Revise resource extraction policies – Energy analyst urges African countries

An energy analyst, Dr Abdulai Darimani, has urged Africa countries to re-examine their policy regime regarding the extraction of natural resources, especially fossil fuel.

The extraction of resources on the African Continent, Dr Darimani said, had followed a colonial pattern with the major beneficiaries being multinational corporations.

Dr. Darimani expressed this view when he delivered the keynote address at this year’s Oil Watch Africa (OWA) Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Accra on Tuesday.

Organised by OWA, a non-governmental organisation focused on energy issues, the conference was held on the theme “Stop gassing the continent: Pipelines of discontent”.

It brought together academics, civil society organisations and entrepreneurs in the oil and gas sector with the aim of defining the purpose and action on fossil energy civilisation of Africa.

Dr Darimani explained that the exploitation and extraction of Africa’s natural resources by multinational cooperation hinged on three main interrelated factors. These factors, Dr Darimani said, included the recognition of the fact that the continent or individual countries had rich deposits and potential of resources, extraction based on a particular tangent where qualifications were given to foreign direct investors and the benefits that would accrue to the African continent.

However, he said, the share individual African countries received from the increased extraction and exploitation was marginal, likewise, the employment created, thus, the need to re-examine policies.

Dr Darimani said although there were policies formulated to address the issue of resource extraction and exploitation, they needed improvement to match the investment in the extractive sector.

“It is a good thing to have a local content policy but unfortunately the way in which we have implemented it amounts to not having it at all.

“We will need to improve it which is not necessarily to be limited to the peripheral issues but one which will lead us to the core issue of investment in the extractive sector,” Dr Darimani said.

A Nigerian architect, Mr Nnimmo Bassey, expressed worry over the rate of natural and fossil gas extraction in Africa and the threat it posed to residents of communities around the extraction site.

“Now that we are in the dying days of fossil fuel and in a time where companies are beginning to stop investing in that sector, industry players are scraping the bottom of the pots since investors are looking for returns on their investments. So they are going to trench the environment and human right,” he said.