By Ndubuisi Micheal Obineme
African Export-Import Bank also known as Afreximbank has called on African countries to develop a Petrochemical Industrial Park with the aim of processing by-products of hydrocarbons resources within the African continent.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with our Correspondent, Afreximbank Regional Chief Operating Officer for Southern Africa, Humphrey Nwugo, said that conventional energy is becoming less relevant and the petrochemical industry is another area African countries should focus on.
He explained, “Countries like Angola and Nigeria are very well positioned to adopt what is called a cluster development model by setting aside an area which could be termed “A Petrochemical Village or Petrochemical Industrial Park” to process some of the by-products of these traditional hydrocarbons. Clustering has been proposed as a key instrument in making enclave sectors in Africa connect to larger economies.
“Unfortunately, Africa’s hydrocarbon countries have not fully maximized the benefits accruing from these minerals. Most of the countries still export oil in crude form and import the same oil after it has been refined abroad thereby exporting jobs, values, economic growth, and development whilst being at the receiving end of the fluctuations in international oil prices. None of these countries is self-sufficient in terms of refined product. This is certainly not good enough.
“We are encouraging African countries, not just those producing oil and gas, but all the countries involved in the export of primary commodities to begin to process them or add some value within the continent.
“Concerning oil and gas, Afreximbank is supporting several refining initiatives in different countries in Africa spanning Nigeria, Angola, Ivory Coast and Morocco.”
Afreximbank has been very active in financing the purchase of crude oil and importation of refined products as well as pipeline, tank farms and other activities in the value chain. Refining is an area Nigeria is currently focusing on and working with several member countries that are oil-producing to process their products.
Afreximbank is the trade finance bank for Africa and is inherently attuned to the private sector. The Bank’s relationship with the private sector is highly active and collaborative.