Infrastructure is crucial to achieving Africa?s sustainable development goal of ending extreme poverty and increasing shared prosperity. A recent World Bank study found that the poor state of infrastructure in many parts of Africa reduced national economic growth by two percentage points every year and cut business productivity by as much as 40 per cent, making Africa, in spite of its enormous mineral and other natural resources, the region with the lowest productivity levels in the world.
Oando PLC through its subsidiary, Equator Exploration Limited, was recently in Sao Tome & Principe (STP) to reaffirm its commitment to sustainable development projects in the communities in which it operates. The company has worked in partnership with the National Petroleum Agency of Sao Tome (ANP-STP) and the government since 2005 when it started operations in STP, and in line with its Community Relations Policy, has developed and executed much needed empowerment and development projects for the country.
On January 19, 2018, all players celebrated their joint success with a handover ceremony of state of the art ambulances to the Minister of Health, Maria de Jesus Trovoada. Present at the ceremony was the Minister, Infrastructure, Natural Resources and Environment, Carlos Vila Nova, who praised the company for fulfilling its commitment to deliver on social investment initiatives as part of its business operations in the country. Part of the ceremony also saw the team inspecting the ongoing road construction project, at Santa Margarida-Santa Cruz, where the Executive Director of ANP-STP, Orlando Pontes, highlighted that the road project will positively impact people?s lives and increase the value of land in surrounding areas. He went on to say that on completion, the road will better connect local communities, give safer and faster access to markets and services and will impact the country?s economic growth.
To date, Oando has spent over USD1.6 million on social impact projects including the donation of school buses to aid accessibility to the much-needed educational institutions unavailable in towns within STP. The company has also awarded scholarships to tertiary students, trained local business owners, donated ambulances to the National Health Service which will make a significant contribution to the health care infrastructure available to STP locals and the farm to market road construction project will have a positive impact on the community and the country as a whole.
Oando Community Relations Manager, Sam Onyenwe, said: ?Our decision to play a role in the development of Sao Tome and Principe is grounded in our philosophy that the purpose of business is ?to do well in order to do good?. We frame all our CSR programmes on the platform of Partnership, Ownership, Win-win, Empowerment, Respect and Sustainability (POWERS). We believe that by supporting the development of our host communities, we are creating an enabling environment for the economic growth of Africa as a whole.
Africa?s current infrastructure deficit is estimated at approximately US$ 90 billion over the next decade, with only half of that amount currently being funded. Now more than ever, the importance of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) for the development of Africa has become increasingly apparent, evident in partnerships such as the one Oando has with ANP-STP and the STP Government who understand that the development of Africa is dependent on Africans.
Oando Corporate Communications Manager, Obehi Ojeaga, said: ?We are extremely proud of the work we have done in Sao Tome and Principe and appreciate the National Petroleum Agency of Sao Tome and the Government for their support and for seeing us as partners working together to achieve a greater good. The amiable partnership serves as an exemplary model of PPP seamlessly working to serve the public?s interest by spurring capacity-building efforts and creating a sound environment for the vital build-up of strategic infrastructure. We can only imagine the exponential infrastructural progress Africa will possess over time if more African owned businesses implement this model.??