UNCTAD’s 6th African Oil & Gas Trade and Finance Conference will be held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, from 25 to 27 September. This event, the largest in the African energy industry, focuses on the interface between energy and finance issues. Opportunities in Africa´s upstream and downstream sectors; the impact of global oil market structure changes; and how countries can retain a larger share of the value added from their hydrocarbons production will be discussed by government ministers and representatives of oil companies, banks and law firms.
Technical and corporate sessions will run concurrently with the conference (http://www.ite-exhibitions.com/og/africa6), covering such topics as trade finance, refinery cases, crude sales, and the impact of the Chad-Cameroon pipeline, along with an exhibition of relevant products and services. Executives from Norsk Hydro, TotalFinaElf, Credit Lyonnais and Deutsche Bank are among the speakers.
The conference was created in 1994 as a part of UNCTAD’s programme on oil marketing, risk management and finance in Africa. The programme grew out of the need for a forum for both public and private entities to discuss the management of oil exports and imports, developments in the oil and finance markets, and emerging opportunities in deregulated oil markets. The first conference was made possible by support from the Dutch Ministry of Cooperation; subsequent conferences were all financed by African and international banks, oil companies and energy sector service providers.
There is probably no other sector where improvements can make the lives of so many people better at so little relative cost. Inefficiencies in oil production and trade, from well to consumer, have repercussions throughout African economies. The coffee farmer in Rwanda or Uganda has to give up more than a third of the proceeds from sales of his commodity in order to get it to a seaport, and if world oil prices increase (or coffee prices fall), he may see this increase to half. The cost of transport represents a large part of the price that consumers pay for crucial foods. The poor in many African cities spend 30-to-40% of their meagre incomes on public transport. The lack of provision of commercial energy forces people throughout the continent to rely on firewood, exacerbating deforestation and desertification. Inefficient practices for the international procurement of oil products, including their financing, unnecessarily raise African oil import costs by hundreds of millions of dollars.
The conference will be opened by the Prime Minister of Cameroon, Peter Mafany Musonge, and will be attended by energy, environment and finance ministers and senior presidential advisors from Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Namibia, Nigeria, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa and Zambia. The heads of the national oil companies of such countries as Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Morocco, Sao Tome and Principe and Tanzania will also take part. Some 400 participants from 40 countries worldwide are expected.
At the closing ceremony on 27 September, this year’s host, the National Hydrocarbons Corporation (SNH) of Cameroon, will hand over the torch to the Ministry of Petroleum of the Republic of Angola, which will host the next conference in Luanda from 20 to 23 May 2003.
The conference is being jointly organized by UNCTAD, the London-based ITE Group Plc and SNH. UNCTAD and ITE last year signed an agreement to develop high-level oil and gas conferences throughout Africa.