African oil producers organization holds 3rd edition of ocal content roundtable

2nd L-R: Secretary General of the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO), HE Omar Farouk Ibrahim; Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri and the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, at the third edition of the Africa Local Content Roundtable in Abuja on Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Amidst the threat of energy transition and dwindling funding of the hydrocarbon industry, 18 member countries of the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO) have attended the third edition of the Africa Local Content Roundtable to chart a pathway for the sustainable development of local content and the oil and gas industry in the continent.

The two-day event was hosted by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Abuja on Wednesday, October 25, 2023, with theme “Enhancing Local Content Development and Deployment in African Oil and Gas Industry.”

In his keynote address at the event, Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, charged the delegates to come up with strategies that would enhance research and development within the continent and leverage additional funding sources to overcome the challenges bedeviling the oil and gas industry in the continent.

He harped on the need to take advantage of existing opportunities such as the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which has created a 1.3 billion people market and challenged the participants to come up with suggestions on how to optimally leverage cross-border partnerships towards developing and implementing local content as well as overcoming the funding challenge for member countries.

He noted that the APPO Roundtable had assembled key players, stakeholders, and experts in the African oil and gas sector to address pertinent issues and explore solutions that drive the growth and development of the industry, adding that they should equally use the forum to discuss how best to leverage the continent’s vast natural resources for the benefit of her people.

While noting that the development of Regulatory Framework, Human Capacity Development, Research & Development; Manufacturing, funding, and cross-border partnerships are pressing needs for immediate action, he encouraged participants to lead the way into a new era of local content development and implementation within the African oil and gas industry. 

The NCDMB boss further remarked that “since its maiden edition in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Nigeria, the African Local Content Roundtable has continued to play an important role in advancing local content development across Africa by raising awareness of its importance, formulating supportive policies, and ultimately strengthening the capabilities of local players across the oil and gas value chain.

In his address, Secretary General of APPO, HE Omar Farouk Ibrahim, pressed that African oil producers must be allowed to use their hydrocarbon resources to get out of poverty. He underscored that energy is the biggest catalyst for the transformation of Africa and hydrocarbon resources must not be abandoned if Africa would achieve energy security. 

Farouk identified funding, technological expertise, and access to the market as major challenges that APPO is developing strategies to overcome to make the continent self-reliant. “Essentially, Africa did not explore and produce oil and gas for Africans but for other regions. That is why despite the incomes that our countries have made from the resources, we are still dependent on foreign investments to do oil and gas business in Africa.” He highlighted APPO’s commitment to changing the situation, adding that Africa must be allowed to use the readily available sources of energy to change the narrative and get to the level of the developed countries. “We must be allowed to use it and lift the living conditions of our people and get them out of poverty,” he insisted. 

He alerted that the individual efforts of African nations might not suffice, but collective action as a continent, as exemplified by the roundtable, holds the key to success.

Delivering the ministerial address, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, observed that APPO’s collective duty revolves around the responsible management of the oil and gas sector, hinting that collaboration would engender sustainability. 

Lokpobiri added that “the primary goal of this engagement is to enhance understanding of how to improve our future and the collaboration expected to yield significant economic benefits for our continent. The overarching objective is to achieve tangible growth and ensure energy security within our oil and gas industry.” 

The Minister requested that the insights and recommendations from the event be collated, to guide participating nations toward enhancing local content and driving socio-economic development.

The yearly series of the roundtable was conceived and first hosted by the NCDMB at the Nigerian Content Tower in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State in June 2021 and was subsequently institutionalised as an APPO project following the huge success of the inaugural edition, a press statement by the NCDMB’s Corporate Communications unit explained.
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