|The presence of so many Nigerians on the list confirms that what happens in Nigeria affects the rest of the industry across the continent.|
As many as five Nigerians have made it to the top 25 list of the African Energy Chamber’s TOP 25 Movers & Shakers Watch List for 2021, released earlier this week. Published every year, the list identifies the leading African and international figures whose work and decisions have a direct impact on the African energy industry and the way Africans access and consume energy.
H.E. Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is the first listed for his direct involvement in the possible passing and signing of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in 2021. If the President manages to carry through this substantial wave of reform in the country next year, it could unlock billions of dollars of investments and significantly boost the country’s recovery and West Africa’s overall attractiveness for business. His ability to compromise and define the sector will be tested in the 1st quarter of 2021 when his governments expects to get the all-important and long-awaited Petroleum Bill to be adopted by the National assembly.
Similarly, Mele Kolo Kyari, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) also made it to the list for the first time. As the NNPC embarks on several strategic programmes and projects to boost refining capacity, cut upstream operational costs, develop energy infrastructure and unlock Nigeria’s gas potential, Mele Kolo Kyari’s actions and decisions can profoundly impact the short and medium-term outlook for Africa’s biggest oil & gas producing country. A veteran of the National oil company, he has been able to make his mark quickly since nomination, strengthening corporate reporting and aggressively pushing the removal of fuel subsidies for refined products.
As LNG becomes more and more important for African markets, Tony Attah, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria LNG is also listed for his piloting of the NLNGSevenPlus project. His ability to oversee the project’s execution and local content impact will be central to support Nigeria’s economic recovery and capacity building efforts. His presence is yet another indication of the rising role of gas as a driving force for the future of the Nigerian and West African’s hydrocarbons industry.
Finally, two key figures of the power and electricity industries have also made it to the prestigious list: Seun Suleiman, new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Siemens Nigeria, and Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy. Seun Suleiman is notably expected to become an increasingly influential executive as Siemens executes the Presidential Power Initiative in Nigeria in order to upgrade the country’s transmission and distribution systems and increase the overall national system’s capacity from 5 to 7 GW first, before ramping up to 11 GW and ultimately 25 GW. This notably puts Suleiman and the German equipment giant in the fore when major decisions are being made on how to solve Nigeria’s energy sector problems.
On her side, Damilola Ogunbiyi has taken an increasing role in leading the global energy transition conversation and bringing a true African voice to the fight against energy poverty. Her work in off-grid solar or LPG access notably has the power to transform the way Africans access and consume energy.
The presence of so many Nigerians on the list confirms that what happens in Nigeria affects the rest of the industry across the continent. These five key figures of the industry will be instrumental in shaping up the recovery everyone expects in 2021, and in building a sustainable and inclusive energy sector that work for all Nigerians and Africans.
*Africa Energy Chamber