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"There can be no energy transition without Africa" (By Dr Ainojie Irune)



"Il ne peut y avoir de transition énergétique sans l’Afrique" (Par Oando Boss)

At the Intra-African Trade Fair 2023 in Cairo, Egypt, one message resonates throughout the event: Africa must unite, prioritize growth and remove self-imposed barriers to realize its industrialization ambitions.

Speaking on achieving Africa's growth agenda through energy transition, Dr. Ainojie Irune, Executive Director of Oando PLC and COO of Oando Energy Resources, called on governments to be impatient with the continent's development.

In a session entitled "Africa's energy transition and industrialization", Dr Irune said: "We're located on a continent that enjoys a real opportunity along the value chain, and has everything needed to ensure that Africa's energy transition serves its people.

Africa is home to 39% of the world's renewable energy potential, yet it is poor. A continent unable to feed and educate its people must first think of its own survival, just like the rest of the world. We must therefore be impatient to develop our continent together.

Our governments need to get serious, collaborate across regions and establish the necessary policies internally and externally to drive; not just trade, but the development of industries that would create the wealth we need to embark on the energy transition. Africa is the last frontier. We have a responsibility to design what we want.


Alongside an eclectic mix of speakers, Dr Irune addressed the challenges of intra-African trade and focused on solutions to foster regional cooperation. Commenting on the importance of regional cooperation in Africa, Dr Irune said: "We talk about collaboration, but as we speak today, we haven't addressed the issue of intra-African travel for tourism or trade.

To counter the current tide against us, we need to look inwards, starting with our governance and policies. If we unite and support our agenda as a continent, we will become a powerful bloc to be reckoned with across the world. We need to build a consciousness that recognizes that everything we need to develop Africa is already within."

Intra-African trade currently represents just 15% of the continent's total trade, compared with 58% in Asia and 67% in Europe.

As the new continental market emerges, so do the opportunities. But these opportunities will not benefit Africans if African markets are not connected to create economies of scale.

It is now widely recognized that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) offers Africa an effective buffer against a volatile global economy. Intra-African trade, in turn, offers the continent the opportunity to accelerate its individual and collective efforts as governments, policy-makers, development institutions, businesses and SMEs towards achieving the objectives of the AfCFTA.


The AfCFTA is expected to boost intra-African trade by 52.3% by 2025, increase Africa's income to $450 billion by 2035, according to the IMF, and lift 30 million Africans out of extreme poverty.