UK-based oil firm Matrix Petroleum has announced plans to enter the Namibian and South African markets. With significant interests in renewable energy and logistics, the announcement signifies the firm’s commitment to scaling up its regional ambitions through cooperation with the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), a $3.2 trillion bloc that includes 54 out of 55 African countries.
Matrix Petroleum CEO Chiwanga, explained that the firm would operate from Namibia. “The creation of AfCFTA is a good start to improving this. Estimations are that this will bring the African market of over one billion people together and smoothen free movement of goods and services.” He said, adding, “Namibia is our first port of call in the next two years. Perhaps what has dragged intra-Africa trade is the fact that we are all resource-centered and we produce more or less the same commodities, hence we need to look at value addition,”
He added that, “In terms of oil and gas, we need to look at the potential to refine the crude oil so it can be consumed by those that do not produce. For example, in SADC, you have a scenario where most countries could just buy oil from Angola, but the failure to value-add has left this market acquiring further afield in other regions, mostly the Gulf region.”
Chiwanga emphasized that Africa must look beyond its borders for international trade, stating that oil is a well-placed commodity with the potential to improve African economies.
He further iterated the imperativeness of improved governance over the resource, stating that African leaders must invest in participating within the AfCFTA in the near future to make the bloc a success in building African economies.
“At least the bulk of the African countries have ratified the agreement, which is a major step forward in implementing the agreement.” Chiwanga said, adding, “Political will alone might not be the only important aspect needed from African leaders, but there might also be need for countries to look at the possibility of collecting high import duties for the better good of the continent and also better implementation of the plan.”