Habiba Ali

Founder, Managing Director and CEO, Sosai Renewable Energies

UN Region: Africa

Habiba is a pioneer in the renewable energies field. She is the founder, managing director and CEO of Sosai Renewable Energies, an innovative company that brings reliable and affordable renewable energy products to those in Nigeria who need it most. Her sustainable energy solutions provide communities with unforeseen economic growth, increased capacity and the potential for greater business development.

Sosai was founded in 2010 after Habiba attended the Partnership for Clean Indoor Air (PCIA) Forum where she learned that inhaling smoke from open fires and lanterns was equivalent to smoking two packs of cigarettes.  She was struck by the memories of cooking on an open fire with her mother and sister as well as the visions of the women whom she bought products from each day. After the presentation, Habiba happened to find solar lanterns being sold and decided to buy 10 of them, loaning them to the female vendors she frequented for a month to investigate replacing their kerosene lanterns.  When Habiba returned to the vendors, she found that the women were willing to pay her to keep the solar lanterns, and thus the idea for Sosai was born.

Sosai offers solar lamps, solar home systems and water filters for the rural and peri-urban communities of Northern Nigeria. Sosai also empowers communities and businesses with solar technology ranging from rooftop solar panels, solar home systems, 10Kw Micro Grids for communities, solar dryers and integrated energy centers. The company not only offers renewable technologies, but also provides economic empowerment opportunities for women and youth through the selling of their products.

In her current role, Habiba manages a partnership with C-Quest LLC to implement a nationwide program to implement improved cook stoves in Nigeria – installing 60,000 cook stoves to date.  Habiba is the vice president of the Renewable Energies Association of Nigeria and serves as a member of the Global Alliance for Clean Cook Stoves, the Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cook Stoves and the Nigerian Energy Network.

Sosai has received many awards and accolades, including the UNDP/BOI access to REnewable Energies award in 2012; the United Nations South-South Development award in 2013; the DFID Solar Nigeria award in 2016; and the USADF award for Powering Africa 2017.  Habiba was named a Cherie Blaire mentee in 2016 and is a graduate of the Cherie Blaire Road to Business Growth program. She has also been named a Vital Voices GROW fellow, a Vital Voices Global Ambassador’s Program mentee and a World Bank Womenx fellow.

Habiba has been in the renewable energy industry since 2005, developing her expertise as the co-founder of the Developmental Association for Renewable Energies. She previously worked on the following initiatives: Clean Development Mechanism’s Efficient Cook Stoves for Nigeria project, the Solar Lamps Assembly and sales training program and the solar dryers for the healthy foods project.

Habiba holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in banking and finance.


Habiba Ali was selected as a 2019 Global Leadership Honoree, 2018 WE Empower Honoree (addressing Sustainable Development Goals 1 (no poverty), 7 (affordable and clean energy) and 10 (reduced inequality),) a VV GROW Fellow and a Global Ambassador Program Mentee. 

Learn more about Habiba’s work from her 2019 Global Leadership Awards film.