HOUSTON -- In West Africa, oil represents the bulk of exports for countries like Nigeria, where it makes up nearly 95% of the total exports. Many of these countries' GDPs rely heavily on the oil revenues. Jean Pierre Favennec, director of the Center for Economics and Management, at the IFP School in France, addressed this and other West Africa issues at a luncheon organized by Houston's French-American Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 20, 2007
During the last few years, the expansion of world economy with the rapid emergence of China and India, as well as a sustained demand in the US has led to a tremendous increase in oil demand, Favennec said. The supply of oil and gas from West Africa is becoming increasingly important.
Willing to diversify its supply and reduce its dependency on Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf, the US already announced that 25% of its oil import will come from West Africa by 2010, Favennec said. This increasing reliance obviously makes West Africa very significant to the US, he said.
Favennec said the political instability in West Africa will be an obstacle, but not an insurmountable one, though he believes significant political development in Africa will not originate with the countries along the Gulf of Guinea. Development in Africa, he said, "will rely mainly on South Africa."
Since 1990, Jean Pierre Favennec has been a professor at the IFP School, in charge of training seminars for the major energy companies in France and worldwide. He was appointed Director of the Centre for Economics and Management at the IFP School in Oct. 2000.