Enlit Africa and ESI Africa celebrated Women’s Month in South Africa with a Women in Energy Rise Together campaign (#wierisetogether) to shine a spotlight on women making a difference in the energy sector.
There is a large and stubborn gender gap in the energy sector. Women are disproportionally affected by energy poverty and underrepresented in energy companies and projects. Despite making up half of the global labour force, women only account for 22% in the traditional energy sector. Women are even less likely to be in decision-making positions. Many energy initiatives have a narrow focus on women as beneficiaries, rather than promoting women as leaders and innovators.
As a central component of our support for early-stage companies, EEP Africa is committed to financing women entrepreneurs and strengthening leadership opportunities for women throughout the energy value chain. In our current portfolio, 34% of the companies are women-led and 45% of the jobs created by EEP Africa-funded projects since 2010 have been for women. We believe that closing the gender gap is essential for a just and inclusive clean energy transition.
The WIE Rise Together campaign featured interviews with trailblazing CEOs and podcasts with emerging entrepreneurs. EEP Africa and its portfolio companies were well-represented!
Chiedza Mazaiwana, EEP Africa Portfolio Coordinator for Southern Africa, and six women leaders from our portfolio answered the question:
Why do you believe in Africa's energy sector?
Chiedza Mazaiwana, EEP Africa: “Over the past years we have seen significant sector growth spread across the different markets, with more local led innovators actively participating in renewable energy development.”
Maya Stewart, Yellow: “Africa has the potential and equal opportunity to become a powerhouse in the world. It is crucial that we push for universal access now, to power the present and future youth.”
Priscilla Sani-Chimwele, Wala: “Energy is a catalyst. Fixing Africa’s energy sector will create the conducive environment needed to fix many of the other social and economic challenges Africa faces.”
Elana Laichena, Acacia Innovations: “Africa has the potential to leapfrog the energy sector in the Western world and build a low-carbon and equitable energy system.”
Esther Altorfer, Sistema.bio: “Energy is life, it is empowerment and justice. I have seen first-hand how energy is transforming lives on a daily basis, and how there is endless potential for growth and skill in the energy sector.”
Linda Thompson, Mphepo Power: “There is so much unserved demand, and such an enormous need for economic growth and stimulation, which will be led by the increased supply for affordable energy.”
Lara van Druten, The Waste Transformers: “Africa has both the natural resources as well as the entrepreneurship to leapfrog many of the energy related fossil fuel powered infrastructural mistakes that were originally made in Europe and elsewhere.”
Click on their name (or their image in the slideshow) to read their full interview.