Tucson, AZ Dec. 15, 1999 SolarQuest® iNet News Service
African energy ministers, private sector representatives and US Department of energy representatives, converged on Tucson, Arizona Monday, for the first ever U.S.- Africa Energy Ministers Conference.
Expectations for the conference ran high as hopes for Africa's prosperity took center stage. Dignitaries from African nations came to find solutions to old problems, develop proactive ways to conteract new ones, and establish new relationships with American businesses.
Lamine Fadika, Minister of Mines and Petroleum Resources for Cote de Ivoire, said he was eager to explore development opportunities with American companies, explaining that the Cote de Ivoire's agricultural economy has vast potential for oil exportation, as well as the chemical processing of oil and gas.
"[U.S.]Private sector [investors]would improve life in rural areas," Fadika said.
Life in the rural areas of Cote de Ivoire is not much different from that in other African countries. In Burkina Faso, for example, only one million residents out of 10 million have electric power, according to Secretary of State for Energy, Sadare Etienne Ouedraogo. However, Burkina Faso does have solar programs in development in its rural areas.
According to Ouedraogo, one such program already exsists, but there are over 120 villages, and the program does not reach them all. Ouedraogo also said that they already have exsisting programs with Spain and want the U.S. to help develop the market for energy.
This request echos that of many of the countries present here, and there are plenty of U.S. companies eager to comply. U.S.company, Chevron already has investments in countries like Cote de Ivoire and Ghana, but there are several companies here, who want to forge new alliances with resource rich, African countries.