ESI Africa was fortunate to interview H.E. Dr Elham Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim, the woman mandated to enhance efforts for accelerated integrated infrastructure development and effective sustainable development of energy resources, to find out what led her to the African Union Commission.
ESI Africa: Your profile is uniquely impressive; tell us about your background and accomplishments
EI: In my opinion, I was lucky to have a combination of the academic and practical experiences that motivated me throughout my career development. This included academic and scientific research up to associate professor, as well as practical experience in different areas especially in the energy sector. I worked at the Aswan High Dam power station for ten years during which I gained invaluable practical experience dismantling and reassembling the generating units after rehabilitation.
That is really a unique experience in the hydropower area for anyone, let alone a woman. I was also fortunate to have gained administrative and managerial skills whilst working on the project. Having been involved in other areas such as energy planning, strategies and policies, renewable energy and interconnection projects, international cooperation, protocols and technical agreements has added so much in developing my career.
Added to this was my deep involvement in Africa’s affairs within the Ministry of Electricity and Energy in Egypt, where I had the opportunity to visit many of African countries and build my thoughts on how I could personally serve this continent. Whilst working at the Ministry, I was nominated by the Ministry of Electricity & Energy and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Egypt for the position of the Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy in the African Union Commission in 2007. At the same time I was assigned to be the first woman in Egypt that occupied the position of First Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Electricity and Energy in Egypt.
This made me proud, but also worried about the challenges and the wide scope of this position that included supervising all the logistical, managerial and technical aspects of the Ministry and its different companies. I was keen to be involved….