As the world marks the 2023 International Women’s Day today, it is important to highlight some women who are doing their best to promote their industries through their tireless work and achievements.
This article puts the spotlight on some Nigerian women in the energy industry that are working to move the African energy industry forward. These women cut across various aspects of the energy sector and are using their time, skills, resources, and networks to promote the energy industry in Africa.
Audrey Joe Ezigbo
Audrey Joe Ezigbo is the Deputy Managing Director of Falcon Corporation Limited. The wholly-owned indigenous midstream and downstream energy company that enables the deployment of natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas as drivers of economic growth and industrialization. She was the first female President of the Nigeria Gas Association from 2018 to 2021.
In July 2022, Mrs Joe-Ezigbo was appointed as an Executive Committee member of the International Gas Union (IGU). She is Nigeria’s representative responsible for the Exploration and Production Committee from 2022-2025. She is the first African woman to occupy the position.
In her role as an energy leader, she has been given several awards for her outstanding contributions to the energy sector. She is a Fellow of the Energy Institute and also a Founding Member of the Women in Energy Network (WiEN) as well as a Member and Global Role Model of Women in LPG (WiNLPG).
She is the Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL). She works to ensure that energy access gaps are closed in developing countries, especially in Africa.
She believes that a clean energy transition is possible and works to give everyone the opportunity of a prosperous, dignified, and healthy life. She serves as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative (SRSG) for SDG7 and Sustainable Energy for All, as well as the co-chair of UN-Energy, advising the UN Secretary-General and his staff on issues relating to sustainable energy and the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7).
In her roles, Ms Ogunbiyi fights to give energy access to those without it and through her work, she brings together the necessary ingredients of energy access awareness, financing, and a just energy transition ideal to ensure that no one is left behind. She was the first female Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) from 2017 to 2019.
Ms Ogunbiyi is an infrastructure development expert with demonstrated experience in the public and private sectors in various roles which include – portfolio management, cost, and risk management, public-private partnership (PPP), energy sector advisory, and strategic leadership with a particular focus on power sector infrastructure development. Under her leadership, SEForAll implemented the Universal Energy Facility (UEF) in Nigeria, to provide funding to 10 renewable energy companies for transformative solar-powered projects.
Anita Nana Okuribido
She is the Chief Executive Officer of Siman Engineering Limited, a renewable energy company that develops and implements clean and green energy solutions focusing on rural empowerment, the establishment of community-based organizations (CBOs), SME development, and corporate initiatives.
She is the first female National President of the Council for Renewable Energy Nigeria (CREN), a non-profit-oriented member-based association that serves as the Umbrella body for all operators, stakeholders, and interests in the Renewable Energy Industry in Nigeria. She is the National President of the Women in Renewable Energy Association (WIRE-A).
She is also the founder of the Women Green Energy Institute, Nigeria, an initiative that works in collaboration with Women in Renewable Energy Nigeria, and the Council for Renewable Energy Nigeria. She is a strategic planner and changes agent, with extensive interests in Agricultural development, Renewable Energy Development, and Sustainable Applications for Natural/Green Economic growth.
Catherine Uju Ifejika
She is the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Britannia-U, an indigenous integrated company that delivers energy services through exploration & production, subsurface engineering, and consultancy. Mrs Ifejika has been recognized as one of the six most powerful women in oil and gas in the world and one of the richest women in Africa. She has received both national and international awards for best practices in business leadership.
Under her leadership, Brittania-U has partnered with local Nigerian communities, hiring locals, and engaging in community-development programs. The company’s main objectives include people’s well-being, a better quality of life, job opportunities, and a safe and clean environment. In 2019, Catherine Uju Ifejika made history as Brittania-U Group acquired the biggest vessel ever used for trading in Nigeria’s cabotage waters. She is the only Nigerian female to become Chairman and CEO of an Upstream Exploration & Production Company in Nigeria.
She is the Chief Executive Officer of Daystar Power (Ghana), one of the largest commercial and industrial renewable energy companies in West Africa. As an executive, she has demonstrated the ability to build teams, lead, operate, and communicate comfortably across all levels within organizations and navigate complex regulatory and stakeholder environments.
She is one of the youngest female CEOs in Africa’s renewable energy space. She was a Senior Manager at Sunray Ventures, the mother company of Daystar Power Group. She was also a pioneer member of the management team heading the legal function while leading commercial business development in Africa and the Middle East.
She believes that Africa’s young demographic is a superpower that needs to be tapped for closing energy access gaps. She also believes that brilliant women are going to be leading the energy future in Africa through collaborations between the private and public sectors as well as utilities.