President Mohammed Buhari and the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Wabote on Monday canvassed for effective collaboration among African nations to enable them jointly develop mega energy infrastructure like refineries, gas turbines and pipelines and create employment opportunities for their citizenry.
The President spoke in Abuja when he declared open the 2019 Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, with the theme “Africa on the Global Stage: International Collaboration, Opportunities and the Future.”
Represented by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Buhari commended African countries for working collaboratively under the aegis of the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO), noting that the relationship among the producing nations would enable the movement of specialised skill sets and investors across member states.
He remarked that the role of the African Energy Investment Corporation, a body under APPO, has been expanded to mobilize about $2bn needed to finance identified joint infrastructure.
According to him, “the time for Africa has come. The realities have dawned on us because very soon, unless we protect our border posts, begin to look more at financing that we can find locally to develop the key infrastructure we need in this sector, we would have lost a huge opportunity.”
He harped that it was high time African countries stopped operating in silos and building individual facilities with their limited resources. He added “If we cross the Rubicon and extend hands of infrastructural relationships across Africa, we can build joint pipelines, plants and refineries. We need to protect the African market. That way we would have taken a huge step not only to develop Africa, but also the stabilization of independent African countries.”
He noted that African petroleum producers faced several challenges, which included the immense pressure being put on crude oil price by shale gas, the volatility of crude oil prices, investment limitations and the influence of President Donald Trump of the United States on the global crude oil price.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary NCDMB challenged African oil producing countries to focus intently on creating jobs for their citizenry from industry projects through effective implementation of local content policies. He stressed that only the creation of jobs would halt the illegal and deadly migration of African youths to European nations. He warned that “If we continue to move critical activities of our oil and gas industry and the accompanying jobs outside the country, then our youths will continue to move out to Europe in search of greener pastures.”