Our People

Advisory Council

Our Board

Our Team

Our pan-African Advisory Council provides strategic oversight and guidance in matters related to political, economic and development issues on the continent. The Advisory Council consists of Africa’s leading thinkers in the field of energy, development economics, industrial policy and trade, agriculture, gender and social inclusion and the role of technology.

professor Carlos Lopes wearing black-rimmed glasses and a navy blue tie with subtle pink pattern

Prof Carlos Lopes

Carlos is a Guinea-Bissau national. He is the Chair of the African Climate Foundation’s Advisory Council as well as its Chairman of the Board.
Adnan Amin busy smiling while wearing agray suit, glasses and a maroon tie

Adnan Amin

Adnan is a national of Kenya. He is a development economist with a speciality in sustainable development and is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center working on the Geopolitics of the Energy Transition.
Clarisse Iribagiza smiling at the camera with a yellow suit jacket in front of a suburban background

Clarisse Iribagiza

Clarisse is a Rwandan national and the previous Chief Executive Officer of HeHe, a leading technology company that she founded 10 years ago. She is a member of the African Development Bank Group’s Presidential Youth Advisory Group.
Black and white photograph of doctor Mohamed Salih smiling at the camera

Dr Mohamed Salih

Mohamed (PhD in Economics and Social Science, University of Manchester 1983) is a Sudanese national, currently serving as Emeritus Professor of Politics of Development both at the International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague and the Department of Political Science, University of Leiden in the Netherlands.
doctor Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg smiling at the camera with hoop earrings and formal black and white blouse

Dr Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg

Wanjiru is a Kenyan national, currently serving as an Executive-In-Residence at Schmidt Futures based in New York City. She is designing and building a global initiative focused on black female senior leaders.

The ACF’s Board of Trustees provides oversight over the ACF’s operations and grant-making. The ACF is currently in the process of expanding the Board.

professor Carlos Lopes wearing black-rimmed glasses and a navy blue tie with subtle pink pattern

Prof Carlos Lopes

Carlos is a Guinea-Bissau national. He is the Chair of the African Climate Foundation’s Advisory Council as well as its Chairman of the Board.

Dana Lieberman

Dana is an independent consultant. She started her career in New York at Moody’s Investor Services in their Default Risk Research Group. Dana later moved to corporate banking at Société Générale, where she worked in the Loan Work-Out Group dealing with bankruptcies and loan restructurings.

Anokhi Parikh

Anokhi has 15 years of experience cutting across urban planning and infrastructure, environmental sustainability, health, and education, with a demonstrated history of working in academia, non-profits and management consulting.

Stefan Raubenheimer

Stefan is the Executive Director of the Foundation for International Law for the Environment (FILE), who bring together the power of people and the law to compel governments and corporations to take action on climate change.

Observer Board Members

Irene Karani

Irene is the Director for Climate (Africa) at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) and has over 28 years of experience in environment, natural resource, climate change and monitoring and evaluation in over 13 countries in Africa.

Dr Ruwadzano Matsika

Ruwa is an Analyst for the Quadrature Climate Foundation advising on developing mitigation projects on accelerating low emission, climate resilient transitions in land use, food and agriculture systems and clean energy, as well as climate risk.

Saliem Fakir

Executive Director

Saliem Fakir

Executive Director

Prior to establishing the African Climate Foundation, Saliem served for 11 years as the Head of the Policy & Futures Unit of World Wildlife Fund South Africa. He was a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Public Administration and Planning and an Associate Director for the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy at Stellenbosch University. For eight years, Saliem was the Director of the World Conservation Union, South Africa. He has served on several Boards and is a prolific writer, contributing to leading publications.

Alan Wallis

Strategic Advisor

Alan Wallis

Strategic Advisor

Alan is a human rights lawyer who provides support to civil society organisations, government institutions and judiciaries in the global south. Before joining the African Climate Foundation, Alan was the Director for Legal Affairs at the Judiciary of the Seychelles. He gained experience in philanthropy and grant making at the Open Society Foundation for South Africa. Alan holds an LLM in International Human Rights from the University of Michigan, where he was the Ismail Mohammad Human Rights Fellow and Grotius Scholar. In addition, Alan has a Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Law.

Amanda Bunge

Finance Administrator

Amanda Bunge

Finance Administrator

Amanda is a Durban University of Technology graduate who holds a National Diploma in Accounting and is perusing a qualification in Chartered Accountancy (CTA) with the University of South Africa. For several years, Amanda worked at the South African Revenue Services (SARS). She also gained experience working in the non-governmental space.

Charlene Nel, Team Member of African Climate Foundation

Charlene Nel

Senior Partnerships and Grants Manager

Charlene Nel, Team Member of African Climate Foundation

Charlene Nel

Senior Partnerships and Grants Manager

Charlene has 20 years’ experience working in the development sector and has extensive experience in grant management, project management and systems improvement. Before joining the African Climate Foundation, Charlene was the Grants Manager at the Open Society Foundation for South Africa. She holds an Honour’s degree in Psychology from the University of the Western Cape.

Charles Wanguhu

Civil Society Lead, Gas

Charles Wanguhu

Civil Society Lead, Gas

Charles is based in Kenya and is a social activist who served as the coordinator of the Kenya Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas. At the platform he coordinated civil society organisations to provide a collective voice on oil, gas and broader extractive issues. Charles is an alumnus of the Draper Hills Fellow Programme at Stanford University’s Centre on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law; he holds an LLM Master’s in Law International and Commercial Dispute Resolution. He has contributed to the development of key policy and legislation in the resource governance sector.

Ellen Davies

Senior Research Advisor

Ellen Davies

Senior Research Advisor

Ellen is based in Senegal and previously oversaw the extractives and nuclear energy portfolios at the World Wildlife Fund South Africa. She has been working on questions of sustainable economic development for the past ten years and has a keen interest in geopolitics, political economy and gender issues. She holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences from the University of Cape Town, an LLB from the University of South Africa, a Bachelor of Commerce Honour’s degree and a Master of Commerce degree from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Evert du Plessis

Head of Finance and Operations

Evert du Plessis

Head of Finance and Operations

Evert is an Associate General Accountant South Africa – AGA (SA).  He has 25 years’ experience in auditing, commerce, business management and non-profit sectors. He previously owned a national franchise business but set his focus on business consulting over the last few years. In recent years, Evert has been consulting at various non-profit organisations and focuses on business efficiency and systems development.

Fikayo Akeredolu

Research Analyst

Fikayo Akeredolu

Research Analyst

Fikayo is Schwarzman Scholar, studying for a DPhil (PhD) in Politics and International Relations at Oxford University. Her research focuses on the politics and economics of China-Africa relations.

She is a Financial Products and Technology Growth expert with experience in the Middle East, Europe, China and Africa. In addition, she has experience working at Bloomberg, Stears and Refinitiv (now London Stock Exchange Group).

Francis Fick

Special Projects Coordinator

Francis Fick

Special Projects Coordinator

Francis moved into her current role at the African Climate Foundation after two years as the Executive Assistant. As the Special Projects Coordinator, Francis works in the ACF’s strategy team where she conducts research, coordinate, support and monitors the ACF’s special projects whilst developing strategic relationships and engaging with key partners and donors.  Francis holds a BSc in Environmental and Geographical Sciences from the University of Cape Town and a Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Development from the Sustainability Institute at Stellenbosch University.

Faten Aggad

Senior Advisor, Climate Diplomacy and Geopolitics

Faten Aggad

Senior Advisor, Climate Diplomacy and Geopolitics

Prior to joining the African Climate Foundation in 2022, Faten served as the Senior Advisor to the African Union High Representative on future relations with the European Union. She has experience working for multiple think tanks in Africa and Europe, as well as multilateral agencies. Faten received her Master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Pretoria.

Godrej Rustomjee

Just Energy Transition Analyst

Godrej Rustomjee

Just Energy Transition Analyst

Godrej’s experience stems from the FMCG, mining, chemical and agricultural sectors. Previously, Godrej worked at two agricultural start-ups focusing on sustainable business and manufacturing development in the cannabis sector. He also collaborated with the Reinventing Cities initiative during his time at C40 Cities where his focus was the analysis of various carbon neutral or negative projects centred around the 15-minute city concept. He has expertise and interest in process carbon modelling, process optimisation, data modelling and financial projection and expense analysis. Godrej holds a Chemical Engineering degree from the University of Cape Town, specialising in Life Cycle Analysis, Industrial Ecology, Catalysis and Biotechnology.

Jonel Sahadew

Human Resource Manager

Jonel Sahadew

Human Resource Manager

Jonel has more than ten years of experience in human resources. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Bachelor of Arts Honour’s degree in Industrial Psychology from the University of South Africa and a Coach Practitioner qualification from SACAP. Jonel has worked in generalist and specialist human resource roles across different industries in both private and non-profit organisations. She has a passion for youth development and coaches unemployed youth in her spare time.

Kelly Easton

Communications Coordinator

Kelly Easton

Communications Coordinator

Prior to her role at the African Climate Foundation, Kelly was a Programme Director in the events and exhibition industry where she was responsible for conference production and developing high-level agendas within the finance and energy sectors. Her career began, however, in the non-profit sector where she spent six years. Her journalism-related role eventually took her to the Galapagos Islands as well as Peru to report on conservation efforts. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Science from the University of South Africa and a Diploma in Journalism.

Kaylene Petersen

Grants Administrator

Kaylene Petersen

Grants Administrator

Before joining the African Climate Foundation, Kaylene was the Portfolio Administrator at the Open Society Foundation for South Africa where she spent more than five years gaining extensive experience in grant-making. Prior to this, she worked at various organisations as an administrator in logistic firms, including MegaFreight and CMA CGM.

Lamine Cisse

Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Advisor

Lamine Cisse

Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Advisor

Lamine is based in Senegal and has more than 20 years’ experience implementing projects in West Africa, including 12 years as an M&E Manager. Previously, Lamine was the MEAL Manager in Ghana for a sub-regional project, West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change supporting ECOWAS, the Abidjan Convention and more. He conducted a baseline review of policies on coastal and marine related issues under the intervention of the West Africa Coastal Area Resilience Infrastructures Project, which was led by the World Bank. Lamine holds a Specialised Graduate Diploma (DESS) in Regional Planning, Decentralisation and Local Development, as well as a Master’s degree in Public Instructure Management.

Malik Dasoo

Agriculture Researcher

Malik Dasoo

Agriculture Researcher

Malik gained experience in South Africa’s biodiversity sector having worked with the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) on their Natural Capital Accounting and Ecological Infrastructure programmes. He is an activist on social and environmental justice initiatives. He has a keen interest in sustainable forms of agriculture practiced across Africa to better understand how the sector can reduce its contribution to biodiversity loss, climate change and land degradation.
Malik graduated with his Master of Science degree in International Land and Water Management from Wageningen University and Research, specialising in Soil Physics and Sustainable Land Management.

Maria Nkhonjera

Energy Researcher

Maria Nkhonjera

Energy Researcher

Maria is an economist with experience in evidence-based research in East and Southern African markets. Prior to the ACF she held the position of economist at the Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development and was more recently a senior research manager at the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa. Maria has led projects in areas of industrial development, regional integration, and inclusive finance. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce Honour’s degree in Economics from the University of Johannesburg and a Master of Commerce degree from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Mshai Mkoji

COP27 Project Manager

Mshai Mkoji

COP27 Project Manager

Mshai is a project management specialist with experience in the development sector. She gained extensive expertise working in advocacy, research, relationship management and civil society organisation engagement. Mshai holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with Information Technology from Maseno University and a Master of Arts degree in Development Studies, Social Policy for Development from the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Nazirah Davids

Executive Assistant

Nazirah Davids

Executive Assistant

Nazirah has more than 20 years of administrative experience, including overall project coordination. Prior to joining the African Climate Foundation in 2022, Nazirah spent seven years at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) South Africa supporting the Policy and Futures Unit where she worked closely with Saliem Fakir. Before this, she spent 10 years working in the higher education field.

Sefora Rangoanana

Research Assistant in Geopolitics and Diplomacy

Sefora Rangoanana

Research Assistant in Geopolitics and Diplomacy

Sefora is a 2021 IMF Youth Fellow.  Prior to joining the African Climate Foundation, she worked as a Research Coordinator at the Africa Centre for Evidence. Sefora holds a Master’s degree in Financial Economics from the University of Johannesburg.

Stacey Links

China-Africa Coordinator and Research

Stacey Links

China-Africa Coordinator and Research

Concurrently to her role at the African Climate Foundation, Stacey is Assistant Professor at Leiden University. She has worked around China-Africa engagement for the past decade, having received her PhD from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. Her research has focused on the human rights dimension of these relations, as well as regional integration, African agency, and Responsible Business practices in China-Africa relations. As a South African passionate about Pan-Africanism she has also worked in the Netherlands, Senegal, Ghana and Haiti.

Zira Quaghe

Nigeria Focal Person

Zira Quaghe

Nigeria Focal Person

Zira supports climate policy implementation at the Nigerian Ministry of Environment and the government’s Energy Transition Office. Zira previously worked at Quadrature Climate Foundation where he managed the foundation’s energy transition portfolio, covering decarbonisation and clean energy deployment in 51 countries. In Zira’s recent role at the Natural Resource Governance Institute, he led in-country research and drove the uptake of extractive sector data in Nigeria. He holds an MPhil in Public Policy from the University of Cambridge, MSc in Applied Economics from Colorado School of Mines, and a BSc in Information System from Girne American University.