Africa CEO Forum in Côte d’Ivoire
On Monday and Tuesday, the largest international meeting of the African private sector took place for the tenth time. Around 1,500 decision-makers from politics and business discussed growth, development and, in particular, the economic sovereignty of African economies at the Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Among the guests were 800 CEOs of African and international companies as well as 50 heads of state, ministers and ministers. In addition to numerous networking events, several high-profile panel discussions took place. In one panel, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo stressed the importance of the rapid and full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, as intra-African trade still only accounts for 16% of Africa’s total trade volume – no other continent has a lower figure. At another roundtable discussion, Senegalese President Macky Sall and Mohamed Bazoum, the President of Niger, voiced criticism of Western countries. Sall commented on the impact of the Ukraine war on Africa and criticised that Western financial sanctions against Russia did not include European-Russian energy trade, but that there were no exemptions for imports of food and fertiliser to Africa, on which the continent depends. Bazoum, on the other hand, focused on the connection between the effects of climate change and the deteriorating security situation in the Sahel region. Against this background, he criticised the fact that the leading industrial nations had not yet implemented their promise to provide Africa with 100 billion US dollars in climate financing every year. According to Bazoum, his country already has a programme for the use of underground water resources, but securing the financing is the biggest challenge. In this context, Sall and Bazoum also criticised the G7’s decision to stop loans and investments in the fossil fuel sector at the end of this year. The G7 countries would be applying double standards if they prohibited other countries from using fossil fuels after having used them themselves for more than a century.
EU gas deal with Egypt and Israel
With her visit to Cairo, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen seems to be getting closer to achieving the desired independence of Russian energy imports. On the sidelines of the 7th Ministerial Meeting of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), she signed a gas agreement on Wednesday together with delegates from Egypt and Israel, which should allow 10 billion cubic metres of liquefied gas exports to Europe as early as 2023. In recent years, large gas deposits have been discovered in the Eastern Mediterranean. With its fields Tamar and Leviathan, Israel, which has a low domestic consumption, is said to have gas reserves of at least one trillion cubic metres – enough to completely cover Europe’s demand for two years. However, the country does not possess the LNG terminals required for export. Thus, the produced reserves are now to be transported through an already existing pipeline to Egypt, where they are to be liquefied and shipped in tankers to Europe. The agreement is initially valid for three years with an automatic extension for a further two years. The EMGF, in whose framework the agreement was concluded, was established in 2020 by numerous Mediterranean countries to discuss the production and use of the valuable natural resources. Issues such as the implementation of the repeatedly proposed pipeline from Israel via Cyprus to Greece, which would offer significant efficiency gains, could gain momentum due to the implications of the war in Ukraine. But European hopes are currently pinned on Egypt and Israel, whose cooperation could also have a positive effect on the bilateral relations of the two states and thereby on the entire region. Egypt in particular also expects the agreement to stimulate its economic growth. Von der Leyen even described the agreement as historic. Critical voices counter the EU’s enthusiasm by saying that the agreement will neither accelerate a green transformation nor change the dependence on authoritarian states. Meanwhile, von der Leyen stated that a further agreement on the production of hydrogen is already being planned with Egypt.
In other news
Founded in Nigeria in 2015, BoomPlay opened its first office in Abidjan, the cultural and economic centre of Côte d’Ivoire, this week. With this step, the streaming platform, which has a total of 70 million users and offers more than 75 million songs, not only wants to support the African music industry and help Ivorian artists, but also reach a larger audience outside Africa. BoomPlay‘s free and ad-supported offering includes mainly local African music, which also provides an opportunity for unknown and local talents. In addition to offices in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Cameroon, the new office in Abidjan now also serves to mitigate the negative trend due to declining CD sales and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in the music industry. Besides its own website, the service is also available in the App Store and Google Play Store.