The scramble for African resources has generally been focused on the extraction of hydrocarbons and minerals for export. A new scramble is now taking shape to target Africa as a market for energy consumption, with gas-fired power lighting the way.
One of the key themes from this year's Africa Oil Week conference in Cape Town is the emerging African market for energy. The world's poorest continent is also the most energy-deprived. Demand is surging because of demographics and potential economic growth, which could produce a strong economic cycle if industrialisation is twinned with urbanisation.
"Most people without access to power are in Africa and the forecasts for population growth are mostly here in Africa," Neal Anderson, the president and CEO of global energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie told Business Maverick on the sidelines of the conference. "Access to energy is a fundamental human right and Africa is going to be key to growth in energy consumption."
Indeed, the United States, which has become the world's top oil and gas producer because of the shale revolution, is eyeing Africa as a market for its fast-growing supplies of liquid natural gas (LNG).
"We expect to be a net energy exporter next year, but...