Transforming Africa’s energy sector in 2022: Five persons to watch


The African Energy Chamber (AEC) has launched its highly anticipated annual outlook, ‘the State of African Energy 2022,’ outlining the continent’s sector and providing insight into challenges and opportunities the continent has and continues to face. In the report, the chamber identifies and celebrates Africa’s top movers and shakers for 2022, drawing attention to influential individuals who are expected to shape Africa’s energy sector in 2022 and beyond.

H.E. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal

As in-coming African Union Chair, H.E. President Macky Sall, who previously served as Managing Director of Petrosen and Minister of Petroleum and Energies, will be seen as a rational and conciliatory voice for the battle on fossil fuels between Africa and the developed world. Domestically, and despite the global call for fossil fuel abandonment, the push for first oil at the Woodside operated Sangomar development with BP continues to be on every industry player’s radar, especially given the proximity of the projects to developed western markets. How the President navigates issues of fossil fuel developments in an energy transition context will be observed by the rest of the continent, particularly as project success opens the MSGBC basin up to further investment.


Hon. Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, South Africa

Hon. Minister Mantashe has been laser focused on creating the right legal framework for South Africa’s offshore gas resources to be monetised and developed in order to provide much needed energy feedstock for power generation. TotalEnergies discovered significant quantities of gas in February 2019, and in 2022, we expect Hon. Minister Mantashe to finalise the long-awaited new oil and gas law that will give clarity to investors, pushing it through parliament and getting it signed into law. We also expect him to finalize the ongoing restructuring of oil and gas state owned enterprises in the oil and gas sector, making them more efficient and profitable entities going forward. Hon. Minister Mantashe is likely to strengthen his advocacy for positioning South Africa as a major gas player in 2022. He is also a voice of reason on climate concerns around decarbonization. Additionally, Hon. Minister Mantashe is also in charge of developing South Africa’s capacity to increase value creation from battery minerals, which will only grow in importance as demand for batteries increases globally.

Hu Xiaolian, Chairman, Export-Import Bank of China


Chinese lending to Africa, including those directed towards African related energy projects, continues to be on the decline since its peak in 2013. However, China’s Export- Import Bank (Eximbank) continues to be the single largest lender or underwriter of debt to Africa, in line with the Chinese government’s long-term initiatives. Loans to African projects from China’s Eximbank continue to be cost competitive and therefore attractive. However, they are increasingly only available to commercially viable projects with Chinese involvement. China Eximbank is also a major provider of credit lines to African infrastructure focused lenders like the Afreximbank and the African Finance Corporation. Backed by over USD800 billion in assets, Ms Hu Xiaolian is expected to wield significant influence in Africa’s energy sector in 2022, deciding on the financing and refinancing of multi-billion dollar deals in Africa, from strategic mineral projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia, to oil backed loans in Angola and hydropower projects in Nigeria.

Patrick Pouyanné, CEO, TotalEnergies

TotalEnergies’ likely resumption of its multibillion-dollar Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) project offshore Mozambique in Q1 2022 puts Mr Pouyanné in charge of arguably the most important energy project on the continent this decade. TotalEnergies Mozambique LNG project is expected to attract $20 billion in investment, leading to multiple years of double-digit growth for Mozambique once completed. TotalEnergies continues to hold the largest individual share of oil and gas resources in Africa. Following recent project success such as the completion of the Egina project in Nigeria, the energy major is flexing its muscles by lining up additional ventures for 2021 in Nigeria, Angola, and Uganda. Developing and operating these assets in 2022, in addition to other sizeable projects including the development of OML99 Block in Nigeria – expected to produce 60,000 bpd -; and deploying USD $1.2 billion to develop Zinia 2 in Angola’s block 17, will make Patrick Pouyanné yet again the most active International Oil Company CEO in Africa in 2022.

Tony Elumelu, Chairman, Heirs Holdings

Mr. Elumelu’s company Heirs Holding is likely to solidify its position as a rising star amongst African energy sector players, as the company puts into action plans to increase the output of its recently purchased OML 17 asset – which currently produces 27,000 bopd. The market is watching Heirs Holding to see if it will be successful in operating such an asset. Upon success, it is very likely that this will not be the last deal Heirs Holdings acquires from divesting IOCs, emphasizing the role of domestic companies in Africa’s hydrocarbon future. Additionally, Mr Elumelu’s control over the 2,000mw of installed power capacity in Nigeria – via recent acquisitions – also makes him a force to reckoned with in the power space, not only in Nigeria, but also in the entire region where the demand for power continues to grow.—APO Group

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