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Kosmos Innovation Center Launch Event Remarks by Joe Mensah, VP and Country Manager, Kosmos Energy Ghana

Honorable Minister Agriculture, Alhaji Mohammed Muniru Limuna

Mr. Kwame Jantuah, Commissioner and Vice Chair of the Energy Committee at the National Development Planning Commission

Distinguished Guests

Our friends in the Media

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my pleasure to welcome you again to the launch of the Kosmos Innovation Center, an exciting new social investment program that is arguably the most important corporate effort in the history of Kosmos Energy in Ghana, after our discovery of the Jubilee Field in 2007, and the ongoing TEN development project.

The Kosmos Innovation Center – or “KIC” as we affectionately call it – is born of the same contrarian thinking and entrepreneurial spirit that led to the founding of Kosmos Energy back in 2003. We had new and different ideas about how to explore for oil and gas in places that had already seen such activities before but with minimal success.  We also thought differently about the relationships we would form with our host countries. We wanted to earn trust and respect as a responsible operator and long-term partner who would help promote sustainable development.

This contrarian thinking, together with an entrepreneurial spirit that remains in our DNA, led us to seek seed funding from our earliest U.S. investors. Those investors – who are still with us today – believed in the transformational power of our dream and provided us with the financial backing to start our business and, ultimately, find success in Ghana.

And for the last 12 years, we have worked hard to demonstrate to the people of Ghana that we are a long-term partner committed to helping the country reach its full potential. In addition to building a vibrant and world-class petroleum industry, we have looked for ways to share our success and bring positive change to the areas where we operate, such as the six front-line districts of the Western Region and in Ghana more broadly. We have done this through a range of social investments. Over more than a decade, Kosmos has:

  • Funded the construction of infrastructure to provide safe water to over 19 communities in the Western Region

 

  • Built or renovated several ICT centers to support the education of our young people

 

  • Enhanced the livelihoods of fishing communities through improved fish smoking facilities in Ankobrah and Ekpu, and

 

  • Provided critical medical equipment for five infectious disease treatment centers across Ghana.

 

With our Jubilee partners, we have focused on workforce development through projects such as the Enterprise Development Centre and the Jubilee Technical Training Centre in Takoradi.

These are just a few of the examples that show our commitment. We are making a difference through industry investments, local content, and social projects.

The KIC represents the next chapter in our story. It’s a program that reflects the same contrarian thinking and entrepreneurial spirit that helped us get where we are today, except this time we will be the angel investor who supports someone else’s dream. And in the process, we hope to play a role in solving some of Ghana’s most pressing developmental challenges.

By promoting innovation, private sector enterprise, and entrepreneurship, the KIC is a marked departure from the traditional approach to corporate social responsibility. The KIC will use the concept of “Impact Investing” to create a new breed of young entrepreneurs who will accelerate Ghana’s economic growth, create wealth, and positively impact our society. Just as importantly, it will re-shape young people’s perceptions and enhance their interest in developing traditional sectors through innovation.

With KIC, we will take a sector-by-sector approach to problem solving, using analysis and expertise to identify the barriers to growth. We will then design support activities, based on innovation, to address the developmental challenges.

To get results that drive change, KIC will use a three-pronged approach: Collaboration, Incubation, and Acceleration.

  • Collaboration will bring together the best and brightest minds from a range of fields, such as business, technology, finance, and academia, to talk through the issues encountered in a particular sector. This will foster the partnerships needed to successfully tackle challenges.

 

  • Incubation will nurture promising start-up companies. We will use formal competitions to challenge young entrepreneurs to use technology to develop commercially-viable solutions to challenges within the chosen sector. At the end of the competition, selected entrepreneurs will receive seed funding, technical assistance, and mentorship to help them turn their ideas into reality.

 

  • Acceleration – which is the third aspect – will invest in the development of promising small businesses through capital investment and technical assistance. After a screening process, selected companies will receive a range of support aimed at helping them grow their businesses.

 

To deploy our impact investment program, we have put together a dedicated team to design, manage, and communicate the KIC’s social and economic investment activities.  We have also formed a key partnership with Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), who will incubate the young entrepreneurs.

Hon Minister, ladies and gentlemen,  I am happy to announce that right after this event the KIC will move into full operation to tackle its first development challenge in Agriculture.  The program will encourage budding entrepreneurs to use information and communications technology to transform the agricultural sector. It will involve designing activities that target the entire value chain, from stimulating new ideas to funding expansion of existing commercial enterprises, and at every stage it will generate enthusiastic participation through communication and knowledge sharing.

Hon Minister, it is our vision that the program will bring about social change by stimulating young people’s interest in agriculture which is often regarded as a dull and unrewarding activity, despite the huge potential for economic gain that it offers and its crucial importance to our national economy.

We believe this program will also bring about business change. Young ICT-savvy beneficiaries will receive seed capital and launch innovative new ventures. At the same time, small agribusinesses will receive investment to execute business models that serve small-holder farmers.

Finally, by fostering innovation, we will bring about market system change. Ultimately, we expect our intervention to lead to the establishment of Agri-Tech Exchanges and other forums that will help bring new thinking and expertise to the sector.

Honourable Minister, ladies and gentlemen, we — private enterprises and government — are already aware of the developmental challenges we face as a nation.  Scores of studies have already been done on these issues.

  • Let us create an environment where young entrepreneurs can interrogate these challenges and come up with innovative solutions;

 

  • Let us create opportunities for small businesses to prosper, and support them to drive investment and profitability;

 

  • Let us create the conditions that allow young people and small enterprises to solve our country’s developmental challenges through innovation and ICT.

 

Mr. Chairman, Honourable Minister, ladies and gentlemen, in doing this, we will be “Investing in Ghana’s future, one entrepreneur at a time.”

 

Thank you for your attention.