Meet the Top 20 Inspirational Women of the African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe (ADIPWE) list 2019
Welcome to the 6th edition of the Top 20 Inspirational Women from the African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe (ADIPWE), a list published to mark the International Women’s Day and celebrate the achievements of some of the most inspiring women from Africa both in the Diaspora and on the continent.
It’s all tied together by a single thread: These women are working tirelessly to develop the continent with their initiatives and put Africa on the global map.
There is no particular ranking and the list is sorted alphabetically. The country mentioned in the titles are their country of origin but we understand that they might be holding other nationalities from their host countries. We’ve chosen to highlight their African origin for the purpose of entering this list compiled using internet sources credited at the end of this document, personal inspiration and encounters as well as nominations from the members of the public.
You will find in this list mostly business women but also professionals in sport, health, law and marketing who are contributing to the development of the continent.
Here are the Top 20 Inspirational Women from the African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe (ADIPWE) 2019
Maame Aba AFON YELBERT-SAI
- Country: Ghana
- Occupation: Artist, Trainer, Coach, Mentor and Speaker
Maame is a “Whole Woman”, combining her calling as a wife, mother, leader, mentor and speaker. She sits as a Board Member for multiple not profit organisations including the Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa, where she works to develop the leadership capacity of emerging young African women. She has blended her personal and professional life with her music to promote philanthropy, social justice and activism.
- Country: Libya
- Occupation: Co-Founder of She Codes
Co-Founder of @shecodes2018, Engineer and Feminist, Najla Al-missalati – has taken the bold step of setting up a formal establishment where women can learn programming and other ICT skills. Najla runs the center as a business where she offers women lessons on coding and programming to equip them with the technology skills needed to run a business in the digital age. She is listed in Lemonde.fr as one of the top 5 African women to follow in 2019.
Marie Brugeaud Ngo Bikes
- Country: Cameroun
- Occupation: CEO & Founder of Africa Business Café Network
Marie Brugeaud Ngo Bikes is a driven businesswoman who highlights the prominent role of women entrepreneurs in society, especially women of African descent. She is the founder of Réseau des Femmes Entrepreneures Nord Sud, (the North-South Network of Women Entrepreneurs), a French Association, whose mission is to strengthen the entrepreneurial capacities of women, develop partnerships and promote Interculturality and Ecotourism. In 2018, the Africa Business Café Network was born to enable a stronger South South and North South cooperation.
- Country: Ghana
- Occupation: Founder and CEO of Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative.
Bernice Dapaah is a young Ghanaian rising social entrepreneur, founder and CEO of the award-winning Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative. The initiative addresses the quadruple problems of climate change, poverty, rural-urban migration and high unemployment amongst the youth in rural Ghana by creating employment opportunities and sustainable livelihood for them by building high quality handcrafted bamboo bikes adapted for the challenging local roads.
- Country: Senegal
- Occupation: CEO of Global Mind Consulting
Seynabou DIA is the CEO of Global Mind Consulting, a consultancy firm dedicated to the public relations management of economic and political personalities in Africa. She is passionate about changing the narrative of the Africa continent and contribute to its economic development. Seynabou received the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award at Hub Africa awards 2018.
- Country: Mali
- Occupation: Nurse specialised in FGM
Aissa Edon is a midwife and an activist against female genital mutilation. Her foundation, The Hope Clinic, raises awareness about FGM and helps women who have experienced it. In 2016, she was honored by the BBC as one of their 100 Women. Aissa was a victim of female genital mutilation at 6 years of age and speaks of her violent experience publicly.
Niama EL BASSUNIE
- Country: Morocco
- Occupation: CEO & Founder at WaystoCap
After graduated from Y Combinator, Niama El Bassunie co-founded WaystoCap, a B2B marketplace for businesses in Africa to buy and sell products. Started only three years ago, the startup is one of the biggest success stories from North African ecosystem; She has raised a seed investment of $3 million, has 22 employees working from its two offices in Casablanca (Morocco) and Cotonou (Benin).
- Country: Tunisia
- Occupation: CEO of the Center for Applied Training
Chéma Gargouri is the CEO of the Center for Applied Training; Founder and President of the nonprofit the “Tunisian Association for Management and Social Stability” (TAMSS). She is passionate about Promoting women’s entrepreneurship skills as a key step to ensure gender equality, economic inclusion and fighting poverty. She’s received the “Outstanding Women Leadership Achievement Award” by the World Women Leadership Congress & Award (WWLCA).
- Country: Cote d’Ivoire
- Occupation: Founder of Ayokadeco
Alice Gbelia is the entrepreneur behind the project to build an online platform for young, black artists. This came after she needed paintings for her new home and couldn’t find a suitable offering out there. She decided to step in to build a website focused solely promoting the art she enjoyed seeing on her walls, with the hope that others would too.
- Name: Victoria Kisyombe
- Country: Tanzania
- Occupation: Founder & CEO of SELFINA
Victoria Kisyombe is a leader who has used innovation, initiative, and determination to empower women in Tanzania. She changed the criteria of eligibility to enable women with no assets and little business experience to engage in commercial activities to support themselves and their families.
- Country: Somalia
- Occupation: Co-Founder & MD, Afrobytes
Haweya Mohamed is a communications professional who is co-founder and managing director of Afrobytes, a tech conference that brings together African startups and international investors for events in Paris, New York, and Hong Kong.
- Country: South Africa
- Occupation: Wheelchair Tennis Athlete
Kgothatso Montjane is a wheelchair tennis player. In 2018, she became the first black South African woman to compete at Wimbledon. Kgothatso was born with a congenital disorder which affected both of her hands and a foot with the other foot being amputated by the age of 12. She holds 29 singles titles and won tournaments such as the wheelchair Belgian Open and Swiss Open.
Asmâa MORINE AZZOUZI
- Country: Morocco
- Occupation: CEO Cais Consulting
Asmaa Morine is the CEO of Cais Consulting since 2007, which offers a comprehensive support service for residents and non-residents wishing to invest in Morocco at the junction point between Europe and Africa. Asmaa is also the former president of the AFEM, Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Morocco and is deeply involved in the associative world in her country as a member of the Board of Directors of Morocco PME, AMDI and the General Confederation of Enterprises of Morocco (CGEM).
- Country: Uganda
- Occupation: Founder and CEO at Jet Black
Jessica Nabongo is a writer, entrepreneur, podcaster, public speaker and travel influencer. She uses her story to educate and inspire others to travel and experience the world around them. She is on a mission to be 1st black woman to travel to all countries in the world (she visited 157 of 195 countries early March 2019) with ‘The Catch Me If You Can’ campaign, getting brands, organisations and individuals to support her journey!
- Country: Somalia
- Occupation: Builder. Connector
Hodan Nalayeh is a media executive, marketing consultant, social activist and entrepreneur. She shares positive stories of her country, Somalia, via her YouTube Channel, Integration TV. Hodan is on a mission to build a community of inspiring & uplifting stories for Somalis worldwide!
- Country: Rwanda
- Occupation: Founder of Entreprenarium
Kristine Ngiriye passion for entrepreneurship led her to create the Entreprenarium Foundation. The organisation provides business support and access to finance to women and young entrepreneurs on the African continent. As a serial-entrepreneur, Kristine runs, among other activities, a boutique consulting firm where she coordinates governments’ advisory services throughout Africa.
- Name: Funmi Oyatogun
- Country: Nigeria
- Occupation: Founder of TVP Adventures
Funmi Oyatogun is passionate about documenting fascinating stories of people and places in Africa. Called ‘Africa’s most adventurous woman’, she has created TVP Adventures, a company that designs memorable travel experiences across Nigeria and Africa. She is helping Africans (and non Africans) discover the beauties of their continent!
Bozoma SAINT JOHN
- Country: Ghana
- Occupation: Chief marketing officer at Endeavor
Bozoma Saint John is the current Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Endeavor. She used her marketing skills built from her career at Pepsi, Beats, Apple, Uber and Endeavor to mastermind the #FullCircleFestival #YearOfReturn to evolve the image of Ghana as the ‘next big tourist destination’ featured in CNN travel in 2019; showing that anyone can make a difference.
Marie Chantal UWITONZE
- Country: Rwanda
- Occupation: CEO at MACH Consulting, Founder of ADNE & Author
Outside her consulting work, Marie Chantal Uwitonze founded the African Diaspora Network-Europe (ADNE), an organisation that promotes the optimal use of African Diaspora expertise on economic development of Africa and facilitate the integration of African Diaspora in their host countries. She is also the author of “The Keys to a Successful Career.”
- Country: Kenya
- Occupation: Founder of African Women in Europe
Joy Wanjiru Zenz is the founder of African Women in Europe (AWE) and CEO of African Market in Europe (AME). She connects African Women living in Europe and around the world through AWE platform. Joy compiled the first AWE Book, a collection of 11 co-authors including herself sharing true stories as a reflection of the strength and the positivity of AWE Women. She encourages women and Africans in the Diaspora to start investing in Africa and be instrumental in building Africa continent.
African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe (ADIPWE) is an online forum that aims to:
- Celebrate the success of African Women in Europe (and in the global world including in Africa).
- Give visibility to women who have achieved success in their own way but may still be unknown by the wider public.
- Inspire the new generation of African Women and share ideas to make a difference (no matter how big or small it is).
- Contribute to Africa rebranding and development by identifying opportunities to transfer the vast amount of knowledge gained outside the continent.
This forum is open to women of African Diaspora and to anyone who has a passion for Africa development.
Join ADIPWE LinkedIn group with 300+ members to participate in the conversation.
About the Editor:
Francine Beleyi is the Editor and Founder of African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe (ADIPWE), a list started in 2011 to feature the achievements of African women in their host countries and on the continent. Francine is a bilingual, French-English, Digital Strategist, Business Advisor and expert in Personal Branding. She is the result of three cultures: Togolese, French & British and is passionate about the development of Africa and empowering people with digital literacy to take advantage of the opportunities in the digital economy.
She is the founder of nucleus of change, a firm specialised in digital communication and Associate director at African Women Entrepreneurship Cooperative (AWEC), a one of the kind pan-African community of entrepreneurs who are shaping the future of the continent. She is an international speaker and award winning author of the book ‘Personal branding in the digital age: How to become a known expert, thrive and make a difference in the connected world’. She hosts the podcast Meaningful Work, Meaningful Life available on iTunes, Spotify and Stitcher.