Government Must Support Rural Women To Adopt Organic Farming Practices

As Uganda joins the rest of the world to celebrate the International Day for Rural Women and the World Food Day, agricultural activists are calling on the government to support women especially those in the rural areas to effectively adopt organic farming practices which they say are environmentally friendly and also cheap to practice compared to conventional farming.

The activists under their umbrella Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers Forum Uganda chapter {ESAFF-Uganda) say that organic farming can support rural women to overcome the challenges of poverty since the practices require farmers to use indigenous knowledge.

They add that the agricultural products produced through organic farming are highly demanded both on local, regional and international markets across the World.

"The demand for the organic products locally and internationally is high compared to products from convectional farming practices however our farmers especially those in the rural areas are still ignorant about the economic potential associated with organic farming that is why government should come out to promote it since it has the potential to uplift our rural farmers from poverty," said Nancy Walimbwa Mugimba, the National Coordinator of ESAFF –Uganda.

She added that consuming organically produced foodstuffs has social and health benefits to the citizens as compared to products produced in the conventional way such

"Majority of us know some of the major benefits of consuming organically grown food; the reduction in exposure to pesticides and GMOs, the increased intake of nutritional foods and the fact that it tastes better than conventionally grown food.

“But do you also know by supporting the growth of organic foods and consuming organic products – practicing organic farming and its use of recycled organic materials (such as composting), provides us with an opportunity to make choices in enabling food waste to be reused and recycled back into the soil as fertilizer this saves our biodiversity which has been highly degraded by farming chemicals,” she added

To ensure that local farmers especially the rural women appreciate the positive impacts of organic farming, ESAFF- Uganda and its partner organizations have organized the organic week in celebration of International Day for Rural Women on the 15th October and the World Food Day on the 16th signifying the role of farmers especially women play in feeding this nation.

The national organic week will be hosted in Northern Uganda where the activists alongside farmers will be showcasing agricultural products produced in organic way.

Among the key activities to be undertaken during the week include radio talk shows about organic farming practices, public dialogues between sector players and local government leaders from key selected districts in Acholi sub-region.

Why are activists more concerned with the agricultural sector?

Agriculture plays an important role in Uganda's economy accounting for 20 per cent of the GDP in fiscal year 2017/2018 and 43 per cent of export earnings.

The sector still faces a number of challenges like the tremendous effects in the changes in temperatures causing droughts leading to crop failure, which in the long run increases food insecurities and Malnutrition.

Small scale farmers have continued to state that organic agriculture still plays a great role in tackling some of these effects despite the constant pressure to assimilate into modern culture and join the free-market and globalized economy.

Uganda as a country is ranked second to Tanzania in Africa in terms of acreage (standing at 262,282 hectares) while second globally to India in terms of certified farmers (210,352) engaged in organic farming.

Sustaining this system, therefore, provides Uganda with a comparative advantage to produce healthy food, employment creation, environmental conservation, increased household incomes and economic development.

The non-state actors believe that once government effectively implements the recently passed National Organic Agriculture Policy (NAOP) in place with proper implementation and awareness mechanisms it will give small scale farmers an opportunity to reap more from their gardens and lessen their dependence on global market for their incomes, which is often not enough to buy the food they once produced in ages.

The Unrealized Oil Promise of the Democratic Republic of Congo

By NJ Ayuk

It is no secret that the DRC's mining industry is of vital importance in answering the country's and the world's mineral needs. Today, copper, cobalt and other byproducts represent the backbone of the DRC's economic structure at about 85% of its exports.

That has been the case for many years, through several regimes, with little change. Besides metals, diamonds and oil represent the remaining of all that the DRC sends abroad, the vast majority of its outbound trade balance being composed of raw unprocessed goods.

Standing in the 12th position amongst African oil producers, the DRC's petroleum industry is miniscule at best, producing an average of 25 thousand barrels of crude oil per day off its coastal ageing fields. But that seems rather odd.

While there is not much talk about this particular fact, when we think of it, it is somewhat perplexing that the DRC, which is bordered by so many oil producers and has territorial waters in the prolific Gulf of Guinea, has never really developed an oil industry or even seemed to be interested in developing one, despite its prospective reserves. With a population of around 80 million people, of which around 75%, most statistics indicate, live in extreme poverty, the DRC is today amongst the five poorest countries in the world. 

One would expect that the country's leaders would strongly push for the exploration of the country's natural resources to produce wealth and provide for better living conditions for its citizens. Yet, the DRC's oil and gas reserves remain largely unexplored, while most studies estimate that there could be around 20 billion barrels of undiscovered oil in the country's basins, both onshore and offshore.

That is a tremendous amount of oil which, if confirmed, would place the DRC as the second biggest petroleum holder in Sub-Saharan Africa, behind only Nigeria, and far outdoing Angola's reserves of 9 billion barrels of oil.

This is not the Africa we want, and this is not the DRC that we want.

First of all, keeping certain communities in poverty to retain power is a complete mistake. Power stability comes from generalized improvement of life conditions. If the country is wealthier and is capable of improving the lives of those that live in it, the more stable it will be and the more capable it will become of sustaining and giving continuity to that development.

Further, as I have extensively defended over the years, the sanctity of contracts is of paramount importance to attract investment and partnerships into any country. What company would want to invest in a country where a contract can be signed and then cancelled a few months later without further explanation or justification?

And it is not just a matter of reputation, but of direct financial burden, lest not forget that just in March this year, an international court ordered the Democratic Republic of Congo to pay South African DIG Oil Ltd USD$617 million for failing to honour two oil contracts.

That is 1.6% of the country's 2017 GDP. How can any leader possibly justify such a loss to its economy. Not to, again, mention the enormous economic potential that could come from actually letting those contracts take shape and allow companies to explore the country's oil regions.

Stability depends on investment, cooperation and development. To attract investment, conditions need to be created for the business environment to be enabling for industry development. Disrespecting contracts does not achieve that. Nor does keeping people from producing wealth.

Just in May, French super-major Total abandoned its exploration license in the DRC. Bloomberg's article on the matter was titled "Congo's Lone Oil Giant Quits Search, Partner Says". That's right, it was the last major oil and gas company to abandon the DRC's oil plays. Others had been there over the years, Shell and Texaco for instance.

About 10 years ago, Tullow Oil and partners tried to acquire a license for exploration, signed a contract, paid the bonuses, and saw the contract then cancelled and the same block then sold to yet another company just a few months later. Nothing has been done in the acreage since.

This is the absolute opposite of what must be done.

Oil and gas production can bring enormous wealth to the country and its people, not to mention the ability the country's gas reserves could have to produce electricity to power homes and industry.

Since January 2019, the DRC is led by a new government. It now has the opportunity to change the status quo of the DRC within the global oil industry and to promote investment. The country's oil and gas laws are fairly well developed and the potential for discoveries is huge; the problem is reputation.

If the country's leaders can reassure international investors that their contracts will be respected and if investments can be facilitated and transactions made transparent, there is little limit to how quickly the country's industry could grow and how much its people could benefit. Better living conditions across the country would ease ethnic and social tensions and provide the basis for a level of socio-economic development that the country has never seen before.

If the dependency on the volatile prices of mineral commodities continues, as well as the uneven distribution of wealth, and if the generalized situation of extreme poverty is sustained amongst the population, instability, rather than stability, will be the end result.

Further, the DRC has the opportunity to seek the help and support of international institutions and partners in developing its oil industry, such as the World Bank, the IMF or the Norwegian government, which have vast experience in helping other African oil producers. They can also seek closer proximity with the US, where most of the major companies with the capability, technology and capital to help develop their industry reside. 

The US government also has an interest in promoting these developments in the DRC, as maintaining stability in the sub-continent and the Central African region is of particular strategic importance for US interests. 

It is astonishing to me that the leaders in Kinshasa are not willing to look from their windows just across the Congo river to Brazzaville and want to emulate the steps taken by their neighbour, the Republic of Congo, currently the third biggest oil producer in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Finally, good signs are coming from the current administration. In April, at the latest Africa Petroleum Producers Association's Conference in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, the DRC's oil minister announced the country would put 38 blocks on offer for bidding and negotiation, located in three different basins. This is an important step in order to call out investor attention to the country, and I applaud the initiative.

Hopefully the regime change, the country's adherence to the EITI, and the new block offer will help bring investment, but more will have to be done to reassure investors that entering this market will be a profitable and safe bet, and that their interests and rights are protected by the law.

I hope to see these developments happening soon and to be a witness to the fulfillment of the DRC's oil industry's full potential.

NJ Ayuk is the CEO of Centurion Law Group, a pan-African law Conglomerate and the current Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber (EnergyChamber.org), the voice of the African Oil and Gas industry. He is the author is the upcoming book "Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals".

Girls In West Nile To Get Sanitary Towel Making Skills

A local Non Government Organization (NGO) in the West Nile district of Zombo called Nile Girls Forum launched a mentorship club at Jangokoro Seed Secondary School in Zombo district.

This was during the celebrations to mark this year’s Day of the Girl Child at Jangokoro Seed Secondary School last Friday.

The CEO of Nile Girls Forum Ms. Peace Monica Pimer said the club will be used to train girls to make reusable sanitary towels and beading. "This is part of our hands-on skills program in West Nile sub-region in Northern Uganda," she said.

The efforts by Ms. Pimer and Nile Girls Forum received praise from local leaders, educationists and well-wishers for giving the girls in the area a platform to acquire skills that will help them live a better life.

The district dducation dffer, Nicholas Odeba, said this was a great opportunity for the girls to better their lives and Alfred Okura, the Jangokoro Sub County youth councilor, appealed to the youth in the area to get involved in the initiative.

Patrick Angetu, the director of studies at Jangokoro Seed Secondary School thanked Nile Girls Forum for empowering the girls.

“Where there is a will, there is a way. Continue with the great work of encouraging girls to keep in school. Indeed girls are unstoppable when empowered to be better," he said.

A delighted Rogers Cothoilum, the headteacher Jangokoro Seed Secondary School stated that initiate to train girls with hands-on skills by Nile Girls Forum will keep the girls in school.

Unrealized Oil Promise Of Democratic Republic Of Congo

By NJ Ayuk

It is no secret that the DRC's mining industry is of vital importance in answering the country's and the world's mineral needs. Today, copper, cobalt and other byproducts represent the backbone of the DRC's economic structure at about 85% of its exports.

That has been the case for many years, through several regimes, with little change. Besides metals, diamonds and oil represent the remaining of all that the DRC sends abroad, the vast majority of its outbound trade balance being composed of raw unprocessed goods.

Standing in the 12th position amongst African oil producers, the DRC's petroleum industry is miniscule at best, producing an average of 25 thousand barrels of crude oil per day off its coastal ageing fields. But that seems rather odd.

While there is not much talk about this particular fact, when we think of it, it is somewhat perplexing that the DRC, which is bordered by so many oil producers and has territorial waters in the prolific Gulf of Guinea, has never really developed an oil industry or even seemed to be interested in developing one, despite its prospective reserves.

With a population of around 80 million people, of which around 75%, most statistics indicate, live in extreme poverty, the DRC is today amongst the five poorest countries in the world. 

One would expect that the country's leaders would strongly push for the exploration of the country's natural resources to produce wealth and provide for better living conditions for its citizens.

Yet, the DRC's oil and gas reserves remain largely unexplored, while most studies estimate that there could be around 20 billion barrels of undiscovered oil in the country's basins, both onshore and offshore.

That is a tremendous amount of oil which, if confirmed, would place the DRC as the second biggest petroleum holder in Sub-Saharan Africa, behind only Nigeria, and far outdoing Angola's reserves of 9 billion barrels of oil.

This is not the Africa we want, and this is not the DRC that we want.

First of all, keeping certain communities in poverty to retain power is a complete mistake. Power stability comes from generalized improvement of life conditions. If the country is wealthier and is capable of improving the lives of those that live in it, the more stable it will be and the more capable it will become of sustaining and giving continuity to that development.

Further, as I have extensively defended over the years, the sanctity of contracts is of paramount importance to attract investment and partnerships into any country. What company would want to invest in a country where a contract can be signed and then cancelled a few months later without further explanation or justification?

And it is not just a matter of reputation, but of direct financial burden, lest not forget that just in March this year, an international court ordered the Democratic Republic of Congo to pay South African DIG Oil Ltd USD$617 million for failing to honour two oil contracts.

That is 1.6% of the country's 2017 GDP. How can any leader possibly justify such a loss to its economy. Not to, again, mention the enormous economic potential that could come from actually letting those contracts take shape and allow companies to explore the country's oil regions.

Stability depends on investment, cooperation and development. To attract investment, conditions need to be created for the business environment to be enabling for industry development. Disrespecting contracts does not achieve that. Nor does keeping people from producing wealth.

Just in May, French super-major Total abandoned its exploration license in the DRC. Bloomberg's article on the matter was titled "Congo's Lone Oil Giant Quits Search, Partner Says". That's right, it was the last major oil and gas company to abandon the DRC's oil plays. Others had been there over the years, Shell and Texaco for instance.

About 10 years ago, Tullow Oil and partners tried to acquire a license for exploration, signed a contract, paid the bonuses, and saw the contract then cancelled and the same block then sold to yet another company just a few months later. Nothing has been done in the acreage since.

This is the absolute opposite of what must be done.

Oil and gas production can bring enormous wealth to the country and its people, not to mention the ability the country's gas reserves could have to produce electricity to power homes and industry.

Since January 2019, the DRC is led by a new government. It now has the opportunity to change the status quo of the DRC within the global oil industry and to promote investment. The country's oil and gas laws are fairly well developed and the potential for discoveries is huge; the problem is reputation.

If the country's leaders can reassure international investors that their contracts will be respected and if investments can be facilitated and transactions made transparent, there is little limit to how quickly the country's industry could grow and how much its people could benefit. Better living conditions across the country would ease ethnic and social tensions and provide the basis for a level of socio-economic development that the country has never seen before.

If the dependency on the volatile prices of mineral commodities continues, as well as the uneven distribution of wealth, and if the generalized situation of extreme poverty is sustained amongst the population, instability, rather than stability, will be the end result.

Further, the DRC has the opportunity to seek the help and support of international institutions and partners in developing its oil industry, such as the World Bank, the IMF or the Norwegian government, which have vast experience in helping other African oil producers. They can also seek closer proximity with the US, where most of the major companies with the capability, technology and capital to help develop their industry reside. 

The US government also has an interest in promoting these developments in the DRC, as maintaining stability in the sub-continent and the Central African region is of particular strategic importance for US interests. 

It is astonishing to me that the leaders in Kinshasa are not willing to look from their windows just across the Congo river to Brazzaville and want to emulate the steps taken by their neighbour, the Republic of Congo, currently the third biggest oil producer in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Finally, good signs are coming from the current administration. In April, at the latest Africa Petroleum Producers Association's Conference in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, the DRC's oil minister announced the country would put 38 blocks on offer for bidding and negotiation, located in three different basins.

This is an important step in order to call out investor attention to the country, and I applaud the initiative. Hopefully the regime change, the country's adherence to the EITI, and the new block offer will help bring investment, but more will have to be done to reassure investors that entering this market will be a profitable and safe bet, and that their interests and rights are protected by the law.

I hope to see these developments happening soon and to be a witness to the fulfillment of the DRC's oil industry's full potential.

NJ Ayuk is the CEO of Centurion Law Group

Rajiv Ruparelia To Rotaractors: Start & Nurture Your Businesses Now

Uganda is a young nation with many opportunities that favour business and economic growth but young entrepreneurs must choose something they can nurture well and be remembered for it.

This advisory was made by Rajiv Ruparelia, the managing director of Ruparelia Group while speaking as a keynote speaker at the Rotaract Club of Kampala South weekly meeting that took place at Hotel Africana last week.

“You can either choose to be remembered for business, charity, entrepreneurship or social work,” Rajiv said in his speech adding that everybody will be remembered for something they did in their lifetime.

“If you want to do something start now, nurture it and take your time; teaching your self is a must because nobody will teach you. Work on it, one day you are going to be there,” Rajiv noted.

The young businessman who has slowly but steadily taken over the day to day running of the Ruparelia Group from his father Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia asked the young Rotarians to smell the opportunities and consider starting and building sustainable business enterprises.

The Rotaract Club of Kampala South meets every Thursday at Hotel Africana and last week’s meeting was held under the theme ‘building companies that last’.

The evening meeting was addressed by Rajiv Ruparelia, Prof. Maggie Kigozi, the Director of Crown Beverages and businessman Amos Wekesa, the CEO Great Lakes Safaris, as guest speakers.

The trio shared their experiences on how to start a business and how they have managed to thrive and build them to where they are.

Wekesa said that starting a business early helps build self-esteem and gives strength in scalability. He noted that people who are brave to begin early will never go astray in working and building successful businesses.

“I have run a company for the last 18 years, the things that people want to know are the things they do not want to hear. I started my business out of frustration, after being born from a poverty-stricken family.

Prof. Kigozi, in her remarks, told the Rotaractors to always start small and focus on growing their business.

“All the wealthy people in the city did not start big. If you listen to their stories you will be surprised how they started,”

She warned the youthful Rotaractors who crave for luxurious parties to stop and consider mobilizing money for starting businesses at an early age.

“Do not demand for parties from your families. Organize a family business instead,” Kigozi said.

How Infrastructure And Energy Are Key To DRC's New Economic Journey

By Koketso Lediga

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), sub-Saharan Africa’s largest country, is known for being a tough place to do business but also one of unexploited economic potential.

Although the country has had a dark cloud looming over it for years, it recently held its first democratic transfer of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960. And like other African countries, the DRC is in pursuit of a stronger and thriving economy. The IMF has the country’s economy‘s growing at a rate of 4.3% in 2019; and nothing suggests that this will not improve in the future.

For the DRC, the pursuit for a thriving economy is well within reach given its endowment with vast natural resources that could enable it to be a contributor to Africa’s economic growth and global supply of raw materials such as copper. The DRC’s new government seems to be committed to exploiting these natural resources, as demonstrated through the several sector reforms that have already been implemented. The most impactful, both short and long term, being investment infrastructure development & renewable energy, amendments to mining and oil & gas legislation as well as its participation in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

In respect of infrastructure and energy, the DRC captured global attention with the world’s largest proposed hydropower scheme known as the Grand Inga project. A project that aimed to generate about 40,000 megawatts of power from water sourced at the mouth of the Congo River. This amount of energy can cater for a multitudinous size of the population in and beyond the borders of the DRC. Although this magnificent 6-phase project did not come to become reality, the country is fervently building synergies to improve its infrastructure and provide sustainable and stable energy supply for its citizens.

In May 2019, the DRC’s Ministry of Energy and Hydraulic Resources and the multinational clean energy company, Hanergy Thin Film Power Group signed a strategic partnership framework agreement for a 400MV solar power plant. The addition of 400MW onto the grid will go a long way with reducing the electricity scarcity that plagues parts of the country. The Ministry has communicated its commitment to meeting the country’s original target of 65% electrification by 2025. This of course will go a long way towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals of universal access to electricity.

The DRC should be applauded for opting to sign a framework agreement which has the ability of creating an environment for parties to identify their common commercial goals. The benefits of framework agreements have been accepted by a number of seasoned lawyers. Duncan Wallace, a member of the UK bar, is of the view that framework agreements can be a commercial motivation for contractors to behave less opportunistically when additional projects, such as those that flow from traditional framework agreements, are on offer.

In July 2019, governments of the DRC, Burundi and Rwanda signed a project agreement for the construction of the Ruzizi III hydropower project. The proposed Build, Own, Operate, Transfer (BOOT) structure is beneficial to all countries as a large portion of the risk will sit with the concessionaire and minimizes the public cost and debt for infrastructure and energy development. Furthermore, this public-private partnership, if executed successfully, will undoubtedly improve the lives of millions in the three countries. 

In addition to the developments in respect of renewable energy, the country has made stride in the infrastructure sector,  with the new 34-km road which directly links the Kamoa-Kakula copper project, a mining project in the DRC and the Kolwezi airport in Zambia. The completed project will enable the unrestricted flow of trade between the two countries as it will be used to bring in mining equipment & construction materials as well as to transport copper concentrates. Given the African Union’s launch of the “operational phase” of the African Continental Free Trade Area, the economic benefits of this  corridor are endless.

Although the DRC occupies the 184th place (of 190) in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 report, the country has made strides in achieving political stability and improve its governance to pave way for economic growth and energy and infrastructure development. And as a result, creating a conducive environment for foreign direct investment.

Koketso Lediga, Managing Director, Infra-Afrika Advisory

Oil Companies Shouldering E. Guinea's Socio-Economic Development

In another demonstration of oil companies' contribution to the socio-economic development of Equatorial Guinea, the Bioko Island Malaria Elimination Program (BIMEP) has received global recognition at the UN General Assembly this week.

A country-wide health initiative such as BIMEP would have been impossible without the financial and social involvement of the country's biggest companies, Marathon Oil, Noble Energy and Atlantic Methanol Production Co (AMPCO).

By partnering with the MCDI non-governmental organization, the Ikara Health Institute and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, the Sanaria company's Research Institute and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Equatorial Guinea, oil companies in Equatorial Guinea have enabled the completion of one of the world's most successful public healthcare program.

"The global recognition of the success of BIMEP and its remarkable achievement serves as a reminder that the oil & gas sector and its companies are more than just drillers or exporters of natural resources. By investing in Africa, hiring Africans and re-investing in socially responsible projects and initiatives, they build nations, increase our net worth, and make Africa a better place," said NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the and CEO at the Centurion Law Group.

"Equatorial Guinea provides a great example of what the oil industry can achieve when it partners with communities and the society at large. We call on other oil companies in Nigeria, Senegal, Angola, Ghana, Mozambique, South Sudan to lead in investing on similar projects," added Mickael Vogel, Director of Strategy of the African Energy Chamber.

In fifteen years, oil revenues directed towards BIMEP have led to reducing mortality for children under 5 years old by 63% and the prevalence of malaria infection by 76%. The program has also successfully reduced severe anemia attributable to malaria in children under 5 years old by 90% and decreased moderate and severe anemia in pregnant women by 77%. More importantly perhaps, BIMEP has also been fundamental in the introduction of the first malaria vaccine, which is expected to fully eradicate the disease in Equatorial Guinea by 2025.

Such a program is not uncommon within the oil & gas sector, especially in Africa where many oil companies and energy operators frequently invest in social infrastructure such as hospitals and schools and fund major socio-economic initiatives and projects that are key to eradicating poverty, malnutrition and providing access to basic healthcare services. While highly impactful for the lives of Africans however, such initiatives often remain untold and unspoken of.

In Central Africa, A Revolutionary Driller Is Teaching Us A Lesson About Oil

By Mickael Vogel

Chad’s rigs count has been surprisingly high for a year now, in a country that produces only about 100,000 bopd. With seven rigs deployed on its territory since September 2018 accoridng to Baker Hughes GE, Chad counts more rigs than most African petroleum provinces.

It is more than Angola, sub-Saharan Africa’s second largest producer of oil. It is almost more than Congo, sub-Saharan Africa’s third largest producer. The list continues: it is more than Gabon, Cameroon, or even Equatorial Guinea.

The reason: Chad is drilling. In efforts to expand exploration and boost domestic production, the land-locked Central African nation is proving that focusing on basics is a recipe for success. Drilling efforts have translated in increased production and oil revenues, despite several industry setbacks.

The recovery of Chad’s economy and petroleum sector after the recent plunge in oil prices has indeed not been a smooth journey to say the least. Chad has Africa’s 10th largest proven oil reserves but its output has been slipping in recent years due to maturing fields and disruptions caused by the conflict with Boko Haram in the southwest.

Lower commodity prices added another layer of complexity to an already very intricate situation, and put the economy in jeopardy. Hopes brought by the renegotiation of the country’s debt with Glencore and the rebound in oil prices were short lived.

In 2019, both ExxonMobil, which produces a fourth of the country’s oil and Glencore, which represents about 9% of Chad’s production, announced their intention to sell their assets in the country.

But as two of its biggest operators prepared their exit, Chad welcomed new ones and did not loose focus on bringing out what former minister Me Béchir Madit had then called a “second golden age of oil between the end of 2019 and 2025.”

To ensure the growth of its industry, Chad launched the construction of the mini Rig-Rig refinery in 2017 to address crying domestic shortage of petroleum products, granted several new fields to the CNPCIC in the Bongor Basin, welcomed new operator United Hydrocarbons, and renegotiated its debt with commodity trading giant Glencore in 2018.

As oil prices started rebounding, good news came along. Taiwan’s Overseas Petroleum and Investment Corporation completed its exploitation platform and connection pipeline to the Komé centre, while Petrochad developed its Krim-Krim wells.

The Société des Hydrocarbures du Tchad (SHT), the country’s national oil company, also made progress on the development of its Sedigui field by signing a contract with a Sino-British consortium for the construction of a gas pipeline, gas treatment facility and gas terminal in Djarmaya.

In two months alone, between July 2018 and September 2018, rigs deployed in Chad went up from only one to seven, according to Baker Hughes GE. That’s a considerable jump in such a short time, while most of its neighbours were still dealing with a drilling syndrome.

For a year now, Chad has had more rigs deployed on its territory than most other African markets, revealing sustained drilling activity which has now translated in numbers. As drilling activity picked up, production increased, and so did revenues.

According to the latest reports of the Ministry of Finance and Budget, Chad’s oil production and oil revenues have witnessed considerable increase in 2019 so far. In the first quarter, oil revenues increased by over 64% compared to the same period last year, led by an increase in production by over 18%, most of it due to the CNPCIC, and thanks to a better foreign exchange rate.

The second quarter confirmed the trend. During this period, oil revenues increased by another 38.6% while oil production increased by 23%, again led by the CNPCIC which has witnessed a growth of production by over 45% this year so far.

Between January 2019 and June 2019, Chad produced 22,791,749 barrels. On a daily basis, that’s an average of 126,000 bopd, a very healthy figure for a state whose revenues come at 70% from oil exports.

Improved situation in Chad explains why the acquisition of ExxonMobil’s 40% stake in the Doba Basin has become a source of intense bidding and negotiations. It also explains why the country’s economic forecast are bright.

In 2019, the IMG predicts Chad’s economy to grow by 4.5%, well above the world’s average of 3.3%. When many African oil nations struggle with a slow recovery, Chad reminds us that a successful energy strategy is a no brainer, and drilling must be a part of it.

Mickael Vogel,

Director of Strategy, African Energy Chamber

It Is Hard To Find Right Human Resource In Academia – Vice Chancellor

All has been well for Assoc Prof Krishna N. Sharma during his time as Vice Chancellor of Victoria University for the past two years. In this elaborative interview, Dr. Sharma tells his story at Victoria University so far.

You have been to Victoria University, for now, two and a half years, what are the highlights of your stay here and the things you have been able to achieve as a Vice Chancellor?

I joined Victoria University in January of 2017. I joined here as dean faculty of health sciences. Then after six months, there was a vacancy for the Vice Chancellor and I applied. Fortunately, I was selected and I was appointed in July 2017.

The journey has not been easy as you know Victoria University had some turbulent times during that period. The good thing is we had a good team at that time and everyone supported each other including directors. We started setting up our targets.

Our priority at that time was to come up with strong policies and procedures. We had some but we wanted to improve on that. In two years, we have almost 30 policies. I am happy that my team could achieve that.

Our next priority was to put in place a good human resource- to attract and retain good human resource. We mobilized professors from Sweden, Nigeria, Uganda and India. We also increased the number of fulltime, dedicated, staff members to decrease the number of absenteeism by lecturers which is very common with part timers because they just come, teach and go.  Part timers are not available to mentor students; they are not committed and never focus. They have limited time at the university.

Our next task was to improve on research and publication since we had the issues of policy and staff sorted. It became very prominent and smoother. In my tenure, we have published about 35 publications including three books, some best sellers. That was an achievement for us.

For the two years, we have significantly grown the number of students who have joined the university. It is in this tenure that we have the biggest intake in the history of this university. Our students’ numbers started improving when we improved on all these administrative things.

We also started on community engagements. It was that time we started engaging communities. We started to go into slums to work with NGOs, held health camps and others. At the moment we are working with Mpigi local government to set up a model village.

Our faculty of social sciences wants to direct all its energy, research, internship, to that project. Every program impacts the community in different ways. Our students are trying to see how they can create a positive impact.

We are trying to see how we can create collaborations because you cannot do everything alone. We started signing MoUs and implementing them. These are the things we are focusing on. We also engaged professional bodies. We sit with technocrats, employers, experts and regulators to revise our curriculum. So we revised everything in the curriculum. We made it more practical, market driven and research based. We needed that paradigm shift.

We started improvising technologically. We are going away from the paperwork way; we are now going digital. We have systems in place to achieve this. That is where we have started going, fortunately, we are seeing some good response.

We have started working with the Uganda Cricket Association and Federation of Uganda Basketball Association offering free courses to officials and players. We are planning to do so much so that we can create an impact. 

You seem to have settled in quick going by some of the things you have been able to achieve at this university, what are some of the factors that made this possible?

When settling in a new place, their setups that you need to put in place first. I have worked in Africa earlier before coming to Uganda, in Cameroon. So I was quite comfortable working in Africa. When I came here, I didn’t see any difference between India and Africa.

We all have that culture of togetherness so for me it was not difficult and Uganda being a friendly country, I settled in fast. In the institution, I was fortunate that I found a good team. Everyone was supportive and that gave me an advantage.

I got good friends through the university community and rotary club.

One of your priorities, when you arrived at this university, was to prioritize and focus on research and publication of research findings, what is the scorecard now so far?

When I joined, at that time, we had only about three or four publications since 2010. But since I joined, we have about 35 publications, by both students and lecturers. That is quite a good improvement in the past two years.

What we want to bring to this university is the culture of research. Under research, all around the world, the leading motivation is peer recognition. This year we are going to set a research agenda as a university and every faculty will set their own research agenda. Then every student and every staff. But all must fit in the whole research agenda of the university.

When you came in, you made it clear that for a student to progress, grades and classwork marks shouldn’t be prioritized over skills development, now that you have been here this long, do you still share this same school of thought?  

I still feel the same. Scoring high marks doesn’t prove that you will be successful in life. This is why we were having a discussion about the awards given to students who get good grades in exams. We said, why should we only recognize those who pass their exams and ignore those who do well in exams but also in other co-curriculum activities like sports.

Why are we judging them by the ability to cram their classwork and have good grades? Why can’t we recognize someone who is just passing their exams but is doing very well in the community? That is why we identified a student who is good at music and I linked him to a colleague in India. They are going to record music together.

And the students are responding well. Students are coming up with proposals for project ideas they like and passionate about.

In the recent past, we have seen Victoria University enter into several partnerships with different organizations, are the fruits coming through?

Our collaboration with Speke Group of Hotels offers a better opportunity for internship opportunities. Our collaboration with Victoria Hospital and other hospitals around us is giving us better opportunities for students in the faculty of health sciences to do the internship. Through our other collaborations, we had an international trip to Kenya. These partnerships are important.

As the head of the administrative unit at Victoria University, what challenges have you faced?

My biggest challenge is to find the right human resource in academia. We get so many applications but unfortunately, when we interview them we get disappointed. Many people are trying to make money.

You find someone with four masters but not a PhD. They are doing these master’s not because they love them but because they want to show that they can do this and that because they have studied it. This means you are a jack of all trades and a master of none.

Why would a parent choose to bring his or her child to study at Victoria University?

A parent and student should know why they should join a particular university. There are so many institutions out there. For example, why should one go to a business school when they can help their parents operate a shop or anyone’s shop and start learning on the ground?

What is the essence of going to university, and that is a question that is coming up very often?

Before going to a university, a student and parent should know what the child wants to do for the rest of his or her life. I suggest that parents should help their children identify their passion. 

At Victoria University, we help you identify where your strength lies as an individual. You don’t have to sit in a class with hundreds of other students, you can’t get that Victoria University.

Victoria University has state of the art facilities. Our professors are well vetted before being recruited. Every lecturer is interviewed not just by anyone but the VC, faculty deans, university council and the appointments committee. We are so careful when finding a fulltime staff.

We help students get an internship at the right organizations. We structure internship objectives for students, give them internship introduction letters, pay for the internship and the student will just go to do the internship. Thereafter, the student will have to defend the internship report proposal, even at diploma level. I am surprised many universities in Uganda don’t do it.

We don’t have too much negative bureaucracy. If a student wants to meet me, I am available for mentorship, guidance and guidance. Other members of the management and teaching staff are available. A student doesn’t need to have an appointment to be attended too.

Time To Make Energy Work For Africa

By Prince Arthur Eze

It is long past time that we made energy work for Africa. It is past time that Africa's natural resources benefited Africans; that every African had access to electricity; and that the wealth created by oil and gas would lead to the sustainable development of African economies.

Certainly, much needs to be done to make these dreams a reality, and the continent's top leaders in the energy industry will gather in Cape Town on October 9-11 in Africa Oil & Power 2019 to drive the conversation forward and #MakeEnergyWork.

Thankfully, success stories and opportunities abound.

The incredible story of Senegal, for example, stands as a roadmap on creating a transparent government; building the needed infrastructure to support future development; creating an attractive regulatory framework to bring in much-needed FID and new investment; and for using the oil and gas sector to spur new growth.

The country, led by H.E. Macky Sall, the President of the Republic of Senegal, has seen tremendous growth in the last decade, consistently ranking in the top ten fastest-growing economies in the world. Government reforms, led by Sall, have improved Senegal's image both domestically and abroad, encouraging a string of new investment in oil and gas, electricity, roads, fisheries and tourism.

The outlook for the country's oil and gas sector, led by Sall, is bullish, with two of the world's most-watched projects -- SNE oilfield and the Great Tortue/Ahmeyim gas project -- moving forward. Both are expected to start producing export revenues in the early 2020s.

H.E. Sall, winner of the prestigious "Africa Oil Man of the Year" award during the 2019 Africa Oil & Power conference, has certainly provided Africans with a strong example of leadership and cooperation. We are honored to recognize and support H.E. Sall's achievements and continued efforts at Africa Oil & Power.

At Atlas-Oranto, we are proud to be leading pioneers in the sustainable development of Africa's energy sector, ensuring growth in countries like South Sudan, where we are honored to operate Block B3; in Equatorial Guinea where we operate Block I and in Nigeria, where we operate OML109.

In total, Atlas-Oranto is active in 11 countries in Africa and we are committed to working with the governments and communities of these countries to ensure our operations meet the highest standards of energy development. In Equatorial Guinea, for example, we are currently investing $350 million into the country's gas monetization and backfill project.

At Atlas-Oranto -- Africa's largest privately-held, Africa-focused exploration and production group -- we have faith in Africans, and we invest heavily in frontier markets so that the continent as a whole can continue to grow.

We know first-hand what it takes to get new investments off the ground and how to grow small-to-medium enterprises. It takes boots on the ground, as well as understanding and coordination with our brothers and sisters around the world.

Indeed, with new investment opportunities on the horizon and a new drive to cooperate across borders, now is the time to spur this sustainable growth in Africa with energy as the catalyst.

At Africa Oil & Power 2019, many of these opportunities will be featured, including the ongoing licensing rounds in Equatorial Guinea and Angola; the launch of South Sudan licensing round; and more.

For three days, over 1,200 of Africa's foremost thought leaders, industry experts, private sector executives and government officials will gather together to discuss the incredible role of technology in Africa's energy sector; the rise of renewables; the incredible upstream opportunities from South Africa to Senegal and the need for cooperation.

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