Five reasons why the MSGBC basin is a top investment destination (by Miguel Artacho)



Five reasons why the MSGBC basin is a top investment destination (by Miguel Artacho)

The MSGBC Basin has been the shining light of African exploration through the recent darkness the industry has endured

DAKAR, Senegal, October 12, 2021 / APO Group / –

By Miguel Artacho, field editor

Since large-scale oil and gas discoveries took place in the offshore waters of Senegal and Mauritania between 2014 and 2017, the entire MSGBC region – including Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Conakry and Guinea Bissau – has attracted increasing interest from the international community. investors. There are several reasons why the MSGBC region is uniquely positioned to compete for new foreign direct investment (FDI), not only in the booming oil and gas sector, but also in others, including renewable energy, mining, fishing, agriculture, tourism and services.

Hydrocarbon exploration

In 2014, the oil and gas industry experienced a downturn and global crude oil prices fell sharply – and then more recently the industry was hit again by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. But amidst these challenges (, MSGBC Basin countries have been an exception. According to the seismic and geophysical mapping company TGS: “The MSGBC basin has been the shining light of African exploration through the recent darkness that the industry has endured. This light, or rather this spotlight, has been cast on the region through recent world-class discoveries in Senegal and Mauritania.

These great exploration successes in the offshore waters of Senegal and Mauritania have served as a catalyst for interest and have led an increasing number of countries to conduct seismic studies and E&P activities, in particular the Gambia, the Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry. TGS has been present ( in the MSGBC basin since 2010, when they acquired a 3D dataset in The Gambia. Since then, their activity has grown considerably; TGS is currently carrying out the 3D Gambito 2020 seismic study in the MSGBC basin off the coast of The Gambia. The acquisition of TGS is the latest development in The Gambia’s desire to explore offshore resources and build a significant energy economy. In addition, last year the government signed a contract with supermajor BP to explore oil and gas off its coast.

Other countries in the MSGBC region such as Guinea-Conakry ( are also seeking to develop the potential of their natural resources. For example, the creation of the Ministry of Hydrocarbons is part of a strong government emphasis on the development of hydrocarbons. The National Petroleum Office of Guinea-Conakry ( is responsible for supporting the Ministry’s strategy by providing technical expertise on upstream and downstream operations. Guinea-Bissau is also actively pursuing new E&P activities on a number of offshore blocks which are operated by companies such as CNOOC and other mid-sized IOCs in partnership with the national oil company Petroguin E&P. .

Renewable energy

In addition to leading the MSGBC basin countries in the development of hydrocarbons, Senegal has also established itself as a beacon in the development of ambitious renewable energy projects. Photovoltaic and wind energy projects contribute significantly to the diversification of the energy mix in Senegal and up to 30% of the electricity produced in the country today comes from renewable energy sources. Flagship projects include the Taiba N’Diaye wind power plant operated by Lekela Power. The project is designed to generate electricity for at least 20 years from its 46 wind turbines.

There are also excellent opportunities to undertake renewable energy projects in Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry and The Gambia. For example, The Gambia recently unveiled a € 2.7 million project called Renewable Energy Potentials in The Gambia (REPGam). The initiative is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Guinea-Bissau is also particularly promising ( for investments in solar power plants and hydroelectric power generation projects. Recently, the Chinese company Sinohydro started construction of one of the first large-scale solar power plants, with the aim of selling electricity to the national company EAGB, under a long-term contract, which will triple the electricity production capacity of the national company. .

Continuous improvement of the investment climate

In recent years, all of the MSGBC Basin countries have climbed the global rankings due to the continuous improvement in their business climate according to institutions such as the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business (https: // bit .ly / 2X4BJQW), Transparency International, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and The Heritage Foundation. Senegal tops the rankings with 123 out of 190 countries, followed by Mauritania at 153, Gambia at 155, Guinea-Conakry at 156 and Guinea-Bissau at 174. Although there is room for improvement, as with any emerging economic market, the general trend is positive and these countries work regularly with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, development partners and the international donor community to continue to strengthen institutions and promote greater transparency in each country.

Political stability and security

Unlike many countries in the Sahel region which experience fairly constant security challenges caused by extremist groups, or others in Central Africa and the Great Lakes region, MSGBC countries as a whole benefit from a great political stability and the absence of major civil wars or armed insurgencies. Security and stability are of paramount importance to international investors.

Countries like Senegal, in particular, play a strategic role as a buffer zone in relation to what security analysts generally refer to as the “arc of instability” that stretches across large parts of the Sahel and some North African countries.

To this day, Senegal continues to have agreements with several European and NATO member countries that have military advisers in the country and help train Senegalese troops and security personnel. In turn, Senegalese soldiers regularly contribute to United Nations peacekeeping missions at the regional and international levels, and they are considered to be some of the best trained and most professional soldiers in all of sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, many capitals of MSGBC basin countries such as Dakar, Banjul or Nouakchott have very low levels of violent crime thanks to a strong police presence which constitutes a powerful deterrent against criminals. Finally, the countries of the MSGBC basin benefit from a consolidated democratic tradition where peaceful transfers of power are the norm and not the exception.

Economic diversification

The discovery of oil and gas and the development of the oil sector currently underway in the countries of the MSGBC basin is a whole new sector. But long before its advent, many of these countries had well-developed industries such as bauxite mining in Guinea-Bissau, or prospecting for gold, nickel, and phosphates in Senegal and Mauritania. The Gambia and Senegal are full of very attractive tourist attractions on the beautiful beaches of their Atlantic coast. There are many upscale and more affordable accommodation options to experience the diverse and vibrant cultural heritage and gastronomy of cities like Dakar, Banjul, Nouakchott, Conakry and Bissau. Therefore, although a large portion of new FDI in the MSGBC region is currently devoted to oil, gas and renewable energy projects; potential investors can also contribute to the economic diversification strategies underway in each of these countries and find world-class partners in a wide range of industries such as tourism. For those interested in adventure travel and unique experiences; desert safaris and camel rides await them in Mauritania. The pink lake of Senegal, the colonial architecture of Saint Louis or the cruises on the Podor river are remarkable for their natural beauty and the unique biodiversity of these countries. Regardless of how the energy sector develops in the near future, the hospitality and warmth of the people of the MSGBC region will continue to be a major draw for years to come.

In response to the growing demand for renewable energy and the growing interest of international stakeholders to invest, develop and succeed in Africa, Energy Capital & Power will own the MSGBC Oil, Gas, & Power ( / 3mMIxLV) 2021 conference and exhibition on December 2 and 3, 2021. Focused on strengthening regional partnerships, stimulating investment and development in the oil, gas and electricity sectors, the conference will bring together regional international actors with African opportunities, serving as a growth driven platform for Africa’s energy sector. Read more about the conference here: The Energy Minute: MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power 2021 (

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