“Africa’s True Wealth Lies in Our People”
Q: What was your journey like to get where you are?
A: My Journey has been hard work, more hard work and more hard work. In all, it has been most salutary, both in terms of capacity building and in value addition to the communities and customers we serve with an independent electricity supply.
Q: Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career!
A: The Genesis 84MW Port Harcourt Refinery Project, I would say, has been the most significant, because of its noteworthy contribution to turning around the fortunes
of the refinery given the epileptic power experienced by the Refinery for two decades, and also being part of the successful investment to turn around the Refinery to enjoy a reliable, competitive, sustainable and clean power solution.
Q: What are the formative decisions and experiences that have influenced who you are as a person?
A: Growing up in a disciplined, structured family where a firm sense of purpose overrides all and every other decision taken.
Q: Tell us about your studies and how they shaped the way you think and act?
A: Studying Strategy and Innovation at the Oxford University SAID Business School and Electricity Pricing and Modelling at the London Business School, enhanced my ability to take effective strategic decisions in today’s dynamic business environment and to innovate for competitive precedence. It also increased my knowledge, and broadened and deepened my skill base with a clear focus on utilitarian applications.
At Oxford Princeton College where I studied International Oil &Trading, I gained the tools to examine trading economics in depth and increased my knowledge to effectively negotiate, calculate profitability, and examine the legal and operational aspects of Oil trading as it also applies to today’s businesses.
“Youths are not a problem to be helped or solved, they are the conduits of creativity and catalyst for change”
Q: What are the most important learnings for you in leadership, entrepreneurship and mentoring others?
A: Sincerity of purpose, extreme commitment to the common goals and setting simple, achievable targets that enable one success to feed off another.
Q: Can you share with us a couple of stories that have either inspired you or transformed the way you think/ act?
A: One is watching my Father while I was growing up; watching his interactions with both the high and low in addition to his passion, determination and great humility in dealing with everyone he comes in contact with.
The story of the Audacity of Hope by Barack Hussein Obama II shows the essence of DETERMINATION, especially in some of the battles we fight on a global scale and on a daily basis, which could be battles of ideas and therefore cannot be won with weapons. Determination is found in most of the success stories of the great people of our time.
The story of Bill Gates is another great story. Bill Gates was a Harvard University dropout and co-owner of a failed business called Traf-O-Data. He also had so many obstacles that stood in the way of his dream, but, driven by his PASSION, he built the largest software company in the world.
Q: Think of a recent story that made headlines, and really impressed or even shocked you. Tell us more about it.
A: The massive photovoltaic power station built on top of a fish farm in Zhejiang in China. The 200MW Solar project was put into operation in January 2017 and is expected to annually generate about 220 GWh of electricity, enough to cater to the needs of roughly one hundred thousand homes.
The ability to adapt this technology despite underlying challenges, not being limited by the lack of land space, and the ability to improvise and innovate using what was available to light up the community is most impressive.
Q: How do you see Africa in fifty years from now?
A: The middle class in Africa is growing, and the proportion of employable youth is advancing dramatically. The growth rate is being courted by multiple governments, and all of this will ultimately put Africa into a place where it becomes a net producer of what it consumes, with a substantial part of the population moving away from the poverty line towards a higher standard of living of the low to middle class.
Q: What makes a Global Thinker?
A: An innovator of ideas, a connector of people for socio-economic activities and a committed mentor willing to mentor others.
Q: What does African youth need?
A: To meet Africa’s challenges head on we need a generation of groundbreaking and adaptable youths to create their future. Youths are not a problem to be helped or solved, they are the conduits of creativity and catalyst for change, because they are ambitious, creative and capable of rethinking the world and solving tomorrow’s problems today.
Africa needs to create its own jobs through the ingenuity, ability and skill of its own people. It is our job as leaders to ensure that the millions of young people who are willing to put in the work to improve their future have every opportunity to experiment, learn, adapt and eventually succeed. We must use this significant inflection point in the continent’s history to guarantee that the entrepreneurial nimbleness, grit and vigour of Africa’s youth can be utilised to help lift the economies of Africa.
Africa may be known as the continent of gold, oil, manganese and diamonds, but our true wealth lies in our people, especially the youth. Only by unlocking the potential of this treasure by giving them a chance to work or to create their own jobs will we finally achieve the prosperity that our minerals have so far failed to bring to our continent.
Q: What is the most important piece of advice you would give to a young aspiring entrepreneur?
A: My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is simple: run a sanity check before pursuing opportunities with the simple but critical question, ‘why do I want to do this?’ Build meaningful relationships, have a massive dose of optimism at all times, and approach your business with humility, grit and determination.
Q: African women leaders: Can you name some African women who stand out and have made a difference in their countries, communities or business sectors in Africa?
A: Achenyo Idachaba
Dr. Jenifa Riria
Janet Nkubana and Joy Ndungutse
Winnie Madikizela Mandela
Akinwole Omoboriowo II
Chairman & CEO, Genesis Energy Holdings
Akinwole Omoboriowo II (AOII) is a 1993 graduate of Economics from University of Jos, Alumni of the London Business School, from where he acquired specialist training in Electricity Pricing & Modelling course in 2006, and a 2011 Post-Graduate Diploma Alumni in Strategy & Innovation from the Prestigious Oxford University's SAID Business School, U.K.
AOII has over 20 years of experience in the Oil & Gas and Power Sectors in Africa, where he has consistently led other equally distinguished colleagues in pioneering several initiatives including but not limited to Independent Power Producing companies, well-Structured Oil Companies (Oil Trading and Exploration), thriving Utility Companies, amongst others.
AOII management work-profile includes being the Chairman and CEO of Genesis Energy Holdings, Chairman Board of Directors GEL Utility (Co- Sponsored by General Electric and Engro Corp), Member-Advisory Board of The Global Thinkers Forum (GTF), Member – Advisory Board of the African Utility and Clean Power Africa, Member – Board EnergyNet ‘’Off The Grid Club’’ West Africa, Founding Director of Walters Power Africa, CEO of Petroleum Projects International (a Foremost Oil & Gas Company in Africa, with several trail-blazing market initiatives to its credit) , Chairman of Bissau Electricidade de Agua (Guinea Bissau), Managing Director of Besse-Oil & Services.
AOII was listed among the most Influential Figures in African Power Sector for two years consecutively of 2014 and 2015- ESI, South Africa (Sponsored by ESKOM), nominated for a lifetime Achievement Award at the African Utility Industry Awards 2016 and is also invested with Honoris Causa Fellowship of the Certified Board of Administrators of Nigeria (CBAN).
AOII is a fellow of the institutes of Management Consultants.