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OCAF 2135 - Geopolitics of Energy in Africa

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

In the past twenty years Africa has acquired a core position in global oil and gas geopolitics. This new position is the result of two developments: 1. the technological progress that allowed the discovery of huge offshore oil and gas reserves in the Gulf of Guinea and, more recently, offshore East Africa; 2. the end of the Cold War, which led to the dissolution of post-colonial zones of influence and to the liberalisation of national extractive sectors in Africa. The African continent is one of the most open regions in the world to foreign investment. As a consequence, Africa has become key to the energy supply policy of great powers (especially the U.S. and China), and a major field for competition between international oil companies. However, Africa suffers dramatically from the effects of poor oil rent management that has led to the political and economic downfall of producing countries. The "resource curse" affects the majority of African oil (and uranium) producing countries. The ongoing political and social instability in these countries directly affects multinational companies, which are faced with growing security risks as well as increasing pressure from civil society groups for more transparency and accountability. This course aims to explain how Africa is inserted in the global energy markets and to analyse how this insertion impacts the local political and economic systems. Through a series of case studies including most important energy producing countries, the course will draw a complete panorama of the African energy scene and will present the main issues, both from an international perspective and from an African point of view.


COPINSCHI, Philippe (Freelance Consultant in the field of Energy)

Course validation

Each group (composed of two students) is required to prepare a paper (about 5 pages + annexes) on a case study to be defined in discussion with the teacher. When relevant, the annexes will include a summary of the energy situation (reserves, production, consumption, etc.) and the evolution of the country studied, as well as a brief presentation of the actors and of the main issues and stakes. The paper is to be handed in on the day before the relevant session, and to be presented to the class (duration: 20 min) with a complete Powerpoint presentation (including maps, charts, diagrams, pictures, videos, etc.). The evaluation will be based on the paper, the presentation, a final exam (to be defined) and the participation.

Required reading

See course outline on Google Drive