Gala Dinner Address by OPEC Secretary General at the APPO CAPE Congress and Exhibition

Delivered by HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General, at the Gala Dinner held on the occasion of the APPO CAPE VII Congress and Exhibition, at the Sipopo International Conference Hall, 2 April 2019, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a tremendous honour to be asked to address such a distinguished gathering this evening.

The APPO CAPE Congress and Exhibition has become an integral event for Africa, in terms of bringing people, companies and governments together, underscoring the importance of an African vision and unity, and in helping harness the incredible potential of this great continent.

This evening, and the following three days, has been made possible by a great number of people all of whom deserve profuse thanks, but I would like to take this opportunity to recognize a distinguished few.

His Excellency Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea, who has ably and with great courage led his country for the past 38 years. Under his capable and visionary leadership, Equatorial Guinea has been transformed into a stable, peaceful and prosperous nation.

I had the distinct honour of an audience with His Excellency in July 2017, shortly after his country joined OPEC.  I was extremely grateful for his wise insights, his welcome views on the positive face of OPEC in attracting new members and his full support for OPEC and its objectives.

HE Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons.

My friend, brother and compatriot has proven to be an important addition to the OPEC Ministerial Conference and the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’, since his country became part of the ‘Declaration’ in December 2016 and an OPEC Member in May 2017.

His passion and enthusiasm for OPEC, his home country and Africa are clear for all to see.

He has been a driving force behind the modernization of Equatorial Guinea’s resources; he has been a great advocate of enhancing cooperation in the region; and at OPEC he continues to impress us with his astute insights and judicious views; long may this continue!

And HE Mahaman Laouan Gaya, the Secretary General of the African Petroleum Producers Organization.  Over the past two years or so he has shown great support for the historic ‘Declaration of Cooperation’.

His organization is also a great champion and initiator of bringing together African petroleum producing countries to cooperate, collaborate, and share knowledge and competencies.  The APPO Congress and Exhibition is a clear testament to this vision.

Standing here as OPEC Secretary General I would also like to underscore the intertwined history of OPEC and APPO.

The idea of creating an African Petroleum Producers Organization dates back to the 1980’s during informal meetings between Africa’s OPEC Members, then Algeria, Gabon, Libya and Nigeria.

These talks were then taken further in 1986 on the sidelines of an OPEC Ministerial Meeting on Brioni Island, in the former Yugoslavia, now in Croatia, and then at a meeting in Algiers in the early part of 1986.

The Algiers meeting was decisive in leading to eight African Countries Algeria, Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Libya and Nigeria – holding a meeting in Lagos, Nigeria, to create the African Petroleum Producers Association in January 1987.

In terms of goals and objectives there are evidently similarities to OPEC.

In fact, the idea for the Organization that I humbly represent today was conceived in Africa, specifically Egypt.  It was at the Maadi Yacht Club in Cairo, in April 1959 60 years ago this month – where the Gentleman’s Agreement was forged that paved the way for the establishment of OPEC.

The unstoppable momentum generated in Cairo would eventually culminate in the setting up of the Organization in Baghdad in September 1960 by the five Founding MembersIraq, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela – around the premise of cooperation.

What is also evident is that today are a number of countries that are common to OPEC, APPO and the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ – Algeria; Angola; the Republic of the Congo; Equatorial Guinea; Gabon; Libya; Nigeria and Sudan – and over the past few years we have seen an intensification of OPEC’s engagement with Africa.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

What the formation of OPEC and APPO underscore, and what is clearly evident here in Equatorial Guinea through the country’s esteemed leadership, is the value placed on collaboration.

It can often appear that our industry is subject to forces beyond our control.  Geopolitical events, natural catastrophes, technological breakthroughs or other critical uncertainties: we are all aware of the impact they can have.

However, as Equatorial Guinea, APPO, OPEC and the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ shows, there is another force alive and well in our industry.

This is the desire of producers, consumers and investors to have sustainable stability in the oil market. This force thrives in the hearts and minds of decision makers who know that collaboration and teamwork remain the most effective problem-solving techniques this industry or indeed any industry knows.

This force underpins the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ and encourages other stakeholders, many of whom are in this room, to lend their support to this noble cause.

This force can lead us out of any darkness and into the light.  It is based on the principles of transparency, fairness, equity and respect among nations.

Allow me to leave with you one of my favourite African proverbs:

“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Cooperation, cooperation, cooperation: I have no doubt that this force will lead our industry into a glorious future, with the interests of consumers and producers, firmly at its heart.

Thank you. And enjoy the evening.

HE Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea (l); and HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General

HE Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea (l); and HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General

OPEC Secretary General (l), with dignitaries attending the APPO CAPE Congress and Exhibition in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea

OPEC Secretary General (l), with dignitaries attending the APPO CAPE Congress and Exhibition in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea