Be the change. Be Inspired. Be you.
Recognizing (40) African women with powerful, inspiring, and influential voices.
Introducing Africa’s leading women!
At the AWP Network, 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.
1. Arunma Oteh (Nigeria): is Director General of Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission. This year, Oteh was named West African Business Woman of the Year by CNBC at the Africa All Africa Business Leaders Awards.
2. Phumzile Mlambo- Ngcuka (South Africa): is the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN women.
3. Joy Ogwu (New York/Nigeria): is the permanent representative of Nigeria to the United Nations in New York and president of the executive board of the UN women entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women.
4. Angélique Kidjo (New York/Benin): is a Grammy award–winning singer and songwriter, UNICEF goodwill ambassador, and author of “Spirit Rising: My Life, My Music.”
5. Musimbi Kanyoro (Kenya): is CEO and president of the Global Fund for Women – an international grant-making foundation supporting groups working to advance the human rights of women and girls.
6. Theo Sowa (Ghana): is CEO and president of the African Women’s Development Fund – the first pan-African women’s grantmaking institution dedicated to women’s rights and philanthropy. Sowa serves on the board of the Museum of AIDS in Africa, is a Trustee of Comic Relief, and Chair of its International Grant Making Committee.
7. Shola Olatoye (New York/Nigeria): is CEO and chair of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Olatoye was appointed to this position by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. She has also served as an alumni-elected trustee at Wesleyan University.
8. Tabitha Karanja (Kenya): is CEO at Keroche Breweries Limited. Keroche Breweries produces Kenya’s finest malt beer, Summit Malt. Karanja is known to be the first Kenyan to own a beer factory and was also named Businesswoman of the Year at the 2014 CNBC Africa All Africa Business Leaders Awards.
9. Joanne Mwangi (Kenya): is CEO of the PMS Group. Mwangi was also recognized by CNBC at the All African Business Leaders Awards. She serves as chair of the Federation of Women Entrepreneur Associations (FEWA) and the Eastern Africa Women Entrepreneur Exchange Network.
10. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (South Africa): is the Honorable Chairperson of the African Union Commission. She is the first woman to lead the organization.
11. Iman Bibars (Egypt): is the regional director and vice president for Ashoka Arab World (AAW). Bibars is also co-founder and chair of the Association for the Development and Enhancement of Women (ADEW), a civil society organization providing credit and legal aid for impoverished women.
12. Lindiwe Zulu (South Africa): is South Africa’s minister of small business development. This year, Zulu launched the Startup Nations South Africa initiative, aimed at contributing towards building a robust entrepreneurship ecosystem and vibrant sustainable entrepreneurship culture.
13. Mosunmola Abudu (Nigeria): is founder of Ebony Life Television and Inspire Africa Foundation. Abudu is a talk show host, TV producer, media personality, human resources management consultant, and entrepreneur.
14. Biola Alabi (Nigeria): is a 2014 Yale World fellow and managing partner at Biola Alabi Media Consulting, a company designed to provide organizations with access to highly qualified professionals in the broadcast, telecommunications, and digital industries. Prior to this role, Alabi served as managing director of Electronic Media Network (MNET), Africa’s first private and leading subscription television service.
15. Akudo Anyanwu-Ikemba (Nigeria): is CEO and founder of Friends Africa, an organization committed to continuing the fight against HIV/ AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Friends Africa is also winner of the 2014 ONE Africa prize.
16. Solar Sister (Africa): was founded by Katherine Lucey and Neha Misra. Solar Sister invests in women and aims to eradicate energy poverty by empowering women with economic opportunity. With a strategic woman-centered direct sales network, the organization plans to bring light, hope, and opportunity to even the most remote communities in rural Africa.
17. Dee Poku-Spalding (New York/Ghana): is founder of the Women, Inspiration, and Enterprise (WIE) Network, which aims to empower a new generation of women leaders. WIE organizes a global conference to connect established trailblazers with emerging leaders.
18. Memuna Janneh (United Kingdom/Sierra Leone): is owner of Clockwork Business Club and founder of LunchBox Gift. Lunchbox was instrumental in providing hot meals to those affected by the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone. Lunchbox has fed approximately 2,600 people in seven different communities.
19. Hadiza Bala-Usman (Nigeria): is co-founder, coordinator, and initiator of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign. Bala-Usman is a human rights activist who has fought for the release of the abducted Chibok school girls in Borno State.
20. Sarah Peace (United Kingdom/Nigeria): is a multi-disciplinary visual artist and human rights activist whose art piece, “Chibok 100” featured black-veiled ‘figures’ representing the abducted Chibok school girls.
21. Funke Bucknor-Obruthe (Nigeria): is CEO and founder of Zapphire Events, West Africa’s leading event planning company, helping customers “transform the mundane to magical.”
22. Mildred Okwo (Nigeria): is co-founder of the Audrey Silva company. Okwo is a well-recognized film director and producer whose film “The Meeting,” has won several awards to include the Nigerian Entertainment Award, the Africa Movie Academy Award, and the Nollywood Movies Award.
23. Nse Ikpe-Etim (Nigeria): is an award-winning actress and winner of the 2014 Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards for playing “Nse” in the film Journey to Self.
24. Deborah Ahenkorah (Ghana): is co-founder and executive director of the Golden Baobab, a social enterprise aimed at promoting African children’s literature. She is an Echoing Green Fellow and a New Voices Fellow at the Aspen Institute.
25. Unoma Okorafor (Texas/Nigeria): is owner of Herbal Papaya and Founder of WAAW – an organization whose mission is to promote STEM education for African girls. Okorafor is also winner of the Anita Borg Institute Award.
26. Tori Abiola (Nigeria): is managing director of Montgomery West Africa, a platform that organizes the Women of West Africa Entrepreneurship Conference (WOWe).
27. Mobolaji Akiode (New York/Nigeria): is a professional basketball player and founder of Hope 4 Girls Africa – an organization dedicated to using sports, particularly basketball camps, to inspire and empower impoverished young women. From Nigeria, to Ghana, and Benin Republic, Hope 4 Girls Africa has helped girls secure student athletic scholarships.
28. Tola Onigbanjo (United Kingdom/Nigeria): is co-founder of Women4Africa, a UK-based organization celebrating, recognizing, and honoring African women who have made great impact in their communities.
29. Misan Rewane (Nigeria): is founder of West Africa Vocational Education (WAVE), an organization tackling youth unemployment by identifying, training, and placing talented West African youths in wage-earning jobs in the hospitality sector.
30. Achenyo Idachaba (Nigeria): is founder of MitiMeth, a company producing hand-woven crafts from invasive aquatic weeds prevalent in Nigeria’s waterways. MitiMeth engages local artisans to create eco-friendly hand- woven home décor and personal accessories from invasive aquatic weeds and non-timber forest resources.
31. Regina Agyare (Ghana): is founder of Soronko Solutions and coordinator of Tech Needs Girls Ghana, which teaches young Ghanaian girls how to code. Agyare is a fellow at the Aspen Institute, an Ashoka fellow, and a Washington Fellow for Young African Leaders.
32. Yasmin Belo-Osagie (Nigeria): is co-founder of She Leads Africa – a platform providing the most talented female entrepreneurs across the continent with access to the knowledge, networks, and financing needed to build and scale strong businesses.
33. Afua Osei (Ghana): is co-founder of She Leads Africa – a platform providing the most talented female entrepreneurs across the continent with access to the knowledge, networks, and financing needed to build and scale strong businesses.
34. Uche Pedro (Nigeria): is managing director of BellaNaija, an online platform that develops and manages exciting online media content for a Pan-African audience.
35. Jane Ole (Nigeria): is owner and creative director of luxury brand, Elizabeth Waldorf, which creates timeless designs for African women who appreciate luxury, elegance, and style.
36. Doreen Mashika (Tanzania): is an award-winning luxury designer and founder of doreenmashika.com. Mashika fuses traditional African prints and techniques with contemporary Western style to create unique cosmopolitan pieces.
37. Uduak Isong (Nigeria): is a Nollywood writer, executive producer, and co-founder of the Royal Arts Academy, a company that offers courses and in-depth training on various aspects of the film industry.
38. Iheoma Obibi (Nigeria): is a women’s rights advocate and owner of Intimate Pleasures, a novelty store for women and their partners.
39. Ijeoma Mbamalu (New York/Nigeria): is co-founder of MUI-The PR Company (MUIPR), a company representing multiple business segments and leaders across three strategic brand public relations (PR) areas: social/digital media, events, and traditional PR.
40. Yvonne Unubun (New York/Nigeria): is the official publicist for the Nigerian Entertainment Awards and the Nigerian Centenary U.S. Awards. Unubun also owns Mayven PR – a boutique PR consulting firm providing top-notch public relations, brand and image consulting, writing, amongst other publicity and marketing services to its clients in various industries.
In addition to recognizing Africa’s leading women, the AWP Network develops innovative small business content for African entrepreneurs.