We are halfway through 2016 and Africa looks set for despair and gloom. Faltering oil prices have brought misery to many African countries that have grown dependent on the oil income and yet, there is a strong silver lining as the easy clippings from oil and gas gave all African nations the wrong sort of incentives for years.
Until about one year ago, every time I went to Sub-Saharan Africa, I entered a bustling world, awash with cash from black goo. Oil made the new fortunes of many of those countries and gave them a fillip like never before.
Africans are slowly (very slowly) waking up to the fact that it might be better and more profitable to keep their home-produced LNG close to themselves and develop their own continental economies instead of exporting every last drop. Let’s see the issue with the eyes of those affected.
It is difficult not to be stunned by what happens in energy nowadays. Prices were stratospheric for many years and suddenly have dropped to less than half just to regain a little over the last weeks and months.
Africa - just like many other regions on earth - suffers from a double edged problem. On one side, enormous amounts of natural gas are being flared every single day and this gas comes as associated gas to the surface with the oil that is produced at the same time.
The news about the current Nigerian fuels crisis is already spreading beyond the realms of the Gulf of Guinea. It is said that this one is the worst since anyone can remember. This is truly not an enviable legacy for the outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan.
When I was exposed to Sub-Saharan Africa for the first time in 1996, one of the real big problems of the time was keeping in touch with loved ones back in Europe. Telephones were rare and when they existed, lines did not always work and even if they worked, it cost an arm and a leg to make a call.