An energy expert, Dr Riverson Oppong, has tasked African head of states to maximise the economic opportunities given by Russian government to spur economic development and security on the continent.
Oppong said this on Friday in an interview with our correspondent in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Oppong, Commercial Operations Manager, Ghana National Gas Company, spoke to our correspondent on the sidelines of the second Russia-Africa Summit and Economic and Humanitarian Forum 2023.
He said not all African countries were inclined to or had obligation to the western world, and urged them to maximise the opportunities presented at the summit.
“Currently many Africans look at opportunities in terms of development of oil and gas sector and Russia is looking at hydro energy and using gas to power to cure energy poverty.
“It does not make sense that a continent with so much resources, especially crude oil and gas should continue to have issues with energy poverty.
“For Africa to cure energy poverty or kill it as Russia did there must be accessibility and affordability to source of fuel to enhance industrialisation,” he said.
He expressed hope that the summit and Russia’s interventions would assist in putting an end to energy poverty to bring industrialisation and create jobs for youths.
He also lauded the pronouncement by Russian President, Vladimir Putin, to supply 50,000 tonnes of grains to some African countries in the next three months to ensure food security.
Putin had announced that his government would supply at no cost 25,000 to 50,000 tonnes of grain each to Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mali, Somalia, the Central African Republic as well as Eritrea.
Oppong, while lauding the feat, however, said some parameters concerning the goals and missions of the first edition of the summit had been achieved.
He listed some of the parameters to include the extension of Russian support to Africa in terms of healthcare, infrastructure commitment and support from African Export–Import Bank (Afrixembank).
He expressed satisfaction with the fact that the Russian Export Company has invested in projects in East Africa and has been in contact with the African Energy Chamber to extend investment opportunities to Africa.
“It will also extend Engineering Procurement Construction and Investment (EPCI), which is the next phase of Afrixembank torwards Africa,” he said.
In terms of crude oil export, he said even before the sanctions against Russian products there had been several massive support of crude oil supply to Africa.
He said in 2021, due to the limitation coming from COVID 19 restrictions much was not achieved and in 2022 because of the Ukraine-Russia crisis there were a lot of transportation limited bans on Russian products.
“However, what we see going forward is a stronger partnership and collaboration between Russia and certain African countries.