Just as Africa’s oil industry was recovering from the aftermath of the 2014 oil price crash, another global crisis cast a thick shadow over oil markets worldwide. The Covid-19 outbreak stalled manufacturing activity and shut down air travel globally, causing the International Energy Agency (IEA) to announce that demand would fall to its lowest rate in almost 10 years. The crisis has changed how producing countries across the African continent view their oil industries; in mature markets diversification is the mantra, while newcomers like Mozambique are keen to explore the industry’s potential.
Upcoming milestones, such as the forthcoming approval of Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), South Africa passing its long-awaited upstream legislation, Somalia’s first ever licensing round in early 2021, and the rapid development of Rovuma LNG in Mozambique, point to a future of reliable energy production for Sub-Saharan Africa. However, governments will need to reduce cumbersome bureaucracy and adopt a more market-focused approach to unlock the significant potential held in the region.