Source: Vanessa Moungar, Director of the Bank’s Gender, Women and Civil Society Department. AfDB

The African Development Bank Group, in partnership with the French Development Agency, Association of Power Utilities of Africa and African Network of Centers of Excellence (ANCEE), have organised a three-day seminar on “Promoting Gender Equality in the African Power Sector” at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan.

The seminar brought together 50 human resource directors from 50 power utility companies, eight Directors from ANCEE and other participants from more than 25 African countries to the Bank for the talks.

Participants shared best practices, raised awareness about the interlinkages between gender and the power sector and moved toward a consensus on advocacy for reform, policy implementation and regulations to ensure gender-equal access to energy services, as well as ways to increase women representation in the sector

“Diversity is not only nice to have, there’s a business case for it. We strongly believe that, both in the public and private sector, we must have leadership bodies that reflect the societies they live in, for better, more sustainable, long-term results,” Vanessa Moungar, Director of the Bank’s Gender, Women and Civil Society Department said at the seminar.

Participants highlighted the importance of developing a concerted approach to promoting gender equality in the workplace. These strategies aim to attract more women to the power sector, improve their career prospects and increase their access to management positions within utilities.

“We expect women to not only be minor workers in the power sector but leaders, policymakers, renewable energy entrepreneurs, utility managers, employers of power plants and distribution systems, executives of private sector partners, and customers of electricity services,” said Amadou Hott, Vice President for Power, energy, Climate Change and Green Growth.

Women represent only 20% of employees in the African power sector and less than 10% of engineers. Read more: AfDB appoints Lead Policy Officer

Addressing the closing session, Basil Jones, Gender Programme and Policy Coordinator in the Bank’s Gender, Women and Civil Society Department said: “Women are game changers in the economic sphere. Therefore, HR directors ought to develop gender policies and strategies to mainstream women in their various organisations. This way, we are taking giant steps to ensure the SDGs Goal 5 can be achieved.”

This workshop reflects the Bank’s commitment to strengthen its engagement with partner institutions to achieve gender equality in delivering the High 5 on “Light up and Power Africa” in its Regional Member Countries.

The Bank collaborated with the AFD and APUA to provide over $10 million grant for a three-year project to set up ANCEE. The aim of the project is to improve performance in the electricity sector and intensify regional trade by strengthening governance, technical and managerial skills.