By Bennie Mundando
EXECUTIVE Director, Sahara Group, Temitope Shonubi has said the energy conglomerate’s impressive growth trajectory since 1996 has been driven by knowledge, business integrity, humility, diverse people and robust global network.
“These past 25 years, knowledge has been the empowering tool for Sahara, business integrity our greatest asset, humility our utmost ethos, diverse people and network our greatest value,” he asserted while unveiling Sahara’s 25th anniversary logo and the Group’s plan for the future.
Shonubi said Sahara had since disrupted previously held notions that put looking to Africa for the implementation of global energy solutions beyond imagination. According to him, since its inception, Sahara has deployed “transformational energy initiatives” to become a conglomerate with a proud African heritage and vast operations in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East Asia.
“Today, the narrative is rapidly changing with Sahara at the vanguard of the transformational story from Africa to the world. Founded in 1996 with an initial focus on Oil trading, Sahara Group is widely regarded as a leading energy conglomerate renowned for championing capacity building and promoting the ‘best in Africa for Africa’ to the world narrative globally,” he affirmed.
Shonubi said Sahara would increase its investment in technology, artificial intelligence, and human capital transformation as critical drivers of its next expansion phase, adding that innovation will define Sahara’s brand positioning and offering in the coming years.
“For us at Sahara, it has been 25 years of instituting a stamp of distinction. Like most start-ups, we were chasers then followers, and today are the dream actualized corporation. It is much more expensive and difficult to be a trailblazer, defying the impossible to emerge as an enterprise that creates value innovatively, responsibly, and sustainably. Still, at Sahara we are focused on remarkable growth and grateful for the opportunity to serve and bring energy to life across global markets.”
Sahara plans to mark its 25th anniversary with several events and activities all through 2021 with the theme, “Harnessing Safe energy today.” Emphasis will be on promoting the “capacity to do and achieve positive and sustainable transformation” in the energy sector.
An analysis of Sahara’s operational model shows that creating a sustainable economic, social, and governance impact has remained central to Sahara’s corporate strategy. The conglomerate has grown its operations to achieve annual revenues in excess of $10 billion, with over 4000 employees and operations in over 40 countries.
“Sahara’s focus is on continuous improvement, operational efficiency, and sustainability. We plan to deploy best-in-class Terminal Automation System (TAS) for efficient terminal operations in the oil & gas sector, Plant Data Visualization System (PDVS) for enhanced remote monitoring of plant operations, Customer Energy Management (CEM), and GIS-based Network Monitoring System (GNMS) for customer-centric power distribution & data management services,” said Shonubi.
The Group considers the activities of the Sahara Foundation as one of its most cherished accomplishments. Following its initial partnership with the Carter Centre to eradicate guinea worm disease in Nigeria, Sahara Foundation has over the years, emerged as a global promoter of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with over 2,000,000 (two million) beneficiaries across its locations through interventions in Health, Education, Capacity Building, and lately, Extrapreneurship – a concept that promotes opportunities for social innovators and entrepreneurs.
In 2015, the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), through the Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDG-F) established the Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) as a pivotal platform for business leaders opportunity to contribute to extraordinary social impact and cultivate partnerships of tremendous transformative capacity.
From an initial list of 100 shortlisted global multinational companies, the United Nations SDG-F selected 13 companies and inaugurated them in Madrid. Within the African continent, Sahara Group was one of the only two companies that made the final selection.
In line with its commitment to supporting growing global demand for safe and clean energy and the shift towards a lower carbon footprint, Sahara and the UNDP in 2019 entered into a partnership to promote access to clean and affordable energy in Africa, with a target of providing access to clean and affordable energy to over 650 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Sahara Group remains passionate about green energy and environmental conservation. Our Green Life project, aimed at driving energy and ecological conservation initiatives across our business operations and partnerships, saw the Group pioneer the commencement of an electronic billing system (e-billing) at Ikeja Electric Plc, the Group’s power distribution arm to promote environmental conservation in the energy sector,” Shonubi said.
To reinforce its commitment to clean energy initiatives, Sahara Group also initiated the use of electric buggies and bicycles at its Egbin Power, Africa’s largest privately-owned Power Plant, with plans to replicate same at other operational facilities across the Group.
Shonubi said Sahara’s zero-waste approach to promoting operational efficiency and commitment to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has seen Egbin Power Plc invest in an oxygen bottling facility on the plant to harness the oxygen generated as a by-product of the plant cooling mechanism. Egbin Power supplies oxygen, a key ingredient in the fight for life in the ICU, freely to medical facilities in Lagos State and the FCT, Abuja Nigeria, through Fortitude Children’s home, the largest orphanage in Nigeria.
Sahara’s Covid-19 interventions also include donation of personal protective equipment (PPE), driving Covid-19 awareness and education in sub-Saharan Africa through educational literature in indigenous languages across various countries and leading the delivery of the 300-bed Thisday Dome Isolation and Treatment Centre and donation of medical equipment, including fully equipped world-class Intensive Care Units, to the centre and other medical facilities across Nigeria.