Jessica Stephens appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of the Africa Minigrid Developers Association (AMDA)
Nairobi, 1st April 2021 — Today, the Africa Minigrid Developers Association (AMDA) announced that the Board of Directors has unanimously appointed Jessica Stephens as the new Chief Executive Officer. She will succeed Aaron Leopold who will continue to support AMDA as a Special Advisor.
AMDA Board President and founding AMDA member, Vivian Vendeirinho said of the transition: “The Board welcomes and congratulates Jessica Stephens. We are fortunate to have her stepping in to lead AMDA. As our first employee, Jessica served as Chief Operations Officer (COO). Her combination of minigrid operator experience, commitment to energy access and her understanding of what is required to achieve scale is unparalleled and place her perfectly as the person to lead and ensure continuity of AMDA’s strategic work. She brings impressive energy, creativity and intellect to our long-term vision and we foresee robust growth and impact under her leadership.”
AMDA serves as the unified focal point for all stakeholders to engage the minigrid sector in Africa and plays a catalytic role in creating enabling policy and investment environments for the minigrid sector and those who invest in it to promote the growth and sustainable development of the sector.
Jessica Stephens has been driving AMDA’s agenda to advocate and coordinate with industry, policy-makers, government authorities, and other stakeholders to ensure optimal development of the minigrid sector and its crucial role in ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all Africans. To date, in her role as AMDA’s Chief Operations Officer, Jessica led the research and publication of the first Benchmarking Study for African Minigrids (BAM) and Co-developed the Universal Electrification Fund (UEF). She is currently on the Technical Advisory Committee for the UEF, and on the Advisory Board for Humboldt University’s PASDI-GAM project.
Of her appointment Jessica said: “I am very excited and feel privileged to be part of this evolving journey and look forward to leading AMDA into the organization’s and the sector’s next phase of growth as we build an African Leadership Team. I am committed to pursuing the strategic vision of AMDA and our members and look forward to the challenges ahead as we build a more robust mini-grid sector, improving capital deployment and the regulatory environment to shape the future of the energy sector.”
She further added, “I am fully dedicated to continuously seeking ways to foster AMDA’s growth, to create strategic partnerships and to establish long-term and sustainable relationships with stakeholders.”
Vivian Vendeirinho stated, “Aaron has ably led the organization during the nearly three years and I would like to thank him sincerely for his commitment and the numerous successes secured under his leadership, wishing him continued success in the minigrid sector.”
On his transition away from AMDA, outgoing CEO Aaron Leopold said, “I am incredibly proud of what we have been able to achieve during my time at AMDA. We have established AMDA as a recognised institution and have already seen how our work has benefited companies, large and small, in both established and new markets. I would like to congratulate Jessica on her appointment and I can confidently say that the organization, and the sector, is in good hands with her leading AMDA. I very much look forward to continuing to support AMDA and collaborate both with AMDA and the minigrid sector as a whole in my new role.”
“As we welcome and congratulate Jessica on her appointment, the Board takes this opportunity to pass on our sincere thanks to our stakeholders for your continued support. We are confident in Jessica’s ability to lead the organization in this new phase of growth as AMDA pursues aggressive strategic goals for the minigrid sector” said Vivian – President and Founding Member of AMDA.
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Africa Minigrid Developers Association (AMDA)
AMDA is an industrial association created by private sector minigrid developers and operators, donors and investors interested in improving political economic environments for minigrid companies. This includes working to improve policies, regulations and investment towards ending energy poverty by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Today, AMDA represents over 34 companies (encompassing all market leaders) who are operating minigrids across 15 countries. Learn more at africamda.org and connect with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.