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The original concept for an association for African refineries was originally conceptualized in the late 1970s which translated to the first sub-Saharan African initiative – Association of Refiners and Distributors of oil Products (ARDIP) in September 1980 – 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 launched in 1999. This second initiative, which also included SAR (Senegal), TOR (Ghana), SOGARA (Gabon), SIR (Côte d’Ivoire), NATREF (South Africa), ultimately was not sustained.

In 2006, Mr Joel Dervain, then Managing Director of SIR, re-activated the drive for an association to promote sharing of technical and commercial best practices amongst African refiners and their stakeholders. With support from his counterparts at SONARA, SAR, TOR, SOGARA and NATREF, the African Refiners Association (ARDA) was founded on March 23, 2006 in Cape Town, South Africa.

“The ARDA should be at the service of its members, a kind of Refiners’ club. It must be flexible, private, non-governmental and not budget-intensive. It must provide its Members with free access to a common base of technical, economic and human resources.“

* Mr Joel Dervain

The ARDA established an Executive Committee to oversee the Association’s operations, a General Assembly comprising its Members and several Work Groups to promote sharing of best practices amongst Members. The 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.

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

Presently, the ARDA’s Members include refineries, terminals, pipeline operators, importers and regulations. The Association’s 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 the ARDA in April 2020 after serving as the 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.

Marième Ndoye Decraene
Executive Secretary

Ms. Decraene became President of ARDA, replacing Mr. Mboup, after taking office at the General Management of the Société Africaine de Raffinage (SAR) Refinery in Dakar, Senegal, on November 11, 2020.

Prior to SAR, Marieme led the Senegalese government’s UFC-MCA Senegal II Compact for four years (November 2016 to August 2020). At UFC-MCA Senegal II, she led an interdisciplinary team that was charged with designing a program and associated projects to address barriers to economic growth of the country’s energy sector. In addition, Marieme coordinated the intervention of several stakeholders at the institutional, technical, civil society and private sector levels.

Joël Dervain
Advisor Emeritus

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



The ARDA’s vision is to serve as the leader in Africa’s transition to cleaner fuels. In that vein, the ARDA promotes harmonization of cleaner fuel specifications across Africa in line with the AFRI Fuels Roadmap to avoid urban pollution and the associated health challenges. The ARDA supports 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.

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The African Refiners and Distributors Association (ARDA) is the first-ever pan-African non-governmental organization that serves as the voice of the Downstream oil sector in Africa and addresses economic, environmental or social issues impacting 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;

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