“Gulf-Africa energy cooperation”, Gulf-Africa Investment Forum

Presented: Riyadh, 4-5 December 2010

Extract from background paper (link to website and full pdf).

Energy is arguably the most important physical input required for economic development and a decent standard of living, and yet the supply and availability of modern energy is highly variable around the world and even across the GCC-Africa regions. Energy is now a global commodity supplied by international companies in global or regional markets and creating environmental damage on a regional and global scale. At the same time, increasing potential exists to produce energy locally, but this relies on technology developed in other countries. These simple observations can provide the basis for energy cooperation within and between regions such as the GCC and Africa.

The aim of the paper is to provide a starting point for discussions on the opportunities for Gulf-Africa energy cooperation. The paper starts with a reminder of the distinctiveness of energy policy and of the general need for regional and trans-regional energy policy. This is followed by a brief account of the key features of the energy sectors in the Gulf and Africa and of the principal energy challenges in these regions. The paper then draws on theories relating to public goods as they are applied to regional and trans-regional cooperation and applies them to the energy sector, before concluding by identifying some priority areas for possible GCC-Africa energy cooperation.

The paper does not seek to provide recommendations on specific actions, for the area covered by the GCC and Africa is so large and diverse that this would be beyond the scope of the paper. Rather it seeks to provide a framework for deliberation by policy makers.

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