What do you see as the key challenges facing the industry in the region over the coming 5-10 years and how is your company positioned to overcome these challenges?
There are various ways that public and private entities can contribute to the development of an industry; these could be stand-alone solutions and/or collaborative partnerships aligned to national and regional entities, as well as national agencies of the home governments.
Governments and companies need to put solutions in place at national, regional and local levels for capacity building programmes, and, where appropriate, leverage cross-border cooperation.
For example, Sasol has a long and successful track record of working with universities, having invested R250 million in 2006 in a ten-year university collaboration initiative with ten South African universities. The initiative aimed to enhance competency in science and engineering by improving the quality of research and teaching facilities in these disciplines. This also ensured a long-term pipeline of highly-trained postgraduates for the company, industry and for academia.
Our experience led us to develop a model to establish partnerships with academia to develop new and relevant curricula, teaching methodologies and subject disciplines. Ultimately, this would contribute to capacity building in the oil and gas industry.
To this end, in July 2016, replicated this model and launched a Master’s downstream programme at Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique. The two-year curriculum is targeted at young science and engineering graduates in Mozambique who are interested in expanding their knowledge and pursuing careers in downstream engineering.
Africa has the youngest population in the world with 200 million people aged between 15 and 24 – the definition of ‘youth’. In Mozambique, 21.57% of the country’s population is considered youth. They are the continent’s future, as they hold significant and untapped talent. We need to nurture this talent and create opportunities for our youth for sustained growth and development.
Africa’s youth is often referred to as being a “demographic dividend”. However, a dividend is the result of your investments. If you invest well in human capital, you will receive a ‘socio-economic dividend’ and a ‘human capability and development dividend.’ But that doesn’t happen by itself.
Where do you see the opportunities for growth within the industry in the next 5 years, how are you positioned to support this?
The low oil price and consequent downturn in the industry have threatened its attractiveness for investment and talent. More than ever, it is imperative that oil and gas companies are innovative in their approach to business solutions, industrial and human capital management. When thinking about potential constraints on the recovery of the industry, attracting talent and expertise is equally, if not more, critical than financial capital.
While renewables are growing rapidly, hydrocarbons will continue to play an important role in the regional energy mix for a long time. Our view is that building local capacity makes sound business sense, in that it gives us the advantage of a strong talent pipeline that not only helps enable our in-country growth plans, but broadens the country’s talent pool.
Sasol is focused on enabling shared value with Mozambique by stimulating economic growth and development in Mozambique and the region.
Tell us about the session you are speaking on and why you chose that topic at the Mozambique Assembly?
I chose the topic of local content because I believe that Mozambique’s hope lies in its entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs create jobs, increase demand for educated labour, bring goods and services to market and contribute to the government tax base.
Start-ups and small and medium-sized firms with high-potential can complement the growth of large companies in driving Africa’s industrialisation.
Against this backdrop, recognising some of the challenges faced by Mozambican suppliers, in 2015 Sasol initiated an Enterprise and Supplier Development programme to provide technical assistance to local suppliers to enable their greater participation within our value chain. This led to the development of sustainable businesses.
In addition, local content has been embedded into our supply chain approach and forms a significant factor in bid evaluation criteria for all business opportunities.
This approach aligns with Sasol’s growth strategy in Mozambique, built on the foundation of a win-win partnership.
What is the best career advice you have ever received?
Never stop learning.
If you could have a luncheon with any three people (real of fictitious/ from any time period, dead or alive), which three people would you choose and why?
- Oprah Winfrey
- Martin Luther King Jnr
- Moeletsi Mbeki
These individuals possess a global outlook I admire, are committed to their people and countries, have an excellent manner of delivering their message and brilliant thought leaders in their chosen areas of societal impact. They definitely are thought leaders that change paradigms and move boundaries.