Women in Energy & Extractives Africa (WEX Africa) CEO Ogutu Okudo has recently joined the class of 2020 list as one of Africa’s wealthiest. The 28 year old began her journey in 2012. The lucky Okudo found herself at a conference on the outskirts of Nairobi discussing environmental sustainability and the strategic role women play.
“I vividly remember noticing the men dominantly speaking, but it was the woman performing the balancing act of her child on her right hip and yams to feed a family on her head that was the inspiration behind Women in Energy & Extractives Africa that initially began as Women in Oil and Gas East Africa (WIOGEA) [now known as WEX],” she tells FORBES AFRICA.
During this period, oil hadn’t been discovered in Kenya yet, but Okudo was on a mission, not knowing that fate would knock on Kenya’s doors months later in 2012. Oil reserves were discovered in Kenya’s vast and dry remote area of Turkana County and became a source of new wealth and a source of conflict for the pastoralist Turkana people, especially the women who were often the marginalized group. Part of WEX’s role then was to speak for women in the energy and extractive sector, informing industry participants and decision-makers of the challenges and opportunities women are finding in pursuing careers in these sectors. To do this, Okudo participated in market meetings and industry bodies to constantly increase the visibility of the organization. Today, WEX Africa is a social enterprise bridging the gender gap in the oil, gas, mining and alternative energy sectors in Africa. The Young entrepreneur plans to organize STEM outreaches, release a children’s book and publish guidelines to sustainably engage Women in Energy and Extractive Sector Projects in sub-Saharan Africa.

About The Author

Maureen Kasuku

Maureen is our resident cat lady and Beyoncé stan. She writes about spas, brunch and ballet recitals but has never been to any. Moonlights as a social justice activist in her spare time. She knows things and is obnoxiously opinionated on the internet but not in real life

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