Throughout 2023, as a Social impact-focused firm, we dedicated ourselves to serving communities across Nigeria, through working partnerships with MDAs, and private companies. Our efforts combined advisory, investment, research and needs assessments, specifically to address complex social and economic challenges in Nigeria through infrastructure development.
We spearheaded innovative off-grid solar projects, positively impacting over 300,000 individuals across 18 Local governments. Simultaneously, we furthered our food production and processing capabilities and implemented a revolutionary mechanized farming training program. Throughout these endeavours, our corporate objectives remained clear: to foster socio-economic growth, boost national food production, raise development finance for infrastructure projects and overall improve livelihoods across Nigeria.
Energy-driven Innovation for Health Centres and Communities.
Amid persistent energy challenges in Nigeria and across Africa, our energy subsidiary, SAO ENERGY made significant strides. We provided a 24-hour electricity supply system for communities that have been without power for decades. Communities such as Omolege (Phase II) and Okiti Ofa —both in Ondo state Nigeria. Through collaborative efforts with partners like Okra Solar and Aurora, we have made significant progress in achieving this goal.
Further into the year, we provided a solar energy solution to power The Dialysis Center of University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan. A project funded by the Oluwarotimi Akeredolu Foundation, to enhance the delivery of quality healthcare services through the power of sustainable energy.
In response to identified needs, our energy team launched an equipment financing initiative. This effort aimed to support households and primary health centres by providing essential appliances like fans and televisions — with further plans to equip these facilities with critical devices such as centrifuges, microscopes, and ultrasound machines.
In the year 2023, our efforts in expanding access to sustainable energy continued with the completion of over seven residential installations—a total of 40KVA—across all projects. Transitioning to the latter part of the year, our mission extended its reach to the most remote regions of Nigeria. We successfully brought electricity to 17 Primary Health Centers in Ondo state (out of a total of 18 LGAs). This achievement underscores our unwavering commitment to bridging the energy gap and uplifting communities by providing sustainable and reliable power sources where it’s needed the most.
Tackling Crucial Food Shortage Challenges in Nigeria.
Recognizing the untapped agricultural potential and the complexities within Nigeria’s food supply chain, our subsidiary, SAO AGRO, remained steadfast in its efforts to bolster food production and processing capabilities.
Our goal for 2023 was clear— increase food production and processing and contribute to Nigeria’s $20 billion oil palm development plans by continuously expanding our 10,000 Ha oil palm estate, creating job opportunities for the indigenes of our host communities and increasing revenues through food production.
We transplanted over 160,000 oil palm seedlings which was a huge milestone. Further into the year, we also initiated a new growth phase and completed the planting of about 45,000 seeds. All these were carefully selected and sourced to ascertain high yield and output, with a projection to deliver about 18 tonnes of oil palm per hectare. Additionally, we are currently preparing a nursery site for an additional 500,000 seedlings to be transplanted across 2,000 hectares in Q2 of 2024.
Our existing 50,000-capacity boiler farm is also progressing to its next phase, which involves the establishment of a broiler/chicken processing facility with an estimated output of 30,000 processed birds per month. This facility, slated to become the largest of its kind in the country, is set to be completed in Q1 of 2024.
And finally, in 2023, we unveiled our groundbreaking investment and partnership with Decorum Nigeria Limited, a company that focuses on mechanized farming. This new venture aims to revolutionize farming by introducing advanced and innovative mechanization methods. The new enterprise named SAO-Decorum Nigeria Limited gears towards becoming the first private company to certify operators in agricultural operations. Its medium-term goal is to train 1,000 operators, expanding by 100% annually, with 50% of the slots reserved for interested women to promote gender equality and inclusivity.
Investment and Advisory for Infrastructure Development
Our investment and advisory subsidiary, SAO CAPITAL, continued in its feat to raise development finance for infrastructure projects and offer financial advisory services to various clients. Simultaneously, we strategically devised and implemented innovative strategies to mitigate the challenges posed by rising inflation, safeguarding optimal Return On Investment for our valued clientele.
We conducted comprehensive needs analysis, impact assessments, and feasibility studies for various clients, mostly in sectors we have invested in as a corporate entity. We aim to help them replicate some of our existing projects – or in some cases- develop new ones, allowing them to benefit from our extensive expertise and profound knowledge in the energy and agriculture sectors.
Our CEO’s recognition in this field was commendable as he participated in many panel discussions for economic growth, developed key relationships with the foreign community as a corporate liaison and received many awards in this sector.
Innovation, Growth, and Media Recognition
In the media spotlight, our Group CEO, Ayo Sotinrin, achieved notable recognition, clinching the prestigious ‘Excellence in Corporate Advisory Leadership Award‘ at The Solar Week Nigeria Leadership Awards 2023. He was also featured on Channels TV’s Gist Nigeria where he shared interesting insights about his academic background and his passion for economic development which inspires the work we do at SAO Group.
Furthermore, 2023 witnessed a remarkable surge in our workforce. We expanded by over 300%, a testament to SAO’s dedicated pursuit of creating employment opportunities in line with our gender inclusion policies. This expansion extended to our farm operations, where we increased our workforce to 1000 daily workers, ensuring their proficiency aligned with global standards through comprehensive training.
In demonstrating our commitment to our team, we navigated the challenges posed by Nigeria’s economic downturn by implementing a substantial 30% increase in compensation for each staff member. Embracing flexibility, we transitioned to a more remote workstyle, fostering collaboration among cross-functional teams across various states in Nigeria and globally.
As the curtains draw on 2023, our achievements echo our steadfast dedication to fostering social impact, uplifting communities, and charting a path toward a future that is both sustainable and inclusive.