What is the Power Africa Senior Advisors Group?

2nd April 2015

The Power Africa Senior Advisors Group, convened by AGI, is a network of highly respected leaders from business, politics, development institutions and the energy industry. Their role is to provide trusted and impartial advice to Presidents and power sector leaders in countries like Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Their expertise and skill base is intentionally diverse, though complementary, given the array challenges and opportunities that our partner governments are facing in their efforts to ‘turn the lights on’ in their respective countries.

The network of senior advisors is headed up by former Prime Minister and AGI’s patron, Tony Blair. He will be offering his first-hand experience of how to negotiate the, often very political, terrain of power sector development and how to overcome common barriers to successful reform. Since leaving office, Mr Blair has played this unique senior advisor role for 7 African Heads of State, and can offer very useful lessons in how to offer ‘peer-to-peer’ advice that is driven by unique opportunities and challenges that the government is facing.

Becasue every country faces unique challenges, each government has specific priorities. Whether that’s getting people in rural areas better connected to the national grid, enhancing long term planning in the energy sector, improving the performance of national energy institutions and entities, or collaborating more with private sector players and development partners. The Senior Advisors Group reflects the breadth of these challenges by bringing together world class expertise in leadership, big infrastructure and global finance as part of the wider Power Africa package. 

While political momentum for reform starts with a country’s leadership, processes and skills are equally crucial for delivering on a reform vision. Dr Frannie Leautier, one of the other Senior Advisors, helps bring this perspective to the network. Having led the African Capacity Building Foundation, she can bring to the table fresh ideas on improving government performance management or developing new skills development programmes in key government agencies. Informed by her former leadership positions at development finance institutions like the World Bank, Dr Leautier can support our partner governments’ efforts to ensure intended power sector reforms directly cater for rural populations, women and young children.

Power sector reform also mandates that adequate capacity to deliver and strong strategic oversight is underpinned with the confidence of setting the right policies. That is why we have Senior Advisors like Keith Palmer in the network. Mr Palmer is a renowned specialist in infrastructure development and the founder of InfraCo. He will be offering guidance to our government counterparts in structuring and implementing public-private partnerships in the power sector, among other topics. His unique skillset allows the Group to effectively advise on technical measures important for the success of new power projects and programmes – such as utility regulation and project performance management.

Tutu Agyare, a former UBS investment banker and esteemed private sector leader, brings to the network an equally important perspective on the international landscape of private capital. His private sector background means he is extremely well-placed to mediate between government officials and power sector developers or investors and to provide honest, objective views as to how to build a shared commitment to reform.

As Secretariat to the Power Africa Senior Advisors Group, AGI has ensured that the network of Advisors have an appropriately deep pool of expertise and a wide range of skillsets. They are therefore collectively, and individually, able to offer meaningful support to our Power Africa government partners as they strive to ensure for their people reliable, affordable and life-changing access to electricity.