Africa: Algene Sajery Departs Biden-Harris Administration, Development Finance Corportion (DFC)

Washington, DC — Former Colleagues Laud Algene’s Successful Tenure as Vice President of External Affairs and Head of Global Gender Equity Initiatives at the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC)

Algene Sajery is stepping down from her role as Vice President of External Affairs and Head of Global Gender Equity Initiatives at the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). Ms. Sajery, who was recruited in December 2020 by Biden’s Transition team, was a key member of DFC’s Executive Leadership team, leading the department responsible for stakeholder engagement, communications, interagency coordination, and congressional affairs.

Ms. Sajery also led the agency’s 2X gender lens investing initiative and supported agency-wide diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Algene was the only woman of color and African diasporan on DFC’s Investment Committee, providing input on all projects valued at more than $20 million.  She is stepping down after 21 months to return to the private sector.

Current and former Biden-Harris Administration and DFC colleagues praised Ms. Sajery’s successful tenure.

“Algene is an American, but I am proud to say, of Liberian descent,” said The Honorable Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia and member of DFC’s Development Advisory Council. “Throughout her entire career she has championed women. She and I have been fortunate to have worked together. We co-authored an opinion piece last year on the importance of investing in women and how unlocking their economic potential is key to sustainable development. I am glad to see that through her role at DFC and the 2X Initiative, Algene turned her words into action.”

“Algene is a dedicated DEIA champion whose leadership helped to uplift and empower DFC ‘s diverse workforce,” said Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the Department of State. “Her commitment to fostering inclusive growth by increasing DFC investments in local, women-led, and marginalized  businesses in the developing world is a testament to the positive impact that diverse voices can have in U.S. foreign policy and national security.”

“Algene is a dynamic public servant who demonstrates the positive impact that diverse voices, including African diasporans, can have on U.S. policy towards Africa, ” said Dana L. Banks, Special Assistant to the President and Special Advisor for the U.S. Africa Leaders Summit at The White House.  “Algene’s impact at DFC will be felt for years to come, as the agency continues to make innovative and impactful investments in women entrepreneurs from marginalized communities in Africa and across the developing world.”

“Algene was an integral member of the executive leadership team at DFC,” said Linda Etim, former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of Development and Global Health at the National Security Council. “Her expertise in not only development policy, human rights, and global women’s issues, but also strategic communications and legislative affairs made Algene an invaluable asset as the new agency sought to navigate diverse and often divergent stakeholder priorities. It was a pleasure working with her, and I am excited to see what she will do next.”

“I’ve known and worked with Algene for nearly two decades,” said Aysha House, Vice President for Congressional and Public Affairs at the Millennium Challenge Corporation. “Her passion for advancing policies and programs that support marginalized communities is infectious, and her ability to get things done in this town is second to none. As a former Obama Administration appointee at DFC’s predecessor, OPIC, I was excited to see Algene leverage her role to support DFC’s incredible workforce. She will be missed.”

“Algene highlighted and deepened DFC’s focus on the importance of supporting gender-led initiatives and women in development,” said Erin Murphy, former Director of Indo-Pacific at DFC and current Senior Fellow and Deputy Director, Economics Program at CSIS. “From announcing the agency’s work in India to provide loans to MSMEs working on renewable energy projects, to supporting 2X Initiative partnerships with regional Indo-Pacific financial institutions from Taiwan and Japan, Algene’s cause-driven work ethic yielded tremendous results for the agency.”

“I had the pleasure of working on several African Diaspora initiatives through Prosper Africa with Algene Sajery in her capacity as the Vice President for the Office of External Affairs at the International Development Finance Corporation,” said Toyin Awesu-Uhuegbu, Vice President Marketing & Communications at The Africa Channel  and former Communications Advisor for the  Prosper Africa Initiative. “Algene’s dedication to building equitable communities and using her voice to help solve challenges in the developing world was a driving force in her role at the DFC.”

DFC Chief of Staff, Rebecca Brocato,  thanked Algene for her service in a message to all staff:

“Many of you have worked directly with Algene and know her dedication to the mission of DFC. During her tenure, Algene grew the size of her department significantly to better serve the needs of a growing agency. She stood up a new Stakeholder Engagement division and was instrumental in launching new outreach initiatives targeting other U.S. government agencies, civil society organizations, Congress, diaspora groups, and diverse business associations. She also oversaw reforms to the Corporation’s Congressional Notification processes and procedures, and worked to increase overall proactive engagement with Congress.  

“Algene’s strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion within DFC was evidenced by her bringing diverse leaders to speak to our workforce; championing the launch of the Voices in Development and Mentorship Brown Bag series; her active engagement as a member of the DEIA working group; and highlighting throughout her work the career journeys and lived experiences of employees from a cross section of the Corporation.

“Dual-hatted as Head of DFC’s 2X Gender Lens Investing Initiative, Algene worked to strengthen the program by helping to establish new robust goals, launch its first-ever technical assistance finance facility, and secure more resources and staff for the program. In this role, Algene also helped launch the 2X Collaborative with partner DFIs and the private sector. 

“We thank Algene for her service to DFC and wish her the best.”

About Algene Sajery

Ms. Sajery is a seasoned foreign policy and national security expert. Prior to her political appointment,  Algene ran a small strategic advisory firm. She previously served as Senior Foreign Policy and National Security Advisor to United States Senator Ben Cardin (MD). Algene concurrently served as Democratic Policy Director of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (SFRC) for 3 years, becoming the first African American woman to hold a senior leadership role on the prestigious committee. Prior to the Senate, Algene held leadership roles in the House of Representatives, including as Democratic Staff Director for the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights; Chief of Staff and Legislative Director to Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (NY); and Press Secretary to the late Congressman John Conyers (MI). A highly effective legislative strategist and coalition builder, Algene has drafted or negotiated several landmark foreign policy, national security, and international economic development laws, including the Global Magnitsky Human Rights and Accountability Act.

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