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Ghanaian energy company, Springfield, founded by 38 year old Ghanaian entrepreneur Kevin Okyere, has made history by becoming the first African energy company to drill in deep-water and discover 1.5 billion barrels of oil and 0.7tcf of gas.

CEO of SEP, Kevin Okyere

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.

Share your thoughts below.

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Uganda Launches first Laptop and Smartphone manufacturing plant to supply its market

Uganda’s first smartphone and laptops manufacturing and assembly plant was launched on Friday 22nd November 2019 by President Museveni. At full capacity, the factory will produce 2000 feature phones, 1500 smartphones, 800 laptops, 2000 chargers, 4000 USB cables and 4000 sets of earphones. It will also provide 400 direct employment. The plant is located in Kampala and is by Chinese firm Engo and the products will be branded SIMI.

The president praised the Chinese for their business ventures in Uganda and Africa which according to him has improved Uganda’s GDP growth. The president further highlighted his intentions for the country saying that electricity is now being adequately provided and he is working on reducing transport costs and improving the ICT of the country all of which will help in ease of doing business.

According to the State Minister for Investment and Privatization, Evelyn Anite, the country will save foreign exchange and reduce import bills by manufacturing the phones locally. She further urged Ugandans to patronize their own locally produced phones to improve the country’s economic development. The ICT Minister Mr Frank Tumwebaze said that the smartphones produced locally will be affordable making it easier for Ugandans to go online.

Uganda follows Rwanda in Smartphone manufacturing

Last month, Rwanda launched Africa’s first smartphone manufacturing plant. Uganda has now followed in the footsteps of Rwanda. This is a positive step in the right direction. With the setting up of a local smartphone and laptop manufacturing plant, Uganda will gain a lot. Firstly, local competencies and skills transfer will be enhanced. Ugandans will ow learn the manufacturing process that goes in the production of laptop and mobile phones. This is very important as spin-offs companies can be created that could specialize in the manufacturing of separate components. Furthermore, the technology ecosystem of the country will be improved by having this manufacturing plant. Secondly, the economy of Uganda will benefit a lot. The company will employ more than 400 people. In addition, the government gains revenue through the taxes paid by the company. The entire value chain involved in setting up a high-tech manufacturing plant will provide lots of indirect employment too.

China-Africa relations going another step up

Chinese companies are now setting up high tech companies in Africa. Last month, Nigeria started constructing West Africa’s first rail wagon manufacturing plant with the help of the Chinese. China’s mobile phone company Tecno also has an assembly plant in Ethiopia.

African governments should now make sure that local content in the manufacturing contracts with Chinese companies go up. This would further develop local competencies and skills transfer. In addition, by using more local content in manufacturing, the economy grows significantly at the same time providing massive employment.

Indeed this manufacturing plant is a step in the right direction, kudos to President Museveni.

Should other African countries follow in this step? Share your thoughts below.