CHIGOZIE NWEKE is the consummate professional. An Economist and Chartered Accountant, he recently became a certified Energy Risk Professional with the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) based in the US. Passionate about all things energy related, he plans to undertake an MBA in Global Energy at the University of Warwick, Coventry, UK. Chigozie tells us about his drive and future plans.
Hello Chigozie, we are delighted to have you on our forum. Do tell us a little about yourself.
Thanks for having me! I am delighted to speak with you. I think that I am as simple as they come. I was born and raised in Lagos and I had all my education in Lagos. I am a committed Christian and I am still single.
What is your specialty, where did you train, and where do you work?
I have a Bachelors degree in Economics from Lagos State University. I am also a qualified Chartered Accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). I had a 2 year Investment Banking stint with MERISTEM Nigeria Ltd and I also gained audit experience with the global consultancy network of firms, Pricewaterhousecoopers in Lagos. Currently I am a Deputy Manager, Origination and Structured Credit in Financial Derivatives Company Limited.
Do throw some light on the certification you bagged recently.
Well, I always had a passion for Energy and how it can open up the African continent (if well harnessed) and so I came across a very interesting piece of academic course work that brings practical energy finance matters to the fore. I qualified as a certified Energy Risk Professional with the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) based in the US and the experience was richly rewarding. Basically, the ERP designation is achieved by passing a rigorous practice oriented examination designed to test fundamental concepts associated with the exploration, production and trading of physical energy commodities, the valuation of energy-based financial instruments, the modelling of energy price behaviour and risk management techniques.
What is its relevance to society? In Nigeria and Africa as a whole?
It will not be totally out of place to say that the entire global economy spins around the behaviour of energy prices. Political power is increasingly determined by how much global energy a nation can access or manipulate. Consequently, in a bid to be part of the global equation, frontier economics continually posture for relevance. This is where I think this certification comes in handy. The composition of the course work is such that a certified Energy risk professional is an authority in all matters Energy (upstream, midstream and downstream). Being a Nigerian or an African, he has the opportunity to define global energy from a frame of reference unique to his constituency.
Are employers seeking professionals with this certification?
Paradoxically and unfortunately, No. Not in Nigeria or Africa. Going through the coursework, one of the very first things you will come to notice is that our economy is not as developed as it should be.We have a long way to go, but it all starts from somewhere.
What are the financial requirements and at what stage would you recommend that one should do same?
The Financial requirements are not prohibitive. If you are really keen on building a future in Energy Finance on a global scale, then it is a worthy investment. I would not advise anyone to go into it for the sake of getting a better employment…unless you have plans to relocate to the US or the UK. So you have to be in it for the long term or else you are going to be disappointed.
Any other “certifications” in your immediate future? Where do you aspire to be/do a decade from now?
*Laughing loudly* at “Certifications”. I plan to deepen my interests in the global energy industry. I will be joining the Global Energy MBA intakes for 2013 at the University of Warwick in Conventry UK. A decade from now? Wherever you hear about financing energy projects on the African Continent, a decade from now, you may well take it for granted that I will be involved…one way or another.
Inspire an African youth with a sentence:
Speed and Direction are two different words. It does not matter how fast you are moving …It will only matter whether you are moving in the right direction.