Cape Town is set to host a record-breaking 29 global ministers at the 26th Africa Oil Week (AOW) summit this November. The event will act as a platform for governments to lay-out national strategies, issue licences, finalise tenders and find new partners. AOW Director of Government Relations and Strategic Partnerships Paul Sinclair commented “this year is a watershed moment for ministerial participation in AOW. We have witnessed a growing appetite at government level for the mutual exchange of ideas, energy diplomacy and the forging of new partnerships that will drive forward Africa’s social and economic development and energy security – actions which are increasingly necessary given the transformational era in which we are living.”
The summit comes at a turning-point for South Africa in its energy journey. In the wake of Total’s first significant deep-water oil find in the country earlier this year, and the recent purchase of offshore exploration blocks by Shell, politicians are preparing for further oil and gas investment, which could be instrumental in improving the country’s shaky economic outlook.
Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, will lead the South African national delegation. Western Cape Minister for Finance and Economic Opportunities David Maynier and Premier Alan Winde will seek to promote their province to global investors in the event’s new South Africa Showcase day.
Among those attending Africa Oil Week for the first time is Somali Minister of Energy, Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed. Following the signing of a new Petroleum Law and Revenue Sharing Agreement in May, and the unveiling of the country’s first ever offshore licensing round (15 blocks covering 75,000 sq. km), the Horn of Africa nation is keen shake off past woes and demonstrate that it is open for business. Mr Ahmed commented, “this year is a landmark in the development of Somalia’s natural resources…the Ministry has worked successfully with the federal member states to create an equitable and transparent framework to develop natural resources for the greater good of Somalia”.
As well as emerging players, the summit will host established producers, including Algeria’s Energy Minister Mohamed Arkab. After a period of upheaval for the North African nation, Algeria is now ready to cement itself as a global energy powerhouse. It currently has the 10th-largest proven gas reserves in the world – which will prove instrumental in the global push towards LNG as a cleaner fuel. Since his appointment, Mr Arkab has prioritised the drafting of a new petroleum law, as well as committing to modernise the country’s oil and gas infrastructure. Communicating these changes will be Mr Arkab’s top priority at Africa Oil Week, where he will participate in a live CNBC Africa Ministerial Panel alongside his counterparts from Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea and Uganda.
Alongside a roster of African governments, Africa Oil Week will have global presence from the US and UK governments, with delegations led by Steven Winberg, US Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy and Emma Wade-Smith, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Africa. In the wake of the recent post-Brexit trade continuity agreement with the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and Mozambique, the UK’s Department for International Trade is looking to cement relations with Africa and become a leading trade partner to the continent. Mr Sinclair added “we are pleased to host our first international pavilion at AOW and hope to continue a fruitful partnership with the United Kingdom long into the future”.
To learn more about Africa Oil Week and see the full list of attending ministers, visit www.africa-oilweek.com.