Dalberg Advisors, a global impact consultancy committed to building a more inclusive and sustainable world, is pleased to announce the appointment of Lillian Kidane as the new Regional Director for its Africa region.
Lillian Kidane, a Partner affiliated with Dalberg’s office in Addis Ababa, brings a rich portfolio of expertise in sustainable and impact-based philanthropic and commercial strategies for emerging markets.
“In recent years, I’ve been inspired by the innovative solutions emerging across Africa in sustainable development,” shares Lilian. She highlights the positive strides made in climate resilience, where communities are adopting climate-smart agriculture practices, renewable energy sources, and sustainable land management techniques. These initiatives not only address climate challenges but also improve livelihoods.
Lilian then discusses notable projects and collaborations. For instance, The Mastercard Foundation has been prioritizing high-growth potential agriculture value chains and unlocking market growth and job creation opportunities in Ghana. She also mentions working with Mitsui on the Farmer Link Africa (FLA) project, which utilized technology to connect cotton farmers in Zambia to the apparel market. The FLA platform provided traceability and services to enhance yield, efficiency, and profitability for small-scale cotton farmers, while also showcasing the social, ethical, and sustainability practices in cotton farming in Zambia.
Lilian recognizes the immense potential of AI for sustainable development in Africa. She emphasizes that while AI can improve healthcare, agriculture, and education outcomes, its adoption remains limited, which perpetuates biases, inequalities, and opportunities for fraud. She commends Rwanda’s ambitious step in becoming an AI hub with the support of organizations such as The World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR), the Ministry of ICT and Innovation, and GIZ. Lilian hopes that Rwanda’s example will inspire other African nations to embrace AI and bridge the growing adoption gap between the Global North and Africa.
When it comes to pursuing a career in social impact consulting, Lilian advises young professionals to stay passionate and curious, while acknowledging that they don’t have all the answers. She emphasizes the importance of innovation, collaboration with diverse stakeholders, and spending time with communities to understand local contexts. Lilian encourages taking ownership of one’s journey, practicing kindness toward oneself and colleagues, and recognizing the challenges inherent in addressing the world’s complex problems.
Lilian’s insights demonstrate her deep commitment to sustainable development and her belief in leveraging technology, collaborations, and community engagement to drive positive change in Africa.
Lilian’s journey to Dalberg was ignited by a desire for a platform that would enable her to drive meaningful change. What attracted her to the firm was its unique ability to provide freedom of thought and encourage the pursuit of personal impact narratives. Dalberg’s entrepreneurial spirit, fueled by the curiosity of its staff, resonated deeply with her. The company’s commitment to leveraging cutting-edge innovation, data management, and qualitative research to address crucial impact-related questions was an inspiring force.
Central to Dalberg’s DNA is its dedication to becoming an integral part of the communities it serves and prioritizing transformative systemic change over profit. As Regional Director, Lilian is determined to build upon Dalberg’s impressive legacy in the region, which spans over sixteen years. The diverse and holistic group of changemakers who form the Dalberg team is a constant source of inspiration for Lilian. Witnessing their collective striving and unwavering commitment on a daily basis fuels her drive.
Lilian envisions deepening collaborations, evolving approaches, and empowering individuals who are driving change, such as community organizers, government officials, and civil servants, to scale their impact. By fostering an environment that nurtures entrepreneurship and innovative thinking, while maintaining a human- centric approach, Dalberg aims to craft solutions that tackle Africa’s multifaceted sustainability challenges head-on. With an estimated 760 million new urban dwellers expected in Africa by 2030, the firm recognizes the urgency in addressing issues like climate change, health security, job creation, and access to affordable financing for both existing and future residents.
Lilian and her colleagues at Dalberg are already making strides in this regard. For example, they are exploring how solar irrigation can provide sustainable livelihoods and supporting the Kenyan government’s commitment to achieving 100% clean energy by 2040. Whatever the challenge, they empower changemakers by offering strategic thought partnership, technical support, and practical implementation solutions. By challenging the status quo and shifting the narrative toward a community-centric approach, they aim to offer nuanced and localized ideas and solutions. Collaboration is at the heart of their work, both internally with their forty Partners and externally with stakeholders from within and outside the region. Through these efforts, they are steadily building an internationally-minded firm that truly understands local contexts and is dedicated to addressing the common challenges faced by communities worldwide.