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

Jackie Chimhanzi
26 December 2021

Today, 26 December 2021, we lost our beloved Patron, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

But even as we mourn the passing of our dear Patron, we celebrate a life of service well lived and the values and ideals he espoused and bequeathed to us - ubuntu, servant leadership, integrity, humility, compassion and courage. We remember a man who was diminutive in stature but larger than life in his boldness, always speaking truth to power when the occasion demanded.

Norman Smit
29 November 2021

2017 Tutu Fellow Mimi Kalinda says that her company, Africa Communications Group, has been acquired by Marco.  The sale to Marco, which purchased a 51% stake, happened in November 2021.  Mimi is delighted with Marco’s investment in ACG, as it means the company she began can expand across other continents and make a bigger contribution to the growth of African economy.

She says ACG is the first African-owned, pan-African communications and strategic reputation management firm handling communication solutions for global clients across the entire continent. It is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, with additional offices in Abidjan in Ivory Coast and Nairobi, Kenya.  It also has long-standing partners in Kigali, Rwanda; Harare, Zimbabwe; and Lagos, Nigeria.  There are also additional affiliated offices in 40+ additional countries across the African continent.

Norman Smit
16 November 2021

In March 2020, the African Leadership Institute announced the Associates who had been selected for the 2020 Class of the Tutu Fellowship programme.  As has been the case with previous cohorts, the people selected were exceptional emerging African leaders. AFLI received more than 300 nominees of outstanding quality from 36 African countries, from which the cohort was selected. Before the class could begin, COVID intervened and the programme was deferred until conditions allowed for an in-person convening.

Since that initial announcement of the cohort was made, not all of the candidates were still able to participate in the programme. The names below represent the final cohort who begin the first workshop in the programme in South Africa next week.

Norman Smit
17 August 2021

Back on 22 May 2021, President Samia Suluhu Hassan appointed Elsie Kanza PhD as one of 22 ambassadors for Tanzania. Elsie is a 2008 Tutu Fellow.  On 17 August, she was posted to the Embassy in Washington, DC, as Tanzanian Ambassador. The US Embassy is considered a senior posting in diplomatic circles.  In May, President Hassan made the appointments, but did not at that time name the posts to which the appointees would be stationed. 

The appointments included senior government officials, members of the military, and government and cabinet advisors.  Prior to her appointment, Elsie's most recent position was as the Special Advisor to the President of the World Economic Forum.

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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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