African governments have been told to coordinate their overarching development plans at the continental level so as to ensure continent-wide energy security.
In a communiqué issued after their three-day 10th roundtable at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Friday, retired African presidents mentioned three areas that the current leaders ought to critically address for Africa to attain sufficient energy security.
They mentioned them as supra-regional structures, human resources development and public and private partnerships.
On supra-regional structures they said:
“We encourage political leaders at every level to lead the necessary country and continental dialogue, which must take place if energy is going to get the sustained attention it needs to be achieved”.
“As policy issues go, energy isn’t sexy, but it is serious. Dealing with energy security is a long-term challenge, and as such requires sustained political will. As representatives of those who participated in this process, we make the following recommendations:
The nations included in the supra-regional blocs must provide policies and practices that ensure social and political stabilisation across Africa, consistent regulatory environment, especially compliance and enforcement and coordinated leadership among energy-producing countries, they said.
In addition, they said, the blocs should provide on-going policies within the continent that support oil and gas enterprises, compatible tax laws, especially for renewable energy and a comprehensive energy plan for each bloc that addresses each sector needs.
On human resource development, they observed that in the next generation, Africa’s peoples must get personally invested in solving the continent’s energy crisis.
To fulfill this potential and increase its energy capacity, they therefore recommended that a tremendous infusion of human resources was needed over the coming five decades.
At least 40,000 people will be needed as C1 technicians, 30,000 as C2 technicians, 17,000 engineers and 7,000 research scientists, they recommended.
They said that the call for Africa’s youth to rise to the occasion and look at training in those fields is the contribution the leaders must make if Africa is to fulfill its future promise.
On public and private partnerships they observed that many of the first generation contracts and compacts that African governments negotiated with multinational corporations (MNC) and multilateral organisations did not yield fair and reasonable returns for most continent countries.
“In recent years, many African governments have revisited the laws and regulations that provided the framework for previous agreements to explore and exploit the continent’s resource potential,” they said, noting that the rules and regulations for how Africa’s resources get tapped were changing.
The Roundtable convened by African presidential Centre (APC) based in Boston University, US was attended by former presidents Nicéphore Dieudonné Soglo of Benin, Amani Karume of Zanzibar, Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Bejamin Mkapa of Tanzania, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Pedro Pires of Cape Verde, and Rupiah Banda of Zambia.
Also over 200 public and private sector leaders and 90 university students took part in the Roundtable discussion whose theme was "A 21st Century Energy Agenda for Africa: Challenges for the Next Generation of Leadership.
Earlier, it was observed that the African continent has pushed aside the Middle East as leading US oil exporter, according to latest statistics availed by the US Energy Agency (USEA).
CAMAC director Tunde Fahm discussing a topic on “Africa, a World Energy Hub: Global development and Africa’s Development” told the Roundtable 2012 on Thursday Africa was the leading continent in US petroleum landing since 2011.
Dr Tunde said according to the 2011 USEA report, African continent oil supplies constituted 21.7 percent of the North American country’s imports overshadowing supplies from its traditional supplier, Middle East which stood at 18.5 percent only.
Besides the traditional oil exporters Libya (46.4 billion reserved barrels) , Nigeria (38.7 billion) , Algeria (12.2 billion) and Angola (9.5 billion ), he said, there were dozens of African countries joining the oil production and export league, with projections that by 2015 the continent would supply at least 25 percent of the global petroleum exports.
He mentioned the countries as the two Sudans, Zambia, Garbon, Kenya, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Cameroon and Gambia.
He mentioned others as Uganda, Ivory Coats, Sierra Leone and Tanzania, saying the eastern African states were fast moving towards that direction.
For his part, Uranium One chief executive officer Chris Sattler, whose company is looking for engagements in uranium at Mkuju River in Tanzania said he assures Tanzanians of safety once his firm starts mining activities.
“I want to assure Tanzanians that the ‘yellow cakes’ (as they are commonly known) are going to be handled with care at the mining site and during transportation to the user,” he said while answering a question on the worries that Tanzanians have haboured about uranium mining in their country.
He said the USD430m project will produce 120 million pounds of yellow cake upon completion for a period of 12 years and would support residents in the area in terms of health, education and water supply.
Sattler, who evaded the press immediately after his presentation, said Africa’s uranium potential is at least 15 percent of the world known resources.