Sinforiano Ngomi Elomba, Partner, PwC Equatorial Guinea
PwC has cultivated extensive experience providing professional services to the oil and gas industry – serving as statutory auditor of most of the main operators in the country – and advocates for enhanced public-private sector cooperation to drive further foreign direct investment. Energy Capital & Power spoke to Sinforiano Ngomi Elomba, Partner, PwC Equatorial Guinea about the company’s undertakings in Equatorial Guinea.
Can you provide an overview of PwC’s current activities in Equatorial Guinea?
PwC is the first international accounting, tax and legal firm that opened offices in Equatorial Guinea over 20 years ago. We are the leading provider of assurance, advisory, tax and legal services to companies across industries in Francophone Africa and Equatorial Guinea. We are a member of PwC worldwide, but in Africa, we are also part of the Francophone African countries, known as FSRA FSAs. This is a very large network in which we have specialists in all of the relevant countries. We work with companies in many sectors including oil and gas, construction and with the State.
How has PwC been able to develop a particularly strong expertise in the oil and gas sector?
We have a very experienced specialist team that works closely with companies on projects. We also review the life cycles of companies including portfolio management, governance, project management, risk and quality management, procurement strategy and supply chain management. We have worked with regulators and governments and on many large-scale developments. Regarding specific projects, we are acting as statutory auditors of most of the main operators, working with 80-100% of the main operators in the oil and gas sector. We work not only with the oil and gas sector, but also with the government. In Equatorial Guinea, there are five commercial banks and PwC is the auditor of four of them.
To what extent do you see opportunities for PwC to support the power generation and utilities sector in Equatorial Guinea and the wider region?
Historically, the power and utilities sector in Equatorial Guinea was not that developed and the law was not so clear. The state-run company SEGESA was the only key player in the sector. As for PwC, we have a lot of experience in this sector because we have assisted clients in other countries. We are a member of a very large network, so we are available to discuss and assist with all needs because we have been very successful in this industry in other countries.
Which non-energy sectors are best positioned for growth and investment?
Agriculture and tourism are two sectors that should be developed further because there is a lot of potential due to the geographic position of the country. The government and private companies can invest in agriculture, which will generate resources and provide work for our people. The pandemic and economic crisis have convinced us we cannot depend only on the oil and gas sector. We need to find other alternatives to grow our economy.
What steps can be taken to further improve the investment climate and stimulate diversified economic growth in Equatorial Guinea?
In the past, it took a month or more to set up a company, but with the implementation of the single window, it can be done in two days. The process should continue to be improved, but that also depends on companies and other actors. They have to propose and discuss with the State in order to articulate what improvements and reforms they need. If investors leave it to the Government, then we will not reach our target. They have to work together to talk about the difficulties and needs of investors. We always recommend these win-win agreements and discussions.
What key factors differentiate PwC from its competitors?
One of the foundations of our success in Equatorial Guinea is our ability to adapt our services to meet the needs of our clients. We do not only study industry issues, but also look at client concerns. We have been engaged for almost two years in a transformation plan to be closer to our clients and their expectations. Now, we are facing COVID-19 and our investments have helped us meet client expectations even during the pandemic. We are positioning ourselves not only as service providers, but as problem solvers.
ECP, in partnership with the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons, announced the launch of its Africa Energy Series: Equatorial Guinea 2021 campaign – comprising a report and documentary – that will serve as a critical tool to navigate the energy investment landscape of one of Africa’s more mature petroleum-producing markets. To participate in the upcoming Africa Energy Series documentaries, please contact email@example.com and to advertise or sponsor, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.