Lai YahayaLai Yahaya


Nigeria

 

Occupational Information


Job Title: Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria (Planning & Strategy)

Professional History


Lai Yahaya is a public policy advisor to governments, development finance institutions, and major international corporates on political economy dynamics, market entry strategy, risk management, infrastructure project finance, and public-private partnerships in Sub-Saharan Africa.

He was recently appointed as Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari in Nigeria, working in the Office of the Chief of Staff. He is also a Senior Policy Advisor to Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga, African Union High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa.

Lai was previously Team Leader of the Senior Advisors Group of the US Power Africa Initiative, working with a group of former Heads of State and industry leaders, to provide advice to serving government leaders on how best to design, finance, and deliver major power projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.

He was a former Team Leader of the Facility for Oil Sector Transparency and Reform (FOSTER), a donor-funded initiative designed to support the restructuring of the oil and gas sector and to increase transparency and accountability in the oil sector governance in Nigeria. He was also previously Deputy Director and Team Leader at the Bureau of Public Enterprises in the Presidency, Nigeria, where he spearheaded many major sector reforms in power, transport, and telecommunications; and also mobilized and managed more than US$150million in development financing support.

Lai qualified as an attorney with the New York law firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, and started his career at the United Nations Development Programme in New York, working as an assistant and speechwriter to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

He is a Yale World Fellow, a Fellow and board member of the Desmond Tutu African Leadership Institute, sits on the ONE.org undefined Africa Policy Advisory Board, and was an Expert Advisor (Energy and Extractives), to the late Kofi Annan’s Africa Progress Panel.

Qualifications


BA (Hons) and MA from Balliol College, University of Oxford.
MSc in Business Economics
Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales.

Program


2009 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow


 Additional Tags: Business, Economics, Governance, Law, Energy, Natural Resources, Policy and Strategy, Oil, Gas

Featured News

Norman Smit
02 August 2022

2015 Tutu Fellow Dr Kopano Matlwa Mabaso has started a new role as Senior Program Officer, Health, Africa at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Kopano is a public health physician and novelist and the Founding Executive Director of the Grow Great Campaign, which seeks to achieve the goal of zero stunted growth among children in South Africa by 2030.  

At the Gates Foundation, Kopano says that together with colleagues in the Africa team she hopes to strengthen and advance the Foundation's regional and continental health portfolio, with a focus on primary health care and health systems strengthening.

Norman Smit
01 August 2022

In her Tutu Talk, titled The Activist-Scholar: Navigating the promises and pitfalls of policy-making, 2010 Tutu Fellow Robtel Neajai Pailey PhD speaks about her commitment to building progressive politics in her country and influencing public discourse and policy-making processes.

TutuTalks are a series collaboration between the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation and the African Leadership Institute, and it is a platform for African leaders who embody the values and ethics displayed by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu throughout his life of service.

Norman Smit
14 July 2022

2018 Tutu Fellow Edzai Zvobwo has been appointed an Expert Contributor to the High-Level Panel on Emerging Technologies - APET - at the African Union's Development Agency, NEPAD. In 2016, African heads of government instructed NEPAD to establish a system to obtain expert contributions on matters of technology development and acquisition for economic development.

Edzai's role in the team will be to meaningfully research, analyze and present findings around emerging technologies and their potential benefit on the African continent.

Norman Smit
14 July 2022

In this Tutu Talk, 2011 Tutu Fellow and Ugandan peace activist Victor Ochen is using his voice of courageous leadership to champion the protection of rights of children and promote the culture of peace and tolerance.

Born in northern Uganda, he spent 21 years amidst violent conflict that displaced over three million people. More than 60,000 people - including his own brother - were forcefully abducted and recruited as child soldiers.

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Tutu Fellowship COVID-19 News

Tutu Fellows have been active in addressing the challenges Africa is facing due to the coronavirus pandemic.  We have a new section highlighting some of the work being done by the Fellowship.
 

About AFLI

AFLIICONCROPPED

 

The African Leadership Institute (AFLI) is unique among leadership initiatives in that it focuses on building the capacity and capability of visionary and strategic leadership across the continent. Developing exceptional leaders representing all spheres of society, the Institute’s flagship programme is the prestigious Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship. Offering a multifaceted learning experience and run in partnership with Oxford University, it is awarded annually to 20-25 carefully chosen candidates, nominated from across Africa. Alumni of the African Leadership Institute form a dynamic network of Fellows passionately committed to the continent’s transformation, bridging the divide between nations and ensuring that Africa is set centre-stage in global affairs.

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