The multinational organisation of African heritage, Sahara Group, is on a mission to diversify and reinforce the whole energy value chain to guarantee Africa’s socio-economic development.
Established in 1996 in Nigeria in order to trade petroleum products, Sahara Group has since grown phenomenally to become a leading and dynamic conglomerate in power, energy, and infrastructure operating in over 42 countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Sahara was the first minor international aviation fuel marketer to supply Nigerian and international airlines and has since gone on to become, in 2015, the first company to provide tailored Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) solutions to the sub-sector in West Africa.
Deeply committed to values of integrity, service excellence and sustainability, the Group realised early on the importance of focusing on the whole value chain to maximise opportunity. Indeed, today Sahara Group is Africa’s leading crude oil and trading business while also being one of Africa’s leading independent E&P players with nine oil and gas assets in high yielding basins across Africa with a capacity to produce over 10,000 bopd, and with the goal of boosting production to 100,000 bopd over the next five years.
The conglomerate has also got 20 years of experience in downstream and has storage terminals across Africa, the Middle East and Europe and a combined capacity in excess of 300 million litres for a range of refined petroleum products. With plans to expand generation capacity to over 5,000MW by 2023, Sahara Power Group (SPG) is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest privately owned vertically integrated power company. Plants include the largest thermal power plant in sub-Saharan Africa: Egbin Power Plc, as well as the Afam, Eleme, Trans Amadi and Omoku Plants.
Under the government’s privatisation initiative, SPG has majority shareholding states in two of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) assets, Egbin Power Plc and Ikeja Electric Plc. In its mission to deliver world-class power solutions and provide competitive advantage within the sector, it also acquired a 70% stake in First Independent Power Limited (FIPL). Committed to the goal of boosting Africa’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in April 2019, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Sahara signed an MoU for the promotion of reliable access to affordable and sustainable energy.
An avowed promoter of the pan-African dream of regional integration and trade, Group Managing Director of Sahara Power Group, Kola Adesina, explains: “As a company we have chosen to be a provider of choice wherever energy is consumed and through that bring energy to life. We are of the view that without electricity, development in Africa will remain elusive, without electricity there cannot be progress, without electricity there cannot be prosperity. So, electricity is the bedrock for each nation to truly develop and improve African quality of life. Therefore, every day, we consistently look at the map of Africa and say to ourselves – Which part of this map needs electricity faster than the others?
Where can we leave our footprint to create impact and create a legacy? We have aligned with UNDP in the energy goals of our agenda, to be able to electrify Africa and find influencers for development.”
Sahara’s resourcefulness and drive for innovation does not stop here, with a focus upon projects and initiatives that boost socio-economic development in Africa, Sahara Infrastructure Development and Venture Capital (SIVC) Limited and Centrum Properties Limited (CPL) are dedicated to developing sustainable energy infrastructure to meet sub-Saharan Africa’s needs in oil and gas infrastructure, utility concessions, industrial parks, real estate, hospitality, agriculture, healthcare and government-backed projects.
At its core, however, the Group is driven by its deep dedication to the socio-economic growth of the nation and continent through its CSR initiatives, Foundation and its goal to empower the communities it works within, with a particular focus upon its youths. “What we do first is understand the needs of a community,” explains Adesina. “Prior to 2019, our CSR interventions focused on three main pillars- health, education and environment. Post 2019, the new areas of focus are access to energy, environment, and entrepreneurship. We believe the resources Africa requires to succeed, survive and thrive are already there, we just need to learn how to harness them.”