Life at Lekela: Andria Francis, Corporate Finance Manager, London

Lekela is an international organisation, with our people based in Senegal, Egypt, South Africa and the UK. We want to shine a light on the amazing work our people do across Africa and in Europe and hear directly from our employees on what life at Lekela is really like.

Over the coming months, we’ll be speaking to different employees across Lekela’s business to hear what they’re working on and what led them to this industry.

Today we’re speaking to Andria Francis, Lekela’s Corporate Finance Manager. Andria joined Lekela in 2018 and is based in our London office. Read below for some of Andria’s thoughts on why she joined Lekela and what life at Lekela is really like.

What led you to a career in finance and to Lekela?

While studying Economics and Statistics at university, I found it so eye-opening to read about real-world issues and study the challenges and opportunities facing countries, corporates and everyday people like you and me.

After university I knew I wanted to work in finance, which led me to roles at Deloitte, Morgan Stanley and then BT, learning new skills and making great friends along the way. I then found an interesting financial modelling role at Lekela. The opportunity to work for a renewable energy company with a unique and exciting focus on Africa, build new skills in project finance, and contribute to something quite impactful was very appealing.

When I joined Lekela, I had also begun studying for a part-time Masters in Finance degree, attending evening lectures. It was quite a challenge to start a new job, learn a new industry and study at the same time. I was very grateful to the Lekela management team for their support, in helping me balance both work and studies, and my colleagues who would give me words of encouragement, to keep my head up and just “paddle, paddle”.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

One of the things I enjoy most about my job is the opportunity to work on impact projects that aid real economic growth, through investments in projects that provide clean and cost-effective energy, and support to local communities. It’s motivating to know that our work will have a positive impact for many years to come.

It is also very rewarding to witness a financial model become reality. One of the best experiences I have recently had was my visit to the West Bakr Wind Farm in Egypt for its inauguration event and meeting our operations teams. To have worked on the financial model back at financial close, and to then see the fully constructed wind farm with the turbines spinning, was somewhat an indescribable feeling.

Above all, the best thing is working alongside colleagues across Egypt, Senegal and South Africa and the London team. Everyone is approachable and supportive, and the learning and sharing of cultures has been quite wonderful. 

What does your role as Corporate Finance Manager involve on a day-to-day basis?

My job is quite varied, and I spend time supporting our business development activities, helping on the project investment appraisals, financial modelling and raising of financings. I also support with ongoing portfolio management for our operational projects.

Is there anything else about your time at Lekela that you’d like to tell us about?

There is something quite special about Lekela that makes it a great place to work … and though I find it hard to pinpoint exactly what that is, I’m sure it lies in our people, our projects and in our purpose. The work is challenging, but always rewarding.

May the wind forever blow, and the sun always shine!