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"East Africa is one of the hot spots for investments in Sub-Saharan Africa"

Ayuli_JemediDuring the upcoming EAPIC in Nairobi in September, Ayilu is the moderator of the country sector track.

1) Please tell us more about PTRL and the work that you specialise in?
Project & Transaction Resources Limited (PTRL) is a start-up company that does exactly what the name says: helps clients to gather all the resources that they require to get their infrastructure projects and transactions off the ground. It is manned by people with different proven transactional skills sets; lawyers (like me); financial analysts; sector experts etc. sets who have worked on projects in the different infrastructure sectors. It also has a not-for-profit arm that seeks to train Africans on project development and grow a bunch of African full-fledged project developers who understand how to make a project bankable.

2) You are chairing the country investment focus days at the upcoming EAPIC, how excited are you about the investment opportunities in the region?
East Africa is one of the hot spots for investments in Sub-Saharan Africa, and one simple way to measure growth in any economy is to track the growth of electricity consumption on a KW Per Capita basis. For example in Kenya between year 2000 and year 2013 this grew from 107.42 to 167. In the same period Ethiopia grew 22.68 to 64.62. Given these growth indices, there would therefore be an elastic opportunity curve in all countries in East Africa, particularly since most, if not all of them, have found a political equilibrium for businesses to thrive.

3) What key areas do you think need to be addressed in relation to power in the region?
I think the best way to answer this is to view some data and statistics available in the public domain. One key area is the delay in relation to delay in obtaining electricity connections. In one country in East Africa, in year 2000 it was 42 days, and by 2015 it became 194 days. Relatedly, the statistics also shows that the access to electricity in urban areas in many countries is on the decline. These indices are therefore reflective of problems and off course opportunities.

4) Why should investors pay attention to the region?
East African economies have worked very hard to implement institutional or regulatory reforms for improving the business environment over the last few years. Amongst countries in the world that have seen remarkable business environment improvements since 2005, Rwanda and Burundi are noteworthy. Burundi was among the world’s most active economies in implementing regulatory reforms in 2011/12. It implemented policy changes in 4 areas measured by Doing Business: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property and trading across borders. Also the Protocol on the Establishment of the East African Community (EAC) Common Market (assented to by Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda) is intended to guarantee the “Four Freedoms” (free movement of goods; labour; services; and capital) across these countries. Whilst this Protocol may not be achieving the desired results with material significance, its potential to boost trade and investments across the region is something to watch over the next few years.

5) How can these regional countries cooperate more to make the most of opportunities?
Solutions to the energy issues in the regional requires optimization of natural, technical, and financial resources on a cross-border level: related governance and planning structures that help countries in the region benefit from a common pool of knowledge would go a long way. Attempts to negotiate Wheeling Agreements that allow the sale of 200 MW of power from Ethiopia to Tanzania over Kenya’s transmission lines is a good example of cross border cooperation.

6) What are you most looking forward to at EAPIC?
I have looked at the programme and I see that it is extremely rich in content. I am therefore looking forward to the barrage of information from all the participants and the intellectual discourses. But most importantly, meeting people always comes first.

7) During EAPIC there will be a lunch for young energy/engineering students as well as the EAPIC Women in Energy lunch – what are your thoughts on these initiatives?
Women and Young people are very key stakeholders in any agenda for the African continent or any of its regions. They have however been disadvantaged in so many ways due majorly to culture and other paradigms. These attempts to encourage and engage them positively is very laudable.

8) What is your vision for this industry?
I envision a time when the African continent would be self-sufficient in power generation and electricity supply.

ABOUT Ayuli Jemide: Ayuli Jemide is the Executive Chair of the Advisory Board of Project & Transaction Resources Limited, a company he co-founded. PTRL is a holding company with a primary objective of working with counterparties, either singly or in consortiums, to provide broad resource capabilities to project developers, investors, or governments on infrastructure projects in Africa. Ayuli leads the companies’ efforts across Africa, interfacing with clients, governments and counterparties. He is regarded as one of Africa’s top PPP and Infrastructure lawyers and was awarded “Best Lawyer, Nigeria” at the 2013 World Finance Awards. With over two decades of transactional experience, Ayuli has advised on various ground breaking transactions in Nigeria including the UPDC Plc N30billion REITS; Heineken BV’s purchase of five breweries in Nigeria; Design Build Operate & Transfer of the second Niger Bridge; Finance and Rehabilitation of the Lagos Ibadan Expressway; Design & Build and PPP Concession of the Lagos State Blue Line; and Operation and Maintenance Concession of the Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge. Ayuli has a Master’s of Law from Northwestern University, Chicago, USA, and a Post Graduate Certificate in Business Administration from Instituto de Empresa, Madrid, Spain. He is also a certified Public Private Partnership Specialist from the Institute for Public Private Partnerships, Washington DC, USA. Ayuli is versed in matters pertaining to: Infrastructure, Public Private Partnerships, Finance, Energy, Capital Markets, Procurement, and Legislative Frameworks. Chambers & Partners, global commentary 2015 remarks that “Ayuli Jemide is a highly capable practitioner with a pragmatic, deal-focused approach, and he manages his team very well.”