The 2017 AWP Network Power List

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. Africa’s First Olympic Bobsled Team (Nigeria) relentless, focused and determined: Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga – are the first African, the first Nigerian bobsled team to ever qualify for and compete in the Winter Olympics. The team raised funds to participate in the Olympics using GoFundMe. They did not just meet their  fundraising goal but were also able to sign a sponsorship deal with VISA. The AWP Network is proud of these women for inspiring the next generation of women and girls and for showing the world that ‘impossible is nothing.’
  2. Sabetha Mwambenja (Tanzania) is the first woman general manager and CEO in Tanzania\’s banking sector. Currently, she serves as the managing director and chief executive officer of the Covenant Bank for Women Tanzania Limited, where she facilitates small business growth for women entrepreneurs through innovative financial products and services.
  3. Funke Opeke (Nigeria) is Chief Executive Officer of Main One Cable company, a privately owned company with an open access 7,000-kilometer undersea high-capacity cable submarine stretching from Portugal to South Africa with landings along the route in Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria. Opeke is also founder of Main Street Technologies. Prior to founding her company, she served as the Chief Technical Officer for MTN Nigeria.
  4. Gail Makenete (Lesotho) is the second deputy governor of the central bank of Lesotho, a position she has held since January 2012. Prior to this appointment, she served as the director of financial markets at the Bank. Makenete serves as a member of the Gender and Women’s Financial Inclusion Committee (GWFIC) of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI).
  5. Wendy Luhabe (South Africa) is an entrepreneur, author, and pioneer. She previously served as the jury president for Sub-Saharan Africa for the Cartier women’s initiative award. Luhabe is currently chairperson of Vendome SA, the Industrial Development Corporation, and the International Marketing Council.
  6. Susan Mashibe (Tanzania) is founder and executive director of VIA Aviation. She is a FAA certified commercial pilot and an aircraft maintenance engineer. Mashibe is the first woman with both qualifications in Tanzania. She also serves as Director of the Kilimanjaro Aviation logistic Center.
  7. Irene Ovonji-Odida (Uganda) is chief executive officer of the Uganda Association of Women Lawyers. She is recognized as one of the pioneers of legal aid and public legal education in sub-Saharan Africa. Ovonji-Odida also serves as the chairperson for Action Aid International and was recently appointed to a UN High-Level Panel on illicit financial flows from Africa.
  8. Linah Mohohlo (Botswana) played a key role in one of Africa’s most successful economies as former governor of Botswana’s central bank. She is a member of the Commission for Africa and the Africa Progress Panel.
  9. Dambisa Moyo (Zambia) serves on the boards of several companies to include Barclays Bank, Chevron and the Barrick Gold corporation. Prior to this, she worked at the World Bank and Goldman Sachs. Moyo is an author and an international economist who analyzes macroeconomic and global affairs.
  10. Ruth Oniang’o (Kenya) is a leading academic expert in Food Security and Nutrition. She founded the African Journal for Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development – a peer-reviewed journal on agricultural development in Africa. Oniang’o is also founder of the Rural Outreach Program, an NGO focused on improving the lives of those in rural areas.
  11. Almaz Negash (Eritrea / United States) is founder of the African Diaspora Network (ADN), which hosts the annual African Diaspora Investment Symposium, an event focused on helping investors and entrepreneurs in the diaspora connect with one another. Negash also serves as the senior managing director of Step Up Silicon Valley, a social innovation network and anti-poverty laboratory utilizing disruptive, research-based strategies to reduce poverty and increase economic opportunity in Silicon Valley.
  12. Elizabeth Elango Bintliff (Cameroon) is chief executive officer of Junior Achievement Africa, a well-known organization providing business and economic education to young people. Prior to this appointment, she served as the vice-president of Africa programs at Heifer International.
  13. Aishah Ahmad (Nigeria) was recently appointed Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. Prior to this, she was Head of Consumer and Privilege Banking at Diamond Bank. Ahmed also recently served as the chairperson of the executive council for WimBiz, an organization focused on addressing issues affecting women professionals in business and corporate bodies, with a particular attention on promoting and increasing women’s roles in corporate governance and leadership.
  14. Eniola Aluko (Nigeria/England) is a footballer who plays forward for Chelsea Ladies FC. She is also founder of Crescenda Sport, an organization providing internships and vocational experiences in the global sports industry to undergraduate and postgraduate students.  Aluko helped to expose the extent of discrimination and racism in the Football Association as she courageously gave her testimony of bullying, harassment, and racism to the select committee on culture, media, and sports in England.
  15. Polo Leteka (South Africa) is a co-founding shareholder of Identity Partners, Alitheia Identity Managers, and IDF Capital. IDF Capital invests in women entrepreneurs and women-led businesses.
  16. Ethiopia Habtemariam (Ethiopia / United States) is president of Motown Records and president of Urban Music/Co-Head of Creative at Universal Publishing Music Group. She is the 2017 recipient of the Mark of Excellence prize at the African Diaspora Awards.
  17. Osayi Alile (Nigeria) is chief executive officer of ACT Foundation, a subsidiary in partnership with Access Bank. Prior to this, she led the FATE Foundation and worked as the Vice President of Programs at Junior Achievement.
  18. Phanice Nkwamboka (Kenya): is the chief executive officer of Eye on Africa, a pan-African public affairs organization highlighting development and showcasing investment opportunities across sub-Saharan Africa. Nkwamboka has advised several presidential candidates across Africa and has campaigned for President Alassane Ouattara and Akinwunmi Adesina of the African Development Bank.
  19. Ilwad Elman (Somalia): is a Somali-Canadian social activist who works at the Elman Peace and Human Rights Center in Mogadishu. Elman also runs Sister Somalia, the country’s first program for supporting victims of gender-based violence. The center provides counseling, health and housing support for women in need.
  20. Dorothy Njamze (Nigeria) is an actress and activist. Her, Edu Ene-Okoro, Justina Etim and Amarachi Jessyforth won a lawsuit against the Nigerian government in the ECOWAS court for a gross violation of their rights to dignity. They were abducted and assaulted sexually, physically, verbally and unlawfully detained from January 2011 and March 2013 by the Abuja Environmental Protection Board and other government agencies, to include the police and the military. In collaboration with other civil society organizations, they were awarded 18 million naira against the federal government of Nigeria.
  21. Peace Hyde (Ghana/Britain) is founder of Aim Higher Africa, a non-profit focused on enriching the quality of education for students in Ghana by incorporating the use of ICT. Hyde is also the Forbes West Africa Correspondent and Head of Digital Media and Partnerships for Forbes Africa.
  22. Molara Wood (Nigeria) is a writer, author, journalist and critic, who is described as \’one of the eminent voices in Nigeria\’s Art space.\’ Wood previously served as a judge for the Etisalat Prize for Literature. She is on the advisory board of the Aké Arts and Book Festival and a participant at many literary events including the Lagos Book & Art Festival.
  23. Adaku Ufere (Nigeria) is a feminist, blogger and lawyer who specializes in regulatory compliance, contract negotiation and contract administration with a focus on oil, gas, and power. She is the youngest African and first Nigerian to win the African Legal Attorney of the Year award.
  24. Imelme Umana (Nigeria / United States) was recognized Person of the Year at the African Diaspora Awards. She is the first black woman to be elected President of Harvard Law Review.
  25. Judith Owigar (Kenya) is founder of Juakali and president of Akirachix, a platform focused on supporting African women in technology ecosystem. Owigar is a coder, blogger and tech enthusiast.
  26. Nshuti Lucy Mbabazi (Rwanda) is passionate about expanding access to digital and financial services throughout Africa. She currently serves as the group manager of Push Payments – Transnational Incorporated. Prior to this role, she worked as the Country Manager for Visa in Rwanda and as the Policy and Strategy Advisor for the Rwanda Development Board and ICT Department. Mbabazi is at the forefront of promoting and encouraging young women to pursue careers in technology.
  27. Pauline Mujawamariya-Koelbl (Rwanda/Switzerland) is director of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA). She is a Bellagio/PopTech Catalyst, a joint initiative between the Rockefeller Foundation and PopTech, which brings together a global community of innovators and thought leaders from different fields to share insights and work together to create lasting change. Mujawamariya-Koelbl also sits on the board of the Flame Tree Initiative, an NGO focused on using ICTs to address the digital divide through collaboration with African universities.
  28. Lola Omolola (Nigeria/Chicago) is founder of \’Female in Nigeria\’, an empowerment group on Facebook with over one million members. The group highlights the voices of women around the world and was created to be a safe space to discuss the stories and struggles about life, love, sex, family and career.
  29. Toyin Odulate (Nigeria) is country director of Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition and founder of Olori Cosmetics – a hair, bath, body and beauty product line created with the best natural ingredients available in Africa. Odulate is recognized as one of the pioneers of organic beauty products in Nigeria.
  30. Marlise Montcho (Benin) is a telecoms engineer and president of FemTICDev, an organization focused on supporting women and girls in Benin by equipping them with the I.T. skills needed to become important actors in the technology ecosystem. Montcho is a YALI fellow and a Moremi Initiative ‘Emerging Women Leader.’
  31. Eunice Baguma Ball (Uganda/United Kingdom) is founder of the Africa Technology Business Network, a platform established to build a bridge between the tech communities in the United Kingdom and Africa. Her London-based social enterprise works to drive growth and impact in the African tech ecosystem by enabling investments, skills exchange, and collaborative opportunities. Ball also launched #HerFutureAfrica – a program helping to put women at the forefront of innovation in Africa by supporting them to create high-impact businesses.
  32. Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin (Nigeria) is founder of Pearls Africa Foundation, an organization that facilitates opportunities for vulnerable young girls in Nigeria. She is also creator of #GirlsCoding Nigeria, an initiative that equips, mentors, and trains girls from underserved communities in functional I.T. skills for the purpose of economic independence.
  33. Glory Edozien (Nigeria) is a blogger and the convener of  ‘9to5Chick’, a platform created to enable young women advance their careers by connecting them to accomplished executives as mentors and to discuss strategies for rising to the top.
  34. Blessing Effiom Egbe (Nigeria) is a leading Nollywood producer and content producer. She is also chief executive officer of B’Concept Network Productions.
  35. Oluwaseun Ayodeji Owosobi (Nigeria) is executive director of the Stand to End Rape Initiative, a youth-led not-for-profit organization raising awareness for, and working to end all forms of rape through education, supporting survivors, and changing community perceptions towards sexual violence and abuse in Nigeria. Owosobi also organizes the HERE Exhibition, which uses photography to share the stories of survivors.
  36. Ink Eze (Nigeria) is founder of, a platform created to share African traditional styles and fabrics. With the AsoEbiBella platform, BellaNaija Weddings has gained international prominence and has become Africa’s foremost wedding media brand with millions of followers across several platforms.
  37. Uneku Atawodi-Ekun (Nigeria) is general manager of the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) in Ghana. She is also recognized as ‘Nigeria’s Polo Queen.’
  38. Esther Ijewere (Nigeria) is a Vital Voices Leadership Fellow, an activist and founder of Rubies Ink Initiative for Women and Children, an organization that organizes projects to include, the Walk Against Rape, Women of Rubies, Project Capable, Rubies Ink Media and the College Acquaintance Rape Education Workshops.
  39. Moiyattu Banya (Sierra Leone/United States) is a feminist, writer, activist, and founder of the Girls Empowerment Summit. Banya is passionate about getting young girls out of poverty. Her platform, the Girls Empowerment summit was established to build the leadership capabilities and skills of young girls in Sierra Leone.
  40. Bidemi Zakariyau (Nigeria) is an entrepreneur and founder of LSF|PR, a public relations consulting firm with core competencies in corporate communications, consumer and lifestyle brands. Zakariyau also founded The Luxe Digest, a pan-African luxury content platform. She handles the day–to-day management of LSF|PR and leads her team to create the communications strategy for clients. She is winner of the 2017 LaPriga Rising PR Practitioner of the Year Award.

AWP Network 2013 Power List 

AWP Network 2014 Power List

AWP Network 2015 Power List

AWP Network 2016 Power List






































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