Nigerian Businessman Kola Aluko tells US-Africa Business Summit why Africa’s private energy sector is key to the continents commercial future
Leading Nigerian entrepreneur Kola Aluko (left in photo) told an international audience of business leaders that the continued influence and growth of independent companies in the energy sector in Africa is vital, if the continent is to fulfill its true potential as a commercial power.
He was speaking as a panel member during a discussion on the prospects and Challenges for Africa’s Energy sector at the US-Africa Business Summit in Chicago, USA. The summit, the 9th biennial event organised by The Corporate Council on Africa, is billed by its organisers as “the largest forum of its kind”.
As the founder and Co-CEO of Atlantic Energy, Kola Aluko said:
“In the past, 97% of Nigeria’s production was dominated by the International Oil Companies who’s understandable focus on what was best for shareholders, didn’t always reflect what was best for the country. But the government is aware of the importance to change that and the introduction of tax benefits to independent operators is a major incentive to work for the wider benefit and generate a trickle down effect which then benefits the population.
“As an example, most of Africa’s gas is stranded and there are not enough lines to carry it to the power plants. The big challenge is to find ways to invest to improve that.
“In Nigeria, we built 60 kilometres of pipeline from the source to the power plant which was a project we undertook in conjunction with the government. It’s important we all continue to find ways to invest efficiently in this way to make the right improvements.
Mr. Aluko was speaking just two weeks after the Made In Africa Foundation he co-founded with British designer, Ozwald Boateng, launched the ‘Africa50’ fund in association with the African Development Bank, at the NASDAQ in New York. The fund has been established to raise USD 500 million for infrastructure projects across the African continent with the aim of taking 200 million Africans out of poverty though sustainable development.
“Africa50 has already shown there is a firm commitment within the private sector to play a visionary role in Africa’s infrastructure programme. Africa is a resource-rich country which can be a force for good within global commerce and those involved in the summit in Chicago have shown there is international commitment too.
About Kola Aluko
Kola Aluko has risen as a leading Nigerian industry entrepreneur through his dynamism and passion. Kola is best known for his success in the Oil and Gas industry, having founded his own company, Fossil Resources in 2001. He is currently the deputy-CEO at Atlantic Energy.
Kola’s interests in business know no boundaries, and in 2011 his commitment to African development saw him become a member of the Advisory Board for Swiss luxury aviation company Vistajet as a means to aid the company’s plans of for expansion in the continent.
His success was recognised in 2011 when he received the Young Global Champion award from Lagos-based, daily newspaper, This Day. This accolade is presented to “Young and daring Nigerians, who have taken Nigeria into global competition. They have built new companies from scratch and made them world class.”
With progress key to Kola’s philosophy, 2011 saw him collaborate with international designer Ozwald Boateng to create the Made in Africa foundation – a charity dedicated to aiding development and infrastructure projects across Africa.
The charity this year supported the African Banker Awards held in May in Marrakesh, Morocco, which celebrated the continued work of the African banking fraternity for its long-term commitment to the development of African business. Kola appeared on stage alongside his Foundation colleague Ozwald Boateng to present a special award to the President of the Africa Development Bank, (ADB) Donald Kaberuka. The presentation was made in recognition of the bank’s particular commitment to driving and supporting African commerce.
Beyond his industry interests Kola is a keen sportsman and passionate car racer. Kola’s talents behind the wheel see him form part of Kessel racing team, with the highlight of his racing career being his third place victory in the Championship Cup at Rome’s Vallelunga circuit in December 2012. His passion for the track also has also led him to become a representative for the Nigerian FIA.
Last year Kola married his love for sport and mission for development as he took on the role as an executive producer for the film The Beautiful Game. The Beautiful Game was produced to present to the world a new and more dynamic vision of Africa; a cause he continues to support.
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