African countries have come together to chart a course for the continent's energy sector at the first Nigeria Africa Natural Resource and Energy Investment Summit in Abuja. Martin Azuwike reports.
For four days counting from May 31 to June 3, governments, the EU, energy companies and institutions in Africa were at the first Nigeria-Africa Natural Resource and Energy Investment Summit tagged NAFNIS, to showcase initiatives and explore more effective ways of addressing the niggling factors that have held back the energy sector in the continent.
Being the first of its kind, ministers and heads of governments, ministries and parastatals from Nigeria, Morocco, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Kenya, South Sudan, among other countries, made revealing presentations to highlight the opportunities and challenges in their countries’ energy value chain.
All the countries maintained that opportunities in their markets were tremendous and better experienced than imagined.
Honourable Zachary Ayieko, Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Ministry of Petroleum and Mining, Republic of Kenya, for instance, identified mining as a key driver for Africa's industrialisation, and highlighted the need for collective efforts on promoting sustainable mining while achieving economic growth. He also said the country was supplying vital minerals to Africa and the world. Honourable Zachary ended his intervention as an advocate of charting paths forward for midstream and downstream mining sector in Africa.
Foday Mansaray who gave an overview of the energy sector in Sierra Leone also explained in details some investment opportunities in new energy projects and upcoming bid rounds for energy concessions.
One of the areas of investment attractions highlighted at the 4-summit was data gathering, which Dr Abdulrazaq Garba, Director-General, Nigerian Geological Survey Agency said had been exciting to investors coming into the Nigerian market. He said this during the panel session on Maximising Mineral Potential, aimed to spotlight the opportunities within the Nigerian mining sector.
South Sudan said the country was in a hurry to develop its mining sector, and is moving fast to ensure that the process of investing and procuring licenses are made easy, as licences in the sector could be secured within two weeks.
NewsAfrica learned that the opportunities in the country’s mining sector remain huge and attractive to investors.
Lafarge Africa plc, which has been in Nigeria’s mining sector for more than six decades said its involvement in the country goes beyond mining to include value addition in producing and processing to meet the increasing needs of the market in sustainable ways. The company which maintains diverse products portfolios said the country should expect much more considering its ambitions in the next five years, adding that its emphasis is on value addition.
NewsAfrica was at the event as media partners. Expect more on the summit in our post-event package.