Tonye Cole

Co-founder and Executive Director,
Sahara Group

Mr. Tonye P. Cole is the co-founder and executive director of the Sahara Group. Founded in 1996, the Sahara Group has grown from a single entity to a group made up of ten companies across the energy value chain. The company is present in eight countries, three continents and employs 3,200 people with an annual profit of more than $12 billion.

Cole is also an active member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Advisory Council for Energy. Furthermore, in recognition of the role his company has played in shaping indigenous involvement in the African energy sector, Cole was appointed to the UN’s Sustainable Development Fund’s (SDG-F) private sector advisory group. He serves as a board member for several organizations such as Atlas Mara, Bloomberg TV Africa, Nigeria Shippers Council and Digital Jewels.

Cole’s passion for youth development and giving back to the less privileged led to the establishment of his foundation, the Nehemiah Youth Empowerment Initiative. Through the Nehemiah Youth Empowerment Initiative, Cole regularly supports other foundations like the Down Syndrome Society, Slum2School Foundation, and Bethesda School for the Blind. He also serves on the advisory boards of various youth focused charities such Africa 2.0 Foundation and Sapinda Rainbow Foundation.

A motivational speaker, ordained minister, entrepreneur and firm believer in Africa’s inherent greatness, Cole has traveled vastly delivering numerous papers to African youth. He is a regular columnist for ThisDay Style and the author of Morning Reflections, an inspirational devotional.

Cole is an architecture alumnus of the University of Lagos and Harvard Business School’s advanced management program. He is married to Dr. Sylvia Cole and they have three children.