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Celebrating Women at the Heart of the Economic Development

Celebrating Women at the Heart of Economic Development

Our Celebration dinner on 5th March, hosted by Deloitte, celebrated Women at the Heart of Economic Development.

With International Women's Day today on 8th March, what could be more fitting? We were delighted to welcome so many brilliant female speakers at the event, and to be able to feature some of their thoughts and words, to inspire and encourage others.


Aline Varre

Aline Varre Image

Director of Strategy & Business Development, NDPI (Niger Delta Partnership Initiative)

"The concept of grant funding is to stimulate development and not to create sustainability. So sustainable development is an oxymoron if we continue to rely solely on grants. If we want sustainable development, we have to create a continuum of capital on the continent. Appears impossible, until you make it possible.....and women are doing just that! " 

Adaku Ufere


Chief of Party, USAID, & Power Africa West Africa Energy Program, Deloitte

"Women in power will power the continent. Progress on development will not happen without women in leadership roles."



Agnes Dasewicz


Chief Operating Officer, DFC

"Investing in women unleashes a force multiplier for development. The drivers of economies and societies, women's empowerment leads to prosperity."

Alba Topulli

Alba Image

Deputy MD, Mercy Corps - Energy 4 Impact

"25 years ago, I arrived in the US as an Albanian immigrant, leaving behind instability from civil unrest, a wrecked economy, and a dangerous environment for women. The DRE industry was a long way from my reach. Today, I am here in large part because of a woman mentor who a decade ago took a chance on me. I am honored and grateful to be able to continue contributing to advance energy access, inclusion, and affordability for unserved and underserved communities globally. To those in hiring positions, I urge us to take chances on talent — acknowledging and respecting lived experiences alongside academic and professional achievements, and creating spaces where emerging talent can develop their voices and contribute their unique perspectives to shaping a more resilient future."

Allegria Ntumba

Allegria Image

Administrative & Financial Director, Autorite de Regulation du secteur de l'Electricite (ARE), Democratic Republic of the Congo

"Women's economic empowerment is not an occurence to be wished and waited for anymore. It is a vital necessity to the African continent's economic development.''

Amal Nasr Hussien Mohamed

Amal Image

HV/MV Substation Electrical Engineer, Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC), Egypt

"As a woman working in the energy sector, which is a corner stone of economic development, I can tell that we can't transition energy overnight, Success is always a step-by-step approach, and that’s why we have to work together side by side everyday across the energy landscape to achieve further progress towards energy resilience. And step by step, we will be getting there…"

Aminata Diop Samb

Aminata Image

Director General, FODEM (Fonds de Développement et de Solidarité Municipal), Senegal

"Together let us preserve our achievements, continue this fight and this advocacy with decision-makers for the maintenance of these achievements and let us co-build a world more inclusive and more united towards women."

Angela Nalikka

Angela Image

Manager, Infrastructure & PPP, AfDB

"In Africa, women are inordinately affected by the ravages of climate change so they have a crucial role and an opportunity to drive a just energy transition both at the grassroots and in leadership.”

Anita Otubu

Anita Image

Senior Director, Universal Energy Facility (UEF), Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL)

"Women at the heart of economic development, means that women can play any role across the ecosystem to achieve sustainable lifechanging outcomes across ours, neighbouring and hardest to reach communities!"


Asha Varghese

Asha Image

Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Caterpillar Inc 

"Women have a pivotal role in shaping our workplaces, inspiring future generations and sparking innovation. Investing in women and girls drives progress."

Benedetta Audia

Benedetta Audia image

Principal, International Development LLC

"Keeping in mind today's difficult geopolitical landscape, promoting gender equality and fairness in all contexts is of paramount importance. I am proud to work in the most challenging environments, including conflict and post-conflict zones, where women make a difference every day. In my view, the most successful women are those who are genuinely supportive of other women's successes."

Celina Lee

Celina Lee image

Co-Founder & CEO, Zindi

"When everyone gets to be a part of the solution, we all win."

Chantelle Abdul

Chantelle Abul

Group MD/CEO, Mojec International

"Dear Woman, You can be anything you want to be!!! I firmly believe in the inherent power that lies within every woman, especially The African Woman. She has the capability to overcome the obstacles of marginalization, and the power to not only become a beacon of inspiration and motivation to the younger generation, but to also serve as an example to the ones who aspire to build global businesses and lead industries. To every aspiring young woman out there… Yes, You can!"


Charlene Ruto

Charlene Ruto

Youth Champion & Climate Action Champion, Kenya

"As young women, we stand tall on the platforms and step strong into the spaces that the women before us have founded, amplifying our voices to create an even better future for the women coming after us."


Chrissy Godfrey

Chrissy Image

Specialist Leader, Deloitte

“Opportunities have an interesting way of presenting themselves, and we should embrace them.


Elizabeth Pfeiffer

Elizabeth Image

Senior Manager, Deloitte

"Remember to train and mentor those around you because your impact will go further if they are also creating change."

Ellasandra Walsh

Ellasandra Walsh

Associate Manager & Sustainability Lead, U.S.-Africa Business Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

"The most inspirational women I know are not great because they do great things, but because they recognize the greatness in others and help them see it for themselves.”

Elsa Strydom

Elsa Strydom

Head of Infrastructure Finance, IPP Office, South Africa

"The REIPPPP is a South African flagship programme for encouraging local economic development and the role of women in the sector. It is a privilege to be a part of this programme and I encourage more women to become a part of this success story.”

Eman Abdelkhalek

Eman Abdelkhalek

Head of Infrastructure Finance, Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC), Egypt

 "I have been working in the energy sector for more than 30 years, and I am very proud that the empowerment of women is a key issue. In Egypt, in all sectors, the women play great and successful roles. Especially in the electricity sector,  women already have management positions in all activities. My message for every woman; " Go ahead with your inspiration to achieve your hope and success." 


Emily McAteer

Emily McAteer

CEO, Odyssey Energy Solutions

"We know that when women gain access to electricity it leads to economic advancement, not just for them, but for their families and communities too. At Odyssey we’re inspired by the many female-led solar companies we work with who are quite literally turning the lights on for their communities and training women to join the clean energy sector at the same time."

Ewelina Czapla

Ewelina Czapla

Director of Energy Policy, Chamber of Digital Commerce

Celebrating Women at the Heart of Economic Development

Dr. Frannie Léautier

Frannie Leutier

Senior Partner & CEO, SouthBridge Investment & Director, Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP)

"Women bring innovation, resilience and patience to development challenges. For these talents to come alive and make a difference, women need a voice in making choices, a seat at the table when making decisions, and money in their wallets when placing development bets."


Georgia  Iordanescu

Georgia Image

Senior Lead Specialist, Clean Energy, DAI

“Energy transition takes time, but through community crowdsourcing, ideas can iterate faster until they succeed. And then, repeat."   

Gina Cady

Gina Cady

Health Electrification Advisor, Power Africa

"There are no strong female leaders. There are just strong leaders."

H.E Chido Cleopatra Mpemba

H.E. Chido Cleopatra image

Special Youth Envoy, African Union

"On this day, I applaud not only the women thriving in male-dominated fields, but also those transforming lives in their communities each day as mothers, mentors and change-makers. As AU Chairperson’s Youth Envoy, I reaffirm my commitment to upholding the rights, dignity, and limitless potential of girls and women in every African country."

H.E. Honourable Damilola Ogunbiyi

H.E. Damilola Ogunbiyi

Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, & CEO, Sustainable Energy for All

"When women are at the heart of economic development, communities thrive, societies prosper, and futures are forged with strength and resilience. We must therefore foster gender equity and equality, and accelerate the participation of women at all levels of society. "

Haruperi Mubengegwi

Haruperi Mumbengegwi

Counsel, MIGA, The World Bank Group

“One of the most courageous things you can do as a woman is to embrace your authentic self."

Julie Cerqueira

Julie Cerqueira image

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of International Affairs, U.S Department of Energy

"Analysis shows that improved gender diversity brings with it numerous benefits, including enhanced productivity and innovation. Yet today, women make up just 26 percent of the energy workforce.  Recruiting, retaining and promoting women has to be a priority if we want to meet our clean energy goals.”

Kate Steel

Kate Steel image

Co-Founder & CEO, Nithio

Celebrating Women at the Heart of Economic Development

Kendra Gaither

Kendra Gaither

President, U.S.-Africa Business Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

"At the start of my career, my parents gifted me a painting adorned with the African proverb, “When you educate a woman, you educate a nation.” As we mark International Women’s Day, it is essential to redouble our investment in women and girls, who in turn, make an investment in their families, businesses, and communities. I’m thrilled to celebrate the barrier-breaking, trailblazing women to whom I owe my career, and those women known and unknown who are at the heart of every aspect of societal progress and development."

Kimberly Harrington

Kimberly Harrington image

Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of State

Celebrating Women at the Heart of Economic Development

Lamyaa Youssef

Lamyaa Youseff image

Independent Consultant, Egypt

"When RE is mentioned, what immediately comes to my mind is the Egypt success story of the Benban solar plant in upper Egypt. This project was tendered in a FIT (Feed In Tariff) scheme in 2015, and it produces about one and half GW from solar cells. I remember that day, when I was summoned to the office of EEHC chairman's office, where he told me that I would be responsible for the tendering and contracting phase of this project. At that moment, I barely had a little background about this scheme, but somewhere, from the bottom of my heart, sprung the old dream of my final year project in the university, which was all about solar energy, which at that time was a premature technology. I started the journey supported by my team (to whom I owe the success of this project), by studying all the necessary information about the scheme, and how to apply it in our case. The journey was with many stakeholders and success partners, Egyptera, NREA, MoF, EBRD, IFC and of course, the private sector. My message is:  Follow your dream, it will come to you while you are busy gaining experience and improving your skills. Never be afraid of new challenges."

Laura Spector

Laura Spector

Country Manager, Power Africa, U.S. Trade & Development Agency (USTDA)

Celebrating Women at the Heart of Economic Development

Leonilde Santos

Leonilde santos image

President, Agencia Reguladora Multissectorial da Economia (ARME), Cape Verde

"Women's leadership excellence lies in their high level of sensitivity, self-knowledge, resilience and self-confidence, as potential transforming forces for economic development."


Leria Aarinaitwe

Leria Image

Legal Council and Energy Sector Lead, African Legal Support Facility (ALSF)  

"Women are not just end-users of power.  They can provide and implement solutions to Africa’s energy gaps. Gender equity rather than equality should be mainstreamed in the energy sector to empower and upskill women to actively participate in the continent’s energy journey at both policy and project levels."

Lisa Viscidi

Lisa Image

Senior Manager - Energy, Climate and Natural Resources, Deloitte

"Women’s participation - from installing and maintaining solar panels to creating small businesses for productive use of energy - is critical to closing the electrification gap.”    

Lisa Witte

Lisa Witte

Acting Deputy Coordinator, Power Africa 

"We are committed to empowering women’s participation across the energy sector value chain for a sustainable and just future."

Lucy Mutuku

Lucy Mutuku image

CEO, National Youth Caucus Kenya

 “Let us join forces to improve the quality and quantity of jobs for young people  - and may generations follow.”

Melissa Persaud

Melissa Persaud

Vice President, Fraym

"Amplify women's voices - I am here today because people chose to listen to my ideas and help me execute them. Speak loudly and listen gently. What are you doing to dismantle the systems that reinforce gender inequity today?"  

Nicole Poindexter

Nicole Poindexter image

CEO & Founder, Energicity

Celebrating Women at the Heart of Economic Development

Noella Moefe

Noella Molefe

Senior Specialist, Climate Change & Air Quality, Exxaro Resources, South Africa

"My journey from scholarship recipient to senior specialist is a testament to the power of perseverance. Every challenge I faced was an opportunity to grow stronger, to push boundaries, and to show the world what a determined young black woman can achieve."

Nomfundo Maseti

Nomfundo Maseti image

Full-time Regulator Member Responsible for Piped Gas Regulation, National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA), South Africa

"Today’s celebrations are a higher calling for women to use their positions of power to create better opportunities for others. We should celebrate women's achievements with pride, knowing that our authentic voices are reshaping the conversations on gender inequality."  

Rachel Moré-Oshodi

Rachel More - Oshodi image

CEO, ARM-Harith Infrastructure Investment

"Empowerment ignites change, and as women, our resilience and vision are not just assets but catalysts for transformative economic growth. Women have always been at the heart of development, driving progress with our strength, creativity, and determination. Let's continue to break barriers, forge new paths, and inspire the next generation to build a more inclusive and prosperous future."     

Sandrine Ngalula Mubenga

Sandrine Ngalula Mubenga image

CEO, Autorite de Regulation du secteur de l'Electricite (ARE), Democratic Republic of the Congo

"Do not expect people to say good things about you. Your works will force them to do so."

Shelley Martin

Shelley Martin image

Senior Manager, Gender Equity, Disability & Social Inclusion, Abt Global

"Less than 25% of higher education students in Africa pursue STEM fields, of whom less than 30% are women (Mutsvangwa and Zezekwa, 2021). A more robust pipeline of STEM professionals is critical for Africa's clean energy transition, starting with STEM skills and education for women and girls. Acceleration of women-led energy ventures, along with safe, equitable workplaces for gender minorities, will ensure the sector reaps the benefits of diversity in frontier markets." 

Sophia Peters

Sophie Peters

Principal, Deloitte

Celebrating Women at the Heart of Economic Development

Suman Sureshbabu

Suman Sureshbabu

MD for Demand, Jobs & Livelihoods, Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP)

Celebrating Women at the Heart of Economic Development

The Honorable Judith Pryor

Honourable Judith Pryor image

First Vice President & Vice Chair, Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM)

"In the past decade, EXIM has provided the financial tools to help 1000+ women-owned businesses thrive in over 150 countries. Happy International Women’s Day!"    

Tshepidi Moremong

Tshepidi Image

Chief Operating Officer, Africa50

Celebrating Women at the Heart of Economic Development