Former Benin Prime Minister Zinsou to Join Former Nigerian President Obasanjo for High-Level Discussions on Energy Growth and Transition at AEW 2023

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  • Former Benin Prime Minister Zinsou to Join Former Nigerian President Obasanjo for High-Level Discussions on Energy Growth and Transition at AEW 2023

Lionel Zinsou, economist, investment banker and Former Prime Minister of Benin, will attend African Energy Week 2023 as a speaker, where he will talk on a wide range of topics including diplomacy, regional stability, and sustainable development.

The African Energy Chamber (AEC), the voice of the African energy sector, is proud to announce that Lionel Zinsou, economist, investment banker and Former Prime Minister of Benin will speak at the African Energy Week (AEW) 2023 conference and exhibition, Africa’s premier energy event, taking place from October 16-20, 2023 in Cape Town.

The Former Prime Minister will speak during a strategic session together with Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of the Republic of Nigeria, and is expected to touch on a wide range of topics including diplomacy, governance, regional stability and sustainable development in Africa. Poised to provide a platform for high-level dialogue, fostering the exchange of ideas and insights among leaders, policymakers and experts from various fields, the joint session will be a highlight during this year’s edition of Africa’s premier energy event, as a prelude to the COP28 discussions taking place at the end of this year.

With the continent’s economic contraction shrinking by less than 2% compared to the global 3.3% in 2020 – Africa has begun to foster economic transformation on the back of added value addition in the wake of increased energy and mineral demand. Recent developments in the continent’s energy sector include major discoveries made in countries such as Namibia, Ivory Coast, and Egypt; the launch of ambitious exploration campaigns such as in Zimbabwe, Angola, DRC, Kenya, and Algeria; the May 2023 inauguration of the Dangote oil refinery in Nigeria; and the start of production at the Coral Sul Liquefied Natural Gas project in Mozambique. New investments continue to be made across the entire energy value chain while countries progress with large-scale gas and green hydrogen projects under efforts to drive sustainable energy developments.

The continent is poised to significantly benefit from harnessing the potential of its natural resources. Not only is Africa well-positioned to leverage its resources to improve energy access, but the continent’s resource base and associated foreign investments is expected to play a central role in the global energy transition. As such, financial and trade development initiatives, including the African Continental Free Trade Area and African Energy Transition Bank, have sought to harmonize customs tariffs throughout the continent and boost intra-African trade, thus facilitating regional cooperation, stability, and socioeconomic development while accelerating progress towards eradicating energy poverty.

Currently serving as Co-Chair of SouthBridge, a financial advisory service company dedicated to Africa, and Chairman of the Terra Nova think tank, Zinsou has served in various roles across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, including CEO of the private equity firm PAI Partners before becoming the last Prime Minister of Benin until the position’s abolishment in 2016. His experience in diplomacy, international relations and sustainable development make him both a valuable and highly sought after expert in his field. During AEW 2023, this expertise will help shape discussions around Africa’s energy future, with the strategic session serving as a catalyst for advancing dialogue surround regional collaboration and progress.

“Zinsou is a highly influential figure in the fields of diplomacy and international relations. His experience and commitment to accelerating sustainable growth in Africa has and will continue to be instrumental across the continent. Zinsou continues to drive and foster a conducive environment for investment and growth in Africa,” stated AEC Executive Chairman, NJ Ayuk.

Zinsou joins a strong slate of African Presidents including Namibia’s Hage Geingob and Senegal’s Macky Sall as well as energy and petroleum Ministers in crafting an African-centric narrative ahead of COP28 this year. The strategic discussions between Zinsou and Obasanjo are poised to promote Africa’s development needs while fostering a collaborative approach to a just and inclusion energy transition on the continent.

AEW is the AEC’s annual energy event uniting African governments and policymakers with global investors and project developers. Taking place under a mandate to make energy poverty history by 2030, AEW represents the biggest gathering of energy stakeholders on the continent and the official deal-signing platform for Africa’s energy sector. For more information about speaker, sponsorship or partnership opportunities, visit