Springfield Exploration and Production (SEP) Limited has made history by becoming the first Ghanaian and African energy company to drill in deep-water and discover 1.5 billion barrels of oil and 0.7tcf of gas. The discovery was made last month following its first Afina-1 well drilling campaign in the West Cape Three Points (WCTP) Block 2, offshore Ghana. According to the CEO and founder of the company Kevin Okyere, this discovery is a tremendous achievement for Ghana and Africa, and he hopes this achievement will inspire more Africans to venture into complex projects such as oil exploration.
About the founder and CEO Kevin Okyere
Kevin was born in 1980 in the Ashanti region of ghana. His father is a traditional chief and a former business tycoon. He did his High school in Ghana and then furthered his education in accounting at George mason university, Virginia. After graduating he had attractive offers to work in the united states but he still decided to return to Ghana. He moved back to Ghana in 2004 and started a business in telecoms. The telecoms business was doing well but due to feelings of uncertainty, he decided to scan for other opportunities to venture into. This led to the birth of Springfield Exploration and Production (SEP).
About Springfield Exploration and Production (SEP)
SEP started operations in 2008 and became one of the leading players in Ghana’s downstream sector. The company supplies a significant portion of ghana’s petroleum products need as well as exporting to neighbouring countries such as Mali and Burkina Faso. The company is also involved in Nigeria’s downstream sector and has formed business partnerships with various oil giants such as BP, Total and chevron to name a few.
Kevin’s story is a lesson to educated Africans in the diaspora
Africans in the diaspora can learn some vital information from Kevin’s story. Firstly, Africans can only attain ownership of big firms in their home continent. Had Kevin stayed in the united states, he would never had the opportunity to own a $1 billion revenue-generating firm. Other examples include Aliko Dangote and Strive Masiyawa all of whom obtained their huge wealth by investing in Africa. Secondly, African expats in the diaspora need to be more brave and venture into complex business activitiesin the continent to lift their countrymen out of poverty. Kevin employs a large number of Ghanian and African workforce, as a result, providing jobs for otherwise unemployed or underemployed Africans.
Lesson for African governments
African governments must understand that it is their citizens who will develop their countries and not foreigners. Hence, they should do their utmost to empower the private sector of their economies. Kevin started in the downstream sector but late invested millions of dollars into the upstream sector. This is because he believes in himself and loves his country. On the other hand, most foreign firms are only interested in making profits which they repatriate to their home countries. Hence, African countries must do more to empower their citizens. They can do these in several ways. Firstly, establish more educational institutions and build innovation hubs to nurture entrepreneurship in the continent. Secondly, provide an enabling business environment to enhance the ease of doing business. Thirdly, make it easier for start-ups to acquire funding since lack of access to financing is a major cause of their failures.
More Kevins are needed in other sectors of the African economy
More Kevins are needed in the agriculture, health and resource sectors of the African continent. Africa has all the resources but is stuck in the primary sector hierarchy. Hence, the continent needs more industrialists such as Kevin and Aliko Dangote to add value to these resources. The industrial sector alone can provide millions of jobs to the teeming youth population. Once the industrial sector is developed, the service sector of the economy will boom, consequently lifting millions out of poverty.
By going into the upstream sector and drilling into deepwater and finding 1.5 billion barrels of oil, Kevin has proved beyond doubt that Africans can succeed in any industry. Clearly, the onus is on African governments to device how they can utilize the human resources in the continent to unlock its huge potential.
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