18 August 2014, Abuja – Global infrastructure giant, General Electric (GE), has identified infrastructure deficiency as one of the challenges retarding the growth and development of the oil and gas sector, not only in Nigeria but in the rest of Africa.
Speaking at the 38th Annual International Conference and Exhibition of Society of Petroleum Engineers held recently in Lagos, the Chief Operating Officer of GE Oil and Gas for West Africa, Mr. Uzo Nwagwu, said governments should encourage the development of infrastructure on the continent.
Nwagwu said provision of infrastructure on the continent should be given immediate priority so that private investors could be encouraged to invest in the industry.
“Infrastructural challenges continue to be a deal breaker in discussions so far, with respect to the inadequate gas and pipeline networks and lack of incentives to be able to invest in gas facilities by private investors,” he said.
With the projection that Africa’s population, which is currently about 820 million, will by 2025 increase to one billion, Nwagwu said the time to improve on the existing infrastructure is now.
“The middle class is at 320 million and by 2030, we expect that to be about 420 million. By 2030, we’ll need additional 1000 new aircraft to transport people from point to point. With respect to power generation demands, it will grow at about 10 percent annually from now till about 2025,” he added.
For Africa to harness all the opportunities available, Nwagwu stated that investors and companies like GE needed to be on ground with a deliberate localisation policy hinged on domestic investments, technology and skills transfer as well as job creation.
He said GE already employs over 500 employees in Nigeria alone with a commitment to invest $1 billion in total in Calabar, adding that $250 million from this money has been earmarked as capital expenditure for a multi-modal manufacturing and assembly plant in Calabar.
“When completed, this facility will help create at least 2,300 direct and indirect jobs,” he said.
He restated the commitment of GE to work on things that matter – “the best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges; finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance; building, powering, moving and curing the world; not just imagining.”
– This Day