Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) announced that its new chief executive officer will be Damilola Ogunbiyi, current managing director of the Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency (REA).  

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.

She 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.

Ogunbiyi will succeed Rachel Kyte, former SEforALL CEO and Special Representative to the Secretary-General, after Kyte announced her resignation earlier in the year. 

“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,” said António Mexia, chairman of the SEforALL administrative board and CEO of Energias de Portugal (EDP). “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 catalyse progress, scale energy access, and lead SEforALL with ambition and impact.”

Ogunbiyi is a globally respected leader with a broad and diverse international network in the area of energy development, which includes 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.

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 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.

“As the world faces ongoing development challenges, access to energy is the key that will help unlock the Sustainable Development Goals,” Ogunbiyi said. “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.”

Ogunbiyi will take up the SEforALL post in early 2020.

SEforALL “empower[s] leaders to broker partnerships and unlock finance to achieve universal access to sustainable energy as a contribution to a cleaner, just and prosperous world for all.”

Last year, SEforALL released a report that said investments in large hydro plants dropped to US$500 million in 2015-16, compared with US$1.6 billion in 2013-14, in part due to changes in long-term hydrological conditions arising from climate change. And investments in small hydro were US$400 million in 2015-2016, compared with US$500 million in 2013-14.