Last week, Centurion Law Group and African Energy Chamber hosted a local content forum in Senegal, highlighting local content development in the country.
Speaking at the forum, CEO of Centurion Law Group, NJ Ayuk noted the role Africans have to play in developing local content on the continent.
“When I think about local content and all the work we have to do on the African continent to get Africans to be part of this industry, I realize that a lot of it has to be done by us. We have to prepare ourselves. None of this can be accomplished without government assistance,” he said.
Discussing the way forward he defined local content as a value creation that is done in the industry.
With the message being clear that resources in Senegal should benefit its people, Mr. Ayuk said that to move ahead with the development of oil & gas, Senegal needs to learn from its neighboring countries for it to improve processes and policies.
“One needs to look at the mistakes that have been made in Africa, especially in Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon. The beauty of developing oil & gas is that you can learn from your neighbor’s mistakes. You put that together and come up with a local content policy that works for Senegal and is unique to the Senegalese,” he asserted.
Acknowledging the advancement of Senegal’s education system, Mr. Ayuk said: “There is no reason why we cannot transform a civil engineer into a petroleum engineer. It is just a matter of more training.”
He added that education and training would offer people the upper hand in negotiating deals and securing investments that are mutually beneficial.
“One of the key things that made me very successful locally was that during negotiations, we told oil companies that they needed to have local people involved from day one… You must also be careful because if you don´t take the right steps by training people and getting them ready, you will see that integration without necessary preparation leads to frustration. This is a mistake that is made often in the oil & gas industry and we have to start now.”
Lastly, he stated that policy infrastructure and joint ventures would help attract big corporations in creating long lasting relationships with Senegalese engineering firms.
“They can transfer skills and share in contracts to add value and participate. Local content is not corporate social responsibility (CSI), which is often what people in Africa think. CSI is your right…government cannot do everything,” added Mr. Ayuk.