Editorial

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Welcome.

We are hoping to have an increased regional trade integrations among African countries and to drive the index from a paltry 15% to somewhere between 25 and 50%, which is close to our European (68%) and Asian neighbours (53%). With or without the AfCFTA, we need to achieve this in the nearest future for the sustainable development of our continent with its fast-growing population.

Separately, let’s see what the three major sub-Saharan economies are doing.

 Nigeria: Information reaching us says a huge 3.8bn dollars is secretly spent annually on subsidy by the Nigerian government. Imagine the opportunities for private players when government steps aside. Massive! With attending multiplier effects. Downstream is definitely going to be the future of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry once the policies and enabling laws are right. There’s a rush by some visionaries to seize this opportunity and be partakers along with Dangote, and others.

Joining NCDMB-Waltersmith modular refinery ownership, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria’s Minister for State for Petroleum has announced the commissioning of two new modular refineries come December. As the rush continues, we expect to see several downward integrations by upstream companies in the nearest future towards owning downstream businesses. Business models will shift and of course there will be greater uses of innovative technologies. As the on-going OTL conference in Lagos peaks, more scoops will be made available to you. Stay tuned.

Ghana: While an entourage from Nigeria was in the United States, their Ghanaian counterparts led by Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia, was in the United Kingdom with the same mission – wooing investors. Dr Bawumia asked the potential investors to look in Ghana’s direction as they explore a future beyond Brexit; while the Ghanaian government is looking beyond aids by creating a conducive environment for FDIs and businesses to thrive.

South Africa: The African Development Bank and the World Bank are backing Eskom in its pursuit towards having an energy mix by adding a total of 1,240 megawatt of battery storage. It was particularly launched towards ensuring a sustained output during peak periods, particularly in winter. This would help avoid poorly scheduled rolling blackouts from load shedding. Same Eskom was accused of state-takeover and corruption during the days of Jacob Zuma. Today, Zuma’s presidency is over and Eskom has a new direction. Let’s see how it performs in the first phase of this battery program.

Social Investments: Finally, the Nigerian government is doing something to sanitize this space as it trains about 1,500 independent monitors to checkmate the activities of agencies responsible for its National Social Investments Programmes. Certainly, it won’t be business as usual when the reports begin to roll in. Traceable impacts is sure to increase.

 

Margaret Nongo-Okojokwu

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