[JOINT PRESS RELEASE] The 2nd High-level Meeting of the OPEC-Africa Energy Dialogue took place today, 12 February 2023, in Cairo involving leading energy partners from across the African continent.
In a follow-up to the highly successful inaugural Dialogue held on 2 June 2021, OPEC hosted the second meeting with the African Union, the African Petroleum Producers’ Organization (APPO) and the African Refiners and Distributors Association (ARDA) to conduct open and transparent discussions on key energy-related topics relevant to Africa and its energy industries.
In his opening remarks, OPEC Secretary General, HE Haitham Al Ghais, welcomed HE Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy of the African Union; HE Dr Omar Farouk Ibrahim, Secretary General of APPO; and HE Anibor Kragha, Executive Secretary of ARDA.
The OPEC Secretary General noted that these partner organizations have played a crucial role in supporting the Dialogue, which has proven to be a win-win initiative for all participating parties. “Excellencies, I want to thank you for your excellent leadership and staunch support for this important Dialogue. Your combined experience and knowledge of African energy affairs are highly valued, and we look forward to benefiting from your expert insights,” he said.
“The opportunities for the continent will be significant in the years ahead, but there will undoubtedly be a great number of challenges in store as this industry continues to evolve towards a lower-carbon future,” he stated. “This complex and double-sided reality is what makes global energy cooperation and events such as this one of dire importance.”
All parties had a chance to deliver introductory remarks. Discussions followed on topics that included energy investment and finance in Africa, the energy transition, energy poverty and the way forward for the OPEC-Africa Dialogue.
Dr Abou-Zeid highlighted the importance of the OPEC-Africa Energy Dialogue, stressing that the continent will require all energy sources in the short-, medium- and long-term. The Commissioner additionally emphasized the need for Africa to build various capacities and to work toward the expansion of the African oil and gas domestic market, which shall promote local transformation of products for value addition while ensuring adequate trade among African countries. She also invited all parties, moving forward, for a concrete collaboration on the development of the Africa oil and gas domestic market, enhancement of reliable data on the energy sector for sound decision-making processes, and mobilization of Africa’s own energy resources and potential as to put Africa directly on to innovative and low-carbon energy development pathways.
In his remarks, Dr Ibrahim thanked OPEC for the leadership role it has been playing in the Dialogue, and noted that for Africa the challenge of energy transition is a lot more daunting. He pointed out that a study conducted by APPO on the future of the oil and gas industry in Africa in light of the energy transition identified three imminent challenges that African oil and gas producing countries must address if they are not to lose the 125 billion barrels of crude oil and over 550 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves located in the continent. These are the challenges of funding, technology and markets.
Executive Secretary Kragha stated: “ARDA is committed to working with its key partners via this important OPEC-Africa Energy Dialogue platform to engage all relevant parties to build on the positive outcomes of COP27 and align on actionable steps to deliver a unique, just, sustainable energy transition plan for the African downstream sector.” He also said that “ARDA Week will be held in Cape Town, South Africa, next month (13-17 March 2023) under the theme “Balancing Energy Transition and Security for the African Downstream” and will include not only an OPEC-Africa Dialogue, but also other key panels and sessions to encourage the development of a robust intra-Africa oil and gas industry.”
The OPEC Secretary General concluded the event by emphasizing that Africa, despite inevitable challenges that lie ahead, will continue to be a major player in the global market. He stressed that global energy cooperation must be enhanced going forward to adequately address common challenges.
The high-level meeting was followed by the 2nd Technical Meeting of the OPEC-Africa Energy Dialogue, which provided a valuable platform for the exchange of outlooks and information.
It was decided to hold the 3rd High-Level Meeting and 3rd Technical Meeting of the OPEC-Africa Energy Dialogue in the course of 2024.