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Faith Nyasuguta 

From Kenya to Nigeria down to Zimbabwe, petrol prices are sky-rocketing. This is a huge problem that has been sparked by a number of factors, among them the increasing scarcity of the commodity.

For Africa’s most populous country Nigeria, petrol has been scarce for nearly one month. An earlier report by Africa Equity Media explained that the fuel scarcity in Nigeria began after the country inadvertently imported adulterated fuel. 

Efforts by the West African country’s state-owned energy company (the NNPC) to clean up the contaminated product from the market inevitably led to a shortage. Since then, marketers have been engaging in both hoarding and profiteering.

Despite the unfortunate incident, the populous nation is not among those with the highest price per litre in Africa. That is because the Nigerian Government heavily subsidises the commodity.

In addition, the rising cost of petrol in Sub Saharan Africa has also been linked to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. There is also palpable fear that as the conflict intensifies, it could have an even more negative impact on energy costs in Africa.

The DW says that fears of possible cuts to Russian crude is yet another factor that has stirred the rising energy costs around the world. 

Russia is one of earth’s top producers of crude. If the US or EU countries decide to extend Russia’s mounting economic sanctions by banning its oil, this would definitely portend catastrophe to the global energy industry.

So far, global oil prices have surpassed the $100 per barrel mark which was last recorded in 2014. The commodity is currently trading at $102.6 per barrel, according to benchmark price Brent Crude.

Another factor responsible for rising energy costs in Africa is the fact that all of Africa’s leading oil producing countries are yet to develop capacity to be able to refine the product locally.


Below are the 10 African countries with the highest petrol prices. The list is courtesy of data availed by Global Petrol Prices:

1. Zimbabwe: The Southern African country has the highest petrol cost in Africa. A litre of petrol costs as much as $2.153. Earlier this month, the country’s Energy and Power Development Minister, Zhemu Soda, explained that frequent petrol price hikes were due to developments in the international oil industry. Zimbabwe is not an oil producer, although there were conflicting reports about crude oil discovery in Northern Zimbabwe back in 2018.

2. Seychelles: This island country has the second most expensive fuel price in Africa. According to the information we are working with, a litre of petrol in the country is sold for $1.541. The country does not currently produce any oil and gas, although some international oil companies are busy prospecting potential oil deposits off its many coasts.

3. Malawi: In Malawi, it costs $1.426 to buy a litre of petrol. The country is said to have a great prospect of discovery crude oil reserves in Lake Malawi. 

4. South Africa: Here, a litre of petrol costs $1.413. In 2019, Total Energies announced that it had made a major discovery of gas condensates in one of its exploration fields in South Africa. Experts said this could significantly improve the country’s fortunes.

5. Uganda: In this East African country, a litre of petrol costs $1.389. The high cost of petrol in Uganda is despite the fact that the country actually produces oil. Checks by Africa Equity Media show that the country’s crude oil reserves, as of 2021, stood at 2.5 billion barrels.

Fuel prices are expected to continue rising /Courtesy/

6. Mauritius: This country has the sixth most expensive petrol price in Africa at $1.381 per litre. Mauritius currently does not produce oil, although experts say there are prospects.

7. Burundi: In the East African country, a litre of petrol costs $1.340. According to the United Nations’ Environmental Programme, this country currently does not have any local sources of crude oil or natural gas.

8. Senegal: In this Francophone West African country, it costs $1.299 to buy a litre of petrol. The country discovered some crude oil deposits between 2014 and 2017, although full-scale exploration has been pushed back till 2023.

9. Lesotho: In this country, it costs $1.231 to buy a litre of petrol. The country does not have any confirmed oil deposits.

10. Rwanda: Here, a litre of petrol costs $1.230. Again, this East African country does not produce crude oil.


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Faith Nyasuguta