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The African Development Bank Group (AfDB), in partnership with the French Development Agency, Association of Power Utilities of Africa and African Network of Centers of Excellence (ANCEE), recently organised a three-day seminar on “Promoting Gender Equality in the African Power Sector” at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan. Women represent only 20% of employees in the African power sector and less than 10% of engineers.

AfDB calls for greater gender equality in the African power sectorParticipants highlighted the importance of developing a concerted approach to promoting gender equality in the workplace. “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.

Amadou Hott, Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth, said that the power sector needs to capitalise on women’s talents. Integrating gender in the power sector would create opportunities for women and strengthen the sector to support improved healthcare, education and entrepreneurial opportunities. This would propel socio-economic development across the Bank’s regional member countries, he added.

Basil Jones, Gender Programme and Policy Co-ordinator in the Bank’s Gender, Women and Civil Society Department, told attendees during the closing session that 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.

“We expect women to not only be minor workers in the power sector but leaders, policy makers, renewable energy entrepreneurs, utility managers, employers of power plants and distribution systems, executives of private sector partners, and customers of electricity services,” Hott said.

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