Financing Gender-Sensitive Climate Action in African Cities

Financing Gender-Sensitive Climate Action in African Cities

“Financing gender-sensitive climate action in African cities’’ will bring together high-level female decision-makers and experts from all Across Africa to discuss and to come up with concrete and robust actions and solutions in order to facilitate access to finance for gender-responsive climate actions and policies.

Across societies, the impacts of climate change affect women and men differently, and evidence shows that women are disproportionally impacted by the negative effects of climate change, especially in the African continent. A Yale University study shows that countries with more female politicians and a more balanced female representation in national parliaments pass more ambitious and stringent climate change policies. Therefore, there is a need to encourage the participation of women in politics and in leadership roles within the local authorities and communities, especially to develop a gender-sensitive approach to climate change.

The Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA) and the Network of Locally Elected Women of Africa (REFELA) acknowledges those challenges and the crucial role women have in climate change adaptation and mitigation through their knowledge and understanding of what is needed to adapt to changing environmental conditions and to come up with practical solutions. By proposing to mainstream gender and climate action into urban policy, through developing gender-segregated data, gender-relevant climate action, and promoting inclusive participatory processes, these initiatives highlight the need to incorporate gender equality and women empowerment into the operational responses to climate change at the local level in order to develop more resilient and low carbon cities. However, cities in Sub-Saharan Africa lack funding and financial support for developing climate action, and especially financing gender-relevant climate action in order to reverse the underinvestment in gender equality in the economic infrastructure sectors, and to improve opportunities for women to participate in the green economy.

This session, through a discussion between female experts and political leaders, will explore the existing ways to finance gender-sensitive climate projects, discuss what needs to be done to raise awareness of available financial and technical support for gender integration; funding policies that facilitate the implementation of gender-responsive climate policies and action; and the gender gap in access to and benefit from climate finance in order to facilitate access to finance for gender-relevant climate action, and how to integrate these recommendations into the REFELA and the CoM SSA initiatives.


Contexte et présentation de la session : À l’échelle mondiale, les effets du changement climatique affectent différemment les femmes et les hommes, et il est prouvé que les femmes sont touchées de manière disproportionnée par les effets négatifs du changement climatique, en particulier sur le continent africain. Il est donc impératif que les décisions en matière de financement climatique donnent la priorité aux projets d’infrastructure qui soutiennent, encouragent et renforcent la résilience des femmes dans la société.

La Convention des Maires pour l’Afrique sub-saharienne (CoM SSA) et le Réseau des Femmes Elues Locales d’Afrique (REFELA) reconnaissent ces défis et le besoin crucial de promouvoir et d’accélérer une action climatique sensible au genre. Dans le cadre du festival RISE Africa Action 2021, la Convention des Maires pour l’Afrique subsaharienne, en partenariat avec le REFELA, organise un événement de haut niveau sur le financement de l’action climatique urbaine sensible au genre dans les villes africaines. L’objectif de la session sera d’organiser un débat entre les dirigeants politiques et les experts afin d’identifier des actions et des solutions sensibles au genre pour combler le déficit de financement du climat au niveau urbain dans les villes africaines. La session en ligne comprendra des présentations et des discussions entre experts axées sur les solutions afin de définir des actions réalisables à fort impact. Une traduction simultanée en anglais, français et portugais sera assurée en direct pour la session. Les sujets principaux abordés par la session sont listés ci-dessous : Une vue d’ensemble du contexte politique – statut actuel, processus et objectifs/résultats envisagés en termes d’actions climatiques sensibles au genre dans les villes.

Les meilleures pratiques, les solutions existantes et les stratégies pour orienter les fonds climatiques et développer des mécanismes de financement qui favorisent les projets d’infrastructure qui renforcent l’égalité des sexes. Une enquête sur la faisabilité et l’applicabilité des politiques de financement proposées qui pourraient faciliter la mise en œuvre de politiques et d’actions climatiques tenant compte de la dimension de genre. Des recommandations sur la manière de promouvoir et de débloquer des financements pour des actions et des solutions sensibles au genre.


Host: ICLEI Africa

Cape Town, South Africa

Juliana Kaduya

Juliana Kaduya has served as Mayor of Lilongwe since 2019, as a representative of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) – making her the first female mayor of Lilongwe. Prior to this position, she served as Deputy Mayor, as well as the Ward Councillor for Chilinde 1 Ward – representing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Mayor Kaduya was born in 1979 and has fourteen siblings, being raised by her sister after losing her mother at birth. After completing her primary and secondary education, Mayor Kaduya enrolled in Domasi Teachers College, where she obtained a Diploma in Teaching. She then taught in various primary schools, including Mount Sinai schools. However, having seen major setbacks in her community, she became motivated to try and serve citizens in another capacity as Councillor and thereafter, Ward Councillor.

Mayor Kaduya has four children.

Mariam Iddrisu

Ms Iddrisu was elected Mayor of Sagnarigu in May 2017 – becoming the youngest mayor in Ghana’s history.

Prior to this, Ms Iddrisu was a Senior Executive Officer of Ghana Health Service, being a public health practitioner. She currently also serves as one of the Vice Presidents of the Network for Locally Elected Women of Africa (REFELA).

Mayor Iddrisu has been repeatedly lauded for her inspirational efforts on gender equality and climate action.

She is married with children.

Fatimetou Abdel Malick

Ms Fatimetou Abdel Malick was elected Mayor of the Regional Council of Nouakchott in 2018. Prior to this, she was elected Mayor of Tevragh Zeïna in 2001 – being re-elected twice, in 2006 and 2011.

Following her studies in computer science in Belgium and upon her return to Nouakchott, she established an IT service company called MINFE. She then became a network administrator for the Banque de l’Habitat before starting her political career. She served in a position at the Ministry of Town Planning and Housing. Thereafter, she secured the position of Secretary General, and then the position of chargé de mission at the Office of the Prime Minister.

 Ms Abdel Malick is notably the first woman president of a regional council in Mauritania, in addition to being the first woman to be elected head of a city council in 2001.

As a pioneer, she has consistently led the way for other women to follow suit in running for decision-making positions, which led in 2015 to the election of five other women as mayors.

Ms Abdel Malick served as President of the Network of Elected Women of Africa (REFELA) from 2012 to 2015, and then as Vice President from 2015 to 2019. She is also a Member of the Executive Committee of UCLG Africa and of the Board of the International Association of Francophone Mayors (AIMF). In 2013, she was named Champion of the “Making Cities Resilient” campaign by the United Nations.

Ms Abdel Malick was born in September 1958 and has three children.


Seblewongel Deneke Negussie

Ms Seblewongel Deneke Negussie is a Gender and Social Specialist at the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a position she has held for over three years.

She comes from Ethiopia and has 20 years plus working experience on gender issues with both national and international organisations. She has been working in the agriculture and food security, good governance, private sector and nutrition ensuring gender is mainstreamed.

She has also led and been involved in strategy and policy development, project/programme design, implementation and supervision works. Her areas of specialisation and experience include agriculture, food security, forestry, as well the preventions of harmful practices and violence against women issues.

Bianca Gichangi

Ms Bianca Gichangi is the Coordinator at the Eastern Africa Alliance on Carbon Markets and Climate Finance.

She is responsible for coordination and management of Alliance activities, focusing on enhancing capacity on carbon market activities.

Ms Gichangi is a climate change mitigation specialist with experience in monitoring, reporting and verification of CDM energy projects, impact assessments on gender, energy and water access, facilitation of climate finance training on the Green Climate Fund and provision of technical support to the Kenyan delegation on matters relating to Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.

She holds an MSc in Climate Change and Policy, BEng in Environmental Engineering and a Certificate in Climate and Renewable Energy Finance.


Naïda Mohamed

Naïda Mohamed is a Specialist in Gender, Women and Civil Society at the African Development Bank and has served in this position since 2018. She is a socio-economist by training.

Ms Mohamed has over nine years’ experience in project management and in socio-economic research on sustainable development in France and Africa. She previously worked as an Environment Project Officer at the Ministry of Agriculture, Environment, Fisheries and Urban Planning of the Comoros (2016-2018), a Freelance Sustainability Consultant (2013-2016), as well as a technical support for Gevalor (Madagascar) (2016).

Ms Mohamed holds two Masters degrees from the University of Denis Diderot Paris VII (Socio-Economics and Political Sociology and Philosophy respectively, as well as a Masters in Sociology and International Relations from the University of East London. She was also a Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) scholar, and Mandela Washington Fellow at the University of California, Davis.


Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr

Ms Aki-Sawyerr was elected Mayor of Freetown in 2018. Born and raised in Freetown, Mayor Aki-Sawyerr’s vision is to transform and improve the lives of Freetonians and to make Freetown a destination city.

She is a finance professional with over 25 years of experience in strategic planning, risk management and project management in the public and private sectors.

She has spent more than two decades serving Sierra Leone both locally and internationally. She campaigned against the trade in blood diamonds and advocated for ending the Sierra Leone civil war. In 1999, she co-founded the Sierra Leone War Trust (SLWT), which continues to support disadvantaged children and young people in Sierra Leone. She remains actively involved with SLWT and is a member of the Board of Trustees.

In collaboration with others, she developed and implemented the strategy to end the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. In recognition of her contribution to the Ebola response efforts, she was awarded an Ebola Gold Medal by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone in December 2015, and was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen in January 2016.

Between 2016 and 2017, Ms Aki-Sawyerr served as the Delivery Team Lead for the President’s Recovery Priorities. She is passionate about the development of Sierra Leone and the transformation of Freetown.

She is a Chartered Accountant and holds an MSc in Politics of the World Economy from the London School of Economics and a BSc Hons in Economics from Fourah Bay College. She is married with two children.

Rohey Malick Lowe

Ms Lowe is the first elected female Mayor in the history of Banjul, being elected in 2018.

Ms Lowe was born and raised in Banjul, where her father, Alhagie Malick Lowe, was a former Mayor. She is a member of the United Democratic Party (UDP) and established her own successful business in the tourism industry prior to becoming politically active.

She lived in Sweden, where she studied International Relations at the University of Falun. While there, she was active in politics and was a member of Social Democrat Party. Here, she had the opportunity to serve on the Child Welfare Committee of Nyköping Municipality, with responsibility in overseeing schools.

One of Ms Lowe’s priorities during her term as Mayor of Banjul is to ensure that the youth and women of Banjul are empowered through skills and entrepreneurship training. She is a strong believer in the duty of citizens to not be spectators, but active participants in the democratic process they live in and she has always endeavoured to engage in the political process of her country.

She holds various other board positions, including Executive Member of the Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM), a President of the African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum (ACCSF), as well as President of the Network of Elected Women of Africa REFELA (Gambia chapter).

She speaks English, Swedish, Mandinka and Wollof.

Macoura Dao

Ms Macoura Dao has served as the Mayor of the municipality of Foumbolo since 2013, representing the party of the Rally of the Republicans (RDR). She is currently also the President of the Network of Elected Women of Africa (REFELA).

She is an engineer by profession and the Former Regional Director of Transport for the District of Abidjan.

She received the Laureate Award of Excellence and was also awarded Honorary Order of Officer of the Ivorian Order of Merit.

Tiffany Hodgson

Tiffany Hodgson is the Manager for Environmental and Social Safeguards, Gender and Indigenous Peoples at the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a position she has held since 2021.

Prior to this, she was the Programme Officer for the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform (LCIPP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). She has also worked as the Associate Programme Officer in the UNFCCC’s National Adaptation Plans and Policy Unit.

She has also worked as a Researcher in the Centre for Policy Studies in Johannesburg and obtained an MSc in Environmental Science from the Open University in 2013. She also holds an Honours degree in Politics (First Class) from the University of Johannesburg.

Ms Hodgson is a Certified Expert in Climate and Renewable Energy Finance – obtained from the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.

Aliou Maiga

Mr Aliou Maiga is the Regional Director for West and Central Africa at the International Finance Corporation, responsible for investment and advisory services operations in the financial sector (banking, micro-finance, insurance, leasing and others) across the region.

Mr Maiga has been with IFC for over 16 years and held several positions in Washington DC, Africa and East Asia, prior to his appointment to his current position in 2014. He has been instrumental in growing IFC’s FIG business in Africa and East Asia over the past seven years.

Mr Maiga led a major IT and Change Management project for the IFC for two years before joining the investment teams and also spent six years at Credit Lyonnais Capital Markets as IT Project Manager for the Treasury and Derivatives Groups (in France and the United States). He has also held a consulting position with Booz Allen & Hamilton in their Europe office.

Mr Maiga holds an engineering degree in Electrical Engineering, Electronics, Telecoms and IT from SUPELEC (France), and an MBA in General Management from the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland.


Mohamed Nbou

Mr Mohamed Nbou is Special Advisor to the Secretary General of UCLG Africa’s Climate Task Force.

He has also held positions as the Director of Climate Change, Biodiversity and Green Economy at the Ministry of Environment in Morocco. Through his long career in environments combining the public and private sectors, at the regional, national and international levels, he has developed a detailed knowledge of public policy, strategies and the dynamics of non-state actors.

As such, he sits on many international bodies of the United Nations system for climate, sustainable development and capacity building. Since 2016, he has co-chaired the Paris Committee for Capacity Building (PCCB) set up by the Paris Agreement. He also took on an active role in the Moroccan delegation to the Vice-Presidency of COP21 and the Presidency of COP22.


Session Summary

This session was aimed at bringing change-makers and disruptors together to have a discussion about climate change innovation in African cities and putting the needs of women first. Dr Megan Spires opened the session and set the agenda for responding to climate change in Africa cities whilst protecting vulnerable populations, particularly women. The panelists consisted of key role-players who are committed to advancing the rights of women in climate change policies and action plans.

Mohamed Nbou from UCLGA Africa emphasised the need to integrate women into planning processes. Women on the African continent currently face the ‘double crisis’ of health and climate change. Therefore, there is a need to strive for equality in development. Mayor Maire Dao argued that we need to create awareness for diverse financial instruments within African cities. There is also the added benefit of networks of women in Africa that are celebrating women leadership.Tiffany Hodgson from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) outlined existing strategies for guiding climate funds and action plans. The GCF contributes to reducing the gender gap in environmental plans and policies. Bianca Gichangi from the Eastern Africa Alliance on Carbon Markets and Climate Finance provided a different perspective of mainstreaming gender equality in development. She spoke about micro-financing in African cities and attempts to enhance the credit worthiness of women.

The session closed with a reflection of women’s contribution to the development of African cities and their potential to be part of the solutions to the challenges associated with climate change.