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BY AKUDORO GLORIA

A substantial investment of 3 trillion USD dollars is required in power infrastructure to satisfy Africa’s growing electricity demand by 2050.

The Director General of the Morocco National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM), Ms Amina Benkhadra, said this during the Africa Gas Innovation Summit (AGIS), held at NAF Conference Centre and Suit, Abuja.

The 2-day summit which ended today had it theme as “Igniting the Future: Driving Sustainability in Africa’s Energy Landscape Through Gas Technology and Innovation”.

In the short term, Benkhadra also said that African continent would require over $100 billion investment annually in the power sector by 2030 to address several challenges bedevilling the region.

She highlighted the several challenges the continent is faced with to include: low electrification rate, low agricultural yields, the lowest integration rate in the continent, and a deficit in advanced structures. Thus, the need for investment in the region to spur development of innovations and new technology.

“And when we see the energy needs, it’s important to highlight that to satisfy the increasing African electricity demand, large investment of over $100 billion annually in the power sector by 2030 and at the same time, Africa’s growing electricity conception requires substantial investments in power infrastructure up to $3 trillion by 2050.

“And all we can see also that with its huge reserves of gas, the current gas infrastructure project pipeline can equate $245 billion with more than 90% in the concept stage and to unlock Africa’s energy future, we will need to develop major infrastructure projects both at the level of national and local projects.

“So we have to raise the ambitions of Africa’s energy strategy to increase the power generation capacity, to deepen the reforms of our energy governance, to encourage public partnership, and private partnership investment, mobilize those international investments that we have seen just before and contribute to development through technology and innovation approaches,” she emphasized.

Benkhadra also stressed on the $25 billion Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline that cut across 11 West African countries which was proposed in December 2016 by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and the ONHYM, saying that project will contribute to accelerating electrification and energy sufficiency as well as enhance the region’s economy.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (GAS), Ekperikpe Ekpo, in his remarks, said it is pertinent for policymakers to create enabling environment that fosters innovation, providing incentives for research and development, facilitating partnerships between industry and academia, and ensuring a robust regulatory framework that encourages technological advancement with regard to safeguarding public and environmental health.

Ekpo who was represented by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Nicholas Agbo Ella, asserted that effective policy frameworks are the bedrock of a thriving gas sector, every policies must be forward-looking, adaptable, and inclusive.

“They should address the unique challenges and opportunities of the African context, promote transparency and accountability, and ensure that the benefits of the gas sector are equitably shared among all stakeholders.

“We must also align our policies with global sustainability goals, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on climate change. By doing so, we can position Africa as a leader in the global transition to a low-carbon economy,” he added.

Also speaking, the Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mr. Mele Kyari, said Nigeria is endowed with an abundance of natural gas resources totaling more than 290 cubic feet.

These resources, he said can be leveraged to address the various challenges by providing clean cooking fuel, autogas, access to electricity, and free stock for other industries, all of which will increase wealth and improve people’s quality of life.

Kyari, who was represented by Olalekan Ogunleye, the Executive Vice President, Gas, Power, and New Energy, NNPC, said Nigeria is at the forefront of orchestrating a sustainable energy future for itself and Africa, leveraging on gas, technology, and innovation.

He explained, “To underscore the critical role of gas in economic development and to maintain energy security, NNPC has embarked on several gas infrastructure projects, some of which already have been commissioned, such as the second phase of the AHL gas processing plant, the 300-million-score-per-day AHL gas processing plant, and the AHL-23 CTMS gas pipeline projects, all of which were recently commissioned by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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