Be the change. Be Inspired. Be you.
Recognizing (40) African women with powerful, inspiring, and influential voices.
Introducing Africa’s leading women!
1. Honorable Omobola Johnson (Nigeria) – Early in the year, AWP Network founder, Mary Olushoga wrote an article asking if African Female Techpreneurs are Lagging Behind? and what should be done to ensure the inclusion and participation of girls in ICT. Honorable Omobola Johnson takes ‘person of the year’ because by the end of the year, she took action and used her very influential position to create programs and policies that will ensure that Nigerian girls become active participants in the ICT sector by launching the ‘SmartWomen Initiative’ and the ‘1000 Girls in Training’ program.
At AWP, we aim to encourage more African women with powerful voices, who will continue to create programs and policies that support the development and growth of African women and girls. Learn more about the project here: http://www.smartwomannigeria.org.ng/
Honorable Johnson is Nigeria’s first Minister of Communication Technology and founding chairperson of Women in Management and Business (WIMBIZ), a non-governmental organization seeking to improve the success rate of female entrepreneurs as well as increase the proportion of women in senior positions in corporate organizations.
2. Leymah Gbowee (Liberia) is a peace activist and winner of the 2013 New York Women’s Foundation Century Award. Gbowee is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and peace activist responsible for leading the women’s peace movement that helped to bring an end to the Liberian civil war in 2003. Currently, she is the Executive Director of Women Peace and Security Network Africa.
3. President Sirleaf Johnson (Liberia) is winner of the Indira Gandhi peace award. Her Excellency President Sirleaf Johnson is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and the current President of Liberia. She is also the first democratically elected female head of state in Africa.
4. President Joyce Banda (Malawi) is President of Malawi. Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda is Malawi’s first female president and before becoming president, she served as the country’s first female vice president.
5. Garca Machel (Mozambique) is founder of the Graça Machel Trust (GMT), an organization that advocates for the rights of women and children on the continent, as well as good governance and democracy. Garca Machel recently founded the Institute for Child Development (Zizile IDC) set to focus on Early Childhood Development. She is also co-founder of the Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS).
6. Wendy Ackerman (South Africa) is non-executive director of Pick N Pay Holdings Limited. Ackerman is recognized by the South Africa Nature Foundation for outstanding achievement and contribution to environmental conservation. She is also winner of the David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership in Africa Award by the Synergos Institute.
7. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Nigeria) is Nigeria’s first female Finance Minister and currently Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance. She is Founder of the NOI-Gallup Polls and Centre for the Study of Economies of Africa (C-SEA). Okonjo-Iweala is also co-founder of the Makeda Fund and chairman of the Nelson Mandela Institution.
8. Obiageli Oby Ezekwesili (Nigeria) – is co-founder of Transparency International, senior adviser at Open Society Foundation, and a Pastor at the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
9. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria) is one of Africa’s most successful writers who has succeeded in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature. In 2013, Adichie published her third novel, Americanah.
10. Nomsa Daniels (South Africa) is executive director and founding member of New Faces New Voices, a pan-African advocacy organization for the empowerment of African women.
11. Funmi Iyanda (Nigeria) is an award-winning journalist and gay rights activist. Iyanda produced and hosted Nigeria’s most popular and authoritative talk show ‘New Dawn with Funmi.’ In 2004, she conducted Nigeria’s first interview of an openly gay man on national television. Recently, she was honored by Babatunde Raji Fashola, Lagos State Governor for her commitment to gender advocacy.
12. Rita Dominic (Nigeria) is an award-winning actress, fashion icon, philanthropist, and co-founder of The Audrey Silva Company. This year, her company released the film The Meeting, which received six (6) nominations at the 2013 African Movie Academy Awards.
13. Toyin Saraki (Nigeria) is founder of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, a pan-African organization focused on maternal health, newborn and child health.
14. Amini Kajunju (Democratic Republic of Congo/New York) is the first African woman to serve as president of the Africa-America Institute, an organization promoting engagement between Africa & America through education, training, & dialogue.
15. Ory Okolloh (Kenya) is an activist, lawyer, and techpreneur. Okolloh currently holds the position of Director of Investments at Omidyar Network. Okolloh is also co-founder of Ushahidi and Mzalendo.
16. Ini Onuk (Nigeria) is founder of ThistlePraxis Consulting and the Africa CEO Round-table & Conference on Corporate Sustainability & Responsibility (AR-CSR™).
17. Lorna Rutto (Kenya) is an innovator, social entrepreneur, and founder of EcoPost, a company that specializes in environmentally friendly solutions that save the environment from deforestation, pollution, and creates jobs for marginalized communities.
18. Saran Kaba Jones (Liberia/Boston) is founder of FACE Africa. Early this year, FACE Africa launched an ambitious new initiative to provide complete water coverage to the entire county of River Cess, one of the most marginalized regions in Liberia, under-served in water and sanitation and least likely to be served through the efforts of government and other agencies.
19. Mpule Kwelagobe (Botswana/New York) is founder of the MPULE Institute for Endogenous Development. She is also Executive Director of the Network of Women Investing in Africa Leadership Program, a multi-stakeholder initiative to mobilize the next generation of African female leaders under the age of 35.
20. Juliana Rotich (Kenya) is co-founder and executive director of Ushahidi – a web-based reporting system that utilizes crowdsourced data to formulate visual map information of a crisis on a real-time basis. Rotich is an African Futurist and a TED Senior Fellow.
21. Rebecca Enonchong (Cameroon/Washington DC) is founder of AppsTech. Currently, she sits on the board of VC4Africa
22. Marieme Jamme (Senegal/London) is co-founder of Africa Gathering, a global platform that brings together entrepreneurs and experts to exchange ideas about Africa’s development. Jamme is currently the CEO of SpotOne Global Solutions.
23. Minna Salami (Nigeria/London) is a writer, blogger, and commentator on African feminism. Minna is also owner of the MsAfropolitan Boutique, an online shop featuring designs by women of African heritage.
24. Semhar Araia (State of Eritrea/Minneapolis) is founder of the Diaspora African Women’s Network (DAWN), an organization whose mission is to develop and support talented women and girls of the African diaspora focused on African affairs.
25. Rapelang Rabana (South Africa) is CEO of ReKindle Learning and Yeigo Communications. ReKindle Learning is an innovative technology-driven education company that aims to use and integrate the power of mobile and internet technology to improve and complement learning for students and corporate employees.
26. Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola (Nigeria) is co-founder of WeCyclers. She is a 2013 Echoing Green fellow, 2013 Cartier Women’s Initiative Award winner, and 2013 Tech Awards recipient.
27. Farai Gundan (Zimbabwe/New York) is co-founder of FaraiMedia LLC. Farai writes for Africa.com, Forbes.com, and Forbes Life.
28. Uduak Oduok (Nigeria/California) is a co-founder of Ebitu Law Group. Uduak is also founder of the pioneering fashion and music law online blogs Ladybrille and Africa Music Law.
29. Mametja Moshe (South Africa) is executive director at Identity Mineral Resources (Pty) Ltd., an African mining investment company. Moshe is one of Africa’s leading voices in the mining industry. Mametja has served as non-executive director of Southgold Exploration (Pty) Ltd, a subsidiary of Great Basin Gold Limited and Eurodollar Foreign Exchange (Pty) Ltd.
30. Ola Orekunrin (Nigeria) is an innovator and a 2013 New Voices Fellow at the Aspen Institute. She is a TED fellow, medical doctor, helicopter pilot, and managing director of the Flying Doctors Nigeria Ltd, West Africa’s first indigenous air ambulance service and a crucial link for critically injured people.
31. Rainatou Sow (Guinea/United Kingdom) is founder of Make Every Woman Count. Recently, she was recognized as the“Most Inspirational Woman of the Year” by Women4Africa.
32. Esther Agbarakwe (Nigeria) is co-founder of the Nigerian Youth Climate Coalition, the biggest youth climate movement in Nigeria. Esther also serves as a technical advisor to the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change.
33. Oreoluwa Somolu (Nigeria) is executive director of the Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre, a non-profit working to encourage Nigerian girls to use technology to empower themselves socially and economically.
34. Nkem Uwaje (Nigeria) is managing director of Future Software Resources Nigeria Limited. Her company is also winner of the 2012 Etisalat Nigeria Prize for Innovation. Nkem’s company created the iConnect project, focused on making ICT and education more accessible to youths in Nigeria.
35. Vivian Onano (Kenya) is a Moremi Initiative fellow, a ONE Campaign Congressional District Leader, a UNA-USA campus advocate, and a Half the Sky Movement Campus Ambassador. Vivian has participated in a number of global international development gatherings, including as a panelist at the Clinton Global Initiative, the Clinton Global Initiative University, and CARE International’s conference on the policy agenda to unlock the power of girls.
36. Rhoda Wilson (Nigeria/United Kingdom) is an award-winning host of the Rhoda Wilson Show. Rhoda Wilson won media personality of the year at the Nigerian Entertainment and Lifestyle Awards.
37. Spectra Speaks (Nigeria) is a queer afrofeminist writer and activist. Spectra is also the founding director of Queer Women of Color and Friends, a grassroots organization and media collective dedicated to highlighting LGBTQ women of color, immigrant and/or diaspora voices.
38. Hussainatu Blake (Cameroon/Atlanta) is co-founder of Focal Point Global (FPG), a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower underserved youths in Namibia and Cameroon using education and technology to address social issues. Hussainatu Blake is also recognized as a White House Champions of Change.
39. Dinah Musindarwezo (Rwanda) is executive director of the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET). FEMNET seeks to advance women’s rights and amplify African women’s voices.
40. Anie Akpe- Lewis (Nigeria/New York) is founder of IBOM LLC, an organization dedicated to keeping the African Diaspora business community informed through seminars and cultural events.
In addition to recognizing Africa’s leading women, the AWP Network develops innovative small business content for African entrepreneurs.