African Union appoints AfDB’s Abou-Zeid as new energy commissioner
Wednesday, Apr 05, 2020
Amani Abou-Zeid, dubbed one of Africa’s most influential women, was elected as the African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the recent AU summit in Addis Ababa.

The former African Development Bank (AfDB) executive, who until now has been in charge of the bank’s African Natural Resources Centre, joins a team of other commissioners with a remit to help solve the continent’s energy and infrastructure shortages.

At the swearing-in ceremony in the Ethiopian capital, Abou-Zeid vowed to carry out her work in planning and coordinating infrastructure and energy projects.

As well as energy and infrastructure, her portfolio also includes transport, communications and tourism.

The AfDB plays a crucial role in promoting and co-ordinating both private and public investment in energy across Africa, as well as aid from development finance institutions (DFIs).

Its role in levering finance for otherwise risky and unattractive projects ensures that Abou-Zeid’s performance will be crucial in increasing access to power across the continent.

In a TV interview with Cairo Broadcasting Channel, Abou-Zeid, she described her win as a victory for all Arab and African women, in gaining a strategically influential role in shaping the continent’s future.

The Egyptian national brings with her a strong technical background and extensive regional and international expertise in development working with the AfDB and other institutions, with a special focus on infrastructure and energy.

She has received various awards through the years including the Wissam Alaouite by King Mohamed VI of Morocco, the recognition as World Young Leader by the European Union and as a Personnalite d’Avenir by France.
Celestin Monga, chief economist and vice president for economic governance and knowledge management at the AfDB, said it was a loss for the bank but a “win” for Africa.

“We are all watching excitedly for the many positive changes she is about to bring in her new esteemed position.”

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