Meet climate tech CEOs positioning Nigeria for $13.8 billion Green Investment Fund

Global attention is increasingly focused on climate action as the world accelerates efforts towards sustainable development. Countries are pledging more investments in the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the world’s largest dedicated climate fund.

The GCF aims to foster a paradigm shift towards low-emission, climate-resilient development in developing countries. With a portfolio of $13.5 billion (including $51.9 billion, with co-financing), the GCF is delivering transformative climate action in over 120 countries.

For a country’s firms to benefit from the fund, they must adhere to the Environmental Sustainability Goals (ESGs). There must be return on investment (ROI) expectations and the firms must deliver positive environmental and social impacts, according to Carbon Collective Investment, which handles climate-related funds.

Despite contributing the least to global warming and having the lowest emissions, Africa faces severe collateral damage. This impacts its economies, infrastructure, water, food systems, public health, agriculture, and livelihoods. The African Development Bank warns that these effects could reverse development gains and increase extreme poverty.

Nigeria exemplifies this challenge. As Africa’s largest economy and most populous country, it is rich in natural resources such as oil and natural gas. However, Nigeria has the world’s highest deforestation rate, losing 3.7% of its forests annually, according to the United Nations.

The country’s diverse ecological zones support various livelihoods, agricultural practices, and commodities, all affected by climate change.

Rising sea levels threaten cities such as Lagos, increasing risks of flood, waste management problems, and waterborne disease. Deforestation, land use changes, and the energy sector are the main contributors to Nigeria’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Nevertheless, climate-focused companies are emerging to drive sustainable practices in Nigeria, advancing sustainable development goals and climate action to tap into the opportunities available.

While market penetration has improved modestly, these companies have gained acceptance with effective business models and market adaptability.

Here are the CEOs of these companies, who are catalyzing change and positioning Nigeria to become the face of climate action in Africa.

1. Adepeju Adebajo- CEO, Lumos Nigeria

Adepeju Adebajo, with over 25 years of diverse industry experience, currently serves as the Chief Executive aOfficer (CEO) of Lumos Nigeria, an off-grid solar company that provides reliable electricity solutions to households. Under her leadership, Lumos has installed over 100,000 solar home systems across Nigeria and secured $125 million in funding, including a recent $35 million financing from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to expand its market.

Adebajo’s career includes notable public service as the Commissioner for Agriculture in Ogun State, where she led initiatives to enhance the agricultural sector.

She has a Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical Engineering) degree from Imperial College of Science & Technology, London, and a Master of Engineering (Chemical Engineering) from the University of London.

Her extensive tenure at Lafarge Africa Plc as Managing Director of the Project Management Office & Geocycle saw her oversee significant projects such as Cement Plant Expansion Projects worth approximately $600 million and many more.

In December 2016, Lumos Global raised $90 million in funding, comprising $50 million in debt and $40 million in equity, from investors including the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Managers, VLTCM, and Israeli cleantech venture specialist, ICV. Adebajo’s leadership continues to drive significant advancements in Nigeria’s renewable energy sector.

2. Bill Lenihan-CEO, Zola Electric

Bill Lenihan, Founder and CEO of Zola Electric, has over two decades of experience across various industries.

Zola Electric, which he has led since February 2015, is a pioneering enterprise technology solutions company that provides distributed power solutions to underserved markets. It operates in over 10 countries across four continents.

The company aims to eradicate energy inequality, combat climate change, and deliver power anywhere, with backing from prominent investors such as Tesla, EDF, and Total.

Previously, Lenihan served as a Senior Advisor at Tile from 2014 to 2015, helping shape the company’s go-to-market strategy.

Lenihan co-founded LL Golf Corporation, raising $200 million to acquire and manage distressed golf courses, and served as Managing Director at Calera Capital, a private equity firm managing over $1 billion in equity.

Earlier in his career, he had been an Associate at Goldman Sachs and a Summer Associate at Bain & Company, gaining valuable experience in investment and strategic consulting.

Under Lenihan’s leadership, Zola Electric raised $133 million over eight funding rounds.

The company’s first funding round was on March 21, 2014, and its latest round was a $45 million conventional debt round on September 23, 2021.

3. Femi Adeyemo-CEO of Arnergy Nigeria

Femi Adeyemo is the founder and CEO of Arnergy, a pioneering distributed utility backed by venture capital, including investments affiliated with Bill Gates. Arnergy focuses on providing reliable and affordable electricity to residential, commercial, and industrial customers in emerging markets, starting with Nigeria. The company leverages rooftop solar solutions to ensure sustainable energy for SMEs and economic clusters.

He holds a master’s degree in computer networks/information technology from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and a Bachelor of Technology from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology.

Since founding Arnergy in August 2013, Adeyemo has driven its growth into one of Nigeria’s fastest-growing renewable energy companies.

Before Arnergy, Adeyemo had worked at several prominent firms such as Huawei, Telinno, Omantel, and Cornea Consulting.

He managed extensive projects, including the nationwide rollout of mobile telecommunication networks and service operations for multinational telecom such as Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia. His experience spans Africa, South America, and Asia, where he played critical roles from the startup phase to nationwide deployments.

His leadership encompasses strategic direction, technological innovation, product development, and business growth. In 2019, he spearheaded Arnergy’s successful $ 9 million Series A equity round, attracting investment from four top-tier global investors.

4.  Prince Ojeabulu-CEO, Rensource energy

Prince Ojeabulu is the Chief Executive Officer of Rensource Energy, a leading developer, financier, and manager of critical energy infrastructure for African enterprises.

Since assuming the role in September 2022, Ojeabulu has overseen executive leadership, capital origination and management, and business development, positioning Rensource as a fast-growing player in West Africa’s commercial and industrial (C&I) energy sector.

Before becoming CEO, Ojeabulu had served as Chief Operating Officer from November 2021 to September 2022.

He transformed the business model to focus on commercial and industrial (C&I) solar projects, leading project management, engineering, operations, and supply chain activities. Under his leadership, Rensource developed approximately 70 MW of C&I portfolio and constructed around 2 MW of projects.

From August 2020 to November 2021 as Head of Operations, Ojeabulu managed Rensource’s mini-grid, residential, and C&I utility operations, overseeing an installed PV capacity of approximately 5 MWp and generating $750,000 in annual revenue.

At Airtel Nigeria, he coordinated projects related to the preparation and handover of technical and commercial documentation for 5,000 cell tower sites valued at $1.4 billion.

The company has a total funding of $45.3 million raised over its operational period. The latest funding round was $15 million from Afrigreen Debt Impact Fund to finance the construction of over 30MW of Rensource C&I portfolio in the next three years.

5. Adetayo Bamiduro-CEO, Metro Africa Xpress(MAX)

Adetayo Bamiduro is the co-founder and CEO of MAX, Africa’s premier vehicle subscription platform.

With over nine years of experience at MAX, Bamiduro has helped establish the company as an asset-light fleet operator, providing reliable and efficient mobility services to urban dwellers. MAX’s innovative approach has reshaped traditional transportation models, offering customers flexible and convenient mobility options while contributing to the reduction of traffic congestion and carbon emissions in urban centers.

As the founder of Trinitech Systems from January 2005 to March 2007, Bamiduro developed one of Nigeria’s first mobile asset-tracking platforms and implemented campus network deployments across three regions.

Bamiduro served as a consultant at Dalberg Global Development Advisors in May-July 2014, where he led technology market research efforts for a client operating across 170 countries and assessed the performance of a $1 billion Challenge Fund for startups in South Africa.

MAX, Africa’s premier vehicle subscription platform, has secured over $40 million in funding.  In 2021, it raised $31 million of new capital, in the first close of a Series B funding round. The funding round was led by global private equity platform, Lightrock, for whom it is their first investment in the African mobility space, and UAE-based international venture capital firm, Global Ventures. The Series B close follows MAX’s previous raising of over $40 million of institutional debt for driver financing.

With 429 million trips facilitated across 16+ cities, MAX empowers local champions and covers 2.1+ billion kilometers. Additionally, it has saved over 324,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions, showcasing its commitment to sustainability.

6. Tope Sulaimin-CEO,  Scrapays

Tope Sulaimon is the Co-Founder and CEO of Scrapays, a platform innovating on waste management in Nigeria. With Scrapays, Sulaimon has pioneered a system that allows individuals to dispose of sorted recyclable waste to independent businesses instantly, earning cashback while promoting environmental sustainability.

Beyond his role at Scrapays, Sulaimon has contributed significantly to the solid minerals and aggregates sector as a Business Development Manager at Minestake Limited.

An Applied Geology graduate of the Federal University of Technology Akure, he graduated with a Bachelor of Technology in Applied Geology. Sulaimon demonstrated exceptional leadership skills as the President of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society, FUTA students’ chapter.  He is also co-founder of Edge Rize and a member of Team Rise at Shellideas 360. These engagements highlight his commitment to driving positive change and fostering innovation across various sectors.

So far, Scrapays was part of the climate tech startups included in the Catalyst Fund of $1.8 million issued in 2024.

7. Olawale Adebiyi –CEO, Wecyclers

Alawale Adebiyi, CEO of Wecyclers Corporation since September 2017, has significantly impacted the recycling landscape in Lagos, Nigeria.

Wecyclers offers a convenient household recycling service using low-cost cargo bikes, enabling low-income communities to capture value from their waste, thereby promoting environmental sustainability and social transformation.

Before becoming CEO, Adebiyi co-founded Wecyclers alongside Bilikiss Adebiyi and served as COO from February 2016 to September 2017, where he was instrumental in setting up the company’s operational framework.

Prior to Wecyclers, Adebiyi spent nearly a decade at Nucor Corporation in various roles. From February 2012 to January 2016, he served as Production Day Supervisor in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, ensuring operational efficiency.
As a Process Engineer from February 2009 to February 2012, and as a Coke Plant Process Engineer from April 2008 to February 2009, he focused on optimizing production processes.

Adebiyi’s early career includes a role as a Research Engineer at the Florida Solar Energy Center from January 2005 to July 2006.

Adebiyi holds an MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business (2009-2011), equipping him with essential business and strategic management skills. He also earned an M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Florida Institute of Technology (2003-2005), where he specialized in solar light-induced hydrogen production, providing a strong foundation for his contributions to sustainable energy research.

Wecyclers secured $2 million in funding to recycle 30,000 tonnes of plastics over the next five years. The new investment was provided by the French investment bank, Société Générale, through Unilever West Africa Nigeria. Wecyclers hopes to use the new funding to expand its activities in Nigeria, where it has been collecting, sorting and recycling plastic waste.

8. Victor Boyle-Komolafe- CEO, Garbage In, Value out (Givo) Recycling

Victor Boyle is a dynamic entrepreneur and business leader with a diverse background spanning various industries and roles. As the Founder and CEO of GIVO Africa, he is at the helm of a forward-thinking enterprise dedicated to driving positive change and social impact in Lagos, Nigeria. Givo was founded in May 2019.

In addition to his role at GIVO Africa, Victor serves as a Non-Executive Director at Capture Solutions, a London-based company, where he contributes his insights and leadership to guide the company’s growth and development. His involvement in both GIVO Africa and Capture Solutions underscores his commitment to driving innovation and fostering entrepreneurship on a global scale.

Prior to his current ventures, he had been the Director of Ojoro Kitchen, a self-employed venture focused on culinary arts and gastronomy in Nigeria. Before venturing into entrepreneurship, Victor had held roles in finance and accounting, including positions at KPMG Nigeria and Meadow Hall School.

GIVO Solutions, a burgeoning entity dedicated to pioneering innovative solutions, has successfully secured over $19,500.00 in funding through two funding rounds, with contributions from two investors. The latest round was marked by a grant, highlighting the organization’s ability to attract support and recognition for its impactful initiatives.

9. Obi Charles Nnanna –CEO, Kaltani

Obi Charles Nnanna is the Founder and CEO of Kaltani, a recycling company positioned to solve the growing plastic waste and unemployment crisis in Africa.

Before founding KALTANI, Nnanna had held various significant roles in the energy sector. From January 2017 to January 2019, he served as a Senior Advisory Consultant at Vitol Group (Algasco) in Abuja, Nigeria, where he focused on business strategy.

Prior to that, he had been a Senior Drilling & Project Engineer at Total in Pau, France, from 2014 to 2016. His extensive experience also includes his tenure as a Senior Sales Engineer & Account Manager at Baker Hughes in Houston, Texas, from 2010 to 2014, and as a Field Engineer at Halliburton from 2008 to 2010.

Nnanna holds Bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma, USA, and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas.

KALTANI has been instrumental in addressing the continent’s plastic waste pollution crisis. Under Nnanna’s leadership, KALTANI secured $4 million in seed funding, significantly bolstering its mission to eradicate plastic waste pollution in Africa.

In recognition of its impactful work, KALTANI won the SEPLAT Energy Summit 2021 Award, highlighting its contributions to sustainable waste management.

Note: The individuals featured in this compilation have been carefully selected by a distinguished panel of editors, experts, and analysts at Nairametrics.

It is important to note that none of the individuals listed have solicited their inclusion. While this list aims to be comprehensive, it is by no means exhaustive. Numerous other contributors have played significant roles in advancing the Climate change action in Nigeria.

This compilation is exclusive to Nairametrics and may be updated periodically to reflect changes and advancements in the field. Feedback will be appreciated.


Back to top button