Managing Director of International Programs, Energy Opportunity Lab, Center on Global Energy Policy
Andrew Kamau serves as the a Co-Director for the Energy Opportunity Lab, leading the lab’s projects outside of the United States. Andrew was the Principal Secretary for Petroleum and Mining in the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining, charged with technical undertaking on behalf of the Government of Kenya in the areas of Oil, Gas, and Mining. He has a wealth of experience in the energy sector having worked in energy trading, oil and gas operations, and the mining sector for over 30 years. Believing in steadfast leadership to deliver complex projects, Andrew has spearheaded several Government initiatives that have benefitted Kenyans. His vantage has allowed him insight on how to structure, negotiate, and navigate interventions that have lasting and positive impact. Among his greatest accomplishments in this regard, Andrew championed the rapid uptake of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) as a primary cooking fuel and moving the per capita consumption from 3kg to 7.5kg in eight (8) years. This initiative contributed to reduction of households reliant on charcoal and firewood as a cooking fuel and reduced serious indoor pollution incidence among vulnerable women and children.
Andrew advocated for initiatives to shift the transportation of most refined petroleum products fromroad to rail and lake barges, thereby reducing costs and the carbon footprint. He oversaw the construction of a new rail siding, connecting the Kenya Pipeline Storage to the Port of Kisumu, allowing for the transportation of refined petroleum products by rail barges from Kenya to Port Bell in Uganda. Relatedly, he led the team working on the rehabilitation of the long defunct Nairobi-Nanyuki rail line, allowing for fuel, agricultural goods, and passengers to be transported after nearly 30 years’ absence.
In the mining sector, Andrew has championed transparency through implementation of data and technology driven solutions, with a focus on identifying and leveraging minerals that will be critical for the energy transition and for which the 4th Industrial revolution is reliant. From finalization of the cadaster system that forms the bedrock for transparency in licensing, to the acquisition of geological data, Andrew has provided leadership to ensure that the country is well-positioned to capitalized on its natural resource’s wealth.
Prior to his role in Government, Andrew assisted governments to conclude complex trading transactions in energy by structuring practical solutions that took into account local context and financial constraints. For instance, in the power sector in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Andrew successfully negotiated a contract to rehabilitate two (2) turbine groups at the Inga Hydroelectric Dam on the Congo River thereby paving way for commercial mining activity that benefitted both the Government and its private sector partner. His intuitive insight into the most critical inputs for successful ventures in the oil and gas sector allowed him to assist the DRC government with supply of over USD 60 Mn of refined petroleum products using insurance instruments issued by the Government of South Africa and backed by oil revenue from companies producing oil in the DRC. He also crafted interventions for supply of crude oil to the Ndola oil refinery in Zambia and refined products worth over USD 200 Mn to the TEMA oil refinery in Ghana with structures that did not require both Governments to issue payment instruments.
Through his life’s work, Andrew has applied himself to the energy sector’s challenges and opportunities on the Continent, noting that the resilience of developing economies in Sub Saharan Africa will depend on new thinking. He has participated as a thought leader on the energy transition conversation including encouraging approaches that balance the requirements of industrialization and climate change adaptation. He remains passionate about offering refreshing and non-traditional perspectives on the energy sector’s contribution to sustainable economic development.
Beyond contributions as a public servant and international energy sector specialist, Andrew has a passion for philanthropy and has served as chairman of the Komati Foundation, a non-profit organization in South Africa, working specifically with students and young professionals to nurture leadership skills and service ethics. For his public service to Kenya, Andrew was awarded the First Class, Order Chief of the Burning Spear (CBS) in 2016. In 2005, Global Pacific Partners awarded him the Africa Oil & Gas Deal Maker of the Year.