13th May 2019

Leaders Are Made, Not Born; filling the gap of energy experts in Tanzania

I am a leader. A leader in the making but a leader, nonetheless. One of many… many have come before me and so many are coming up behind me. We are all bricks on the road to bridge the gap between a dependent economy and a standalone self-reliant powerhouse. Our journeys are assisted by the opportunities provided by our counties and the men and women who raise to the occasion to make these opportunities a reality to so many of us. I am a part of that story.

The advancements I have made in my career are credited to a number of perfectly timed situations. The first would be the reality of the environment I grew up in that motivated the drive to change my surroundings. I live in a country that is endowed with diverse energy sources including biomass, natural gas, hydro, coal, geothermal, solar, wind etc. and yet, wood still accounts for most of energy consumption in our homes. The government, however, has committed its efforts in a number of ways to change this reality by firstly carrying out constant explorations across the years to develop the energy sector for the benefit of its people. Due to increased demand, the government has made significant efforts to create career opportunities in the sector by encouraging more Tanzanians to be experts in the field. This was very obvious in the university I went to because of the number or programs, workshops & seminars created to provide young interested people with all the information they needed. It is no surprise that I pursued an undergraduate degree in Quantity Surveying.

The last piece of the puzzle to advance knowledge for my career also came at the perfect time. Right as I was graduating, BG Group – Tanzania (Shell), in support the government’s mission launched BG Tanzania Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme for Geoscience and Engineering. The scheme offered Tanzanian graduates the opportunity to pursue postgraduate education at universities in the UK, with a focus on specific geoscience and engineering courses that are particularly relevant for Tanzania’s emerging natural gas and related sectors. Incidentally, I was among the 10 people out of hundreds who were awarded the scholarship in MSc. Construction Project Management. I was enrolled at Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, UK after passing through a rigorous selection and review process based on personal leadership potential (future leaders) who can use their influence and standing to bring benefits to their communities and create a concrete career plan.

To have this unique opportunity was one of the best things to happen to me. Not only did I get to learn more about Shell, its focus in the energy sector but I was also exposed to its Alumni program. The program was a platform for me to get shared knowledge on the energy industry coupled with opportunities to interact with senior thinkers and leaders in the field, develop intellectual skills and experience working with a truly international group and build a network of peers. To date, I am still a member of Shell Alumni-Tanzania and I am currently one of the nominated people for Shell Alumni Leaders Position. This goes to show how massive this opportunity was, and I am truly grateful for it.

After acquiring my master’s degree my goal was to develop my skills in QS and Project Management with a company that operates at international standards, had the right development programs and put technology at its fore front. This was so that I could have a chance to put my training experience and enthusiasm into practice while fostering personal growth. CEG was top of mind. Their mission to enable success & improve lives & the vision to be the best are among the things that got my attention. These things matter to me as a person and are an expression of a shared interest with the company. It was exciting just thinking of myself as a part of a great team working towards changing our world for the better.

A quick lesson about leadership; you don’t wait for opportunities, you create them” 

That’s how I ended up at CEG, I reached out and a door opened for me. 2 years later, I am part of the “A Team” that creates real impact in the communities around us. I have been able to participate in fascinating projects like the Julius Nyerere Airport – Terminal 3 which is designed to serve 6 million passengers annually. Also, the final Construction Phase of the CCBRT Maternity & Newborn project which will allow 15,340 women to be treated, 12,000 deliveries and 3,000 high risk deliveries annually. Each year in Tanzania 11,000 women die due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth and 66,000 babies do not survive their first month of life. This just goes to show CEG mission coming to life and it’s a great feeling to know that I’m contributing to causes like these.

I look at leadership as a potential and ability to contribute significantly to an organisation, a team or a cause.

At various stages of life, I have seen first-hand how my contributions, whether in a formal set up or absolutely informal have had enormous impact to those around me. This brings me to believe that leadership is a skill that can be taught and learnt. I also believe that leaders are not born to lead but prepared to lead.

I have enormous confidence in CEG’s leaders, I’ve been blessed with great managers and mentors especially my line manager. These are the people who gave me room to make mistakes, who supported me as I learnt from my blunders, and who celebrated with me as I grew through the challenges. Working as a Project Controls personnel has helped me to demonstrate and experience leadership skills at a high potential. Although I am the youngest member in my team and less experienced too, CEG has allowed me to have a fearless mindset, to be flexible and inquisitive. I have learnt the art of drawing a road map in an unstructured and ambiguous atmosphere, quick decision making and taking complete ownership of my decisions. Most importantly, I learnt that leadership is not about solo performance but it’s about coming out winning as a team. I have learnt that there’s a difference between unfavourable criticism and blind hate and it’s very important to separate the two, if it has no real weight to it then forget about it and focus on making your output the best it can be. This is obviously easier said than done, but every once in a while, take a step back and recognise the volume of positive feedback you’re receiving.

Our world needs more accessible efficient and environmentally friendly energy especially across sub-Saharan Africa where more than two thirds of the total population have no access to electricity, and many more rely on inefficient, non-sustainable sources such as wood or charcoal to cook or heat their homes. As we are seeking to ensure that the energy sector becomes the driving force for economic transformation for long-term development in Africa, I believe with more dedicated businesses such as CEG on board, together we can make it happen.