History of ARDA

The original idea for an association of African refineries was conceptualised in the late 1970s, which resulted in the first sub-Saharan African initiative – the Association of Refiners and Distributors of oil Products (ARDIP) in September 1980. This was led by SIR refinery of Cote D’Ivoire with their counterpart refineries in Senegal, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Gabon.

The ARDIP initiative was short-lived and a second similar initiative, led by SONARA of Cameroon, was subsequently launched in 1999. This second initiative, which also included SAR (Senegal), TOR (Ghana), SOGARA (Gabon), SIR (Côte d’Ivoire), NATREF (South Africa), was ultimately not sustained.

In 2006, Mr Joël Dervain, then Managing Director of SIR, re-activated the drive for an association to promote the sharing of technical and commercial best practice amongst African refiners and their stakeholders. With support from his counterparts at SONARA, SAR, TOR, SOGARA and NATREF, the African Refiners Association (ARA) was founded on 23rd March 2006 in Cape Town, South Africa. The name of this organisation was later broadened to the African Refiners & Distributors Association, which is known today as ARDA.

Current members


Partners and Sponsors


Countries represented


Years of activity


Our Vision

ARDA’s vision is to serve as the leader in Africa’s transition to cleaner fuels and later, towards renewable energies. To this end, we promote the harmonisation of cleaner fuel specifications across Africa in line with the AFRI Fuels Roadmap to avoid urban pollution and the associated health challenges. ARDA also supports the implementation of a Cleaner Air Policy with a regulatory framework that considers fuels and vehicles as an integrated system.

The ARDA is also focused on developing an integrated energy self-sufficiency plan for Africa that promotes the processing of African crude oil in upgraded African refineries, distribution of resulting cleaner petroleum products via African pipelines and terminals with funding primarily from African financial institutions. The ultimate goal is to drastically reduce fuel imports by upgrading the refineries and distribution infrastructure on the continent to meet Africa’s petroleum products requirements.

The ARDA will continue to highlight the role of fossil fuels in the economic development of the continent and promote a measured transition to cleaner fuels in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy). As such, the ARDA shall support various private and public sector initiatives aimed at securing investments to enable Africa’s transition to cleaner fuels in a sustainable manner.

Our Mission

ARDA is the first-ever pan-African non-governmental organisation to serve as the voice of the downstream oil sector in Africa. Our association addresses the economic, environmental and social issues that impact upon oil refining in Africa, or upon the importing and distribution of petroleum products across the continent.

The role of the African Refiners & Distributors Association is to give a voice not only to African refiners, but also to independent storage, distribution and marketing companies and energy regulators across Africa.

The ARDA’s principal aims and objectives are to :

  • Address economic, environmental and social issues deemed by its membership to impact upon the African downstream petroleum sector;
  • Identify trends within the international oil industry that impact on the African downstream oil industry;
  • Promote the exchange of positive experiences and best practice between Members, in order to improve their safety, technical and economic performance;
  • Improve communication and cooperation between its Members and the international oil market;
  • Increase effort on promoting efficient, economic, safe, secure and sustainable investment across the African downstream supply chain;

Promoting Best Practice

ARDA has established an Executive Committee to oversee the Association’s operations, a General Assembly comprising its Members and several Workgroups to promote sharing of best practices amongst Members. ARDA was set-up as a non-profit organization with operational headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

The ARDA gives a unified voice to African refiners, independent importers, distributors and regulators across the entire value chain of the African Downstream oil sector. The name of the ARA was changed to the African Refiners & Distributors Association (ARDA) in 2017 to reflect the importance of the complete Downstream oil supply chain.

Our association’s diverse membership reflects the geographic and cultural diversity of the African continent. The role of ARDA includes promoting exchange of best practices amongst Members, sponsors and other key stakeholders. In addition, ARDA champions efforts for efficient, economic, safe, secure and sustainable investments across the African downstream supply chain.

Presently, ARDA’s Members include refineries, terminals, pipeline operators, importers and regulations. Our sponsors comprise both African and global industry leaders in the downstream oil industry.

ARDA Management

Anibor Kragha
Executive Secretary

Mr Anibor Kragha became Executive Secretary of ARDA in April 2020 after serving as President of the association from March 2019 to March 2020.

Mr Kragha served as the Chief Operating Officer, Refining & Petrochemicals, of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from April 2016 to July 2019, and as NNPC Group General Manager, Treasury, from September 2015 to March 2016.

Prior to NNPC, Mr Kragha worked for over ten years at Mobil Producing Nigeria (an ExxonMobil affiliate) in the Audit, Commercial and Treasurer’s groups across Africa and the United States, culminating in him serving as the Upstream Treasurer for ExxonMobil Affiliates in Nigeria from 2012 to 2015.

Mr. Kragha was nominated by the ARDA Executive Committee in March 2020.

Dr. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid

Dr. Mustapha Abdul-Hamid was elected as the President of the African Refiners and Distributors Association (ARDA) in March 2023.  He is presently the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Ghana, a role he has been in since July 2021.

Prior to becoming the NPA CEO,  Dr. Abdul-Hamid was the Minister for Inner City and Zongo Development from September 2018 to January 2021, where he initiated schemes to improve upon the economic and social lives of low-income communities. He was also the Minister of Information and Presidential spokesperson from January 2017 to August 2018, as a cabinet minister responsible for all government communications.

Dr Abdul Hamid has initiated and implemented a number of significant reforms in the Ghana Petroleum Downstream industry since his appointment as NPA CEO. He initiated the repeal and replacement of the NPA Act to improve upon regulatory efficiency and also facilitated the implementation of a Ghanaian content policy for the petroleum downstream industry in Ghana. In addition, he has initiated significant reforms to ensure the financial sustainability of the industry in Ghana and deepened international collaborations to promote petroleum product exports from Ghana towards the achievement of the Petroleum Hub Vision of the country.

Dr. Abdul-Hamid is also a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Religion and Human Values at the University of Cape Coast and has published widely in scholarly journals worldwide. He has a reputation for upholding honesty and integrity in his public life. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree, Master of Philosophy degree and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana.

Joël Dervain
President Emeritus

Mr Joël Dervain retired as Executive Secretary of ARDA in April 2020 after initiating and co-founding the association in March 2006. Mr. Dervain served as President of ARDA from 2006 to 2010 and as Executive Secretary from 2010 to 2020.

During this period, he was instrumental in growing it into the premier Pan-African organisation giving a voice to all stakeholders across the African downstream oil industry. In retirement, Mr Dervain will continue to serve as an Advisor Emeritus to the ARDA.

On several levels, the ARDA is an excellent framework for exchanges for its members. It enables the development of sustained professional relationships, through meetings and thematic workshops organized by its working groups in the refining and distribution sectors.

ARDA constitutes a great force of proposals that can help African States and regional organizations to initiate the appropriate technical and regulatory solutions for the improvement of the hydrocarbons sector, but also of the Environment in Africa.

Mr Daouda Kebe, Technical Director
SAR (Société Africaine de Raffinage)

Sharing Knowledge & Collaborating


Our face-to-face forums offer a privileged space for direct debate, counsel, exchange and training between Members, participants, sponsors and partners.

Forum themes are linked closely to addressing the key challenges faced by various African Downstream operators, whilst remaining cognisant of global industry trends aimed at balancing energy transition and energy security.

Their purpose is to develop effective implementation plans for investment projects and to promote best practice for the regulation of the African downstream petroleum sector for all industry stakeholders.


ARDA membership provides full access to our signature annual conference “ARDA Week”, where all key players from the African downstream energy sector meet and network with the international community.

Through its work to promote fair economic policies in respect of all downstream oil activities, ARDA also collaborates with relevant industry groups, governments, regulatory bodies, international agencies, academic institutions and non-governmental organisations. These include the African Union, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, IPIECA, UNEP, and also SADC, SACU, ECOWAS.

ARDA Members are also invited to attend external conferences with these organisations and benefit from access to the materials.


ARDA’s HSE and Quality Audit Consultations provide ARDA members, who so wish, with a framework for reviewing and evaluating their organisation’s management systems and procedures. These sessions are based on a structured process which examines conformity, efficiency and effectiveness of the systems and procedures to ensure they align with requirements.

The annual repetition of the internal audit programme serves to maintain, monitor and improve on the applied standards.

The audit leaders, specialists from independent third-party companies, guide members how to draw up plans for corrective action and best prepare for real certification audits.


ARDA Workgroups provide an avenue for collaboration between Members, sponsors and other partners, to develop sustainable frameworks to promote investments in economic downstream oil projects, and the adoption of LPG as a cleaner cooking alternative to biomass/charcoal, as drivers for Africa’s Cleaner Energy Transition and a reduction of overall carbon footprint.

Our workgroups are championed by industry experts and function as think tanks, each with their own specific objectives within their respective areas.


Our training programs cover a wide range of topics encompassing all aspects of the changing global & continental energy landscape.

ARDA also offers bespoke training from industry experts, and our courses are designed for varying levels of ability and responsibility.

Interlaboratory testing

ARDA offers its Members sessions of inter-laboratory analyses comparison.

These consist of testing to assess the performance of laboratories, to detect problems or to establish effectiveness and comparability of different methods, procedures and approval of equipment.

This activity encompasses internal controls as well as detective, corrective and preventative measures to ensure the reliability of the results for the achievement of common standards.