Movers and Shakers: Powerful African entrepreneurs working for a better African future

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Arthur Eze is another powerful example of African business leaders working for a better African future.
Eze, usually referred to as Prince Arthur Eze because he is descended from tribal royalty, is the founder of Atlas Petroleum International and Oranto Petroleum.

He is known not only for his business successes, but also for his philanthropy.
Last year, Oranto started building two primary schools in South Sudan, where the company has an exploration license for Block B3. Oranto also has committed to a five-year teacher training program in South Sudan.

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Petroleum industry leader Benedict Peters has a strong track record of impactful business and charitable activities as well.

He has been recognized for helping Nigeria develop its energy industry, and for transforming Aiteo Group from a small downstream operation to an integrated energy conglomerate.
Aiteo is a regular support of organizations like FACE Africa, which provides clean water to sub-Saharan Africans. Peters’ organization, the Joseph Agro Foundation, addresses unemployment and water shortages by creating job opportunities for farmers.

Then there is Sahara Group. Under the leadership of Executive Director and co-founder Temitope Shenube, the Nigerian energy and infrastructure conglomerate empowers the communities where it works. The company’s charitable arm, Sahara Foundation, supports health, education and capacity building, environment, and sustainable development initiatives.

What we are seeing in Africa is a pattern of African petroleum-sector leaders taking meaningful steps to make life better in Africa.

Endless Energy Opportunities

Africa has no shortage of people determined to improve its future, and it has what it needs to fuel their efforts: enormous stores of oil and gas resources.
The last 12 months have been an exceptionally exciting time in terms of discoveries.

In offshore Mauritania, Kosmos Energy recently announced a massive natural gas discovery that could yield as much as 50 trillion cubic feet of gas.
Total discovered what could amount to 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent offshore South Africa’s Brulpadda field. BP and Kosmos Energy announced a discovery in the Yakaar-2 appraisal well, offshore of Senegal.

We are also seeing tremendously promising activity in Mozambique. Earlier this fall, ExxonMobil announced a $33 billion enlargement of Mozambique’s Rovuma liquid natural gas (LNG) complex.
Total, meanwhile, says it will expand its Mozambique LNG project it recently acquired from Anadarko. Both projects are likely to create tens of thousands of jobs, bolster the economy, and raise everyday people’s standard of living.

And these are only a few examples of Africa’s many petroleum-related opportunities. Of course, we need to act thoughtfully and decisively to capitalize on them and make sure that everyday Africans benefit from them.
African countries need to monetize their natural resources and use the resulting revenue to build much-needed infrastructure and diversify economies. We must insist on governance that encourages exploration and production, effective local content policies, and an end to corruption. We need to be making better deals and developing new models for managing oil revenue.

Instead of looking to foreign aid, we need to develop strategic partnerships with foreign companies willing to share knowledge. And while we are capitalizing on petroleum resources, we also need to embrace sustainable energy sources and plan now for Africa’s energy transition. I cover all of these topics in great detail in my book.

The African Dream is Within Our Reach

Africa is home to infectious optimism and tenacity. We’re seeing it in Africans who’ve achieved success and now work to help other Africans do the same. We are seeing it in women who are overcoming gender stereotypes and obstacles to take their rightful place as industry leaders. And, we are seeing it among petroleum executives who are offering meaningful support and opportunities to African communities.

Africa is an exciting place in an era of huge potential. That’s why the time is right to join the fight for its future. Whether you are an African entrepreneur, a member of the diaspora, or a foreign investor, your efforts today have more potential than ever to make a positive impact.

NJ Ayuk is the CEO of Centurion Law Group and the Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber. His experience negotiating oil and gas deals has given him an expert’s grasp of Africa’s energy landscape. He is the author of “Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and doing deals.”

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