Author NJ Ayuk, founder and CEO of Centurion Law Group, is an authority on the energy business and enterprise in Africa today
As an exemplary African entrepreneur, NJ Ayuk has intimately witnessed the transformative impact of the oil and gas industry on the continent, being an active player in building countries, shaping economies and its societies. The launch of, Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Prosperity , co-written with João Marques, is long awaited; confronting the misinterpreted view that energy-rich countries undeniably suffer from and often victimized by the effects of the ‘resource curse’. The reality, the book argues, could not be further from it.
Big Barrels reads in the introduction: “The evidence makes it clear that the responsible and sustainable development of these resources is not only possible, but may be the quickest and most effective route to peace and prosperity for many of these nations. The question of how this can be done is central to this book.” Through nine chapters detailing case studies of what countries like Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania have done right, readers gain an alternative view of how developing petroleum resources positively impacts the continent.
Big Barrels lends a silver lining on Africa’s petroleum sector and how their fates are inextricably linked. Mr. Ayuk and Mr. Marques emerge through this powerful depiction as a seminal voice for how Africa charters its course and manages its natural resources. Mr. Ayuk, the founder and CEO of the pan-African Centurion Law Group and an outspoken champion of African entrepreneurship and leadership, describes the need to change the narrative on energy in Africa. “The simple fact is oil and gas provide African countries with the fastest route to prosperity,” he says, “Natural resources are a pedestal for building nations, building economies and building wealth.”
He added: “In 2017, we are forging our own ways of winning in this complex industry. Africa is not just a source of raw materials for the world. This book demonstrates the Why and How true value of oil and gas in Africa is a source of innovation and wealth (job) creation.”
Among the nine examples in the book, Big Barrels describes the rapid development of Equatorial Guinea from one of the world’s economic backwaters to a leading light in Central Africa; how Ghana turned to its active civic society to deal with its oil windfall only a few years ago; and how Tanzania is being shaped in response to global interest in its massive gas reserves.