The Federal Government is advocating for African nations to refocus their attention on local content in the oil and gas sector in order to maximize the value chain, bolster the sector’s growth, and advance the continent. Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), made this appeal during the 3rd Edition of the African Local Content Roundtable held in Abuja.
The two-day event, organized by the Heritage Times and themed “Enhancing Local Content Development and Deployment in Africa’s Oil and Gas Industry,” serves as an annual gathering of stakeholders in Africa’s Oil and Gas industry. Its primary goal is to assess the strategies and regulations used to promote local content throughout the industry’s value chain and address imminent challenges.
Minister Lokpobiri explained that the purpose of the gathering was to create a database of available skills, enabling the leveraging of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) protocol to facilitate labor mobility among member countries. This approach aims to reduce reliance on Western nations for expertise and manpower.
He expressed gratitude to the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and partners for their sponsorship and aligned the roundtable with President Bola Tinubu’s renewed Hope Agenda. The agenda centers on enhancing the Nigerian economy’s self-sufficiency in goods, services, and skilled labor for strategic sectors.
Lokpobiri highlighted Africa’s historical role as a supplier of raw materials to other countries, emphasizing that it’s crucial for the continent to tap into its hydrocarbon resources, given the vast economic and social potential they hold. Africa collectively possesses approximately 10% of global hydrocarbon reserves, which can significantly drive its development. He commended the delegates for their commitment to harnessing Africa’s hydrocarbon potential.
Dr. Omar Ibrahim, the Secretary-General of the African Petroleum Producers Organization (APPO), noted that for the past century, Africa has been a producer of oil and gas. However, despite the considerable revenue generated from the sector, the continent continues to rely on foreign investments for oil and gas projects. He stressed the need to change this status quo and emphasized the importance of using Africa’s substantial oil and gas resources to alleviate energy poverty and improve living conditions for millions of people in the continent.
Mr. Simbi Wabote, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, expressed the forum’s expectation to generate actionable plans from panelists to enhance Africa’s oil and gas sector. He underscored the importance of an enabling regulatory framework and legislation to facilitate local content practices in Africa, citing the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Development Content Act as an example of a legal framework that supports these policies.
The event, attended by oil experts from across Africa, aimed to foster collaboration and economic integration among member countries, with a focus on areas such as vocational training, professional development, and more.