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Merck Foundation celebrating legacy to transform patient care landscape in Africa together with Ghana First Lady

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Merck Foundation (www.Merck-Foundation.com) marked a milestone of providing 146 scholarships to Ghanian doctors in 42 critical specialties during their annual Alumni Summit – Celebrating their legacy of transforming patient care landscape in Ghana; Merck Foundation Ghana Alumni Summit and Merck Foundation Awards Ceremony 2024 were conducted in Accra, chaired by Ghana First Lady and Merck Foundation CEO and Chairman.

Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany conducted the Merck Foundation Ghana Annual Summit and Awards Ceremony 2024 in Accra, Ghana, chaired by The First Lady of Ghana, H.E. Mrs. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, Chairman of Merck Foundation Board of Trustees, Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, and CEO of Merck Foundation, Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej. During the Summit, they met and acknowledged the Merck Foundation Alumni and the Winners of the Merck Foundation Recognition Awards 2023 from Ghana.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and President of “More Than a Mother” Campaign emphasized, “It is a great honor to meet my dear sister, H.E. The First Lady of Republic of Ghana and the Ambassador of “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” to discuss our long-term partnership, celebrate our great achievements and mark an important milestone of success and impact of our programs, since 2018. I am very happy to share that we have together transformed the patientcare landscape of Ghana by providing 146 scholarships of One-Year Online PG Diploma and Two-Year Master Degree for local doctors in many underserved and critical medical specialties in Ghana such as Fertility, Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiology, Endocrinology, Respiratory, Acute Medicine, Sexual and Reproductive care, Embryology, Respiratory, Critical care, Psychiatry, General Surgery, Dermatology, Emergency and Resuscitation Medicine, Gastroenterology, Neuroimaging for Research, Pain Management, Rheumatology, and Neonatal Medicine and more. This is a huge milestone and revolution in patient care across Ghana.

Moreover, it was amazing to felicitate the 33 winners of Merck Foundation Media, Fashion and Song Awards 2022 and 2023 from Ghana and discuss with them the critical role they can play to create a culture shift, be the voice of the voiceless and be the Merck Foundation health and social champions”, added Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej.

Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg Haverkamp, Merck Foundation Board of Trustees emphasized, “Our aim is to improve the overall health and wellbeing of people by building healthcare capacity across Africa, Asia and other developing countries. We are strongly committed to transforming patientcare landscape through our scholarships program.”

H.E. Mrs. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Republic of Ghana, Ambassador of “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” expressed, “It is a pleasure to welcome and meet Merck Foundation Chairman and CEO to our country. Together we celebrated an important milestone of the great success of our joined programs and also shared the impact of our partnership journey that we have with Merck Foundation to build healthcare capacity, transform patientcare, break infertility stigma and support girl education in our country since 2018.

In a very short time, we have been able to provide 146 scholarships to our young doctors in many specialties which are very critical for us.”

Merck Foundation has provided 1810 scholarships to doctors from 52 countries in 42 critical and underserved medical specialties.

“Merck Foundation and The First Lady of Ghana are together transforming the cancer care in the country,” Dr. Rasha Kelej Added.

Out of the total 146 scholarships provided in Ghana, Merck Foundation has provided 39 scholarships to doctors for Fertility, Embryology, Sexual&Reproductive Medicine and Women’s Health. This is a huge number that will advance women’s health in the country.

61 scholarships have been provided for Diabetes, Endocrinology, Preventive Cardiovascular, and Obesity&Weight Management, for Ghanaian doctors from different provinces across the country, which is very important to improve access to quality and equitable diabetes and hypertension patient care not only in Accra but nationwide. After completion of the course, these doctors will be able to establish diabetes or hypertension clinics in their Health Centre or Hospital with the aim to help prevent and manage the disease in their own communities.

6 scholarships have been provided to doctors for Oncology.

Moreover, Merck Foundation has also provided 40 scholarships to Ghanian doctors for other critical and underserved specialties like Acute Medicine, Respiratory, Critical care, General Surgery, Dermatology, Psychiatry, Gastroenterology, Pain Management and many more, as part of Merck Foundation Capacity Advancement Program.

During the Summit, Merck Foundation Awards Ceremony was held, during which Merck Foundation Chairman, Merck Foundation CEO together with Ghana First Lady met and acknowledged the 33 Winners of the Merck Foundation Awards.

Moreover, Merck Foundation also conducted their Health Media Training in partnership with The First Lady of Ghana and Ghana Journalists Association for the Ghanian journalists, to emphasize on the important role that media plays to influence society to create a cultural shift with the aim to address wide range of social and health issues such as: Breaking Infertility Stigma, Supporting Girl Education, Women Empowerment, Ending Child Marriage, Ending FGM, and/ or Stopping GBV at all levels; to underscore the importance of Empowering Girls and Women in Education and to understand the Influence of infertility stigma and other social issues like GBV, Child Marriage, FGM etc. on women and couples – Social and Psychological Impact. Apart from this, the media training also included a session on the importance of increasing the awareness of early detection and prevention of Diabetes and Hypertension. The training session was addressed by prominent Medical and Media Experts.

Moreover, Merck Foundation is working closely with Ghana First Lady foundation  to inspire girls and sensitize communities about the importance of girl education. As a part of their ‘Educating Linda’ program, Merck Foundation will sponsor the education of 20 deserving schoolgirls. Together, they also executed the TV program “Because I Want To Be” with the aim to reduce dropout rate for adolescent girls and make sure they stay on in school till after SHS and to provide employable skills to adolescent girls who cannot go back to school.

“I really believe that when the girls are educated, their countries become more powerful, stronger&prosperous”, added Senator Kelej.  

Moreover, Merck Foundation Chairman, and Merck Foundation CEO together with The First Lady of Ghana signed  a few copies of their different children’s storybooks titled: “More Than a Mother” created for children and youth to emphasize and strengthen family values of love and respect from an early age; “Educating Aku”, “Jackline’s Rescue” and “Ride into the Future”  to emphasize on the importance of empowering girls through education, “Not Who You Are” to teach boys to love and respect their future wives and eliminate domestic violence, to emphasize on the importance of empowering girls through education and “Sugar Free Jude” and “Mark’s Pressure” to promote a healthy lifestyle and raise awareness on the early detection and prevention of Diabetes&Hypertension. Thousands of  copies of these storybooks are going to be distributed to school students of Ghana.

Winners from Ghana in partnership with The First Lady of Ghana, H.E. Mrs. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO&Ambassador of Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” are:

Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” Media Recognition Awards 2023

Raissa Sambou, The Spectator, First Position, Print Category
Emelia Naa Ayeley Aryee, Myjoyonline, First Position, Online Category
Mavis Offei Acheampong, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Second Position, Radio Category
Emmanuel Samani, TV3, First Position, Multimedia Category
Stanley Nii Blewu, TV3, Second Position, Multimedia Category

Merck Foundation “Diabetes&Hypertension” Media Awards 2023

Jennifer Ambolley, Chronicle, First Position, Print Category
Godwin Awuni Anafo, Daily Graphic, Second Position, Print Category
Muniratu Akweley Issah, Ghana News Agency, Second Position, Online Category
Cecilia Lagba Yada, Ghanaian Times, Third Position, Online Category
Grace Hammoah Agyemang, TV3, First Position, Multimedia Category

Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” Media Recognition Awards 2022

Agnes Opoku Sarpong, New Times Corporation, First Position, Print Category
Georgina Appiah, www.CitiNewsroom.com, First Position, Online Category
Raissa Sambou, Ghanaian Times, Third Position, Online Category
Emelia Naa Ayeley Aryee, Freelance Journalist, Third Position, Online Category
Mavis Offei Acheampong, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, First Position, Radio Category
Ohemeng Tawiah, JoyNews TV, First Position, Multimedia Category
Emmanuel Bright Quaicoe&Anita Serwaa Adzoga, Multimedia Group, Third Position, Multimedia Category
Sarah Apenkroh, TV3, Third Position, Multimedia Category

Merck Foundation “Diabetes&Hypertension” Media Awards 2022

Abigail Nana Efua Arthur, Ghanaian Times, First Position, Print Category
Ernest Senanu Dovlo, Metro Television Online, Second Position, Online Category
Vida Essel, www.GhanaPlus.com, Third Position, Online Category
Muniratu Akweley Issah, Ghana News Agency, Third Position, Online Category
Zadok Kwame Gyesi, Daily Graphic Online, Third Position, Online Category
Sarah Teiki Ofori, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, First Position, Multimedia Category

Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” Fashion Awards 2022

Esther Awukubea
David Kwabena Appiah
Ambe Odette Awah (Ody Fachy)

Merck Foundation “Diabetes&Hypertension” Fashion Awards 2022

Eric Adomako
Linda Mensah
Dorcas Baliki
Jude Aryeetey 
Bridgette Prah

Merck Foundation “More Than a Mother” Song Awards 2022

Fouad Sarpong (eftii)

During the training session, the Call for applications for their 8 important awards in partnership with The First Lady of Ghana were announced for Media, Musicians, Fashion Designers, Filmmakers, students, and new potential talents in these fields. Details of the awards below:

Details of the Awards:

1. Merck Foundation Africa Media Recognition Awards “More Than a Mother” 2024: Media representatives and media students are invited to showcase their work to raise awareness about one or more of the following social issues such as: Breaking Infertility Stigma, Supporting Girl Education, Women Empowerment, Ending Child Marriage, Ending FGM, and/ or Stopping GBV at all levels.

Submission deadline: 30th September 2024.

2. Merck Foundation Film Awards “More Than a Mother” 2024:  All African Filmmakers, Students of Film Making Training Institutions, or Young Talents of Africa are invited to create and share a long or short FILMS, either drama, documentary, or docudrama to deliver strong and influential messages to address one or more of the following social issues such as: Breaking Infertility Stigma, Supporting Girl Education, Women Empowerment, Ending Child Marriage, Ending FGM, and/ or Stopping GBV at all levels.

Submission deadline: 30th September 2024.

3. Merck Foundation Fashion Awards “More Than a Mother” 2024: All African Fashion Students and Designers are invited to create and share designs to deliver strong and influential messages to raise awareness about one or more of the following social issues such as: Breaking Infertility Stigma, Supporting Girl Education, Women Empowerment, Ending Child Marriage, Ending FGM, and/ or Stopping GBV at all levels.

Submission deadline: 30th September 2024.

4. Merck Foundation Song Awards “More Than a Mother” 2024: All African Singers and Musical Artists are invited to create and share a SONG with the aim to address one or more of the following social issues such as: Breaking Infertility Stigma, Supporting Girl Education, Women Empowerment, Ending Child Marriage, Ending FGM, and/ or Stopping GBV at all levels.

Submission deadline: 30th September 2024.

5. Merck Foundation Media Recognition Awards 2024 “Diabetes&Hypertension”: Media representatives are invited to showcase their work through strong and influential messages to promote a healthy lifestyle and raise awareness about the prevention and early detection of Diabetes and Hypertension.

Submission deadline: 30th October 2024.

6. Merck Foundation Film Awards 2024 “Diabetes&Hypertension”: All African Filmmakers, Students of Film Making Training Institutions, or Young Talents of Africa are invited to create and share a long or short FILMS, either drama, documentary, or docudrama to deliver strong and influential messages to promote a healthy lifestyle raise awareness about prevention and early detection of Diabetes and Hypertension.

Submission deadline: 30th October 2024.

7. Merck Foundation Fashion Awards 2024 “Diabetes&Hypertension”: All African Fashion Students and Designers are invited to create and share designs to deliver strong and influential messages to promote a healthy lifestyle and raise awareness about the prevention and early detection of Diabetes and Hypertension.

Submission deadline: 30th October 2024.

8. Merck Foundation Song Awards 2024 “Diabetes&Hypertension”: All African Singers and Musical Artists are invited to create and share a SONG with the aim to promote a healthy lifestyle and raise awareness about the prevention and early detection of Diabetes and Hypertension.

Submission deadline: 30th October 2024.

Entries for all the awards are to be submitted via email to:

submit@merck-foundation.com

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Merck Foundation.

More images: https://apo-opa.co/3VIGfAh

Contact details:
Mehak Handa
Community Awareness Program Manager
+91 9310087613/ +91 9319606669
mehak.handa@external.merckgroup.com

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About Merck Foundation:
The Merck Foundation, established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to quality&equitable healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth. All Merck Foundation press releases are distributed by e-mail at the same time they become available on the Merck Foundation Website.  Please visit www.Merck-Foundation.com to read more. Follow the social media of Merck Foundation: Facebook (https://apo-opa.co/4cjasLt), Twitter (https://apo-opa.co/4emj3yL), Instagram (https://apo-opa.co/45lAZFV), YouTube (https://apo-opa.co/4eluve2) and Flickr (https://apo-opa.co/4ejATm9).

Faced with the threat of regional disintegration in West Africa, resignation is not an option (By Dr Olakounlé Gilles Yabi)

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By Dr Olakounlé Gilles Yabi, Founder and CEO of the citizen think tank WATHI (www.WATHI.org).

In 2014, when I was working to launch the citizen think tank WATHI, I wrote the following in the concept note I proposed to dozens of friends interested in the present and future of West Africa:

West Africa is a very young region. The proportion of the population aged under 25 in each country of the region exceeds 60%. Demographic growth in West Africa will remain strong in the medium term. The prospects outlined by the region demographic projections entail daunting security, economic and social challenges for countries whose states and economies are mostly weak. These demographic trends, together with the region’s abundant natural resources and the weakness of local production systems, are some of the reasons behind the renewed interest in African economies shown by old and new dominant players in the global economy. However, if the enthusiasm regarding West Africa’s economic promise is not tempered by an overall acknowledgment of the security and political threats the region is facing, the result will likely be further disillusionment’.

One of the worst scenarios we could have imagined ten years ago

Ten years after this diagnosis of the state of the region, the situation in West Africa in 2024 looks grimly like one of the worst-case scenarios we could have imagined back then. I’m among those who believe that we need to change the narrative about our part of the world, about Africa in general. However, the desire to highlight the positive developments in many areas, the extraordinary potential of our young people, should not distract us from a dispassionate observation of the reality of the moment. The only way we will be able to bring about the much-needed changes in political practices in the region is through a candid observation of the state of affairs in the region.

West Africa is currently facing unprecedented level of security and political uncertainty. Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria are among the 10 countries most affected by terrorism in the world. This however is only a partial reflection of the spread of insecurity, the rivialization of violence and the overall worrisome consequences on social cohesion and the physical and mental health of millions of children who are growing up in a context of violence and without any educational or emotional support from their families.

In four countries undergoing transition following coups d’état (Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Niger), there is no regional institutional framework to set limits on military rulers who have no internal checks and balances. However, the restrictions on political freedoms and freedom of expression by those regimes, against a backdrop of growing economic difficulties for the population, are beginning to provoke protests and strikes, despite the high risks of repression and threat of imprisonment.

In some other West African countries that are formally democratic and run by civilians, checks and balances exist only in theory, and in reality, there is little possibility of political alternation. In many countries presidents have taken the initiative to revise or change the constitution to evade term limit and remain in power indefinitely. The recent constitutional reform in Togo, a country that has not had a democratic transition for 57 years, provided another shocking example of a parody of democracy in West Africa. The content of the country’s supreme law, which abolishes presidential elections by universal suffrage, was not made public until after its enactment. And even in the few countries that are often held up as examples of political alternation through credible elections, with the possible exception of Cabo Verde, the general perception held by citizens is that resources and economic opportunities are monopolised by small circles of relatives, friends and political allies. Democracy and elections continue to unbearably accommodate high levels of corruption, mismanagement and embezzlement.

An unprecedented crisis in regional integration

The simultaneous announcement on 28 January 2024 by the governments in power in Bamako, Ouagadougou and Niamey to leave ECOWAS opened up an unprecedented crisis in the process of regional integration in West Africa. We have all become witness to the continued strained relationship between neighboring countries such as Benin and Niger, a distressing waste of time and energy at a moment when communities continue to be impoverished by restrictions on cross-border economic activities.

The next few months will be decisive for the regional integration process. The decision of Burkina, Mali and Niger to leave ECOWAS enable military leaders in those three countries to free themselves from ECOWAS supervision of transition and related constraints. They were also able to make this announcement because they knew that the short-term political and economic cost would be limited. As a matter of fact, they did not withdraw from the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), which brings together eight countries that share a common currency, the CFA franc (seven countries that were once colonies of France and have been joined by Guinea Bissau in 1997). Membership of WAEMU allows these countries to retain most of the benefits of regional integration within this sub-area of ECOWAS. In addition, leaving WAEMU is more difficult and requires prior preparations than exiting ECOWAS.

The political cost of leaving ECOWAS was also limited because the military leaders were aware of the degraded image of the regional organisation among a large part of West African population, not only in the Sahel. ECOWAS’ management of the coup d’état in Niger dealt a blow to the regional organization’s perception among West African public opinion. The political and symbolic impact offered an unhoped-for opportunity for the military leaders to portray themselves as the victims of a plot by their own regional organisation to launch a military intervention in one of its own member states.

A regional organisation always reflects the political will, capacities and dynamics of its member states

Many West Africans reduce ECOWAS to the Conference of Heads of State and Government, which takes decisions on political and security issues at ordinary and extraordinary summits. All the other dimensions of integration that are the subject of the daily work of the Commission, other bodies and specialised agencies, are simply not known or poorly known.

The vast majority of young people in urban and rural areas have no precise knowledge of the history of regional integration, of the major stages in the construction of ECOWAS since 1975, of the benefits of regional integration for the people, of ECOWAS’s decisive diplomatic and military interventions in countries in armed conflict in the 1990s and 2000s. Few citizens of West African countries can mention the names and missions of ECOWAS’s two specialised agencies. Few are aware of the existence and crucial role of the Court of Justice, which can be seized by any citizen of a member country even before domestic remedies have been exhausted. This court is a great tool for the promotion and protection of human rights in West Africa. However, it has consistently been undermined by the same member states which created it and who often do not abide by its rulings. The region is therefore paying the price for what has not been done in terms of education, the inclusion of regional integration issues in curricula and overall communication on regional integration.

There is a great deal of confusion between what is the responsibility of the Member States and what is that of ECOWAS. Many people are fiercely critical of ECOWAS because they expect it to be a substitute for states, a means of freeing themselves from their weaknesses, their dysfunctions and sometimes the lack of legitimacy of their leaders. It is not ECOWAS that chooses the Heads of State of the member countries, but the latter then form the college of ultimate political decision-makers of the organisation. This is true of all regional organisations worldwide. Regional organisations cannot work miracles in the absence of impetus, strong will and capacity for action on the part of the member countries, or at least a core group of influential countries among them. A regional organisation always depends on its member states, which can give or refrain from giving the organisation the means to act and the freedom it needs to implement its integration agenda.

It must be acknowledged that some very unfortunate decisions have been taken by the ECOWAS Conference of Heads of State and Government in recent years. It is also necessary to recognise the structural shortcomings, while welcoming the many achievements of ECOWAS over the past 49 years and the immensity of the ground covered. If the record had been better in terms of regional infrastructure, for example if ECOWAS had been able to lead and ensure the effective implementation of a regional rail network programme, if the record had been better in terms of the harmonisation of sectoral policies and the promotion of regional integration in education systems, the political cost to each Member State of leaving the Community would have been much higher. And that rubicon would have been much harder to cross even for authorities who have seized power by force.

What is at stake is the West Africa we want for our children

Alongside discreet diplomatic efforts, a public campaign is needed to explain why ECOWAS is an essential, crucial institution for the future of West Africa. The ECOWAS Commission must speak directly to the people. The organisation should explain the raison d’être of the additional protocol on democracy and good governance. It should also explain the reasoning behind the broadening over the years of its missions and objectives, beyond economic integration. Those who criticise ECOWAS for straying from its original economic mission, for violating the sovereignty of states by interfering in internal political issues, are either ignoring the rational evolution of the organisation’s rules and regulations in responding to armed conflicts and violent political crises, or are acting in bad faith. We must, however, accept a debate with all these voices acting in good faith or not. We need to explain how the promotion of the rule of law in the region is not just a dream of westernised elites who are out of touch with reality, and how it is the only way to protect all citizens of West African countries from arbitrariness.

More than ever, West Africa needs a strong ECOWAS that focuses on clear priorities. We need an ECOWAS that develops its capacity for strategic thinking by capitalising on the region’s human resources, including the diaspora. We need an ECOWAS that helps to protect the region from the potentially devastating consequences of battles for influence between powers on West African soil. As we all know, without perhaps realising the magnitude of the threat, this battle is also being waged in cyberspace, where opinions and certainties are spouted all day long via social media, in order to suppress any hindsight, critical thinking or attachment to facts in people’s minds.

We need an ECOWAS that gives young people reasons to dream. We need to create and maintain a desire for integration. We also need the demographic, economic and military powerhouse of the region to act as a driving force. We need a committed Nigeria and a core of personalities in each of the countries in the region who are genuinely committed to the integration project. Let me reiterate: no regional organisation exists without its member countries and without the social, political, economic and cultural forces that shape the development of each of these countries.

What will be at stake in the coming months is the shape and the type of West African region we want for our youth, our children for decades to come. The choice before us is that of continuing belief in the possibility of making West Africa a region of collective progress and freedom, where fundamental rights are protected or resignation. The latter is undesirable because it implies accepting that our region is deeply fragmented, that each country becomes inward looking and focuses on what it perceives as its strictly national interests. It would mean accepting the real and very high risk of a return, almost everywhere, to autocratic regimes where leaders are accountable to no one. We have already experienced this in the past in a majority of countries in the region and on the African continent. It was not a resounding success. Resignation is therefore not an option.

This article is a modified and expanded version of Gilles Yabi’s speech at a public event organised by the ECOWAS observation mission at the United Nations to mark the regional organisation’s 49th anniversary, New York, 7 June 2024.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of West Africa Think Tank (WATHI).

For media enquiries:
Please contact:
Ms Hadidjette Kangouline
Communication Officer
hadji.kangouline@wathi.org

About the author: 
Dr Olakounlé Gilles Yabi is the founder and CEO of the citizen think tank WATHI, whose ambition is to nurture a permanent, informed and constructive public debate on all issues crucial to the future of each West African country and the region as a whole. He holds a doctorate in development economics and was a journalist with the weekly Jeune Afrique before heading the West Africa project of the International Crisis Group. Also a non-resident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a US-based think tank, he hosts the weekly column ‘Ça fait débat avec WATHI’ on Radio France Internationale (RFI). 

About WATHI: 
For information about WATHI and full access to our publications and events, visit www.WATHI.org, and our Youtube channel (WATHI Think Tank). Follow us on X, Linkedin, Facebook and Instagram.

ExxonMobil’s Project Portfolio, Commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) to Bolster Growth in Angola

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ExxonMobil could inject as much as $15 billion into the development of Angola’s hydrocarbon reserves by 2030, following the success of commercial oil discoveries in the southern African country. The energy major is developing a series of large-scale projects and is committed to supporting community development through capacity building and outreach programs aimed at improving STEM-related opportunities. These endeavors are poised to strengthen the Angolan oil and gas industry while bolstering industrialization and broader economic growth.

This week, the African Energy Chamber – led by Executive Chairman NJ Ayuk – met with company leaders from ExxonMobil as part of a working visit to the country. During the meeting, the parties discussed the government’s efforts in opening up the sector and how fiscal policies have made doing business in Angola that much more competitive. ExxonMobil – celebrating 30 years of operations in Angola – has been at the forefront of many large-scale developments in the country, and the major’s renewed focus on infrastructure-led exploration; local content development; and investments in STEM will unlock new opportunities for the country. 

ExxonMobil’s rich production history in Angola underscores both the country’s oil and gas potential and the company’s commitment to spurring development in Africa. Considered a golden block, the company’s deepwater Block 15 in Angola represents one of the most successful offshore concessions in the region, with 18 commercial discoveries made. Producing for 20 years, the block hit a milestone of 2.5 billion barrels of cumulative oil production in 2023. This year, ExxonMobil made an oil discovery at the Likember-01 research well in the block. The operation, which took place in the Kizomba B development area, revealed the existence of high-quality hydrocarbon-bearing sand packages. The find follows a discovery made in 2022 at the Bavuca South-1 exploration well in Block 15, which formed part of a redevelopment plan to deliver 40,000 barrels per day (bpd) of new oil production.  

The development area is operated by ExxonMobil and developed in partnership with Angola’s state-owned Sonangol and international energy companies Equinor and Azule Energy. The Likembe-01 well is the first to be drilled as part of a broader incremental production initiative, which is spearheaded by Angola’s national concessionaire, the National Oil, Gas and Biofuels Agency and aims to increase output at already-producing concessions in the country. ExxonMobil also has an 20% participating interest in Block 17, a 15% participating interest in Block 32 and continues to operate Blocks 30, 44 and 45 in the Namib Basin, offshore Angola, with a 60% participating interest in the three blocks. This month, ExxonMobil surpassed a production level of 200,000 bpd. This represents significant materiality, a key condition for establishing Angola as a competitive oil province as well as positioning the country as a top performer in the company’s global portfolio.

Going forward, the company is committed to drilling in the Namibe basin, with plans to invest $200 million to drill an offshore frontier exploration well by the end of 2024 in partnership with Sonangol. The campaign aims to uncover new oil and gas reserves in Angola’s underexplored acreage and, if successful, the supermajor could inject as much as $15 billion into the development of the basin by 2030. The development of a large commercial discovery is poised to result in revenue of between $20 billion and $40 billion for the country, which will serve to promote socioeconomic development, economic diversification and local content and community advancement.

“ExxonMobil’s investment in Angola continues to grow because of the enabling environment that the government continues to create for the industry. The government is making sure that the country remains competitive – especially in terms of fiscals – and is significantly improving market attractiveness for companies. This enables world-class project developments and the AEC commends the government for laying this strong foundation,” stated Ayuk.

Apart from oil and gas development, ExxonMobil is a strong advocate for STEM-related education in Angola. The company is committed to advancing opportunities for Angolan people in this area and strives to address challenges related to STEM education in the country. Specifically, the company aims to create opportunities for girls and women in STEM. During the AEC-ExxonMobil meeting, the parties discussed the critical role investments in STEM play in the country and how the company is spearheading efforts to promote education. Additionally, the parties outlined the vital role of women in the energy sector. For its part, ExxonMobil has been at the forefront of promoting gender equality in the industry. Industry leaders such as Melissa Bond, former Country Manager for Angola at ExxonMobil, and Katrina Fisher, Lead Country Manager/Managing Director for Angola at ExxonMobil, have championed these endeavors. During the upcoming AEW: Invest in African Energy conference this November (4-8), the AEC aims to bring women in energy and STEM discussions to the main stage, highlighting the importance of these topics.

Meanwhile, ExxonMobil has been outspoken in its philanthropic efforts in Angola. In May, ExxonMobil and the National Basketball Association (NBA) Africa announced the launch of a new Jr. NBA League in Luanda. The new league will feature 40 boys’ and girls’ teams for youths in the country aged 16 and under. The league is set to reach as many as 10,000 youth participants in 2024. The league will culminate with the playoffs and finals in September this year and will feature all-girls basketball clinics as part of the NBA’s Her Time to Play initiative – providing opportunities for girls to play the game and pursue careers in coaching and athletic leadership.

“The AEC commends the progress ExxonMobil continues to make in promoting women in energy, STEM-related education and economic growth in Angola. The company has been a champion of these critical issues and the AEC looks forward to working closely with the company to support the next generation of oil, gas and science in Africa,” concluded Ayuk.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Energy Chamber.

Transforming Angola’s Oil and Gas (O&G) Sector: National Oil, Gas & Biofuels Agency (ANPG’s) Six-Year Licensing Round Attracts Global Investment

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The six-year licensing round, launched by Angola’s national concessionaire – the National Oil, Gas&Biofuels Agency (ANPG) – has been a cornerstone in the country’s strategy to attract and secure substantial investments in its oil and gas sector. With up to 55 blocks on offer in total, the licensing round is designed to offer regular and transparent opportunities for IOCs and competitive Angolan operators to explore and develop the country’s hydrocarbon potential.

Representing the voice of the African energy sector, the African Energy Chamber (AEC) – led by Executive Chairman NJ Ayuk – met with ANPG CEO and Chairman Paulino Jerónimo in Launda as part of a working visit to the country this week. The parties discussed measures in place to enhance the country’s enabling environment and the profound impact of the ongoing multi-year licensing round. The ANPG has been making great strides towards attracting foreign investment in exploration and production in line with national objectives to stimulate oil production and drive long-term economic growth. The AEC commends the efforts by the regulator and believes the foundations have been laid for industry-wide expansion.

Recent developments in the industry underscore the impact of license reform and promotion. In January 2024, the ANPG concluded the country’s 2023 licensing round, whereby 12 blocks were available in the Lower Congo and Kwanza basins. The regulator announced that 53 bids were submitted, demonstrating the scale of interest in the country’s acreage. The tender invited both national and international entities to participate, emphasizing criteria for operator status and the formation of contractor groups for the onshore blocks. Looking ahead, the ANPG is preparing for the next round of the licensing initiative, which is expected to further stimulate investments and partnerships, offering more opportunities for stakeholders to capitalize on Angola’s proven reserves. Featuring 10 blocks in the Kwanza and Benguela basins, the round will be launched in 2025.

Meanwhile, the ANPG is actively promoting exploration and production in the frontier Namibe Basin, confident in its identified leads and matured prospects across blocks and free areas. Energy major ExxonMobil plans to invest $200 million into exploring Blocks 30, 44 and 45 in the Namibe Basin, where the company, in partnership with NOC Sonangol, plans to drill an offshore frontier exploration well by late 2024.

Additionally, the ANPG’s extensive operational scope includes overseeing more than 40 operational concessions across Angola, with 16 currently in production across various offshore and onshore categories. These include three onshore, five in shallow water, six in deep water, and two in ultra-deep water. In addition to the production activities, there are numerous concessions under exploration – including 14 onshore blocks, one in shallow water, 11 in deep water and one in ultra-deep water. Further development efforts are ongoing for four deep-water concessions. The pipeline of future opportunities includes seven upcoming concessions. Additionally, there are concessions currently under negotiation, which consist of four onshore blocks located in the Lower Congo and Kwanza Basins, and three deep-water blocks (24, 49 and 50). This extensive array of operational, exploratory and developmental concessions highlights the significant potential and active investment landscape within Angola’s oil and gas sector.

Investing in Angola’s energy sector presents a strategic opportunity for several compelling reasons. The nation boasts a track record of successful exploration and production in both deepwater and onshore regions. Angola is the second-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa and is recognized as one of the top five most attractive countries globally for oil and gas investments, with a success rate of over 30% in its oil and gas opportunities. The presence of major IOCs such as Chevron, TotalEnergies, Azule Energy and ExxonMobil  -alongside competitive operators such as Afentra and Etu Energias – highlights the diversity of its investor base. Furthermore, the potential for partnerships with other IOCs and proficient Angolan operators enables the leveraging of local expertise and resources, fostering mutual benefit.

Several legislative reforms have been enacted to bolster Angola’s investment climate. These reforms encompass a range of initiatives, including Presidential Legislative Decrees 5/18, 6/18, and 7/18, which address exploration, development and production, including marginal fields and natural gas. Additionally, Presidential Decree 91/18 establishes rules and procedures for abandonment activities, while Presidential Decree 49/19 designates ANPG as the regulator of oil and gas activities. Furthermore, Presidential Decree 271/20 promotes local content development, and Presidential Decree 249/21 focuses on permanent offers. Finally, Presidential Decree 52/19 outlines the general strategy for awarding petroleum concessions from 2019 to 2025.

“Under the leadership of Jerónimo, the ANPG’s proactive approach in revitalizing Angola’s oil and gas sector is transforming the landscape of exploration and production, both onshore and offshore. The regulator’s comprehensive efforts are not only enhancing the country’s energy security but also attracting significant investment opportunities. This revitalization is crucial for Angola’s economic growth, creating jobs, and ensuring that the nation remains a competitive player in the global energy market,” stated Ayuk.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Energy Chamber.