Story By Olabode Jegede
President Muhamadu Buhari has thrown his weight behind the $1 billion recapitalisation of the African Energy Investment Corporation (AEICORP) at the extraordinary session of the Council of Ministers of African Petroleum Producers’ Organisation (APPO) in Abuja.
Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, pleaded with the council to support the recapitalisation to boost regular power supply in the continent.
He said, “Out of the 850 million people in the world living without access to modern energy, Africa had over 600 million people. There was a need to recapitalise the corporation as it was part of the recommendations and necessary changes submitted by the APPO secretariat to help grow the energy sector in Africa.
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”Among the changes introduced are the opening up of equity ownership to private and financial institutions; recapitalisation of equity to $1 billion and the establishment of a new board of directors with membership from both the public and private sectors.
“In other words, the AEICORP shall not be solely owned by sovereign countries of APPO anymore. It is now to be owned by both sovereign and private investors,” he said.
Speaking further, Buhari said that due to the global paradigm shift from oil as energy source, investment funds were fast drying up for the oil industry. He said all this was happening at a time where Africa was finding more oil and gas and without the required funds it would remain untapped and unaccessed.
He called on member countries to ensure consequential investment by sovereign wealth funds and national oil companies through making equity subscription to AEICORP.
Buhari assured and emphasized that the subscription would ensure investment by other designated organisations of existing members and non-members of APPO, African/international private banks, financial institutions and African/international private investors.