By Betty Kiptum/Margaret Kalekye
African countries have been urged to increase investment in natural gas exploration since it is a cleaner source of energy.
African Energy Chamber Chairperson N.J. Ayuk says the continent is in its development stage and should be allowed to harness its natural resources to benefit its people.
Ayuk was speaking at a roundtable by Gazprom, which is part of events in the lead-up to the Russia-Africa Summit slated for next month in Russia.
The participants drawn from nine African countries including Kenya discussed the role of natural gas in the sustainable development of Africa.
It was noted that most countries on the African continent are still facing the problem of energy availability and their energy consumption remains below the world average.
According to expert estimates, Africa will generate over 60 pc of the global population growth by 2050 hence the demand for the commodity will increase.
“Taking into account the current urbanization trend, the region is expected to experience a significant economic growth, which will be accompanied by a two-fold increase in energy consumption. In particular, the demand for natural gas will increase by 2.5 times” it was noted during the meeting held in South Africa.
It was further highlighted that the bulk of gas produced in Africa is exported abroad. For instance, every third person in Nigeria, the largest African LNG exporter, has no access to energy.
“This is why it is the availability of energy for the industry and population that will be of primary importance for Africa’s dynamic development”.
With food insecurity still a major concern, the potential role of gas in solving the problem was also one of the areas explored.
The experts observed that gas is a valuable raw material for the production of fertilizers which will increase crop yields.
Taking part in the Roundtable were Ilya Rogachev, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the SAR and concurrently to the Kingdom of Lesotho, Dmitry Khandoga, Head of Department at Gazprom, NJ Ayuk, Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, as well as representatives of business communities, experts and journalists from nine African countries: Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania.
The presentations provided information about the activities of Gazprom and the extensive scope of the Company’s competencies along the entire value chain of the gas business.
“Considering that the Government of the Republic of South Africa pursues the economy decarbonization policy, gas can become an effective solution to satisfy the demand for energy, as renewable energy sources cannot provide uninterrupted energy supplies. Therefore, I believe that Gazprom’s experience in natural gas liquefaction and gas pipeline construction projects can be of interest to our South African partners,” said Ilya Rogachev.
“Wider use of natural gas will help Africa solve a number of problems, from economic to social and environmental ones. We are confident that it is essential for Africa to discover all the advantages brought about by this type of fuel. We see potential in cooperation with African countries and we can offer them our unique expertise and our experience in technology. Gazprom is open to discuss constructive and mutually beneficial proposals which could facilitate economic development and improve the lives of people in African countries,” said Dmitry Khandoga.
“More than 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have electricity. And 900 million people, most of them women, do not have access to clean cooking technologies – these technologies are either absent or there is a lack of them. Even if we look at this single problem alone, we see that it makes sense to use the rich gas resources of the continent. As Africa needs industrialization, the use of affordable and abundant natural gas will encourage the creation of a significant number of jobs, as well as possibilities for the strengthening of potential, economic diversification and growth,” said NJ Ayuk.