On 21st August, 2020, the SADC Secretariat in collaboration with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), The NEPAD Business Foundation (NBF), The SADC Business Council and the SADC Development Finance Resource Centre (DFRC) convened a webinar to present key outcomes and recommendations of the report on Regional Gas Master Plan Phase 1 (RGMP).
The Regional Gas Master Plan Phase 1 is expected to provide a strategic framework and blueprint to take advantage of available opportunities due to the discovery of commercially exploitable quantities of gas in SADC region. The Phase 1 study was developed to map the natural gas supply profile and associated costs to get the gas to targeted markets within SADC, and elsewhere in the continent and internationally.
The study also made assessment of the markets within SADC, and other Regional Economic Communities as well as identifying industries, potential off-takers, likely volumes and offtake profiles and Identified potential key actors and stakeholders that must be involved, directly or indirectly, through the different stages of development of the RGMP.
The report further took into cognizance the trends and outlook of the natural gas industry globally and how these interact or could impact on the RGMP and compiled a database of relevant reports and studies about natural gas resources in the Region and provided an assessment of the natural gas value chains and networks within the SADC region.
The Study further unpacks challenges that must be addressed in order to build a robust gas economy in the SADC region and looked at the potential contribution of the natural gas sector towards the achievements of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP), SADC Industrial Development Strategy and Roadmap, Africa Union Agenda 2063 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Delivering introductory remarks, Director of Infrastructure at SADC Secretariat, Ms. Mapolao Rosemary Mokoena outlined the historical background of the study and also underscored that energy plays a critical role in the regional economy, health services provision, and promotion of regional integration. She highlighted that the webinar offered opportunities for engagement with different stakeholders in the gas industry to come up with tangible results in the short to medium term that will add value to the aspiration of SADC on promoting sustainable economic growth and enhancement of livelihoods of the citizens.
For his part, the NEPAD Business Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Mr Peter Varndell, encouraged private sector players in the gas and energy sector to continue to engage, collaborate and support the public sector in the execution of the government endorsed and supported industrialisation strategy for the region of which natural gas is a clear enabler.
On behalf of the key cooperating partner in this initiative, the DBSA Group Executive, Mr Mohan Vivekanandan informed the participants that the Bank supported and financed the RGMP phase 1 study and that the Bank has been working in the gas infrastructure developments in Mozambique and South Africa in the past years. He further emphasized that DBSA is willing to partner with other Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and the private sector to support both soft and hard gas infrastructure projects including development of liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities in Mozambique and other parts of the Region.
In his closing remarks, the SADC DFRC, Head of Public Private Partnerships Mr. Kogan Pillay highlighted that natural gas has been one of the primary sources of energy in the developed countries such as Canada for decades and as such, it is prime time to develop Regional gas markets. Thereafter, he thanked the participants for their contributions and comments received. He also thanked the Organisations that were at the forefront in organising the Webinar for the job well done.
The Webinar was held to sensitize the business community, private sector, financing institutions and International Cooperating Partners on the key outcomes and recommendations of RGMP.
The development of the Regional Gas Master, follows the Directive by 37th Summit of Heads of State and Government, in August 2017 in Pretoria, Republic of South Africa. The Summit directed SADC Secretariat to develop the Regional Gas Master Plan and to ensure inclusion and promotion of natural gas into the regional energy mix and to further facilitate an increase in universal access to energy as well as industrial development.