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.
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,” Director of the Bank’s Gender, Women and Civil Society Department, Vanessa Moungar said at the seminar.
Participants highlighted the importance of developing a concerted approach to promoting gender equality in the workplace.
The strategies aim was 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, policy makers, renewable energy entrepreneurs, utility managers, employers of power plants and distribution systems, executives of private sector partners, and customers of electricity services, said the Vice President for Power, energy, Climate Change and Green Growth, Amadou Hott.
Speaking at the opening session, Hott noted that the power sector needs to capitalize 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.