financing our gas developments, financing independents in asset acquisitions from major IOCs, licensing rounds and also climate change should be held in Africa and not in Dubai.
The Mozambique energy sector believes an energy conference in Cape Town in October that deals with key issues like making our regulatory and fiscal framework attractive for investment, deal-making with international and local companies, governments outlining new projects and deals, consolidating Africa’s narrative for COP26, and standing strong with our oil and gas sector is key.
An African Energy Week in Cape Town should unite governments, oil and gas companies, financial institutions, service companies, marginal field producers, commercial banks and more. This meeting is vital for our continent’s energy sector success.