South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe called for the unified and continued development of Africa’s oil and gas resources during an event in Cape Town on Tuesday.
Citing Africa’s rich hydrocarbon and critical mineral endowments and frontier discoveries in Namibia, Ivory Coast and South Africa, the Minister positioned oil and gas resources as the key to alleviating energy poverty and spurring industrialization across the continent.
“We are convinced that the development of Africa’s oil and gas sector will be the game changer for Africa as it was the case for developed nations. Any further delay in this regard prolongs the acceleration of the continent’s energy security and undermines our concerted efforts aimed at eradicating energy poverty,” he stated.
Mantashe asserted that fossil fuel development is necessary to maintain a sufficient baseload of power for energy-hungry countries in Africa, noting that even developed nations have reopened coal-fired power plants following the halt in Russian gas supplies.
The South African Minister also called for increased investment in refining capabilities to ensure not only the exploration, but also processing and local beneficiation of Africa’s natural resources.
“Reality of the matter is that Africa cannot continue being a beggar of the world and an import destination for refined petroleum products,” he continued. “There is no better time than now for Africa to pull resources together to facilitate the funding for the exploration of these natural resources and expand its refining capacity.”