SWITZERLAND, OCTOBER 30 – International agency, Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) on Tuesday, announced that Damilola Ogunbiyi, current Managing Director of the Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency (REA), has been selected as the organisation’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
The news followed United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres announcing the appointment of Ogunbiyi as his Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy. By serving in these roles, Ogunbiyi will continue the close ties SEforALL has with the UN, helping to support even greater collaboration towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7)—affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.
Today’s Echo gathers that Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) is an international organization launched by the then Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon to help mobilize achievement of universal energy access, improve energy efficiency, and increase the use of renewable energy.
It was formally launched as an initiative in September 2011 and is headquartered in Vienna, Austria, with an executive office in Washington, DC.
Ogunbiyi’s appointment—following a highly competitive global search led by the SEforALL Administrative Board—coincides with the final decade to achieve and meet the promise of SDG7. Ogunbiyi will succeed Rachel Kyte, former SEforALL CEO and Special Representative to the Secretary-General, after she announced her resignation earlier in the year.
António Mexia, Chairman of the SEforALL Administrative Board and CEO of Energias de Portugal (EDP), said: “Thanks to the leadership of Rachel, SEforALL is in a stronger position than ever to continue its work with the UN and to help the Sustainable Development Goal 7 movement go even further and faster in closing access gaps. Yet the challenge of meeting global energy goals at the speed and scale needed is ever pressing. Damilola is the right leader at the right time. She has the experience, track record, and passion for sustainable development to catalyze progress, scale energy access, and lead SEforALL with ambition and impact.”
Ogunbiyi’s work in Nigeria focused on mobilizing the stakeholders and finance needed for delivering energy access to people and communities that need it most. She was the first woman to be appointed as Managing Director of the Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency(REA). She is also responsible for implementing the Nigerian Off Grid Electrification Programme and successfully negotiating the Nigerian Electrification Project, to rapidly construct solar mini-grids and deploy solar home systems across Nigeria.
Today’s Echo in August, published an exclusive report on the work being done by the REA across Nigeria.
To connect off grid communities across the country to electricity through renewable power sources, the REA, in conjunction with the World Bank embarked upon the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP), a private sector driven initiative that has provided electricity access to several households, micro, small and medium enterprises across the countries. According to the NEA, one of the goals of the NEP is to provide reliable power supply for 250,000 (MSMEs) and 1 million households.
Today’s Echo gathers that the pilot phase of the project which is ongoing, will provide off-grid electricity for 50 communities in 4 states. Furthermore, 37 Federal Universities and Teaching Hospitals will be supplied with electricity via solar energy.
Silently, the REA’s National Electrification Project is emerging a success story in Nigeria. Gradually, several villages, schools, hospitals and markets are being lit up successfully as the REA deploys its solar electric projects across the length and breadth of the country.
Speaking on her announcement, Ogunbiyi said: “As the world faces ongoing development challenges, access to energy is the key that will help unlock the Sustainable Development Goals. With 2030 growing ever closer, smart use of data, new partnerships, and scaled involvement of the private sector will be paramount for SEforALL’s work. 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.”
Whilst at the REA, Ogunbiyi was responsible for the Energizing Education Programme, which aims to provide uninterrupted electricity to universities and teaching hospitals through off-grid captive power. She also led gender inclusion activities in the REA and the Nigerian energy sector. Before joining the Federal Government of Nigeria, Ogunbiyi was the General Manager of the Lagos State Electricity Board, which is responsible for public lighting, independent power projects, and energy development in Lagos State.
Ogunbiyi is a globally respected leader with a broad and diverse international network in the area of energy development, which includes key relationships with leading multilateral and bilateral partners and the private sector. She is also one of the Commissioners for the Global Commission to End Energy Poverty.
The announcement follows the recent launch of SEforALL’s Energizing Finance research, which shows a continued lack—and in some cases, decline—of investment in sustainable energy access in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ogunbiyi’s insights from working in the region will feed directly into SEforALL’s ongoing work to help make more meaningful, targeted progress across Africa and globally.
She will take up the post in early 2020, and from 26-28 May 2020 she will welcome stakeholders from across the SDG7 movement at the SEforALL Forum in Kigali, Rwanda.