Women in Energy: Meet Africa’s Most Empowering Entrepreneurs

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The Women in Energy series continues with representatives from Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Senegal. These women not only represent a more inclusive workforce, but advocate for increased female involvement in the sector. They are inspiring examples of what women can achieve and contribute to the African energy sector and global sector a whole.

Catherine Uju Ifejika: Nigeria

Catherine Uju Ifejika is the first and only woman to become chair and CEO of an Upstream E&P Company in Nigeria, Brittania-U Nigeria Limited. Holding a Diploma in Law and an LLB (Hons), she is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association, a fellow of the Institute of Arbitration and Conciliation and a member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.

She started her career in the petroleum industry by joining Texaco’s legal department and quickly progressed, becoming Company Secretary in 1997. Thereafter, she held government and public affairs responsibilities.

Ifejika joined Brittania-U Nigeria Limited in 2007 as Chair /CEO and has since made impressive contributions to the sector. The company, through her guidance, has boasted incredible achievements, among which its Ajapa Floating Production Storage Unit produced its first oil from drilling in 17 months. Such an accomplishment is yet to be achieved by another company of its kind in Nigeria. Additionally, she has set up six subsidiary companies in seven years.

Her accolades include the Global Business Ambassador Award, Recognition for 45 Women of Excellence and Distinction, Nigeria Women 50-50 Award, African Oil and Gas Amazon of the Year Award, African Most Outstanding Businesswoman Gold Award of Excellence and African Businesswoman of the Year.

Ifejika is a pioneer for women in the industry, showing how determination and hard work can result in great accomplishments. She is not only one of the richest women in Africa but is considered Africa’s most successful female oil tycoon.

Mercedes Eworo Milam: Equatorial Guinea

Mercedes Eworo Milam is the Director General for the Ministry of Hydrocarbons in Equatorial Guinea. She is an Engineer of Mines, specialising in surveys and mineral exploration from the University of Salamanca.

Milam joined the Ministry in 2004 as Head of the Technical Office and swiftly rose, working as the head of the Directorate General National Content between 2007 and 2009, in charge of the General Secretariat between 2009 and 2011 and as Chief Ministerial of Mines and Hydrocarbons between 2011 and 2013. Thereafter, she earned the coveted position of director general of Hydrocarbons of the Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy.

Recognised for her achievements in 2014, she received the Woman of the Year award at the Oil and Gas Awards. This accomplishment was attributed to her work in ensuring the sustainable development of the country’s oil and gas sector.

By ensuring women are hired and considered for jobs, training and promotions, she offers many an opportunity not yet given to them in the field; depicting her as an influential and inspiring leader.

Khadijah A. BA: Senegal

Khadijah A. BA is the Founder, Executive Chairman and CEO of Der Mond Oil and Gas based in Abu Dhabi and Senegal. Having studied in Montreal, Canada, her education and passion led her to the Energy sector. She gained experience through multinational Oil and Gas companies such as BP Canada Energy Group, Technip Abu Dhabi and Schlumberger Middle East.

As Executive Chairperson and CEO, she oversees the main strategy of Der Mond Oil and Gas. She works to ensure the success of the company and maximizes both the growth and presence of Der Mond Group internationally. Her past experiences in international Oil and Gas companies have been a decisive milestone in defining her role in generating Der Mond Group business strategies.

BA is the youngest member of the Middle East Petroleum Club and an advocate for young women and men in the energy sector. Her work in the sector is an inspiration to all women who aspire to be leaders in the industry.

To find out more about influential women in the African energy sector, keep following the Women in Energy series.