Book Review by Nicholas Newman
Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Prosperity is clearly an unexpected book, from the title I thought it was going to be about the trials and tribulations of the oil industry in Africa over the past decade.
Instead, it is, in fact, a series of eight case studies about the good the bad and the ugly experiences of various countries use of energy discoveries in their economic development. The problem I had with this book was it read too much like a report that stated the facts.
I think this book would have proved more valuable to decision makers if it had included some of the reflections and insights of key African experts on each of the case studies outlined.Overall, I think this book provides a useful background briefing of some of the issues newly energy-rich countries are facing.
What the book’s press release says:
For decades, resource wealth in Sub-Saharan Africa has been synonymous with corruption and dysfunction. The reality is far more complex and generally more encouraging. In a series of eight case studies Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Prosperity by NJ Ayuk and João Gaspar Marques looks at what African nations are doing right.
Employment and enterprise in Nigeria, good governance in Ghana, economic development in Tanzania, environmental stewardship in Gabon, and more – these are all elements of success in African nations’ petroleum industries today. The positive trends in Africa’s energy business, as well as its challenges, are presented here. While problems persist, the stage is also set for the biggest economic transformation of the 21st century.
An insightful look at the African energy industry from one of its most renowned experts, Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Prosperity lays out the facts on how oil and gas can be a force for good on the Mother Continent.
About the authors: A leading energy lawyer and a strong advocate for African entrepreneurs, NJ Ayuk is recognized as one of the foremost figures in African business today. A Global Shaper with the World Economic Forum, one of Forbes’ Top 10 Most Influential Men in Africa in 2015, and a well-known dealmaker in the petroleum and power sectors, NJ has dedicated his career to helping entrepreneurs find success and to building the careers of young African lawyers. NJ graduated from University of Maryland College Park and earned a Juris Doctor from William Mitchell College of Law and an MBA from the New York Institute of Technology. Energy analyst and editor João Gaspar Marques is a seasoned Africa specialist with in-the-field reporting experience from Africa’s petroleum hotspots. Now based in Lisbon, Portugal, João writes for numerous international publications and websites on issues of energy, policy and economics. João holds an Erasmus Mundus Double Master of Arts degree in Journalism and Media within Globalisation.
Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Prosperity by NJ Ayuk and João Gaspar Marques (published by Clink Street Publishing May 30th, 2017 RRP paperback and ebook TBC) will be available to order from online retailers including Amazon, and to order from all good bookstores.