You are here:

Harnessing AfCFTA for Pan-African Energy Security

Africa, enriched with potential, is on the brink of a significant shift in achieving universal electricity access, bolstered by trade-driven industrialization. As we approach the African Energy Week (AEW) 2023 conference, the pivotal role of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in defining Africa’s energy future comes to the forefront.

AfCFTA: Africa’s Gateway to Energy Prosperity

Initiated in January 2021, the AfCFTA, sanctioned by the African Union, proudly stands as the globe’s most extensive free trade zone. This transformative pact eradicates several tariffs, streamlining and invigorating trade processes among African nations. For the continent’s energy sector, AfCFTA unravels multiple lucrative avenues, encompassing diverse energy commodities and services.

This unprecedented agreement, heartily embraced by multiple African countries, signals a transformative shift in the energy trade dynamics across the continent. As Africa’s energy niche expands, the AfCFTA, with its preferential trade advantages, reveals a plethora of enticing opportunities for private sector involvement, especially within the unexplored segments of the energy value chain.

Regional Developments & Opportunities West

Africa, a region of immense promise, is gearing up for landmark projects. The Greater Tortue Ahmeyim Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project and Sangomar Oilfield Development are worth noting. Through AfCFTA, countries such as Senegal and Mauritania are strategizing to amplify African LNG trade, ensuring a resilient energy framework for the high-demand markets.

Venturing southwards, Namibia’s recent oil discoveries hold immense potential. These oil reserves not only fortify Namibia’s energy stature but also present a solution to regional energy challenges. Neighboring South Africa, grappling with energy concerns, would find Namibian oil an invaluable asset. These budding markets promise increased demand, diversified investment avenues, and a strengthened energy paradigm. AfCFTA, in its essence, promotes cross-border cooperation, paving the path for a unified energy future, emphasizing efficient resource utilization and distribution.

The Broader Implications of AfCFTA in Energy & Minerals

AfCFTA’s influence isn’t confined merely to the oil and gas sectors. Its expansive reach touches minerals and renewable energy realms. Zimbabwe, holding an enviable position with its thriving lithium market, stands to gain considerably from AfCFTA’s transformative agenda. Concurrently, Ethiopia, with its rich power sector, signals a bright future, emphasizing regional power trade.

The AfCFTA’s holistic vision extends beyond mere trade facilitation. Its essence lies in fostering all-encompassing regional growth. The energy sector, historically constrained by cross-border challenges, now envisions a future of harmonized, unified growth. Infrastructure, as a cornerstone of development, is set to experience a renaissance. Collaborative efforts will see the birth of an integrated energy market, marked by transmission lines, pipelines, and efficient transportation networks.

The role of the private sector, in this evolving narrative, is undeniable. AfCFTA, in its expansive glory, provides them with an unparalleled continental marketplace. This platform is a catalyst, propelling investments, nurturing innovation, and fostering strategic alliances. The resultant effects are manifold: robust economic growth, a surge in job opportunities, and the enrichment of human capital within the ever-evolving energy sector.

Concluding Thoughts: AEW 2023, an event we proudly sponsor, promises enlightening discussions. A standout session titled, ‘Unleashing Africa’s Energy Potential: The AfCFTA’s Influence on Shaping the Continent’s Future,’ beckons industry cognoscenti. This discussion is set to provide an in-depth analysis of AfCFTA’s monumental impact on Africa’s energy trajectory.

In this era of change, it’s evident that AfCFTA isn’t just an agreement; it’s Africa’s beacon for a brighter, energy-secure future.

Feel free to contact the Energy Transition Centre today with questions. 

·  Julius Moerder, Head of Energy Transition Centre [email protected]

·  Oneyka Ojogbo, Head of Energy Transition Centre, Nigeria & West Africa [email protected]

·  Leon van Der Merwe, Head of Energy Transition Centre, South Africa [email protected]

Author: Memoona Tawfiq