(By Fridah Nkonde in Douala, Cameroon)
BELIEVING that African countries cannot do the things that they do is having a colonial mentality, says Societe Nationale de Raffinage crude oil department head Erica Ekandje.
Speaking to Zambian journalists in Douala, Ekandje said it was possible for African countries to do great things in Africa and make a difference.
Zambian journalists are on a capacity building project on the refinery sector in West Africa. The project has been organised by African Refiners and Distributors Association (ARA) and supported by Sahara to ensure that people know more about the sector in Africa.
Sahara Energy Resources Limited, which has been Societe Nationale de Raffinage (SONARA)’s main crude oil supplier since 2006 has been listed as one of the five companies that have been shortlisted for the next stage of selecting a strategic partner in Zambia’s Indeni Petroleum Refinery Company Limited.
“Our first contact with Sahara was in 2006 as a crude oil supplier and since 2006 till today, they have doubled their crude oil supplying. They are also some sort of finance support because most problems faced by refineries are to do with finance and crude oil. The partnership with Sahara has been some sort of a win – win business venture whereby, they supply us with crude on a long-term basis like 120 days after delivery and at times these payment terms are not even respected. They are our main crude oil supplier,” Ekandje said.
“Believing that African countries cannot do the things that they do is having a colonial mentality. That is the story with Sahara. For example, when we are talking about what Sahara does, people say, ‘a Nigerian company, is that possible?’ They will only believe when they see for example when we say we have been dealing with Sahara since 2006 and that we are owing Sahara huge sums of money for crude oil supplied to us. That is when you believe that there are African countries that are working. African companies can do great things and I think Sahara is an example.”
And Sahara representative Mosunmade Omofolarin said African businesses should begin to empower Africans.
“It is very important to understand that it should not only be Sahara to identify that. We don’t just want to be the ordinary business people to come and take every time. It is important that as Africans, we empower Africans ourselves. What we think is that there was no reason why SONARA could go to France to trade or buy crude when they are our brothers and sisters and we have the crude. We are positioning ourselves to build the African dream and empower Africans. SONARA has also been a great partner to us as Sahara,” said Omofolarin.