Meet the Team


Saliem Fakir

Executive Director

Saliem holds a Masters’ Degree in Environmental Science and Management, Wye College London and has expertise in the fields of environment, climate, finance economics and a range of development issues. Prior to founding The ACF he served as the Head of the Policy & Futures Unit of WWF South Africa and was an Associate Director for the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy at Stellenbosch University. Saliem has served on several boards and is a prolific writer who regularly contributes to leading publications.


Francis Fick

Executive Assistant

Francis holds a BSc degree in Environmental and Geographical Science from her studies at the University of Cape Town and a PG Dip in Sustainable Development. Francis is a talented writer with an aptitude for problem-solving and out of the box thinking. She wants to continue applying herself to address social and environmental challenges.


Alan Wallis

Strategic Advisor

Allan is a human rights lawyer who provides support to civil society organisations, government institutions and judiciaries in the global south. Most recently Alan was the director for legal affairs at the Judiciary of Seychelles. He gained experience in philanthropy and grant making at the Open Society Foundation for South Africa. He holds a PG Dip in Environmental Law and an LLM in International Human Rights from the University of Michigan, where he was the Ismail Mohammad Human Rights Fellow and Grotius Scholar.

Amanda Bunge

Amanda Bunge

Finance Administrator

Ms. Amanda Bunge is Durban University of Technology graduate who holds a National Diploma in Accounting and is currently enrolled for CTA with UNISA. She is a passionate, determined, goal – driven and dynamic professional who continuously tries to inspire others to achieve optimal results. She has gained over 11 years of invaluable experience. Working with NGOs, Revenue Service and Accounting Firms has made her a flexible individual who is able to work in any environment and deliver on organizational targets.


Charlene Nel

Senior Partnerships and Grants Manager

Charlene has 20 years’ experience in the development sector. She is passionate about developing people’s capacity, advocating for the rights of the most vulnerable in society. She has extensive experience in grants management, project management and systems improvement. Previously, 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.

Ellen Davies

Ellen Davies

Senior Research Advisor

Ellen leads The ACF’s research work. Prior to this, she oversaw the extractives and nuclear energy portfolios at WWF South Africa. Ellen 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. She holds a BSocSci from the University of Cape Town, an LLB from UNISA, a BCom Hons and an MCom from the University of the Witwatersrand.


Este Buchholz

HR & OD Advisor

Este has more than 25 years’ experience working across the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors. She loves developing organisations in which employees can thrive and contribute. Following a successful career as an executive search consultant, she joined Nal’ibali in 2016 as Head of Operations. Este has a BA degree in Industrial Psychology from the University of Stellenbosch and is currently reading for an MPhil in Inclusive Innovation from the GSB at the University of Cape Town.


Evert du Plessis

Finance Consultant

Evert is an AGA(SA) with 25 years’ experience in auditing, commerce, business management and non-profit sectors. He has 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.

Faten Aggad

Faten Aggad

Senior Advisor on Climate Diplomacy and Geopolitics

Faten is the Senior Advisor on Climate Diplomacy and Geopolitics at the African Climate Foundation (ACF). Prior to joining the ACF in January 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.


Kelly Easton

Communications Coordinator

Kelly gained a deep understanding of emerging markets within Africa from working as a Conference Director in the events industry, where she developed high-level agendas for C-levels within the finance, power and energy, and transport sectors. Before this, Kelly worked for a non-profit on the Galapagos Islands as a conservation officer. She holds a BA degree in Communication Science from UNISA and Diploma in Journalism.

Lamine Cissé

Lamine Cissé

Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Advisor

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


Malik Dasoo

Junior Researcher

​Malik has recently graduated with his MSc in International Land and Water Management from Wageningen University and Research, specializing in Soil Physics and Sustainable Land Management. He 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. Malik 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.


Maria Nkhonjera

Energy Researcher

Maria has supported the research, analysis, and market intelligence agenda of various think tanks. She has more than six years research experience gained as an economist at the Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development and more recently as senior research manager and analyst at the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance. Maria has an interest in development finance and sustainable growth. She holds an MCom from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Mshai Mkoji

Mshai Mkoji

COP27 Project Manager

Mshai is a project management specialist with experience in the development sector. She has extensive expertise working in advocacy, research, relationship management and civil society organisation engagement. She is passionate about promoting sustainable development in Africa and contributing to Africa’s human and intellectual capital. Mshai holds a BA in Sociology with Information Technology from Maseno University and an MA in Development Studies, Social Policy for Development from the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Board & Consultants

Our work is supported by an experienced board and a number of freelance consultants with expertise in Sustainable Economic Development, Policy Research, Human Resources and Organisational Design.