Name: Liliane Munezero Ndabaneze
Company Name: WidEnergy Africa Ltd
Designation: Executive Board Director/CEO

Embark on the inspiring journey of Liliane Munezero Ndabaneze, the CEO of WidEnergy Africa Ltd, as she takes center stage in the empowering “HER Success Series.” Starting her entrepreneurial voyage in 2012, Liliane’s dedication to meaningful impact and transforming lives through accessible electricity in Zambia is truly commendable. A staunch advocate for empowering women and girls, Liliane steers WidEnergy Africa toward creating clean energy champions within local communities. Overcoming gender biases in funding, she has grown WidEnergy from a solo endeavor to a thriving team of 50, leaving an indelible mark on lives and communities. Liliane’s story encapsulates the essence of resilience, learning from setbacks, and an unwavering commitment to the mission of electrifying underserved households.

Could you share your personal journey in becoming an entrepreneur and what inspired you to pursue your current business?

In June 2012, I packed my bags, resigned from a job I loved in Washington D.C, and joined my husband in Zambia where we relocated. Zambia became my home, and I had to figure out what was next. I did not know what I wanted to do. But I knew whatever it was going to be meaningful and leave a sustainable impact on society, mostly on women and girls. In Zambia, 72% of the population has no access to reliable electricity. They rely on toxic and expensive alternative energy sources (candles, kerosene, diesel, etc.). For me, there was a business opportunity to improve the lives of those living in energy poverty—One Home at a time. That’s why we are building a company for “scale and impact”.

How has your background and life experiences influenced the mission and values of your company, and the impact you aim to make in the world?

My passion for empowering women and girls has always been the drive to the entrepreneurial journey and influenced the mission to empower women to become ambassadors and advocates of clean energy.

As WidEnergy Africa, we pride ourselves on our unique operation structure. We conduct direct sales in local communities through our door-to-door sales agents that we recruit and train. Our field teams own the sales and the onboarding process. This also allows our field teams to build solid and long-term relationships with our customers, who make informed decisions about our products in the comfort of their homes. Customers are connected to energy, internet, and mobile money at each point of sale. At WidEnergy Africa, we believe in improving many lives with no access to electricity, enabling them to have better health and better education for their children. This will allow us to change the narrative on the African continent and make a lasting impact on the world.

What are some of the achievements or milestones in your business journey so far? Can you share an example of a project or initiative that you’re most proud of?

WidEnergy’s journey has been one interesting roller coaster ride. No matter how tough the journey was, we’ve been fortunate along the way. The company has had successful funding opportunities, grants, debt, etc. The company grew from 1 staff (myself) to 50 FTE. One of the milestones I am proud of is the life improvement opportunity that WidEnergy has given our staff and sales agents. For example, to our women Sales Agents, this opportunity offers them a reliable source of income, which enhances financial stability for themselves and their families. It is amazing to see how their status in their communities is enhanced. These sales agents have created trust in the WidEnergy products they sell within their community. They become the heroes in their communities and they become “true champions” in their communities. Overall, working with WidEnergy empowers our agents to lead a more fulfilling life while making a positive impact on others and that makes me very proud.

Can you describe the challenges you faced during your entrepreneurial journey? Did you encounter any specific gender-specific challenges? How did you overcome them?

The entrepreneurial journey in the PAYGO solar industry is very challenging and capital-intensive. Building the company from scratch comes with lots of challenges that unfortunately become even harder for a woman-led company such as:

  • Access to Funding: It is common for women to be denied loans because of gender and cultural biases. Many institutions, especially local institutions will judge you and wonder why you (as a woman) are investing in solar in the first place and who is financing the business. They would rather fund the same business idea much easier if it was male-owned.
  • Finding the Balance: Juggling between the different roles – Being an entrepreneur, a mother, and a wife. I always say that there is a lot that does not appear on the female entrepreneurs’ CV. It can be overwhelming sometimes. One needs strong social support to manage the pressure.
  • The Old Boy’s Club: Being a female entrepreneur doesn’t give you access to that “boys club” where deals are made and hands are shaken after a good deal. There is no template for the female entrepreneur. The handshake resonates differently.

What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned as an entrepreneur that you would like to pass on to others considering a similar path?

Failure is not the end but an opportunity to understand the gaps in your entrepreneurial journey and look for ways to tweak or improve your big idea. The most important thing is to fail, learn, act, and repeat. At WidEnergy and as an entrepreneur, our journey has had many challenges, but our passion and vision, understanding why we exist, has helped us soldier on impacting and changing one life at a time.

Looking ahead, what are your aspirations and goals for the future and how do you plan to continue making a difference through your work?

The post-covid period came with several challenges in the off-grid solar industry. We faced tremendous obstacles along our journey. “Resilience” has been our team motto. We, as a company, have been committed to pursuing our mission and bringing electrification through solar home systems to the communities that need it most, to reach the unreachable, and to serve the underserved – one household at a time.


As we conclude this illuminating journey through the “HER Success Series,” the stories of remarkable women entrepreneurs like Liliane Munezero Ndabaneze inspire a profound reflection on resilience, innovation, and the transformative power of vision. These women, trailblazers in the renewable energy landscape, showcase the formidable impact of determination in the face of challenges. Their commitment to empowering communities and fostering clean energy solutions echoes not only in their personal narratives but reverberates in the positive change witnessed by those touched by their initiatives. The “HER Success Series” not only celebrates their achievements but also serves as a testament to the enduring spirit of women leaders shaping a brighter, sustainable future.

About WidEnergy Africa Ltd

WidEnergy Africa Ltd, a women-led enterprise registered in Zambia, was established in September 2016 with a resolute commitment to empower women and bridge the gap in the last-mile distribution of clean energy solutions. Founded by Liliane Munezero Chabuka, Agnes Imasiku, and BiziSol, a Sweden-based social for-profit enterprise, WidEnergy has evolved from a cash-on-delivery distributor of Pico solar products to a pioneering Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) asset-backed financing company. At the core of its mission is the empowerment of women, who serve as door-to-door distribution agents and ambassadors for clean energy, addressing climate change while establishing a women-driven, last-mile delivery network. The focus extends beyond supplying affordable solar products to providing training and employment opportunities for women and girls as door-to-door sales agents, effectively countering the adverse impacts of extreme poverty. Through comprehensive capacity-building programs, WidEnergy equips women with knowledge about the benefits of high-quality clean energy products and empowers them to become change-makers in climate change adaptation and mitigation at the community level. Incorporated under Zambian law, WidEnergy Africa is dedicated to eradicating energy poverty by delivering high-quality and affordable solar home energy solutions through a sustainable, women-centric approach.