Expanding gas production and supply is critical to supporting economic development, addressing energy poverty and achieving energy independence across the African continent, and countries such as Senegal and Mauritania, blessed with significant resources and pursuing large-scale project developments, have the opportunity to kickstart the continent’s economic growth.
Before the continent looks to help Europe with its energy crisis, gas producers should focus on African demand, as economic growth hinges on the continent’s utilization of its resources, and in particular, its gas. Therefore, by redirecting investment in key assets in the MSGBC region, Africa can benefit from a myriad of economic opportunities.
Africa is well positioned to drive sustainable economic growth continent wide through the monetization and utilization of gas. Firstly, expanding gas production will enable African economies to achieve energy security which is vital for industrialisation and socioeconomic growth.
According to a 2018 study compiled by the Energy for Growth Hub, economic growth and employment creation in Africa is being restricted by a lack of affordable and reliable energy in nearly every African country.
The study reiterated that power outages reduce employment opportunities by between 35% and 41% and as such, by expanding the gas market, African economies can create employment across the entire energy value chain, and thus, accelerate economic growth as well as the introduction and resumption of key sub-sectors including manufacturing, agriculture and transportation.
Secondly, investing in African gas can help make energy poverty history by 2030, with countries such in west Africa significantly improving energy access and clean power generation both regionally and continentally.
In 2022, over 600 million people are still without access to electricity, and by implementing a clear gas-to-power plan that utilizes gas from major projects such as the Grand Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) development – set to unlock 15 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas – Senegal and Mauritania have prioritized power generation and electrification.
As a region heavily reliant on expensive, diesel power, gas-to-power could not only significantly improve energy access but dramatically reduce carbon emissions.