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Spotlight On Women Making Waves: Climate Activist Xiye Bastida and African Union Commissioner Amani Abou-Zeid

In a world that is frequently dominated by chaotic news, it is critical to shine a light on the people who are paving routes toward change and hope. Among these trailblazers are women whose outstanding accomplishments in a variety of professions are not only noteworthy but also critical in defining our future. Two such women include climate justice activist Xiye Bastida and the African Union Commission’s Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Amani Abou-Zeid.


Xiye Bastida: The Voice Of Indigenous And Youth Climate Activism


Credits by Xiyebeara

Climate change is the most important issue of our day, impacting everyone on earth. However, not everyone is equally accountable for generating it, nor are they equally affected by the results. Indigenous peoples, women, and marginalized communities are among the most vulnerable populations, as they are frequently the victims of environmental degradation, displacement, and injustice.


That is why Xiye Bastida, a 21-year-old Mexican climate justice campaigner, has such a strong and inspiring voice. Bastida is a leader in the global young climate movement as well as a staunch supporter of indigenous and immigrant rights in the face of the climate crisis.

From Mexico To New York: A Personal Journey Of Climate Activism

Bastida was born and raised in the Otomi-Toltec indigenous hamlet of San Pedro Tultepec, Mexico. She grew up with a great connection to nature and a strong desire to protect it. Her father, a water defender and environmental educator, taught her the value of water and the importance of living in peace with nature.

However, Bastida’s life altered radically when her community was severely flooded in 2015, forcing her and her family to relocate to New York City. There, she saw the dramatic contrast between the environmental reality of her old country and her new home. She witnessed how the climate catastrophe affected various groups in unique ways and how indigenous and immigrant perspectives were frequently overlooked or muted in mainstream debate.

She resolved to take action by joining the climate movement. She began by joining an environmental club at her high school, The Beacon School, where she conducted workshops, campaigns, and events to promote awareness and mobilize her classmates. She also became active with Fridays for the Future, a global student organization that strikes every Friday to urge climate action from their governments. In March 2019, she led New York City’s first large climate strike, drawing over 300,000 people to the streets.

A Global Platform For Indigenous And Immigrant Visibility


Credits by Xiyebeara

Since then, Bastida has emerged as one of the most famous and influential voices in the youth climate movement. She has lectured on a variety of worldwide forums, including the UN World Urban Forum, the Biden Administration’s Leadership Summit on Climate, and the TEDx Countdown. She has also been featured in other media venues, including The New York Times, Vogue, and Time Magazine.

Bastida’s message is simple and powerful: the climate problem affects not only the environment but also social and human rights. She advocates for a comprehensive and inclusive response to the climate problem, one that recognizes the rights and wisdom of indigenous peoples, women, and oppressed groups. She also highlights the importance of systemic change, rather than merely symbolic actions, and encourages everyone to join the movement, not the moment.

Bastida is both a speaker and a doer. She co-founded the Re-Earth Initiative, a worldwide youth-led organization dedicated to emphasizing the intersectionality of the climate issue. The Re-Earth Initiative seeks to educate, empower, and mobilize young people from many backgrounds and locations to advocate for climate justice. The group also promotes grassroots activities and campaigns that address the underlying causes and consequences of the climate issue.

Bastida is also a writer and contributor to the anthology “All We Can Save,” which features essays, poems, and artwork by women impacting the climate movement. Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Dr. Katharine K. Wilkinson compiled the book, which includes the voices of women leaders in science, policy, journalism, activism, and other fields. Bastida’s essay, “Restoring Our Relationship to the Earth,” explores her indigenous worldview and how it influences her advocacy.

A Name To Remember

Xiye Bastida is a name synonymous with tenacity and drive in the climate justice struggle. She is a role model and inspiration to millions of young people all around the world who are striving for a better future. She also serves as a reminder of the climate movement’s diversity and depth, as well as the significance of hearing and learning from the viewpoints and experiences of those most affected by the climate catastrophe.

Bastida’s activism aims to inspire action and structural change rather than simply increasing awareness. She is not afraid to speak the truth to power, question the status quo, and demand justice and accountability. She is also not afraid to dream big, envisioning a world in which humans coexist with nature and one another. She represents hope, courage, and resilience. She is a proponent of indigenous and youth climate activism.


Amani Abou-Zeid Is Steering Africa Towards Sustainable Development


Credits by Woegypt

Africa is a continent rich in potential and opportunities, but it also has significant challenges and limitations. To reach its full potential, Africa must invest in its infrastructure and energy sectors, which are critical to its social and economic development. However, these sectors suffer numerous obstacles, including a lack of money, weak governance, insufficient policies, and limited capacity.

That is why Amani Abou-Zeid, the African Union Commission’s (AUC) Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, plays such a vital and effective role. Abou-Zeid is an Egyptian development aid expert who has spent her career pushing Africa’s infrastructure and energy goals. She is in charge of areas such as energy, transportation, tourism, and ICT, all of which are critical to the continent’s integration, industrialization, and digitization.


A Distinguished Career In International Organizations

Abou-Zeid has over 30 years of experience directing and managing international institutions, including the African Development Bank (AFDB), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). She has worked in numerous African countries, as well as France, the United Kingdom, and Canada, gaining a thorough awareness of the continent’s various needs and realities.

Abou-Zeid has an extensive academic background, including a PhD in Social and Economic Development from the University of Manchester, a Master of Business Administration from the University of London, and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Cairo University. She also holds numerous professional certificates and diplomas in a variety of sectors, including project management, leadership, and innovation.

Abou-Zeid’s leadership and experience in infrastructure and energy have earned her widespread recognition and admiration. She has earned various accolades and honors, including the Outstanding Alumni Award from the University of Manchester, the African Woman of the Year Award from New African Magazine, and Avance Media’s 100 Most Influential African Women Award. She is also a fellow at the African Academy of Sciences and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council.


A Visionary Leader For African Infrastructure And Energy

Since her appointment as the AUC’s Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy in 2017, Abou-Zeid has played a key role in pushing Africa’s infrastructure and energy agenda, particularly in renewable energy, digital transformation, and regional integration. She has managed and implemented a number of programs and projects that will have a long-term impact on the continent’s growth and prosperity.


Credits by Woegypt

One of her most notable accomplishments is the establishment of the African Single Power Market (AfSEM), which seeks to build a harmonized and integrated power market that will improve cross-border trade, boost access, and cut costs. The AfSEM will also encourage the growth of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydro, which are abundant and sustainable throughout Africa.

Another milestone is the establishment of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), a flagship project of the African Union’s Agenda 2063. The SAATM is a liberalized and unified air transport market that will improve the flow of people and commodities across the continent, stimulate tourism, and promote economic integration. The SAATM now covers 36 African countries, which account for more than 80% of the continent’s aviation traffic.

Abou-Zeid’s work also includes Africa’s Digital Transformation Strategy, a comprehensive and integrated framework for the continent’s transition to the digital economy. The strategy addresses issues such as infrastructure, governance, innovation, skills, and inclusivity. Abou-Zeid is also in charge of developing the second phase of Africa’s regional and transcontinental projects, a collection of high-priority infrastructure projects spanning numerous countries and regions.

Abou-Zeid’s goal entails not only developing infrastructure and energy systems but also ensuring that they are inclusive, robust, and useful to all sectors of society. She promotes the inclusion and empowerment of women, youth, and underprivileged groups in the infrastructure and energy sectors. She also advocates for good governance, transparency, and accountability in the administration and delivery of infrastructure and energy services.


A Name To Remember

Amani Abou-Zeid is a name that instills confidence and appreciation in the African infrastructure and energy sectors. She is a role model and guide for many young Africans who want to make a difference in their communities and countries. She also emphasizes the need for leadership and vision in promoting continental growth.

Abou-Zeid’s work focuses not just on project implementation but also on effect and value creation. She is not scared to face problems, innovate, and collaborate. She is also not afraid to dream big, seeing a future in which Africa is connected, empowered, and affluent. She is a visionary leader who advocates for Africa’s long-term development.


Women like Bastida and Abou-Zeid contribute not only as specialists and leaders in their fields but also as role models and champions for social and environmental justice, diversity and inclusion, creativity, and collaboration. Their work is critical and beneficial in tackling the current and future difficulties that the global community faces, such as the climate catastrophe, the digital divide, and the need for equitable and sustainable development. They demonstrate that women have the power and potential to change the world for the better and that we all have a role and obligation to support and amplify their voices and perspectives.


By: Rowland Obiosah 

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