On Tuesday, October 29, United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, announced the appointment of a Nigerian visionary, Damilola Ogunbiyi, as his Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and Co-Chair of United Nations-Energy.
The Secretary-General also welcomed the announcement by the Administrative Board of SEforALL that Ogunbiyi has been appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SEforALL.
In what was a milestone achievement for not just the Nigerian but African women in general, Ogunbiyi succeeded Rachel Kyte of the United Kingdom as Special Representative, Co-Chair of United Nations-Energy, and CEO of SEforALL.
“I’m proud to join SEforALL and continue to focus our efforts on closing energy access gaps, showing that a clean energy transition is possible, and working to give everyone the opportunity of a prosperous, dignified, and healthy life,” said Ogunbiyi after accepting the appointment.
Ogunbiyi is an infrastructure development expert with demonstrated experience in the public and private sector 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.
Before Ogunbiyi got on the UN’s radar, she had scored a good number of firsts and had racked up more than a few accomplishments on the board.
Here are five things to know about the Nigerian woman who just landed one of the UN’s top jobs.
- Ogunbiyi studied at the University of Brighton in the United Kingdom, where she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Project Management with Construction (Second Class Honours – Upper Division) in 2001. She followed that up with a Master’s Degree in Construction Management with Public-Private Partnership in 2002 from the same institution.
- Right before landing the job with the UN, she had been serving as the first female Managing Director of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), where she successfully negotiated within 18 months the Nigerian Electrification Project; a USD 350 Mn World Bank and USD 200 Mn African Development Bank Facility for the development of solar mini-grids and solar home systems in Nigeria which will impact 2.5 million Nigerians and 500,000 SMEs.
- In a professional career that has spanned nearly two decades and offered stints in both the UK and Nigeria, Ogunbiyi has put in work in various institutions including Mace, HM Treasury, BG Group, Department for International Development (DfID), Government of Lagos State, Office of the Vice President of Nigeria, and the Rural Electrification Agency of Nigeria.
- Before joining the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), Ogunbiyi was the first female to be appointed as the General Manager of the Lagos State Electricity Board, which is responsible for public lighting, independent power projects, and energy development in Lagos State. Under her leadership, five independent power projects were completed to deliver over 55 megawatts of power to Lagos State hospitals, schools, streetlights, and the Government secretariat. In renewable energy, she completed a 5MW decentralised solar project for 213 schools and clinics in Lagos State.
- Ogunbiyi maintains a keen interest in mentoring and empowering young people through skills acquisitions. She created the Lagos State Energy Academy to build the capacity of young people in renewable energy technology. Also, Ogunbiyi is one of the Commissioners for the Global Commission to end energy poverty which is an initiative driven by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)/ Rockefeller Foundation.
Featured Image Courtesy: AfricanCourier