JOHANNESBURG – The United States stands ready to support Africa in its energy ventures and to work with American companies keen to do business on the continent, an oil conference in Cape Town has heard.
In a statement, organisers of Africa Oil Week said US assistant secretary for fossil energy Steven Winberg sought to assure delegates that department secretary Rick Perry’s recent resignation would not affect America’s outlook towards Africa.
"If you are asking if there is going to be an Africa policy change, the answer is clearly no,” the organisers quoted him as telling the conference.
“There are 54 countries in the continent of Africa, and we think that there are great opportunities for the United States to bring our technology and our capital to bear, especially in the energy space."
He said President Donald Trump’s administration was "in lockstep" on policies such as Power Africa and Prosper Africa, a cross-government initiative designed to support United States business and energy activities in Africa.
"Prosper Africa provides opportunities for sustainable economic development and economic development with transparency," he said.
"That is what the United States brings to Africa, and we are pleased to be here. We are pleased to be at this conference to help develop relationships and help develop understanding between the United States and the 54 countries in Africa.”
Winberg said he saw Africa as a prime market for the surplus of gas that the US shale revolution was delivering.
"I do believe there is going to be increased oil and natural gas production in Africa, but there is an interim period when African countries may want to avail themselves of our LNG (liquefied natural gas) exports,” he said.
He said the US’s ongoing, much criticised exit from the Paris Climate Accord did not mean it was not serious about reducing carbon emissions.
"The answer to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, whether it’s methane or CO2, is through technology development,” said Winberg.
He told delegates that the Trump administration believed it was up to African countries to resolve any internal issues they had.
"It is not our role to tell countries what to do,” Winberg said.
"However, what we can do and what we offer is an opportunity to talk to us about policies that will attract capital and policies that will attract technological investments. We will continue doing that for countries that want to develop their natural resources.”
– African News Agency (ANA)