Lai YahayaLai Yahaya



Occupational Information

Job Title: Senior Government Liaison, Sustainable Energy for All

Professional History

Lai Yahaya is a Senior Government Liaison with Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL). He has vast experience as 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 previously the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari in Nigeria, working in the Office of the Chief of Staff. He was 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 African Leadership Institute, sits on the ONE Campaign’s Africa Policy Advisory Board, and was an Expert Advisor (Energy and Extractives), to the late Kofi Annan’s Africa Progress Panel.


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


2009 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow

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


About AFLI




The African Leadership Institute (AFLI) 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.