Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals.

AuthorPowanga, Luka

Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals, by N. J. Ayuk (Clink Street, 2020). 396 pages, ISBN: 9781641465595 (hardback). ISBN: 9781641465601 (paperback), ISBN: 9781641465618(ebook)

This broad-ranging book is a systematic and in-depth analysis of how oil and gas could catalyze Africa's economic prosperity and transition to clean energy. Africa is suffering from a resource curse, a term applied to countries with abundant natural resources such as minerals, oil, and gas, but with no economic growth to show for it. The lack of economic prosperity is due to resource revenue mismanagement and multi-national companies that exploit the resources, reaping enormous profits, often leaving behind environmental degradation. The little benefit from resource ownership often accrues to the few indigenous individuals in the country's top echelons. Africa, blessed with substantial natural resources, is the wealthiest continent in natural resources (World Atlas, 2021)). Yet it is also the poorest in income and energy use per capita. (e.g. African energy use per capita is less than half of the global average (International Energy Agency, 2018), income per capita is around a third that of Asia (Economic Times, 2020) and Africa has more than 590 million people without electricity (International Energy Agency (2020)).

The author's premise is that Africa's 'resource curse' can be turned into a blessing and drive economic prosperity. Governments could use oil and gas revenues to create trusts that invest the funds and use the returns to meet budget shortfalls during periods of low oil and gas prices and establish institutions to support infrastructure, human capacity development, and entrepreneurs. Oil could be processed to produce fertilizers, cosmetics, plastics, and other oil-based products to feed the agricultural, industrial, and commercial sectors--many oil states in Africa import these products, including refined oil. Petro states could use gas to power their commercial, industrial activities, and households. The surplus could be exported to neighboring countries to stabilize their hydroelectric grids--which are often susceptible to variations in climatic conditions and complement solar power systems. The author cites, among many examples, a country that flares off the gas. Yet, the government has an electricity supply deficit.

The book's bulk outlines how Africa could achieve economic prosperity based on oil and gas through...

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