UN says petrochemicals could contribute to Africa's development

11159833124 b6e223fced zStephen Karingi is optimistic about the potential for petrochemicals in Africa. (Image Source: UNIDO)The African petrochemicals sector could play an important role in growth and industrialisation, according to Stephen Karingi, director of the United Nationals Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

Speaking at an expert group meeting on the petrochemicals cluster for Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) member countries in Addis Ababa, Mr Karingi said that value addition in the petrochemicals sector has a huge potential to contribute to Africa’s industrialisation, especially given the continent’s endowment in crude oil and natural gas, which are increasingly being discovered in IGAD countries.

Citing the success of Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote and the Dangote Group, Mr. Karingi said the importance of petrochemicals is not going unnoticed in the continent.

“Dangote Group is an African industrial conglomerate. It feels that the big growth opportunities are mainly in Africa,” he said.

The Dangote Group is expanding with a market capitalisation of about US$25 billion in 2015, aiming to reach US$100 billion by the year 2020 and it operates from Nigeria, the biggest oil exporter of the continent. It is currently building an oil refinery in Nigeria. This is part of what is expected to be the world's biggest petrochemical complex.

“This example could certainly be replicated in the IGAD region, where many countries are still net importers of refined petroleum products. Not to mention the opportunities provided by downstream activities,” said Mr Karingi.

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