Salma on Leading a Transition to Renewable Energy in Africa
After building the oil and gas distribution company UBI Group in her native Ghana and then selling a majority stake to an international investor, Salma Okonkwo turned her attention to solar power. As the pace of industrialization in Africa accelerates, she wants to make sure that political and corporate leaders don’t repeat the mistakes that their Western and Chinese peers made as they pursued development and economic growth. That’s why, in 2018, she created Blue Power Energy. It’s still early days for the company, which has 20 employees and hasn’t yet started generating revenues. But it’s currently building two solar farms in Ghana with the goal of eight more by 2028 and has signed contracts to supply 3 million customers with 140 megawatts of clean energy by the end of 2023. Okonkwo’s hope is that she can apply the lessons she learned launching and building UBI to her new venture so that it not only becomes just as successful but also makes a more positive impact on the world.