In the wake of COP28 and the escalating global discourse on climate change, a transformative figure has emerged to spearhead the charge. Tariye Gbadegesin, a woman of unparalleled resourcefulness, is poised to make history as the first female African Chief Executive Officer of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF). Her assumption of this groundbreaking role in March 2024 marks a crucial turning point in the worldwide pursuit of sustainable climate solutions.
At the forefront of a $11 billion powerhouse, CIF stands as one of the world’s largest multilateral climate funds, championing clean energy transitions, nature-based solutions, and resilience across 70 developing nations. Gbadegesin’s elevation injects a fresh vitality and strategic direction into the organization, drawing from her extensive career characterized by astute leadership in infrastructure and climate finance.
Gbadegesin brings a wealth of experience derived from a dynamic career trajectory. As the former CEO of ARM-Harith Infrastructure Investments, a pioneering Pan-African infrastructure fund, and Co-Chair of the Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI), she has demonstrated exceptional acumen in steering investments towards energy transition and climate-resilient infrastructure.
With over two decades in climate finance, Gbadegesin has been a driving force in mobilizing private capital for climate action and shaping policies conducive to energy transition finance. Her track record is a testament to her prowess, orchestrating investments exceeding $3 billion in large-scale energy, infrastructure, and industrial sectors. Moreover, her adeptness in crafting blended finance mechanisms has been instrumental in galvanizing funds from diverse sectors, including the private sphere, multilateral development banks, and concessional windows.
Pivotal roles at renowned institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, Boston Consulting Group, Price Waterhouse Coopers, and the Africa Finance Corporation punctuate Gbadegesin’s illustrious career. This diverse exposure has honed her expertise in navigating intricate financial landscapes and fostering innovative solutions.
In assuming leadership at CIF, Gbadegesin expresses her deep honour and commitment to collective action, highlighting developing countries’ pivotal role in addressing the climate crisis. Her vision aligns with a global agenda seeking a multilateral system that maintains a 1.5°C trajectory while uplifting millions out of poverty.
The CIF Trust Fund Committee’s unanimous decision to appoint Gbadegesin recognizes her as a trailblazer endowed with strategic foresight, expertise, and an unwavering commitment to climate finance. This pivotal appointment comes at a critical juncture, as emphasized by Committee Co-Chairs Bob Natifu and Edward Webber, underscoring the urgency and Gbadegesin’s aptitude to deliver results for the planet.
Gbadegesin’s vision for the future encapsulates an amalgamation of gratitude, commitment, and hope. Her LinkedIn post radiates appreciation for support while acknowledging the collaborative efforts necessary to address the challenges ahead. Notably, she pays homage to her familial roots in climate and resilience, drawing inspiration from her parents’ legacy in protecting the fragile ecosystems of the Niger Delta.
Her foundation laid in previous roles, particularly at ARM-Harith Infrastructure Investments, attests to her ability to mobilize domestic and international capital for African climate action and energy transition. Extensive board service on various infrastructure projects across Africa further underscores her commitment to sustainable development on the continent.
Under Gbadegesin’s stewardship, CIF is poised to further its mission of enabling climate-smart planning and action in low and middle-income economies. By fostering partnerships and galvanizing finance, CIF aims to fortify communities against climate risks while propelling inclusive and sustainable development.
Tariye Gbadegesin’s ascent to the helm of CIF symbolizes a leadership transition and a clarion call for unified efforts in confronting the global climate challenge. Her rich tapestry of experience, strategic acumen, and visionary outlook heralds a promising chapter in advancing climate action on a global scale, setting a new standard for women in climate finance. As we celebrate this milestone, let it serve as a call to action for more women to boldly step into the climate space, contributing their unique perspectives and expertise to shape a more sustainable and inclusive future.