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Dr. Sindy Zemura-Bernard

Dr. Sindy Zemura-Bernard

She is a distinguished humanitarian, social entrepreneur, and international development executive.

HShe is the founder and CEO of the Southern Africa Embrace Foundation, a charitable organization, dedicated to empowering marginalized women, children, and youth across Southern Africa.

The foundation focuses on education, youth empowerment, gender equality, and rural economic development in countries such as Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

Dr. Zemura-Bernard’s career spans over two decades, during which she has gained experience in both the non-profit sector and international development.

She has served on numerous boards and committees, including those associated with UN Women, the African Union, and various United Nations agencies.

Her work has earned her multiple awards and recognitions, highlighting her contributions to humanitarian causes and gender equality.

Dr. Zemura-Bernard is also known for her roles as a global events moderator and public speaker, often advocating for the rights and empowerment of vulnerable groups at high-level global events.

Her foundation, the Southern Africa Embrace Foundation, holds Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), allowing it to participate in UN deliberations on a variety of issues related to its mission.

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 Kemisola Bolarinwa

Kemisola is the Founder of Nextwear Technologies, the first wearable technology startup in Nigeria pioneering the designing and development of devices that enhance healthier living and personal security.

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 Nelson Aseka

Nelson is a passionate and accomplished marketing professional who has gained a global reputation for building global brands over the years in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Aida Diarra

In a world where financial inclusion and digital transformation are at the forefront of global progress, we can’t help but shine a spotlight on one remarkable leader who has been driving positive change in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Joe Kinvi 

Joe Kinvi 

He  is a notable figure in the African tech investment landscape.

He has a strong background in finance, having held significant roles such as Head of Finance at Touchtech Payments, which was acquired by Stripe, as well as positions at Stripe and Paystack.

His journey began with an education in Accounting and Finance at the Dublin Institute of Technology, followed by a career start at Ernst and Young, one of the world’s big four accounting firms.

Kinvi’s career path transitioned from accounting to the tech investment space, illustrating a successful shift from traditional finance to entrepreneurship and investment in the tech sector.

He is the co-founder of HoaQ, an investor community with over 100 investments across Africa and its diaspora.

HoaQ is particularly notable for its role in backing entrepreneurs and creating scalable businesses for Africa and its diaspora.

The club boasts over 300 members and investors from 14 different countries, focusing on early-stage startups serving Africa and the diaspora.

He is also the Founder of Stealth Startup.

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Onyeka Akumah

Onyeka is a Nigerian tech entrepreneur who has demonstrated his commitment to using technology to solve some of Nigeria’s most pressing challenges.

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Ruby Igwe

She is a trailblazer in Africa’s tech landscape and a beacon of inspiration for young innovators across the continent.

As the pioneering Country Manager at Sand Technologies (ALX Africa) in Nigeria, Ruby is at the forefront of a transformative mission that’s shaping the next generation of tech leaders.

Under Ruby’s leadership, ALX Nigeria has become a catalyst for change, impacting over 145,000 Nigerian youths by equipping them with vital tech skills and opening doors to rewarding careers.

Remarkably, more than 40 per cent of these beneficiaries are women, underscoring Ruby’s commitment to fostering gender inclusivity in the tech space.

Ruby’s dedication and innovative strategies have not gone unnoticed, as she has been honored with prestigious accolades like the AOT Social Innovation Award and the Gage EdTech Award.

But her influence extends beyond the boardroom, as she is also the co-founder of Archivi.ng, where she plays a pivotal role in preserving Nigeria’s heritage through digital archiving, ensuring future generations have access to their rich history.

An award-winning film writer and producer, her work has garnered international acclaim, with her short film “Samaria” winning the ‘My 1st Short Film’ award at the Stockholm Film Festival.

At her core, Ruby is an educator and mentor, imparting her knowledge of Law at the Centre for Law and Business and guiding thousands of young minds through platforms like ALX, Co-Create, and YALI.

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Ramez El-Serafy 

Ramez El-Serafy has been actively involved in the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem in the MENA region and has played a significant role in supporting and mentoring startups.

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Karen Serem Waithaka

Karen Serem Waithaka

She is a prominent figure in Africa’s venture capital and investment sector.

She is currently serving as the Chief Investment Officer at the Catalyst Fund.

With a remarkable 13-year career in managing venture capital funds and accelerators, particularly within the climate technology space, she has demonstrated a deep commitment to fostering innovation and sustainability.

Karen’s role at Catalyst Fund involves leading the end-to-end investment process, which includes sourcing, due diligence, and closing deals, as well as contributing to post-investment support of the portfolio.

She specializes in impact investing within the Private Equity and Venture Capital sector in Africa, showcasing her dedication to supporting startups in their nascent stages with a clear impact mandate.

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Mamadou Biteye

Mamadou is a Senegalese development practitioner widely recognized for his expertise in development finance and strategy.

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Tayo Oviosu

Born and raised in Nigeria, Tayo left the West African country as a teenager before returning after his studies abroad.

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Hany Al-Sonbaty

Hany Al-Sonbaty is an Egyptian entrepreneur, investor, and visionary who has played a pivotal role in shaping the future of the MENA startup ecosystem.

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Francis Nderitu

Francis Nderitu

He is a Kenyan tech entrepreneur redefining the cold chain industry and transforming how perishable goods are distributed across Kenya.

Having grown up on a farm, he takes pride in supporting African farmers by sharing knowledge to maximize income and constructing efficient value chain solutions, leveraging technology to enhance the process.

He is the founder and managing director of Keep IT Cool (We are hiring) , a Kenyan company that provides cooling services and links supply to demand through a B2B e-commerce platform.

Keep IT Cool, supported by Google, introduces a cutting-edge cold chain-powered smart distribution platform.

This technology-driven solution provides proximity-based cold chain services to underserved fisherfolk and traders in East Africa, incorporating innovative business models and off-grid and on-grid cold chain solutions.

The platform is designed to minimize post-harvest losses and enhance market access.

Additionally, the platform contributes to environmental sustainability by cutting carbon emissions by 51% (69 tCO2e). This is achieved through strategies such as reducing food waste, deploying solar-powered coolers, and using hybrid trucks to enhance logistics in the fishery value chain.

By integrating smart technology and sustainable practices, Francis has addressed critical challenges in food distribution, ensuring that quality and freshness are never compromised.

His company’s innovative approach has not only improved the livelihoods of thousands, including fishermen and farmers but also set a new standard in the industry.

Francis’ contribution to food security in Kenya has earned him accolades and recognition on various prestigious platforms.

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Wale Ayeni

Wale Ayeni is a champion of Africa’s startup ecosystem and an advocate for venture capital and investment on the continent.

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Aida Diarra

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Ruby Igwe

Ruby Igwe is a trailblazer in Africa’s tech landscape and a beacon of inspiration for young innovators across the continent.

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International Women’s Day 2024: Celebrating 40 Trailblazing Women Shaping an Inclusive Future in Africa

International Women's Day 2024: Celebrating 40 Trailblazing Women Shaping an Inclusive Future in Africa

On International Women’s Day 2024, themed “Inspiring Inclusion,” Empower Africa is proud to celebrate 40 exceptional women who are driving positive change across the continent.

This year’s theme, “Inspiring Inclusion,” resonates deeply with the work these women are doing. They are breaking barriers, fostering economic growth, and building a more equitable future for all Africans.

These women represent a diverse range of sectors, from business and technology to social activism and education.

They are all united by a common goal: building a more inclusive and sustainable future for Africa.

They include:

1. Dorothy Otieno – Project Coordinator, FEMNETAfrican Women’s Development and Communication Network

Steering the FEMNET ship, Dorothy epitomizes the power of communication and development in amplifying women’s voices across Africa, ensuring they are integral in shaping the continent’s narrative.

2. Dr. Naike Moshi – Founder, Women in Management Africa

As the founder of Women in Management Africa, Dr. Moshi is a beacon of leadership, inspiring a new generation of African women to ascend to the apex of corporate and social leadership.

3. Thea Sokolowski – Co-Founder, Women Who Build Africa

Through Women Who Build Africa, Thea is a testament to the strength of collaboration, fostering a network where women builders and entrepreneurs thrive together.

4. Evelyn Opondo, Africa Director, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)

At the helm of ICRW’s African initiatives, Evelyn’s work in research and advocacy is pivotal in crafting policies that enhance the lives of women across the continent.

5. Setcheme Jeronime Mongbo – Head of Office, UNWomen Sierra Leone

Leading UN Women’s efforts in Sierra Leone, Setcheme is a force for gender equality, spearheading programs that empower women at all levels.

6. Diago Dieye – Founder and Managing Partner, Khuwaylid Capital

As the visionary behind Khuwaylid Capital, Diago is reshaping the finance sector, ensuring women entrepreneurs have the capital they need to grow their businesses.

7. Geraldine J. Fraser-Moleketi – Chair, Tiger Brands

Geraldine’s leadership at Tiger Brands exemplifies the impact of women in corporate governance, setting a standard for future female leaders.

8. Ibukun Awosika – Founder, The Chair Centre Group

Ibukun’s entrepreneurial spirit and success with The Chair Centre Group serve as an inspiration, proving that African women can lead and excel in business.

9. Lelemba Phiri – Co-Founder, ATG Samata

With ATG Samata, Lelemba is at the forefront of advocating for financial inclusion, ensuring women’s economic empowerment is a priority.

10. Weyinmi Eribo – Director General, Women Chamber of Commerce

As the Director General of the Women Chamber of Commerce, Weyinmi champions the role of women in trade and business, vital for Africa’s economic prosperity.

11. Mélanie Keïta – CEO @Melanin Kapital

Leading Melanin Kapital, Mélanie is dedicated to unlocking potential, offering innovative financial solutions tailored for African women entrepreneurs.

12. Oley Dibba-Wadda – Executive Director, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development (EJS Center)

At the EJS Center, Oley is instrumental in nurturing women leaders, ensuring they have the skills and opportunities to impact Africa’s development.

13. Diksha Somai Pillay – Co-Founder, The Geek Girls Foundation

Through The Geek Girls Foundation, Diksha empowers young women in tech, addressing gender disparities in one of the most crucial sectors for Africa’s future.

14. Khaoula Ramdi – Managing Director, Upline Investments

Khaoula’s leadership at Upline Investments is a testament to the significant role women can play in the investment sector, driving economic growth.

15. Chinenye Uwanaka – Founder, The Firma Advisory

At The Firma Advisory, Chinenye is a key player in legal and business consultancy, providing essential support for Africa’s enterprises.

16. Mmathebe Zvobwo – Principal, Vodacom

Mmathebe’s work with Vodacom exemplifies the critical role of women in telecommunications, a sector vital for Africa’s connectivity and technological advancement.

17. Nehal Helmy – Co-Founder, Flend

Co-founding Flend, Nehal is showcasing the innovative spirit of African women in the tech industry.

18. Agnes Aistleitner Kisuule – General Partner @ First Circle Capital

At First Circle Capital, Agnes is a trailblazer in venture capital, a key driver for startups and innovation, essential for economic diversification.

19. Serah George – Gender Activist

As a gender activist, Serah’s advocacy and activism are crucial in challenging the status quo, paving the way for greater gender equality.

20. Wofai Samuel – Ag Director-General; Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce

Leading the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, Wofai is a bridge-builder, fostering international partnerships that benefit African businesses.

21. Jesmane Boggenpoel – Managing Partner, AIH Capital

At AIH Capital, Jesmane’s expertise in private equity is instrumental in nurturing businesses that are vital for Africa’s economic landscape.

22. Hannah Subayi Kamuanga – Partner, Launch Africa Ventures

With Launch Africa Ventures, Hannah is a key figure in the investment community, supporting startups that are crucial for innovation and job creation.

23. Marta Pinto Coelho Roff – Head of Partnerships, Girl MOVE Academy

At Girl MOVE Academy, Marta is dedicated to empowering young women, ensuring they have the leadership skills to impact their communities.

24. Iman Bibars – Vice President, Ashoka

With Ashoka, Iman is fostering a generation of social entrepreneurs, women who are solving Africa’s challenges through innovative approaches.

25. Hema Vallabh – Co-Founder, WomHub

Co-founding WomHub, Hema is pivotal in nurturing female engineers and innovators, crucial for Africa’s industrial and technological growth.

26. Nelly Cheboi – Founder, TechLit Africa

Through TechLit Africa, Nelly is bridging the digital divide, ensuring that children, especially girls, have access to technology education.

27. Shantha Bloemen – Managing Director & Founder at Mobility for Africa

Shantha’s Mobility for Africa is a social enterprise that seeks to work with strategic partners to create renewable transport solutions for rural and peri-urban communities, especially women, that are affordable, efficient and environmentally friendly.

28. Angela Kyerematen-Jimoh – National Digital Transformation Lead, Africa at Microsoft

At Microsoft, Angela is driving digital transformation, a cornerstone for modernizing economies and enhancing competitiveness.

29. Sheilah Birgen – Business Mentor, AkiraChix

A mentor at AkiraChix, Sheilah is nurturing the next generation of female tech leaders, crucial for a balanced and innovative tech ecosystem.

30. Solape Akinpelu – Country Director, Women in Tech Global

With Women in Tech Global, Solape is championing the inclusion of women in technology, a sector critical for Africa’s future.

31. Victoria Chelangat Sabula – CEO at The AECF

Leading The AECF, Victoria is at the forefront of catalyzing entrepreneurship and innovation in the agricultural and energy sectors.

32. Tolulope Babajide – Gender Network Manager, FSD Africa

At FSD Africa, Tolulope’s work in gender networking is crucial for sharing knowledge and best practices, essential for women’s advancement.

33. Betelhem Dessie – CEO, iCog Anyone Can Code

As CEO of iCog Anyone Can Code, Betelhem is a trailblazer in AI and coding, empowering young Africans with future-proof skills.

34. Juliet Sospeter – Investment Associate at Kiva

At Kiva, Juliet is instrumental in providing microloans, a critical tool for women entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses.

35. Irene Ochem. AWIEF Founder & CEO

Leading AWIEF, Irene is a catalyst for women’s economic empowerment, fostering entrepreneurship and business growth.

36. Nyeji Chilembo-Mhango – Managing Partner, wCap

With wCap, Nyeji is a pioneer in the investment sector, focused on elevating women-owned businesses through strategic funding.

37. Nigest Haile – Founder and Executive Director, Center for Accelerated Women’s Economic Empowerment (CAWEE)

At CAWEE, Nigest is dedicated to accelerating women’s economic empowerment, a critical factor for sustainable development.

38. Yamrot Yewondwossen – General Program Support, Plan International

With Plan International, Yamrot supports general program initiatives, vital for creating environments where women and girls can thrive.

39. Arielle Molino – Chief Convener, Pollinate Impact

At Pollinate Impact, Arielle is a key convener, fostering partnerships that drive economic growth and women’s empowerment.

40. Maryanne Ochola – Managing Director at Endeavor Kenya

Leading Endeavor Kenya, Maryanne is nurturing high-impact entrepreneurs, a vital contribution to job creation and economic stability.

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Polo Leteka

Polo is a highly accomplished and experienced entrepreneur and private equity investor on a mission to bridge the gender financing gap in Africa.

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Christian Nwachukwu

Christian Nwachukwu is a Nigerian tech entrepreneur shaping the future of healthcare in Africa through innovative ventures.

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Lelemba Phiri

Lelemba Phiri is an award-winning Zambian-born educator, author, keynote speaker, and gender-lens angel investor.

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Sabrine Chennaoui 

Sabrine Chennaoui 

She is a Tunisian deep tech enthusiast and an eco-innovator driving sustainable change.

She is leading the charge in climate tech with a machine converting used cooking oil into eco-friendly solutions.

Sabrine is doing this through MONSAPO, an innovative Greentech start-up that aims to disrupt the green cleaning industry.

MONSAPO’s ecological cleaning products line is based on a circular economy and sustainable development.

Sabrine is also passionate about entrepreneurship, sustainability, and empowering women in business.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Marketing from the Mediterranean School of Business.

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Gerald Otim 

Gerald is an accomplished Ugandan entrepreneur driving financial inclusion by growing the developing world’s digital financial infrastructure.

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Agnes Kalibata

Agnes Kalibata is a Rwandan agricultural scientist, a policymaker and a champion for sustainable agricultural development in Africa.

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Chido Munyati

Chido Munyati

He is a true African Changemaker whose leadership and dedication are making a significant impact on our continent

As the Head of Africa and a Global Leadership Fellow at the World Economic Forum, Chido plays a pivotal role in shaping conversations and driving action on critical issues affecting Africa.

His extensive experience, from law to international relations, brings a unique perspective to the table, ensuring Africa’s voice is heard on the global stage.

He is also an Agenda Contributor, actively shaping the Forum’s discussions and publications, ensuring that African perspectives are heard and represented in international discussions.

Chido works tirelessly to showcase Africa’s strengths and opportunities, promoting the continent as a key player in the global landscape.

Through his work at the World Economic Forum, Chido advocates for policies and initiatives that empower African communities and drive sustainable development.

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Wale Ayeni

Wale Ayeni is a champion of Africa’s startup ecosystem and an advocate for venture capital and investment on the continent.

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Ousmane Diagana

Ousamane Diagana is a Mauritanian economist dedicated to improving lives and fostering sustainable development in West Africa.

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Victor Asemota

Victor is a serial tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist who has contributed significantly to Africa’s tech ecosystem.

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Seth Charles Mkisi

Seth Charles Mkisi

He is a Tanzanian social entrepreneur, agripreneur, and corporate innovator.

He is the Founder of Shamba Box, a non-profit organization helping farmers, agripreneurs, and other stakeholders succeed in Tanzania’s thriving food system and agriculture sector.

The organization’s primary focus is on transforming food systems and the agricultural value chain in Tanzania.

Shamba Box aims to do this by addressing various challenges in the sector while leveraging opportunities to create a sustainable and resilient food system.

Seth is also a startup mentor and a climate change champion at Catalyst Fund.

As the Chapter Director at Startup Grind Tanzania and a seasoned Startup Ecosystem Builder, Seth has played a pivotal role in shaping the startup landscape in Tanzania.

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Islam Shawky

Islam is a fintech leader and a driving force behind the advancements in digital payments and financial technology in Africa.

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Dare Okoudjou

Born and raised in Benin, Dare is passionate about making life better for Africa and Africans through technology.

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Ohemaa Adjei Andoh

Ohemaa Adjei Andoh is a notable individual with a significant impact in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in Ghana.

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