making lives better

Maryanne Maina

Maryanne Maina

Phuti Malabie is managing director of Shanduka Energy, which is an investment company primarily focused on electricity, oil and gas supply throughout Africa.

"I drive the strategy of this company - that is, I drive investment opportunities, oversee their execution and monitor their investment and growth," she said.

She was previously head of the Project Finance South Africa unit at the Development Bank of Southern Africa.

Before that she was vice-president of Fieldstone, an international firm specialising in the financing of infrastructure assets.

She joined the firm in New York in 1997 where she was trained, worked for six years and was later transferred to its South African office.

In 2003 she was given the Top in Project Finance award by the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals.

Malabie obtained a BA Economics degree from Rutgers University in the USA and an MBA from De Montfort University in the UK.

Her professional affiliations include membership of the Business Women's Association and the Busa Committee on Trade Policy.

"To succeed, one needs to be very resilient and committed since most of these projects take a long while - from five to seven years. Therefore, one needs to remain focused. It can also be challenging to find good and quality projects that are worthwhile investments," she said.

Malabie's areas of experience and expertise are project finance, privatisation, private-public partnerships, energy assets, outsourcing and corporate mergers and acquisitions.

"My background in project finance has enabled me to understand how to deal with financing projects, the ability to negotiate contracts, how to manage projects, and outsourcing when there is a need to do so," said Malabie.

"Past working experience is very crucial. It has also taught me how to evaluate projects that will give the best value for the investors and how to negotiate transactions well."

As a woman at the top, Malabie faces many challenges.

"It is challenging as it is a male-dominated field but very exciting too. This is a field with a legacy and a developmental appeal to it since it betters people's lives through various projects such as providing water," Malabie said.

"As a chairperson and board member of various organisations such as Gigajoule Africa, Netgroup Solutions, Mondi Shanduka Newsprint, Shanduka Group, Fevertree Consulting, Umbono Securities and Black Management Forum, I have had to learn the art of balancing my work and family life."

Malabie was nominated Global Young Leader in 2007 by the World Economic Forum for her contribution to society though her work.