JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, March 31, 2022/ — AOW needs to transparently work with the African oil and gas industry as their blatant lies and misrepresentations are only hindering progress to make energy poverty history.

Following the failed attempt made by Africa Oil Week (AOW) to link H.E. Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy of South Africa, to their 2021 conference in Dubai, when in fact he was at African Energy Week (AEW) in Cape Town, AOW has taken it one step further by bringing people onto its board that does not exist.

AOW has announced the establishment of a board. This board, however, comprises government representatives who have not only rejected the invitation to be on the committee – but legally and ethically cannot hold that position.

This is not true. The government officials listed have accepted our invitation to attend AEW 2022 in Cape Town and have emphasized that they cannot and will not be board members as this is both ethically and compliantly wrong. For a minister or other high-ranking government officials to serve as a board member, specific legal procedures need to be undertaken, which include, among other things, permission from parliament, cabinet or Ministers.

Therefore, AOW’s decision to make Ministers and government officials such as board members and speakers without their permission infringes on the Minister’s legal and ethical position.

Not only does AOW and specifically Paul Sinclair mislead the Energy community about speakers, but they also lie about them being on their board. AOW does not understand the rules surrounding the foreign corruption practice Act or the U.K. Bribery Act.

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You cannot have a government official on your board at the same time that they are serving in government and regulating the industry that you work in.

Basic compliance is something that AOW cannot understand. To list a minister as a speaker and board member, when they have not been confirmed, is a brazen attempt to remain relevant when, in fact, they are no longer relevant.

The constant lies and misrepresentations issued by AOW are not only misguiding African stakeholders but create a negative impression of Africa’s oil and gas industry. Both AEW and AOW have to be committed to the same objective: to make energy poverty history by 2030 and get the continent to net zero.

While AEW remains focused on this objective, AOW has chosen to directly hinder any progress of making this a reality through unethical tactics that harm oil and gas stakeholders. AOW cannot talk about a green revolution and transition based on misrepresentation, this sends the wrong message to everyone.

We must admit that AOW has something to offer the oil and gas industry, but when you watch the market changing and new narratives of energy transition emerge, it is evident that they are not engaging or listening to Africans. Blatant lies are not going to get us to net zero. You cannot come from a London-based organization that should set an example of trust, dignity, and integrity and act this way.

AOW has become the poster child of lies and they are making people uneasy about oil and gas. They want to scheme and find ways to misrepresent the industry rather than remain focused on Africa’s needs and objectives. After all, aren’t AEW and AOW after the same thing, Africa’s development and success?

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