Action needed to balance competing challenges of downstream energy transition, security

Marieme Ndoye Decreane
Marieme Ndoye Decreane

The Russia-Ukraine crisis has Europe competing for the products currently being imported to Africa says Marieme Ndoye Decreane, President of ARDA, the African Refiners and Distributors Association, and also Managing Director of the SAR refinery in Dakar, Senegal. “We cannot prevaricate if we are going to meet our short-term energy security objectives, banish fuel poverty, and achieve our COP targets. Action is needed now,” she has declared.

Anibor Kragha, Executive Secretary of ARDA, is equally very clear on the major competing challenges to the African Downstream sector as it struggles to balance its near-term cleaner fuel needs with the longer-term energy transition initiatives.

He says “Africa thought we had a major challenge ahead with seeking a just energy transition for our continent within the COP process. But as our plans were being developed, the Ukraine war prioritized short-term security of petroleum product supplies for African countries.

“These competing challenges are not only difficult to reconcile in terms of their objectives but also, critically, in competing for the same pool of financing.

“With banks under increasing pressure from ESG activists to limit investments in fossil fuel projects -even as steps are being taken towards achieving a cleaner world while removing energy poverty -there is a major risk that Africa will experience significant shortages of the cleaner energy required to enable the continent’s transition to a low-carbon economy.”

In advance of the conference, Mme Ndoye Decreane has also highlighted the conflicting fortunes of the African downstream sector:

“In Senegal, we are investing in our refinery, backed by our country’s President, and in Nigeria the gigantic Dangote refinery is nearing completion backed by private financing. Nigeria is also rehabilitating their NNPC refineries, and other countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, the Republic of Congo, Uganda and Cameroun have ongoing projects. However, in Zambia and in South Africa, refineries have announced closure.

“At the same time, investment in improving infrastructure and logistic efficiency, critical to our continent’s economic progress has stalled, as have cleaner fuel and vehicles initiatives.”
At the conference, sessions will discuss pan-African challenges and opportunities:
• Energy Security – The Current State of Play – Global Market trends and potential impacts
• Post COP 27: Ensuring a co-ordinated, robust intra-African oil & gas industry alongside implementation of energy transition aspirations

• Decarbonizing the African Continent – Economic Opportunities and Key Enablers
• Financing Infrastructure projects to accelerate Africa’s Energy Transition
• Carbon Abatement Projects as a Path to Generating Carbon Credits
• Spotlight on African Downstream Projects – Highlighting Refinery Investments for Energy Security
• The Future of Cleaner fuels: LPG, Biofuels and other sustainable fuels integration for energy security

Individual speakers will cover:
• The role of the Downstream in delivering the African Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI)
• National Oil Companies and Energy Transition – The Path to Net-Zero
• African Independents’ Path to Cleaner Fuels and Net-Zero
• Cleaner Vehicle Emissions – An Essential Path to reduce Air Pollution

ARDA WEEK 2023 will be held, in person, from 13th to 17th March 2023 at the Century City Conference Centre, Cape Town, South Africa.
RDA was formed in 2006 to provide a pan-African voice for the African oil supply, refining and distribution industry. ARDA represents not only refiners but also many product importers, storage companies, marketers, and government regulators. For further details see or contact ARDA on

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