Africa Must Break its Utility Monoliths to Achieve its Full Potential

The time to tap into its wind and solar resources to turn them into energy for Africa is coming, predicts NJ Ayuk, the Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber.

With China and India taking over world manufacturing and Europe splitting because of Brexit, Africa could become the new frontier of the energy industry. With a population of over a billion and abundant natural resources, it could make a positive global impact. If only its leaders did what’s right. 

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According to NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, one of the crucial steps in this direction for Africa is to unbundle its utilities. In his latest book, the bestseller Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals, Ayuk advocates for unbundling the vertically integrated utility monoliths, which is not only the logical solution, it has been proven in countries all over the world.

The author, a leading authority in the African energy sector and a strong advocate for African entrepreneurship and the indigenous energy sector knows it is not a simple fix. On the contrary, this endeavor will take considerable time and effort. 

Dr. Thabo Kgogo who has served as interim CEO of a large construction and infrastructure company, Group Five Limited, an independent oil, and gas company in South Africa, Efora Energy Limited (formerly SacOil), and Vice President of Operations for PetroSA, South Africa’s national oil company supports NJ Ayuk’s vision. During his tenure with SacOil, Kgogo called for government policies that would help support a thriving natural gas industry in South Africa as well as a departure from the centralized model of power generation. 

Kgogo says, “Ayuk calls it like it is. For example, not everyone is willing to assert that Africa will never achieve its full potential if it cannot power its industries, services, or households. He also makes it clear that the state-run utilities are so saddled by debt they can barely recover their operating and capital costs, much less make the kinds of infrastructure investments needed to bring electricity to the continent.”

NJ Ayuk

NJ Ayuk is visionary, not a dreamer, and his solutions are always actionable. There are many examples on the African continent on how utilities have successfully unbundled and privatized. The result has been increased generation capacity and a more significant number of people with access to electricity.

Unbundling the unity monoliths will benefit not only the people but will also support the major oil and gas companies in ensuring that Africans benefit from their continent’s resource wealth. It would also help them take one step further and stop relying solely on fossil fuels.

According to N.J. Ayuk, the majors need to begin thinking of themselves as energy companies and acting accordingly. That means no longer simply extracting oil and natural gas but harnessing Africa’s ample wind and solar resources and turning them into energy for the Africans. 

NJ Ayuk is Founder and CEO of the Pan-African corporate law conglomerate, Centurion Law Group, Founder and Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, and co-author of Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Prosperity (2017). He is recognized as one of the foremost figures in African business today.

His latest book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals, is available in hardcover and digital versions on Amazon

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