Executive secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Mr. Simbi Wabote has said that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) contains the window and legal framework that can be leveraged to achieve the collaborative local content strategy in Africa.
Speaking at the ongoing 7th edition of the Sub Saharan Africa International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (SAIPEC) in Lagos, Wabote said industry stakeholders must be ready to explore ways to maximize the opportunities in the African oil and gas industry.
Highlighting on the conference theme, “Sub-Saharan Africa Local Content Collaboration Strategies,” the NCDMB boss explained that the main objectives of the strategy are to explore ways to break down barriers, promote cross-border collaboration amongst governments and businesses, provide peer review mechanisms, and share experiences and ideas on industry sustainability and growth.
Wabote, said for the strategy to work, there is need to address, legal framework, funding, infrastructure, human capacity development, and research and development.
According to him, the advent of AfCFTA created the world’s largest free trade area by integrating 1.3 billion people across 54 African countries, with the objective of tapping into a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of over 3 trillion dollars.
According to him, there is collaboration platform that will present gains to the entire African continent and it is in recognition of the opportunities that AfCFTA presents that Nigeria has started working towards unleashing the collaboration potentials.
He recognised the AfCFTA as the practice of local content on the continental level and commended the foresight of the League of African Leaders who adopted AfCFTA in 2012 at the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Speaking on investment in infrastructure, he said that had a significant impact on the economic growth of any nation.
Wabote cited a study carried out in the year 2020 by GI Hub found that the economic multiplier for public investment, including infrastructure, was one and a half times greater than the initial investment in two to five years.
For instance, he said that the Dangote Integrated Refinery and Petrochemical Company – with an installed capacity of 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) which is expected to come on stream within the year will afford Nigeria and other African countries the partnership opportunities for sourcing petroleum products and fertilizer.
Also, the recently commissioned Lekki Free Zone and facilities like the SHI-MCI FPSO Fabrication/ Integration in Lagos equally presents opportunities for collaboration for the construction of FPSO and other offshore oil and gas facilities.
“These infrastructures and others that exist in various parts of the African continent provide massive opportunities for cross-border energy collaboration among African countries.
“Similarly, infrastructure like the West Africa Gas Pipeline (WAGP) and the ongoing AKK gas transmission infrastructure provides a means for serving regional and African markets.
“The developmental strategies to start from a cluster within a country and grow organically across borders continue to work well in the provision of roads, gas pipelines, fiber-optic cables, railways, and other infrastructure across the continent,” the executive secretary noted.
He told participants at the event that the Board was developing across seven locations in Nigeria adding that “this represents one of the ways it is providing infrastructure for the manufacturing of components to serve local and regional markets in a collaborative way”.
He said, “We are on track to complete major construction works at the sites by end of this year. Let me use this opportunity to invite interested businesses and investors in the area of manufacturing in any of these industrial parks to contact the Board for allocation of plots for development.”