Lai is a lawyer, development economist and policy entrepreneur who advises African government policy makers on economic reform, energy sector restructuring, privatization, public sector reform and public financial management issues. He was recently appointed Team Leader for the Senior Advisors Group of President Obama’s Power Africa. Power Africa, is an innovative private sector led initiative announced by President Obama during his Africa trip in June 2013. It is aimed at doubling energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 600 million people currently lack access to electricity.
The Senior Advisors Group, comprising mostly former Heads of State and senior officials, provides support to senior African government policy makers to develop the appropriate policy and regulatory environments to promote and support investment in the energy sector. Lai was formerly Team Leader of the Facility for Oil Sector Transparency and Reform (FOSTER), a donor-funded initiative designed to support the restructuring of the oil and gas sector and to increase transparency and accountability in oil sector governance in Nigeria. Prior to this, he worked with the Nigerian privatization agency, the Bureau of Public Enterprises; as Special Assistant and advisor to former Nigerian Ministers of Power, National Planning and Finance; as Senior Policy Advisor with the DfID-funded Nigerian Infrastructure Advisory Facility (NIAF) and for several years on the power sector reform program, initially on the development of sector policy, legislation and the landmark Roadmap for Power Sector Reform. Lai was also previously an associate with the global energy project finance team of the New York law firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy and General Counsel of the London Stock Exchange-listed African gas player, Gasol. He received his BA (Hons) and MA from Balliol College, Oxford University, is a Fellow of the Archbishop Desmond Tutu/Oxford Business School Leadership Program and was designated a New Leader for Tomorrow by the Council of Europe-affiliated Fondation du Forum Universale.