Ivanhoe welcomes two African women leaders to its board

Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

23rd June 2023

By: Cameron Mackay

Creamer Media Senior Online Writer


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Canada-headquartered Ivanhoe Mines has announced the appointment of two distinguished female African leaders – Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Delphine Traoré – to the company’s board as independent directors.

They were appointed following the company’s annual general meeting on June 22 and succeed Guy de Selliers and Nunu Ntshingila who chose not to stand for re-election to the board.

Mlambo-Ngcuka, the former Deputy President of South Africa, subsequently served as intergovernmental body United Nations (UN) undersecretary-general and executive director of UN Women from August 2013 to August 2021.

During her tenure, she advocated for women and girls worldwide, creating initiatives such as HeForShe for men and boys to promote gender equality. In January last year, she was appointed as the Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg.

Traoré is the regional CEO of insurance company Allianz Africa, overseeing development across Africa. She joined Allianz Africa as regional CEO and board member in February 2017 and served as CEO of Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) Africa from September 2012 to February 2017.

“We would like to sincerely thank De Sellliers and Ntshingila for their efforts and contributions during their time on the board, and wish them the best in their future endeavours.

“We are proud to welcome Mlambo-Ngcuka and Traoré as we transition into a leading, diversified resource company committed to modern and responsible mining,” Ivanhoe co-chairperson Robert Friedland comments.

“Our growing team of talented South African and Congolese women, at all levels of our organisation, is a critical asset to the company as we strive towards our goals of excellence in operations, care for the environment, empowering our local communities, health and safety of our employees, and corporate governance. With steadfast commitment to these goals, we will build three of the world's best mines in Southern Africa” he adds.

Ivanhoe has developed the Kamoa-Kakula copper mining complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it is also upgrading the historic Kipushi zinc/copper/germanium/silver mine. In South Africa, it is developing the Platreef palladium/rhodium/platinum/nickel/copper/gold project.

Friedland also noted that, as accomplished leaders, Mlambo-Ngcuka and Traoré bring a unique perspective to Ivanhoe, with their deep African experience and insights.

“Their addition to the board will add incredible value as we continue our strategic efforts to empower a new generation of highly-skilled women and men across Africa, and as we emerge as the world's next major mining company,” he says.

Ivanhoe MD Marna Cloete also welcomed Mlambo-Ngcuka and Traoré to the board.

“We must continue to evolve and emphasise inclusivity and sustainability, as different perspectives and ways of thinking lead to improvement and innovation,” she says.

Cloete says that, to achieve gender equality in the workforce, Ivanhoe needs more women in decision-making roles at all levels, from mines to boardrooms. This requires training and mentorship programmes and encouragement to get involved.

“Ivanhoe is proud to be a trailblazer when it comes to diversity and inclusion, as we all chart a new way forward for modern mining.”

Friedland and Cloete note that the two appointments were in keeping with the company’s objective to have its board comprised of a majority of independent directors and to increase its female representation at the board level.


From June 2005 to September 2008, Mlambo-Ngcuka served as Deputy President of South Africa, overseeing programmes and policies to reduce inequality, with a particular focus on women.

Before this, she served as Minerals and Energy Minister from June 1999 to June 2005, and Deputy Minister in the Department of Trade and Industry from 1996 to 1999. She served as an MP from 1994 to 1996 as part of South Africa’s first democratic government.

Mlambo-Ngcuka began her career as a teacher and gained international experience as a coordinator at the World YWCA in Geneva, where she established a global programme for young women. She created the Umlambo Foundation, which supports leadership and education.

As a long-time advocate of women’s rights, she is affiliated with several organisations devoted to education, women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Mlambo-Ngcuka completed her PhD in Technology and Education at the University of Warwick, in the UK, and holds a BA degree in Social Science and Education from the National University of Lesotho. She is also a Hauser Leader at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership. 


Traoré is currently a nonexecutive director AGCS Africa. She has been serving as a board member for Allianz for a Green Revolution in Africa since February last year, African Reinsurance Corporation since November 2021, and African Risk Capacity since June 2018.  

Traoré served as VP of association at the African Insurance Organization from May 2018 to June 2019, before serving as its president from June 2019 to September 2021.

She is a chartered property and casualty underwriter from the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters. She also holds an MSc in Insurance Management from Boston University and a BSc in Business and Accounting from the University of Pittsburgh, in the US.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online




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