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Interview: African Energy Chamber Executive Chairman, NJ Ayuk on Transforming Africa’s Energy Sector

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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. Founder and CEO of Centurion Law Group, a pan-African law firm and the current chairman of the African Energy Chamber, NJ strives through his work to ensure that business, and especially oil and gas, impacts African societies in a positive way and drives local content development. In this interview with  Alaba Ayinuola, NJ shed light on the continent’s biggest energy challenges, the impact of the African Energy Chamber(AEC) in the continent’s energy, oil and gas sector. And how is AEC is becoming the entry door to Africa’s oil & gas sector. Excerpt.

 

Tell us about the African Energy Chamber and the gap it’s filling.

The African Energy Chamber is based on a network of public and private executives that have been working towards the development of Africa’s oil and gas industry for several years now, mostly focusing on local content development. Seeing the need for Africa to have a stronger voice on the global energy scene and communicate better, we have opened up the organisation to all interested parties two years ago. Since then both the Chamber’s network and its activities have considerable grown. We have welcomed over a 100 new partners, both institutional and corporate from across Africa and have multiplied initiatives, especially when it comes to institutional capacity building, local content development and facilitating foreign investment and advisory.

 

How long as the chamber being in existence and how does  your organisation measure it’s impact?

We work for the interest of African companies and entrepreneurs. Seeing the number of them reaching out to us for support over the past year has been the strongest indicator of our impact and ability to both represent African interests and unite the right network of partners towards common goals. We have increasingly received requests to assist African SMEs and larger oil services companies to expand across sub-Saharan Africa. This is a very good sign for the future growth of the African content: our companies are hungry and want to expand. We are also bringing lots of support to governments and governmental institutions in capacity building, especially within rapidly growing markets like South Sudan.

 

How’s the chamber being perceived both internationally and within the continent?

Internationally, we are mostly perceived as a source of information and an access door to some of Africa’s fastest-growing or most complex markets. The need for on-the-ground information and data on Africa is growing very rapidly and foreign investors are looking for reliable local partners and information providers, especially when it comes to finding their ways around Africa’s many different jurisdictions and ways of doing business.

From within the continent, we are increasingly seen as being a voice and conscience for the sector. We advocate for the issues at heart for African companies, entrepreneurs and people. Our industry needs a strong voice pushing for local content development and domestic capacity building and we are proud to have positioned ourselves as a key advocate in this regard.

 

What in your view is the biggest energy challenge in Africa?

Africa is plagued by many energy challenges, which are all opportunities, from energy affordability to infrastructure and lack of financing. While we address all of those as an institution, we do insist on the challenge of monetising resources, especially gas ones. By flaring gas like we have for decades, we have concretely burned billions of dollars worth of resources that could power our entire continent, hundreds of factories and create millions of jobs. We believe gas is the future of Africa’s energy industry, and creating monetisation opportunities across the board, from petrochemicals to power, from cement to petrochemicals manufacturing units, should be a priority.

 

What is Africa doing right in terms of it’s energy sector?

African nations have taken positive steps in engaging each other and exploring common opportunities. This manifests itself first on the international stage. Equatorial Guinea and Congo Brazzaville joined OPEC in 2017 and 2018, strengthening the African voice within the industry’s most influential organisation. But many other African countries have also joined the Declaration of Cooperation and frequently attend OPEC meetings like South Sudan, Chad, Uganda etc. International engagement from Africa is something that was missing and has been corrected. As a result of that, African governments and companies have also been increasingly talking to each other. Major projects are moving ahead thanks to this dialogue, be it the Tortue field between Senegal and Mauritania, or the recent gas unitisation agreement between Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon.

Also Read Black Space App CEO, April Jefferson on entrepreneurship and connecting black travelers to their culture

What surprises you about this sector and it’s future?

The unexploited potential is massive, and quite frankly overwhelming. In terms of oil & gas exploration, we believe that world-class global discoveries are to be made in the near future. The recent ones in Mozambique and Senegal are just the beginning. Beyond mere exploration, the potential for meeting the continent’s growing energy needs, addressing increasing energy consumption, and providing jobs to millions of young men and women is what will define the future of the sector. This represent billions of dollars at play, both for foreign investors willing to take risks and make lucrative deals, but especially for us Africans if we are able to seize the opportunities offered to us by our land.

 

Do you see the deepen of a private-public partnership drive growth in this sector?

We do not think there has been a serious deepening of private-public partnerships, which remain a major need for the sector. This would require a market-by-market analysis, as in some places the lack of PPPs is a regulatory one, while in others you actually do have successes but in other sectors such as infrastructure. Overall, the need for PPPs in the industry is there, and the power sector offers tremendous opportunities for such projects. However, many regulations need to be revised, public institutions need to adhere to stronger governance standards, and private investors must be made aware of the right opportunities and projects to get involved in.

 

What is your vision and goal for this chamber under your leadership?

The AEC is becoming the entry door to Africa’s oil & gas sector. We are already receiving lots of queries from new investors wishing to enter fast growth markets, and having local representatives on the ground is positioning us as a strong advisor and facilitator for foreign investors, while being able to properly communicate what is happening on the ground to the international energy community. On the second hand, we also want to be building domestic capacity, both by training and skilling Africans so they can take on additional responsibilities across the value chain, but also by bringing in more technology and best practices to our local companies so we contribute to boosting local content.

 

You own Centurion Law Group, tell us about this law firm and how are you managing these two big brands?

Centurion is a pan-African legal and advisory business specialised in oil & gas. We are leaders in frontier jurisdictions like Equatorial Guinea and South Sudan and do not shy away from working in what many wrongly perceive as challenging markets. More importantly, we are a firm who believes in African talent and have dedicated ourselves to train the next generation of African lawyers. It is very upsetting to see the amount of legal work on Africa that goes to London or New York when we have high-quality and highly-trained legal talent present on the continent. As such we are more than offering legal services; we are a law firm with a mission.

 

About NJ Ayuk:

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 is dedicating his career to helping entrepreneurs find success and to building the careers of young African lawyers. As founder and CEO of Centurion Law Group, a pan-African law firm, NJ strives through his work to ensure that business, and especially oil and gas, impacts African societies in a positive way and drives local content development. He is the current chairman of the African Energy Chamber and author of ‘Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Prosperity’. His second book, ‘Billions at Play: the Future of African energy’ is due for release at the end of the year.

 

A propos de NJ Ayuk:

NJ est un avocat de premier plan dans le domaine de l’énergie et un ardent défenseur des entrepreneurs africains, reconnu comme l’une des figures les plus en vue des entreprises africaines aujourd’hui. Il est un « Global Shaper » avec le Forum économique mondial, l’un des 10 hommes les plus influents de Forbes en Afrique en 2015, et un négociateur renommé dans les secteurs du pétrole et de l’énergie. Il est fondateur et PDG du Centurion Law Group et président actuel de la Chambre africaine de l’énergie et auteur du best-seller « Big Barrels : pétrole et gaz africains et la quête de la prospérité. » Son second ouvrage, « Des milliards en jeu : le future de l’énergie africaine » sera publie à la fin de l’année.

 

CEO Corner

Biography: Remi Duyile- RemiSpeaks, Career and Impact

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Remi Duyile: Author | International Speaker | Empowerment Coach | Strategic Consultant

About Remi Duyile

Dr. Remi Duyile is a Nigerian-born and accomplished author, founder of Legacy premier foundation, a business leader with expertise and extensive experience in the financial sector, government and corporate strategy and communication , an eloquent International Keynote speaker who is intentionally  in the Diaspora and abroad impacting the next generation and being a business bridge to Global Investors. She is an insightful legislative advocate and trusted community leader. Remi Duyile wears many hats, the one that she wears very proudly is being a devoted wife, and mother to three awesome children.

Dr. Duyile is an example of how faith, hard work and diligence can lead to numerous exposure and growth, she is passionate about seeing others succeed, it’s no doubt she was honored by the Governor of Maryland in the United States of America for her matchless efforts to better humanity. She has made it her life’s purpose to empower others to recognize their own strength, skills and abilities.

Early Life and Education

Dr. Remi Duyile was born and raised in  Ondo City and Lagos State, Nigeria. where she learned the thesis of discipline, hard work, commitment and staying true to oneself. With this strong foundation, she relocated from Nigeria to the United States over 30 years ago with just one purpose: to shatter the glass ceilings which she fulfilled, is still fulfilling and will continue to fulfill.

As a fervid believer in the power of education as the key to unlocking opportunities, Dr. Duyile enrolled at the University of the District of Columbia between 1982 and 1987 where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Masters’ of Business Administration in Finance and Business Economy.

Career

Dr. Duyile started her corporate career at one of the nation’s most revered banking institutions, Bank of America(one of the largest financial institutions in the United States). It was here that she shattered glass ceilings when she was promoted to  Vice President of Retail, Premier, and Mortgage Banking. Dr. Duyile served in these roles managing over 600 financial portfolios of high net-worth clients for several years, until she decided that it was time to step into her true calling as a serial entrepreneur and empowering others in her community.

Impact and Philanthropy

Dr. Duyile founded Premier Mortgage Solutions (a mortgage solutions business), Image Consulting Group (an international consulting firm), and Legacy Premier Foundation (a non-profit providing mentorship and financial literacy for women and girls. She’s also the founder of RemiSpeaks. RemiSpeaks is a Coaching, Speaking and Training Platform for Management, Emerging Leaders and Entrepreneurs in quest of sustainable growth with Global Relevance. Under the umbrella of her companies, she has become an empowerment mentor, community mobilizer, certified trainer, as well as an international key note speaker.

She has spoken throughout Africa, Europe, and extensively within North America (Canada and the US) teaching financial literacy, offering entrepreneurial development, and encouraging emerging leaders to engage in the Diaspora and beyond.

Also Read: Erica Tavares: Passionate About A Greener, Better Future

Professional Memberships, Affiliations and Boards

  • Member Continental Who’s Who
  • Member, World Trade Center Institute
  • Member, National Black MBA
  • Advisory Council Member, Leadership Initiatives
  • Member, Wambia Capital
  • Advisory Board Member, Mentoring International
  • Member, National Speakers Association-DC
  • Member, Les Brown Platinum Speaker Network
  • Member : NCBW 100 of Prince George’s
  • Member: LPGA Golf Female Executive Member
  • Board Chair: Pan African Diaspora Women Association
  • Board Member, Sisters 4 Sisters Network, Inc.
  • Member, Jesus House, DC
  • Chair, Census 2010 Complete Count Committee.  2009 – 2010
  • Member, Maryland Democratic Party, Continental African Leadership Council
  • Member of  the National Coalition of  100 Black women 

Nomination and Recognition

  • Top 100 MBE award winner 2009
  • 2010 Smart CEO Award
  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, 2013

Connect with her on socials: Facebook , Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram

Websites: Remi Speaks, Legacy Premier

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CEO Corner

Biography: Ngozi Oyewole – Noxie, Career and Impact

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Ngozi Oyewole, also known as ‘Noxie’ is the Founder of Noxie Limited, an award-winning, SONCAP (SON/LSOII/CB/2324) and MAN (MAN/GML/05047) integrated service provider and manufacturer. She is a certified health and safety professional and a big player in the medical, food, construction, oil and gas industries supplying protective equipment.

A result driven, resilient and ace ‘womentrepreneur’ with an extensive experience in leadership, business management and strategic planning. She is an experienced, certified Interior Designer and holds a degree in Business Administration; an alumnus of Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.

In 2015, she was nominated by Forbes Magazine as one of the leading women entrepreneur in Africa championing business sustainability and women inclusion in business. A WEConnect International award recipient for Woman of Excellence 2019.

Ngozi is also a 2019 award recipient of an Exceptional Leader of Excellence from the Women Economic Forum (WEF) and All Ladies League. She is a certified and active member of WeConnect International, SheTrade Commonwealth, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Nigerian American Chamber of Commerce (NACC), WIMBIZ and Nigeria Gas Association (NGA).

She is a member of the Pan-African Manufacturers Association (PAMA); a member cum Assistant Secretary of the International Women’s Society (IWS); Lioness Club of Africa Group, Thrive Women Solution, GAIA Women Club, Global Fund for Women and World Pulse Group; a member of the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria; a member and COO of Commonwealth Business Women Network Nigeria. The CBWN sits on the main governance body on gender for the 54 commonwealth governments.

A NITAD certified trainer and holds various certifications in her industry which are Oxford Driving Disruptive Growth Program from Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, the MOODY’S Financing your Growing Business certificate, Women Leadership Institute certificate in Entrepreneurship and Leadership. She also holds more than 35 certifications from the SheTrades Commonwealth Global Entrepreneurship Program.

Ngozi Oyewole was a participant at the Road to Growth Training Program organized by Cherie Blair Foundation in conjunction with Exxon Mobil and Enterprise Development Center, Pan Atlantic University, Nigeria. She is a member of the oil and gas forum and an active player in various women oil, renewable energy, power and gas networks.

She belongs to a high impact entrepreneurial group (HIVE) and has been selected as one of their global speaker for their 2020 conference in Ghana. A panelist at the Nigerian International Petroleum Summit 2020 Women Forum where she spoke on how small industries can disrupt big industries. She was a participant at the LCCI Cyber Security 2020 Conference in Lagos.

Ngozi Oyewole, CEO, Noxie Limited

Her business services cut across all spheres and major sectors in Nigeria such as the Oil and Gas, Communication, Banking, Power, Education, etc. As the Founder of Noxie Limited, she has been able to leverage her years of experience to ensuring that all her products, though produced locally, meet international specifications as certified by her vast client base, which is further supported by the company’s foreign partners such as PPE SERVICES B.V in the Netherlands; MIGE Office Furniture in Singapore, TINGLEY CORPORATION in the USA, ANOWAT PROJECTS AND RESOURCES LIMITED in Turkey and Hong Kong.

Also Read: Erica Tavares: Passionate About A Greener, Better Future

She participated at the SMEDAN supported USA-AFRICA Business Expo 2019 in New York, USA; WEConnect International and Moody’s Foundation 2019 Bootcamp; AWEP Annual Conference; WIMBIZBoard Institute Training; Africa SME Champion Conference and The Boardroom Africa Open Door Conference in South Africa.

She was at the 2019 African Union Expo and the AIW Africa Week Expo in Ethiopia. She was at the Global Business Expo 2019 in Botswana and the WEConnect International 2019 Annual Conference. She was also at the 2019 World Economic Forum in India. She was a key note speaker at the 2nd Thrive Women Conference in 2019 and at the 6th HIVE (High Impact Visionary Entrepreneur) Global Leaders Summit in Accra, Ghana.

As a social crusader and philanthropist, Ngozi Oyewole is the President of Mrs. Beatrice Chiebonam Foundation where she engages her influence to reach-out and render financial aids to over 400 widows yearly in various parts of Rivers State. She also organizes skill-based empowerment programs for women and mentors young female entrepreneur through the Cherie Blair Foundation and other platforms. She is a part of the team supporting education for the “Almajiri Child Right Initiative”; Women Impacting Nigeria and “When in Need” philanthropic group that seeks out to support the less privileged within her community.

Visit: Noxie Limited

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CEO Corner

Josephine Favre – B I O G R A P H Y

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Josephine Favre, a Tanzanian grew up in Geneva, Switzerland due to the Diplomatic nature that brought her Father to Switzerland in 1975. Josephine attended the International School of Geneva from primary education to graduating with an International Baccalaureate Diploma.

She pursued higher-level studies where she obtained her Diploma in Marketing and Communication being nominated as MarCom Expert in her category. She later obtained Certification in Leadership (MBA Level) and registered for an Executive MBA with Cambridge University, UK.

Josephine worked her way up into senior management positions with global organizations, focusing on marketing and sales of consumer goods and services in foreign markets. Marketing and Communication being her strongest points, Josephine has worked within several industries such as Swiss Luxury Watches, (The SWATCH Group, Gucci Timepieces and IWC), Asset Management Systems, Banking Technology and Education.

Over time her roles and responsibilities evolved, enabling her to reach the strategic management level in various multinational companies. With more than 20 years experience in education, Josephine developed her passion for writing instructional programs and curricula for learning institutions. In Switzerland, She is still a very dedicated Language and Communication Instructor that continues:

-To foster position all earning environments for students with diverse learning difficulties.

-Maximize individual student performance.

-Develop student interest in language and communication.

Josephine Favre

Since a very young age, Josephine has been volunteering in humanitarian projects that led her to visit various communities in Africa where she actively engages herself in diverse initiatives including putting together agriculture infrastructure, programs and trainings enabling communities to sustainably secure food for their families while creating an enterprise mindset.

Also Read: Meet Sivi Malukisa, The Congolese Entrepreneur Whose Food Startup Is Promoting DRC Cuisine

Josephine created The African Association for Vertical Farming (AAVF) in October 2018 where she sits as the President. An association that seeks to accelerate the practice of Vertical Farming and Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) into the continent. Through collaborations with various stakeholders in the entire Agro value chain. With its main focus on Agri Business, Education & Training, Research and Technology as well as Humanitarian Support.

Josephine Favre discussing with the AAVF Members

She therefore has a good notion of the African continent which she dearly cherish.

Visit: AAVF

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