Driven by the need to meet an increasing global demand for metals required for electric vehicles and the development of renewable energy, in conjunction with a lack of exploration efforts and low levels of financing in the mining sector, west Africa is seen as a prime destination for investors to expand operations within the extractives sector.
Senegal itself has a well-established mining industry that produces construction materials such as iron-ore, gold, nickel and phosphates, among many other mineral resources. As a result, west Africa has seen a recent influx of foreign investment as exploration companies take advantage of the region’s mineral potential, fortifying its position as a global contender within the African mining sector.
One of the major challenges faced by the extractives industry, however, is that it is an extremely energy-intensive industry. Although, with large-scale offshore oil and natural gas projects such as the Grand Tortue Ahmeyim and Sangomar field developments set to begin production between 2023 and 2024, respectively, Senegal and Mauritania are well-positioned to take advantage of their energy resources to enable the development of their respective extractive industries and encourage local players to tap into an additional market share.
The MSGBC basin’s newfound emergence as an oil and gas producing region in the heart of west Africa will provide an abundance of a more competitively priced feedstock of natural gas that will optimize the efficiency of mining operations throughout the sub-region, which will have the added benefit of facilitating closer cross-border synergies between the governments of Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, Mauritania and The Gambia within the extractives industry.
Meanwhile, increasing the role of local content and developing local value addition in the oil, gas and mining sectors has long been one of the top priorities for the Administration of the President of Senegal, H.E. President Macky Sall, as well as his regional counterparts in neighboring countries throughout the MSGBC region including Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, The Gambia and Mauritania. Now, with the introduction of large-scale project developments across the oil, gas and green hydrogen sectors, new opportunities for local workforce and company-led development have arisen across the extractives industry.
In order for the region to improve its capacity to develop local private sector participate and facilitate the mobilization of domestic resources, west Africa must ensure adequate access to local and regional markets and create favorable conditions for small- and medium-sized enterprises to participate more effectively in the region’s extractive industry.
Built against the backdrop of sizeable oil and gas discoveries and the expansion of its extractive sector, this year’s MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power 2022 conference and exhibition will serve to enhance investment in the basin while emphasizing the region’s success regarding cross-border cooperation and integration. Taking place in Senegal’s capital city of Dakar on 1-2 September, and under the theme, ‘The Future of Natural Gas: Growth using strategic investment and policymaking’, this year’s conference will unite experts, policymakers, engineers and industry leaders to fast-track development projects and promote greater local content development and value addition.