The crash in oil and gas prices, triggered by the coronavirus pandemic and the slump in economic activity, has dealt a blow to the plans and public finances of major oil and gas producing countries. But a group of countries in sub-Saharan Africa once designated as “prospective producers” are facing a different challenge. For new producers in the pandemic era, some licensing rounds are likely to be cancelled, and production is being pushed back once more. Debt is becoming an even greater issue. Yet some investors – like Total in Uganda – still show signs of interest. To clarify this mixed picture, we have reviewed our analysis of the experience of the 12 sub-Saharan African countries that made their first major discoveries during the period from 2001 to 2014.
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