The importance and depth of reforms Angola has done since 2017 is far-reaching and will have implications for decades to come, according to Sergio Pugliese, who was recently named country head for Angola of the African Energy Chamber.
Pugliese is a former BP and Angola state Petroleum company executive.
One major reform he points to is the creation of an independent Petroleum and Gas Agency. The agency is in charge of regulating the industry and implementing government policy.
“Angola is back. Plunging commodity prices since 2014 left most of Africa’s biggest economies in recession, highlighting the need to speed up economic diversification efforts. These do not mean transitioning away from oil but call for a better allocation of our resources and also increased participation of countries like Angola in the oil and gas value chain,” he told Fin24.
“In addition, developing gas is also a strategic diversification move given that monetisation projects such as power generation, fertilisers and ammonia or petrochemicals are major contributors to economic growth and cannot be underestimated.”
Pugliese pointed out that the over-reliance of many African nations on extractive industries, especially oil, remains a major challenge.
Policy uncertainty is another key challenge, in his view.
He proposes that the way to address this is two-fold. Firstly, there is a need for better communication on opportunities in Africa and how to do business here.
“What an investor might see as lack of policy clarity can sometimes be linked to a general lack of knowledge on how to operate in a specific market,” said Pugliese.
This is where the chamber has invested a lot of resources in providing a platform for African countries to highlight opportunities in their oil and gas sectors. The Angola Oil and Power 2019 Conference from June 4 to 6 is one such initiative.
Asked about the green economy in Africa, he told Fin24 that, to build green economies, the role of gas cannot be overlooked.
Angola has adopted a law aimed at specifically regulating the prospection, research, evaluation, development, production and sale of natural gas in Angola.
The African Energy Chamber is a partnership-based institution advocating for Africa on the continental and international energy stage.
“Up until recently, the African voice was still weak, especially given our energy potential, and African nations were not cooperating enough. It is heart-warming to finally see leading African cooperation deals and projects moving forward between Mauritania and Senegal, Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon, and Uganda and Tanzania,” Pugliese explained.
“At the chamber, we encourage such partnerships as we believe they are key to unlocking the continent’s investment and business potential. We also regularly advise governments and ministerial agencies on the most adapted policy reforms to build domestic capacity without deterring foreign investment.”