Renewable energy could account for more than 60 percent of new power generation in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2040, excluding South Africa, according to the Africa Energy
Outlook 2019 from the International Energy Agency.
But, despite the sector’s importance, women are being left behind. Women lag men in leadership and technical jobs in the renewable energy sector and represent just one third of the renewable energy workforce worldwide, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. The gender gap is driven by unequal access to education, limited access for women to technical skills and training opportunities, as well as unfair company policies, among other factors.
That’s where IFC’s Energy2Equal comes in. IFC is working with large companies and small firms across Sub-Saharan Africa to close gender gaps and increase women’s participation in the renewable energy sector, which can help companies improve their business performance, foster innovation, attract more talent, and engage better with communities. It also creates more economic opportunities for women.
Under the four-year Energy2Equal initiative, launched in partnership with the Government of Canada, IFC will partner with private sector renewable energy companies to expand women’s access to jobs, leadership positions, and entrepreneurial opportunities in corporate value chains within the renewable energy space.
The goal: help the leading renewable energy players in Sub-Saharan Africa to power the next generation of female renewable energy leaders. Among the participating companies: Baobab+, Bujagali Energy Limited, Elle Solaire, ENGIE PowerCorner, Greenlight Planet, Inyenyeri, Lekela, Pawame, PEG
Africa and Schneider Electric.
“Promoting the participation of women in the renewable energy sector is vital as the sector plays a bigger role helping to provide access to energy for all,” said Jennifer Boca, Head of Environmental, Social and Governance at Africa-focused renewable power generation company Lekela. “Having more women sharing their views, skills and competencies will guarantee the sustainability and broader impact the sector can have in terms of jobs creation and community development.”
Energy2Equal will produce research that builds on the growing body of evidence making the business case for investing in women and helping companies increase women’s participation in leadership, the workforce and as entrepreneurs in corporate value chains.
“Enhancing women’s participation in the renewable energy sector is not only about employing more women, it is also about promoting women’s entrepreneurship through corporate supply chains and community engagement and investment strategy. IFC will work with companies to reduce these gender gaps,” said Anne Kabugi, IFC’s Regional Gender Lead for Africa.
Through a peer-learning platform companies will come together to learn, network and exchange best practices while implementing gender-smart solutions in their businesses. To support female leaders in the sector, the program will build a ‘Powered by Women’ network where they can access information, share experiences and explore mentorship opportunities.
At the end of the program, IFC expects more companies to be equipped with the knowledge and tools to integrate women into their workforces and that more women will have opportunities as leaders, employees and entrepreneurs in the renewable energy sector.
Women in Renewable Energy in Africa Network (W-REA)
The renewable energy sector is growing exponentially in Africa and provides many job opportunities for women and men in the industry. However, women lag men in leadership and technical jobs in the renewable energy sector.
Energy2Equal aims to reduce these gender gaps and promote women’s leadership in the renewable energy sector in sub-Saharan Africa. One key barrier to women’s participation in the energy sector is the lack of professional networking and mentoring.
To address this gap, IFC has launched the Women in Renewable Energy in Africa Network (W-REA), the first professional network for women working in sub-Saharan Africa’s renewable energy sector.
W-REA aims to enhance women’s participation in leadership and employment in the renewable energy sector through networking, mentoring, advocacy, and leadership trainings. For more information about eligibility and how to nominate a woman to the group, please visit this link or contact Anne N Kabugi at email@example.com.
Join the conversation: #Energy2Equal
IFC Report: Women’s Participation in The Renewable Energy Workforce in sub-Saharan Africa: Identifying Barriers and Opportunities for
Women as Leaders & Employees
Published in October 2019