The growth of independent companies in Africa’s energy sector is vital if the continent is to fulfill its true potential as a commercial power, according to a leading Nigerian entrepreneur Kola Aluko.
Mr. Aluko, who is the founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Atlantic Energy, a private upstream oil and gas company founded by Nigerian and international Exploration & Production executives, was speaking as a panellist during a discussion on the prospects and Challenges for Africa’s Energy sector at the 8-11 Oct. US-Africa Business Summit in Chicago, US.
“In the past, 97% of Nigeria’s production was dominated by the International Oil Companies who’s understandable focus on what was best for shareholders, didn’t always reflect what was best for the country.
”But the government is aware of the importance to change that and the introduction of tax benefits to independent operators is a major incentive to work for the wider benefit and generate a trickle down effect which then benefits the population,” PANA quoted Aluko as saying.
“As an example, most of Africa’s gas is stranded and there are not enough lines to carry it to the power plants. The big challenge is to find ways to invest to improve that. In Nigeria, we built 60 kilometres of pipeline from the source to the power plant which was a project we undertook in conjunction with the government. It’s important we all continue to find ways to invest efficiently in this way to make the right improvements,” he added.
The summit, the 9th biennial event organised by The Corporate Council on Africa, is billed by its organisers as “the largest forum of its kind”.
Two weeks ago, Mr. Aluko, who co-founded the Made In Africa Foundation with British designer Ozwald Boateng, launched the ‘Africa50’ fund in association with the African Development Bank at the NASDAQ in New York.
The fund was established to raise US$500 million for infrastructure projects across the African continent with the aim of taking 200 million Africans out of poverty though sustainable development.