Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia
VICE PRESIDENT Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has urged players in the downstream petroleum industry to focus on developing it, leveraging opportunities offered by the African Continental free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
According to him, while national refineries may be commercially unsustainable in some cases, there should be co-operation in the development of regional assets including refineries and logistical assets, to achieve the economies of scale required for commercial viability
Vice President Bawumia, who was speaking during virtual opening of the Ghana International Petroleum Conference 2021 (GHIPCON) in Accra, said “this drives productivity and puts our able youth to work, which in turn preserves and enriches their dignity.”
GHIPCON 2021 was organized by the Ghana Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors (CBOD) and the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) in partnership with the Ministry of Energy. The two-day programme was organized on the theme “Positioning Africa’s Petroleum Downstream for AfCFTA”.
AfCFTA on the other hand, is set to become the largest free trade area in the world with a market of 1.2 billion Africans. It is expected that Africa’s combined GDP of US$2.5 trillion will reach US$29 trillion by 2050 riding on the back of AfCFTA and an expansion in intra-Africa trade from its very low base of 15 per cent to 52 per cent.
“AfCFTA provides industry with a perfect opportunity to contribute towards the realisation of a first world Africa. As continental multilateral policies are formed, success will always depend on the operational framework and the commitment of all actors,” Dr. Bawumia stated.
He said while AfCFTA was a decision of the authority of the Heads of States of Africa, its success depended on the work of industry and the collaboration between industry and bureaucrats at the implementation level.
Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Wamkele Mene, in a keynote address, said key to the full attainment of Africa’s industrialization objective was mainly by prioritizing value addition in the petroleum industry.
Mr. Mene urged the continent to “strive to be more of a net exporter than a net importer of refined petroleum products.”
Chief Executive of NPA, Hassan Tampuli, in a welcome address, said AfCFTA presented a great opportunity for all stakeholders in the petroleum downstream industry in terms of enhanced and seamless trading of petroleum products within the continent.
However, there are myriads of challenges and bottlenecks that must be removed to make this a reality.
Such challenges, he noted, could be minimized with the appropriate modern technologies, capacity building and regulations.