Africa: The new focus of investment

afppp (1)There is no shortage of investment opportunities on the African continent. International business leaders will meet for two days in Istanbul on Wednesday at the Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum, which highlights Turkey’s strategy to enhance bilateral trade and economic relations with the African continent.

The forum, jointly organized by the Turkish Ministry of Economy, the African Union Commission, the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) and the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM), aims to provide a platform for the business circles of Turkey and African countries to create a long-lasting cooperation, according to the forum’s official website.

DEİK Africa Business Council President Tamer Taşkın told Anadolu Agency that Turkey’s ambassadors in Africa had put in great effort to draw attention to the forum.

“Leaders of the African industry and business people will have business-to-business (B2B) meetings and there will be a lot of opportunities for both sides,” Taşkın said. Taşkın added that Turkish investors who had been doing business exclusively in North African countries were focusing on sub-Saharan Africa. Since Turkish firms have gained a lot of experience in the energy sector, they were ready to aid the African countries suffering from a lack of electricity, said Taşkın.

Africa’s power need

Almost 80 percent of sub-Saharan Africa lacks access to electricity, according to the International Energy Agency’s Africa Energy Outlook report. Overall, the electricity access rate for sub-Saharan Africa has improved from 23 percent in 2000 to 32 percent in 2012.

In West Africa, electricity access rates range from below 20 percent in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Niger and Burkina Faso to more than 50 percent in Senegal and above 70 percent in Ghana. More than 90 million people in Nigeria, i.e. 55 percent of the population do not have access to grid.

More than 200 million people in East Africa are without electricity, i.e. around 80 percent of the population. “Around 60 million people in Democratic Republic Congo do not have access to electricity, even though it has very large hydropower potential,” the report also underlined.

Africa’s potential

The continent cannot meet its energy demand and has difficulties to produce enough oil, natural gas and electricity due to lack of technology and poor infrastructure. The continent has 7.6 percent of the proven global oil reserves, which amounts to 129.1 billion barrels, according to a BP report.

Around 40 percent of oil and natural gas exploration was done on the continent in 2015, according to a Turkish Petroleum report. The U.S.-based oil giants ExxonMobil made a significant oil discovery in the Owowo offshore field in Nigeria with a potential recoverable resource between 500 million and 1 billion barrels of oil, the company announced Thursday.