Message from the Executive Director

In 2020, ACEP entered the first year of its new strategic period (2020-2024), a phase in the Centre’s life where we seek to consolidate the gains we have made in being a thought leader in energy and extractives policy in Africa. The year also marked the 10th anniversary of the Centre’s existence, where it has sustained its impact and relevance in the extractive sector on the continent. Several activities were lined up to celebrate this milestone. However, the reporting period witnessed the outbreak of the Corona Virus (Covid-19) pandemic. The devastating effects of the Corona Virus (Covid-19) pandemic on social and economic activities of countries caused governments across the world to institute several preventive and control measures, including lockdowns, and enhanced social distancing protocols among others. ACEP has not been spared the effects of the pandemic and its mitigation measures on our operations. We witnessed cuts in prior-approved funding from some donors and disruptions to the implementation of our regional work because of travel restrictions.

The effect of the pandemic on the resource governance ecosystem, in general, cannot be overlooked. Available evidence suggests that the pandemic is accelerating the shift from supporting resource governance actors to actors engaged in direct covid mitigation and service delivery.

This makes it difficult for the ecosystem to maintain relevance and monitor governance issues in the sector. Most organizations have no core support to manage staff retention, institutional and administrative systems, and actions to attend to emerging context issues. Community organizations are the worst of the situation; they are consistently disabled from their core actions of engaging communities. To this end, we are grateful to our partners who have supported us through the worst of the period and continue to support us for a more resilient post-covid recovery. While 2020 was a challenging year for us at ACEP, it was also a great learning period for the Centre. We have had to activate our business continuity plan for the first time. The pandemic also became the driving force behind our rapid digital transformation. When we had to switch to digital engagements, events, and remote working, we managed to do so to a high technical standard and maintaining a highly interactive engagement process. Thanks to this transformation, ACEP was able to ensure a seamless transition between virtual and in-person engagements and is now able to adapt to any fast-changing external circumstances. Indeed, we organized the first virtual Africa Oil Governance Summit. Even though the 2020 AOGS was virtual due to the realities of Covid-19 imposed on us, the summit attracted participation from government agencies, industry, academia, and civil society and carried the same prominence as the physical summits. The main outcome of 2020 is that ACEP continues to develop and grow its technical and technological competencies.

Moreover, within the reporting period, ACEP’s efforts as a knowledge broker in the energy and extractive sector has been recognized with a Special Honorary Award at the 6th Ghana Mining Industry Awards. This award is under the auspices of the Ghana Chamber of Mines. ACEP also won the Energy Consultancy Service Organization of the year at the 2020 Ghana Energy Awards. The Energy Ghana Magazine (EGM), a product of the Energy Media Group (EMG), has, in its July 2020 Special Edition, named the Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Benjamin Boakye, as one of the Top 5 Young Male Influencers in Ghana’s energy industry. In 2019, ACEP was ranked as the top Energy and Resource Policy Think Tank in Africa and 14th globally by the University of Pennsylvania’s go-to-think-tank rankings. In 2020, the Centre’s ranking improved to the 13th position globally and maintained the top spot in Africa.

I extend my gratitude to the hardworking staff of ACEP, our partners and the general public who continue to support us as we look forward to another year of prospects and exciting challenges.