Skip navigation

About the Natural Resources and Energy team

We have a fast-growing natural resources and energy practice that supports low- and middle-income countries to meet their energy and extractives objectives.

We provide advice to clients, who want to understand and advocate for long-term, inclusive economic and social developments to be harnessed from energy and extractives sectors.

We work with national governments, research organisations, donors, and multilateral funders to design and implement energy and extractives policies and programmes, and facilitate high-impact learning.

We never forget that improved benefits for governments and their citizens need to be grounded in locally-led and politically-informed initiatives. Our programmes are always bespoke and client-centric. We avoid ‘cut and paste’ jobs by combining deep political insight with international expertise and nuanced local insights.

We have extensive experience in designing and implementing demand-driven programmes in the energy and extractives sectors to meet a wide range of requirements. Our existing projects range from small, discrete reviews and studies to international, multi-year programmes worth in excess of £30 million. We pride ourselves on going the extra mile to build trust and promote ownership with partners.

Our ongoing work includes multi-year, donor-funded governance programmes in the extractives and energy sectors.

Improving energy access

Energy is fundamental to lifting people out of poverty. Today one billion people are still without access to electricity and three billion without access to clean cooking technology – and, the seventh Sustainable Development Goal targets around universal energy access stands to be missed by a significant margin. Our work contributes to closing this gap, helping people overcome barriers to energy access through for example bespoke financial services. We understand the challenges countries face in expanding access to energy – across rural and urban settings.

We acknowledge that energy access will continue to be improved through both renewable and non-renewable energy provision. Solar home systems are a great solution for stepping up access to electricity, whereas liquid petroleum gas stoves provides the good option for clean cooking in many poor households.

Our work in energy access focus on finding the best balance between off-grid and grid energy solutions to improve energy provision, keeping in mind the end goal of more reliable, more affordable and more sustainable energy access for more people.

Strengthening energy policy and planning

Our extensive experience across the policy cycle put us in a unique position to advice governments on key challenges to making national energy markets function better. We have first-hand experience of how energy policy is an integral part of any country's overall development policy framework. We understand that energy policy is fundamentally driven by choices relating to broad economic development and, in particular, a country’s industrial policy.

Our work focuses on strengthening sector capabilities, improving the policy and regulatory environment and aiding the national energy planning process. We recognise that these are key areas that needs to be addressed to ensure that the supply mix matches people and industry’s demand for energy.

We know that countries work towards clean and sustainable energy uses but in the short to medium term this will involve reliance on a combination of renewable and non-renewable energy sources as well as off-grid and grid solutions. Our experience covers the breadth of different energy provisions, which gives us a strong foundation for providing balanced advice on policy development.

Enabling extractives governance reform

We have extensive experience bringing about governance reform in the extractives sector. Through our first-hand experience of delivering policy change, we fully understand the complexities of the sector – but accept the challenge of bringing about sustainable change.

We work on governance issues in the extractives sector to improve development outcome. Ambitions to use natural resource wealth to meet social and economic development goals are often met with skepticism – understandably, as they have failed so often in the past. Yet the opportunity is real. In many countries extractives revenues are larger than aid flows.

We work across the extractives value chain from the discovery of resources in the ground to investment of extractives revenues in economic and human development. In close collaboration with governments, civil society and industry, we focus on making the transformation of resources benefit the people, putting in place appropriate economic policy and developing institutional capacity. Our work in extractives governance benefit from OPM’s ‘thinking and working politically’ approach, building on our leadership in political economy analysis to provide clients with robust, locally-driven, and flexible delivery models.

Resource-led development

Our work takes a holistic approach to the opportunities that extractives presents to a country. Benefits of extractives goes beyond revenues and public spending, our work also focus on strengthening linkages between the sector and the rest of the economy, and developing appropriate industrial policy measures.

Our work focuses on enabling governments, industry, and communities to take advantage of these non-revenue linkages. It presents a great opportunity for job creation, but reaping the benefits often require improvements in other areas such as a better investment climate, stronger education systems, and clear industrial policy.

For depletable resources to play a sustainable developmental role, countries need to diversify. We work with governments to identify, promote, and develop strategies towards other productive economic activities, evidently central to the extractives agenda.

Extractives can also serve as an input other productive activities, providing the basis for example gas-based industrialisation. We also work with governments to take advantage of such benefits to strengthen its industry base.

Our people

The Natural Resources and Energy team is led by Maja Jakobsen.

Simon Trace brings 35 years’ experience working in international development, specialising in access to basic energy services, natural resource management, and technology.

Mark Beare brings over 25 years’ experience in the extractives and energy sectors, specialising in downstream beneficiation, economic linkages, and energy planning and policy.

Ashira Perera brings economic expertise and specialises in providing policy support and conducting research on issues related energy and extractives.

Kenneth Ene is based in the Nigeria office and brings extensive experience in project management, specialising in strategic planning, financial management, and monitoring and evaluation.

Caroline Thuo is based in Nairobi and specialises in project management around program cycle management, grants management, and organisation systems strengthening.

We bring together in-house specialists and external experts for assignments in areas such as institutional reform, political economy, public finance, organisational development, local context, and supplier development. In order to draw on the skills from across OPM, we work collaboratively with staff members from different teams and offices to bring breadth to our projects.