Invest in Africa to Empower Senegal’s Local Economy

This Tuesday, 27 August, Invest In Africa organized a workshop in Dakar, Senegal in order to help stakeholders have a better understanding of the different hydrocarbon project in the country. Throughout the day, BP and Woodside Energy’s management presented their activities in the country as well as their commitment to maximizing the Senegalese economy’s benefits.

IIA Country Director, Ibrahim Fall, spoke to Africa Energy Series – Senegal about how the organization aims to develop local content across Senegal’s energy value chain. Invest In Africa (IIA) was launched in Senegal in 2018 by Founding Members–Woodside Energy, BP, Cairn and Kosmos Energy– to help local businesses better understand the oil and gas sector and how to participate in potential future opportunities. IIA Country Director, Ibrahim Fall, spoke to Africa Energy Series – Senegal about how the organization aims to develop local content across Senegal’s energy value chain.

The company is a non-profit organization, which specializes in supporting African small and medium enterprises (SME) to develop their business and raise competitiveness by providing access to skills, markets, and finance. IIA started its operations in 2012 and has to date brought substantial value to local economies

IIA’s model is all about creating a partnership – with international firms, local business and business bodies, and banks, alongside training and certification institutes – to help local suppliers understand how to better prepare themselves for growth. The challenges of doing business in Africa cannot be solved by one company or one sector alone, but by pooling resources and sharing knowledge. IIA leverages existing and new opportunities to drive long-term growth across African economies. The company’s model is built on three specific pillars; access to markets, access to skills and access to finance.

Access to Market: Through the African Partner Pool (APP), is an online marketplace, run by IIA, designed to connect industry and larger corporates with a pool of credible local suppliers that meet their needs. This allows the private sector to have a clear vision of what skills are available for a given project. It helps local suppliers understand what the international firms are looking for, the expected standards, why they exist and how to reach them, as well as timeframes associated with potential opportunities.

Access to Skills: Through the Business Linkage Program (BLP), partly funded in Ghana by the African Development Bank (AfDB), which aims to fill the business skills gap that currently exists in many high-growth potential African SMEs. For example, in Senegal, many qualified industrial workers lack the necessary certifications to be employed in the oil and gas sector. IIAs work aims to bring local business skills up to international standards creating strong local suppliers

Access to Finance: Through SME Financing. IIA brings together several partner banks and financial institutions in order to improve SMEs’ access to more affordable finance. The goal is to lower associated risk, ultimately increasing the company’s chance to secure better access to the most appropriate form of finance for their needs.

In order to assess IIA’s impact on local economies, it has developed a socioeconomic tool, which measures the total value retained in the local economy (in U.S. dollars), the number of jobs supported and SME’s progress in contracts won, employees, revenue and profit.

In Senegal, IIA will focus on developing the first pillars as the need to develop companies’ access to the market, as well as sector-specific skills, have been identified as priorities. The APP platform has been designed to connect industry and larger corporates to smaller local businesses and suppliers.

IIA’s focus is on the oil and gas sector in Senegal, but it expects to be working in other sectors in the years ahead. The decision to focus on oil and gas reflects the shared vision by all to make understanding and accessing the industry as clear and inclusive as possible.

This desire has been reinforced by the creation of the Comité d’Orientation du Pétrole et du Gaz, as well as the National Petroleum Institute. IIA looks forward to supporting these initiatives and its founding members’ vision for a thriving local oil and gas industry.