EAC Partner States Urged to Reduce Dependence on Imported Fossil Fuels
East African Community Secretariat; Bujumbura, Burundi; 07 June 2017:
East African Community Partner States have been called upon to minimize dependence on imported fossil fuels.
Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza said dependence on fossil fuels exposes the EAC Partner States to the risks arising from volatility of petroleum prices in the international market and the associated challenges in attaining domestic energy security.
President Nkurunziza further noted that East Africa’s limited infrastructure in terms of refineries, pipelines and storage facilities remained a constraint to stability in fuel prices.
President Nkurunziza disclosed that EAC Partner States spend more than 10 per cent of their Gross Domestic Product to import refined petroleum products.
“We are all aware that without sufficient energy, we can neither create wealth nor enhance our competitiveness, production, trade and investments. The EAC therefore attaches great significance to cooperation in the exploration and development of energy resources available in the region,” said President Nkurunziza.
President Nkurunziza was addressing delegates when he officially opened the 8th East African Petroleum Conference and Exhibition 2017 (EAPCE’ 17) in Bujumbura, Burundi.
He said that the East African region had demonstrated high potential for oil and gas resources, adding that it was only through concerted efforts by various stakeholders that successful petroleum exploration ventures could be mounted.
“In Burundi, the exploration of petroleum resources at Rusizi and Lake Tanganyika basins has commenced in four blocks of 1,477.5 km2 offshore and 793.1 km2. The government of Burundi continues to encourage oil companies to invest in petroleum exploration. It is also reviewing the Petroleum Code of 1976 for purposes of attracting more investors,” he said.
President Nkurunziza said that recent discoveries made in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in addition to the existing oil industry in South Sudan had positioned East Africa as the world’s most promising frontier for petroleum exploration and development.
The EAPCE’ 17 is being held under the theme: East Africa – the Emerging Hotspot for Oil and Gas Exploration, Infrastructure Development and Commercialization.
In his remarks, Dr. Ali Kirunda Kivejinja, the Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers and Uganda’s Minister for East African Affairs, said that EAC Partner States had over the years invested huge resources – both human and financial – towards petroleum exploration, efforts which have begun to bear fruit throughout the region.
EAC Secretary General Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko said that there had been increased investments in the region’s oil and gas sector in recent times with the recent discoveries.
“Today, the East African region has benefited from advances in technology and management of exploration and production which has led to the discovery of commercially viable oil and gas deposits,” said Amb. Mfumukeko.
Alluding to the oil curse that has been the bane of many oil-producing countries on the African continent, the Secretary General said East Africa has an obligation to learn from other countries and put petroleum resources to good use.
Amb. Mfumukeko said that despite the effects of fluctuating global oil prices, EAC economies had been able to withstand the shocks, adding that the continued growth was testimony to the conducive environment in the region.
“This stability offers long term prospects for returns on investments to potential investors, irrespective of any headwinds the global economy may encounter,” he noted.
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The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
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