Tariye Gbadegesin Makes History as First African CEO of Climate Investment Funds

by Joseph Omoniyi
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Tariye Gbadegesin, a Nigerian-American national, has made history after the announcement of her appointment as the first African Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the esteemed Climate Investment Funds (CIF). The announcement, made on Monday, marks a historic moment for both Gbadegesin and the CIF, an organization pivotal in mobilizing concessional finance for low-carbon, climate-resilient development globally.

Established in 2008, CIF has been a key player in sourcing over $64 billion in additional financing to date, driving large-scale initiatives for sustainable development. Gbadegesin, currently serving as the CEO of ARM Harith Infrastructure Investments, a pan-African infrastructure fund, is set to assume her role in March 2024.

With more than two decades of experience in investing in developing economies, Gbadegesin brings a wealth of knowledge to her new position. She is poised to lead one of the world’s largest multilateral climate funds, boasting over $11 billion in pledges. Her mandate includes spearheading clean energy transitions, championing nature-based solutions, and fortifying resilience in over 70 developing countries.

The Trust Fund Committee of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) expressed their confidence in Gbadegesin, stating, “Tariye is a trailblazer, a strategic thinker, and relationship-builder with deep expertise, knowledge, and experience in climate finance. We have no time to lose, and she brings the drive and vision needed to deliver now for our planet.”

Gbadegesin’s professional trajectory includes holding leadership positions in infrastructure and climate finance. Notably, she served as the Co-Chair of the Voluntary Carbon Markets Integrity Initiative (VCMI), an international organization dedicated to enabling high-integrity voluntary carbon markets for climate action.

Expressing her gratitude and commitment, Gbadegesin stated, “I am deeply honored to join the Climate Investment Funds to accelerate collective climate action. Developing countries are at the forefront of the climate crisis, and we will only meet this decisive moment by working together to scale climate finance where it is needed most.”

“This is an exciting time for the global community, as we seek to build a multilateral system fit for purpose to keep 1.5C alive while lifting millions out of poverty. With six multilateral development bank partners and 15 years of experience delivering pioneering climate finance, CIF is uniquely placed to deliver in this new era.”

Gbadegesin’s appointment comes as CIF undergoes a critical leadership transition, succeeding Mafalda Duarte, who left the organization in July to lead the Green Climate Fund. As Gbadegesin takes the helm, the global community watches with anticipation, recognizing her as a pacesetter who will play a pivotal role in steering climate action into a new era. Her ascendancy reiterates the growing influence of African leaders in shaping the trajectory of global initiatives toward a more sustainable and equitable future.

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