Charmaine HouvetSenior Director Growth Public Policy & Government Strategy Africa Commissioner at Presidential 4IR Commission
Charmaine Houvet has over two decades of telecommunications experience working with private and public sector organizations across Africa. She joined Cisco with several years’ experience as a Senior Executive in complex, diverse and transformative roles with high profile leading ICT companies. Charmaine leads Cisco’s technology growth, government affairs strategy, regulatory, and public policy efforts across Africa. She partners with heads of state and various stakeholders in public & private sector, academia, and civil society to advance the digitalisation agenda across the continent. This includes shaping and advancing strategies that foster innovation and digital technologies.
Current Positions on Board
Charmaine serves as Chair of the ICT industry association, the South African Communications Forum (SACF)
She is a board member of the Cisco Technology Systems (CTS) local board and acts as Chair of the Cisco Charitable Trust headquartered in San Jose
Charmaine serves on the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution under President Cyril Ramaphosa in South Africa. She chairs the Policy and Law reform workstream of the Presidential 4IR commission
She currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Global Broadband Plan for Refugees Project whose objective is to meet the broadband connectivity goal set by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR)
Charmaine serves on the advisory board of ZASpace a local platform to bolster the competitiveness of South Africa’s burgeoning space industry
She is a member of the BeyGOOD Global Citizen Advisory Council (powered by BeyGood and Funded by Tyler Perry)
Charmaine is passionate about transformation and the advancement of the ICT sector especially women in the sector and is the recipient of several business awards in recognition of her vision, collaboration, leadership, and achievements in the ICT sector.
In November 2016, she was named South Africa’s Top Woman in ICT
In August 2017 Charmaine was awarded the MTN Ministerial Recognition Award for her outstanding contribution towards advancing the ICT industry in South Africa
In 2018, Charmaine was nominated by the Ministry of Development Planning and Evaluation (DPME) as a Woman of Fortitude aimed at honouring the legacy of Mama Albertina Sisulu. Charmaine and other Women of Fortitude Ambassadors encourage the current generation of young South African women to continue MaSisulu’s legacy of activism through community service involvement projects.
In 2019 Charmaine was nominated by her peers in the ICT industry as a finalist for the IT personality of the year award.
Charmaine is a co-founder of the Mentorship Circle (2017) with the African Women’s Chartered Accountant Association (AWCA) and Duke University CE providing free coaching, mentorship, and sponsorship opportunities for future leaders on jobs of the future
She is an ad hoc orchestrator for Duke CE leadership programmes, this role enables participants of organisations to integrate concepts from the classroom back to their real-life setting
She is an International Women’s Forum of South Africa (IWFSA) fellow. IWFSA is an invitation only association, membership consists of women leaders and achievers drawn from heads of industry and state, artists, and academics, thought leaders and decision makers that advocate for economic justice for women
Charmaine is co-chair of the IWFSA sister organisation Young Leaders Committee (YLC), an organisation founded to develop the future generation of young leaders
Charmaine recently founded Afriel; a non- profit organization that mentors, coaches, and sponsors young female leaders in the ICT sector.
She holds a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) qualification.