Meet the Top 20 Inspirational Women of the African Diaspora Professional Women (ADIPWO) list 2023
Welcome to the 10th edition of the Top 20 Inspirational Women from the African Diaspora Professional Women (ADIPWO), a list published to mark 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.
These women are being celebrated for their achievements and for putting Africa on the global map.
There is no particular ranking for this list compiled using nominations from the members of the public, internet sources and personal inspiration.
Here are the Top 20 Inspirational Women from the African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe (ADIPWO) 2023.
The Top 20 Inspirational Women of the African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe (ADIPWE) list 2023
Aminata Toure, Minister (Mali |Germany)
At 29 years old, Aminata Toure is the social affairs, youth, family, seniors and equality minister of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany.
Aminata is the first Black member of a German state government and has pledged to fight for more diversity in politics.
She spent the first five years of her life in a refugee shelter, eventually gaining German citizenship when she was 12. Her family’s fears of being deported shaped her decision to start being politically active, and she joined the Greens in 2012.
Aminata has long pushed for the better and swifter integration of refugees in Germany.
Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo, First Officer at Qatar Airways, Nigeria
Adeola Ogunmola Sowemimo the first Nigerian female pilot of the 787 dreamliner, and the first female Nigerian pilot of Qatar Airways who co-piloted the inaugural flight of the airline to Abuja in 2020.
Adeola joins the ranks of other African female pilots who have made history.
She is a true inspiration for women to pursue their dreams in spite of family commitments.
Tsitsi Masiyiwa, Philanthropist & Social Entrepreneur, Zimbabwe| UK
Tsitsi Masiyiwa is a philanthropist and social entrepreneur devoted to empowering young people in Africa with education opportunities and access to technology.
During the last twenty years, the Higherlife Foundation, founded by Masiyiwa and her husband, Strive Masiyiwa, has directly and indirectly supported the education of more than 250,000 vulnerable and highly talented students in Zimbabwe, Burundi and Lesotho.
To meet the skill needs of out-of-school youth, Masiyiwa also co-founded the Muzinda Hub in Zimbabwe, which leverages technology to develop digital skills, provide mentorship on business and secure jobs for its trainees.
In 2016, she was named « African Woman of the Year » by the magazine New African Woman and the African Philanthropist of The Year in 2022 by the All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLAs)
Nathalie Yamb, Activist, Cameroon | Switzerland
Nathalie Yamb is an activist and one of the most outspoken and influential critics of French presence in Africa. influences. Known as the “Lady of Sochi” since she gave a very remarkable speech at the 1st Russia-Africa Summit in 2019., this political figure and trained journalist is committed to an Africa free from outside influences.
Nathalie has also decided to speak out in a different way to address the tragedies of illegal immigration by reaching out to African youth through music. She is calling young people who take the perilous path of illegal immigration to believe in the potential of the continent instead of opting for a journey across the Sahara with an “uncertain fate”.
Dr Anino Emuwa, Founder of 100 Davos Women, Nigeria | France
Dr Anino Emuwa is the founder of 100 Davos Women, a community of impact-driven women leaders founded alongside World Economic Forum in 2019.
She is also the founder & MD of Avandis Consulting, a boutique international management consulting company based in France providing research-lead strategy and financial advisory services to entrepreneurs and business leaders worldwide.
She is an Advocate for Emerging Technology, Entrepreneurship and women.
Kalista Sy, Filmmaker, Senegal
Kalista Sy is a creative powerhouse who’s the brains behind the popular African show called “Maitresse d’un homme marié” (The mistress of a married man), which aired on YouTube.
The show is produced by Marodi TV, which is Senegal’s first-ever private TV channel home to a variety of Senegalese and French-speaking content in Africa!
During the lockdown, the show was a hit and got millions of views! The series revolves around the experiences of strong, independent, and financially stable women. No more playing the secondary or submissive role for these women – they are the masters of their own destinies!
For Sy, it’s crucial that women take the lead in the production process. That way, they can be empowered and become role models for little girls who aspire to achieve great things in life.
Tokunbo Ige, Founder Livingstone’s Ecovillage, Nigeria|Togo
Olatokunbo Ige, an international human rights lawyer, peace and development expert who is now a social entrepreneur. She’s also the World Business Angel Investment Forum (WBAF) Senator for Togo.
She created the Livingstone’s Ecovillage in Davie, Togo, an eco-friendly hotel built with local materials that embodies her passion for healthy living.
She also started UTRADER, a waste management and transformation center that aims to alleviate the problem of domestic waste management by transforming used plastics, tyres, and barrels into high-quality products and goods. UTRADER is part of a larger initiative to change attitudes and mentalities towards recycling and waste disposal in Togo.
As a trained John Maxwell Team member, she’s also a coach, speaker, mentor, and empowering force for women and young people.
Lynda Aphing-Kouassi, Founder and CEO of KAIZENE, Cote d’Ivoire | UK
Lynda APHING-KOUASSI is the founder and CEO of the firm KAIZENE, which organise annual institutional conferences and capacity building for businesses.
After working for many years in the banking system in London, Lynda decided to return to her home country of Côte d’Ivoire to share her experience through the activities of her firm KAIZENE, and thus contribute to the development of the African continent.
She also contributes to the empowerment of women and youth through mentoring, coaching, and training. Her work has earned her recognition from Forbes Afrique and Financial Afrique magazines as a development actor.
Lynda is also a member of the board of directors of the African Diaspora Network (ADNE).
Adji Bousso Dieng, Founder of The Africa I Know, Senegal | USA
Adji Bousso Dieng is a Research Scientist at Google AI and Assistant Professor Computer Science Faculty at Princeton University.
She is the founder of The Africa I Know, an initiative that highlights the positive side of Africa that you don’t get to see. They showcase stories of inspiring Africans, recount the rich history of Africa, and highlight developments in technology, science, engineering, and AI made by Africans.
Adji is hoping this will positively change the narrative around the continent.
Rachel Sibande, Founder of mHub, Malawi | South Africa
Rachel Sibande established Malawi’s first technology hub and incubator, mHub. The hub is an incubator for innovators and emerging entrepreneurs. More than 40 000 young entrepreneurs have benefited from this initiative.
Rachel is a social entrepreneur in the technology and energy domains. She is championing the development of low cost power through a thermal chemical process for rural mini micro grids.
Currently Senior Program Officer at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she supports the foundation teams in shaping and managing the East Africa investment portfolio across domains such as financial services, agriculture, health, gender and data.
Jessica Colaco, Co-founder Brave & ihub, Kenya
Dubbed the ‘God mother of the tech startup ecosystem in Kenya’, Jessica Francisca Colaço is an entrepreneur and co-founded the iHub in 2010, the first tech-hub in Kenya and East Africa.
She is also the co-founder of Brave, a HR tech company. A talent strategist, computer scientist and musician, Jessica is the first woman to release a music single on Non-fungible Tokens (NFT) in Kenya.
She is passionate about tech ecosystems and has built various communities. She also mentor women in STEM and train underprivileged women in tech. Jessica is a speaker and has been featured on global platforms talking about her work in technology and entrepreneurship including SWSX and Harvard.
She was one of the 100 Most Influential Young Africans in 2017. She sits on a number of boards and serves as an advisor to various startups.
Patience Adjivon, Co-founder Lomé Business School, Togo
Patience ADJIVON is the co-founder of Lomé Business School, the first business school in Togo and 6th in Sub Sahara Africa.
After studying in Morocco and France, Patience embarked on an international career in Pharmaceutical Research, Marketing, Management Consulting, and Retail Banking.
Very committed to initiatives with a strong social impact, she decided to get involved in the Lomé Business School (LBS) project in Togo in 2013. LBS offers a path of excellence, corporate internships and a double degree program with partners in France and Ireland.
Patience sponsors several initiatives in favour of women’s entrepreneurship, including Women in IT (Win IT).
Nelly Cheboi (Kosi), CEO & Founder TechLit Africa, Kenya | USA
Nelly Cheboi is the CEO & Founder TechLit Africa and CNN Hero. She leverages the digital economy to lift communities out of poverty. TechLit Africa is a non-profit organization that redistributes recycled technology to build computer labs in African schools.
Nelly grew up in a rural village in Kenya in poverty forcing her to raise her younger sister when she was just nine years old. She wanted to change the narrative of kids growing up in poor communities and fix poverty for good this time.
Through hard work and determination, she landed a full scholarship to America and studied computer science; this gave her the platform to accelerate her impact. She invested her income into her community back in Kenya and built a school, Zawadi.
Patience Chindong, Co-Founder/CEO EuroAfri Link, Cameroon/Netherland
Patience Chindong is co-Founder and CEO of EuroAfri Link, an initiative that supports European food buyers looking to source from Africa, and African exporters who want to enter the international market, including the EU.
She wants to improve the livelihoods of underprivileged communities by helping African agribusinesses and students develop skills and linkages with prospective European investors and educational institutions.
She understands that access to adequate and timely information and technology is crucial for making profitable decisions, but unfortunately, many Africans lack this information.
That’s why she’s working to make relevant information accessible to African agribusinesses, with a focus on women small-scale farmer cooperatives who have little or no information about external markets and funding, as well as students.
She firmly believes that promoting trade improves the livelihoods of communities in Africa, especially women.
Jaha Dukureh, Activist and Founder of Safe Hands for Girls (Gambia/USA)
Jaha Dukureh is the CEO and Founder of the NGO “Safe Hands for Girls” that provides support to African women and girls who are survivors of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM ) and addresses its lifelong, harmful physical and psychological consequences.
Herself a survivor of FGM, and forced into child marriage at age 15, Jaha will dedicate her efforts to support UN Women’s advocacy to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage in Africa, with focus on mobilising youth.
She is the Regional UN Women Ambassador for Africa and alongside women’s organizations and civil society, she contributed to the Gambian Government’s ban on FGM after youth mobilization and campaigning in the country.
Jaha was named to the Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world in 2016, and one of the 100 most influential Africans of 2017, by New African magazine for her work as an activist.
Jacqueline Mukarukundo, Co-Founder and CMO at Wastezon, Rwanda
Jacqueline Mukarukundo is co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Wastezon, a cleantech startup that’s working to create a waste-free world using technology.
Wastezon was recognized as the best E-waste Solution Provider in East Africa at the 2019 Build Magazine’s Recycling and Waste Management Awards. So far, Wastezon’s mobile application has registered 200 e-scrappers and one recycling industry. Over 350 households and businesses have collected 416 tons of electronic waste (e-waste), which has prevented the emission of 2826.42 metric tons of CO2.
Jacqueline is an alumnus of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) University, and she is also an Ambassador of One Youth World, which is a global forum for young leaders.
Her ultimate goal is to make a positive impact on communities and future generations through technology.
Dr. Sandrine Mubenga, Prof electrical engineer and entrepreneur (Democratic Republic of Congo |USA)
Dr. Ngalula Sandrine Mubenga, is an Assistant Professor at the Engineering Technology Department at the University of Toledo (UT), Ohio, USA, and an accomplished entrepreneur.
Since 2011, Sandrine has been the founder and Chief Executive Officer of SMIN Power Group, a solar developer with offices in the USA and the D.R.Congo. Additionally, she founded the STEM DRC Initiative, a non-profit organization focused on promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education in the D.R.Congo.
She also serves as a member of the Board of Directors at the Société Nationale d’Eléctricité, the primary electric utility company in the D.R.Congo. She’s passionate about renewable energy solutions that can improve people’s lives while combating climate change.
Sandrine’s work has been recognized through numerous awards, including the 2018 IEEE Engineer of the Year Award and the 2017 Africa Most Influential Women Award in Engineering and Manufacturing by CEO Magazine.
Fatima Roumate PhD, AI Expert & Law Professor, Morocco
Fatima Roumate PhD. is a Professor of the International Law at the Faculty of Law, Economic and Social Sciences Agdal, Mohammed V University, Rabat, Morocco.
Founding President of the International Institute of Scientific Research, Marrakech since 2010. She is also a member of the Ad Hoc Expert Group for the Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence UNESCO, Morocco.
Former Expert, Cybersecurity and International Cooperation, Council of Europe as a part of the CoE Wiki Cybercrime project from 2014 to 2016.
She organizes training sessions for young teachers, elected women, and entrepreneurs and speaks at international conferences about education, science, and technology. She received the Award of “Iconic Leaders Creating a Better World for All” at the Women Economic Forum 2017
Her latest book is about “AI and Digital Diplomacy: Challenges and Opportunities”.
Marieme Diop, Venture Capital Investor, Senegal/France
Marieme Diop is a venture capital investor in African startups who is driven by her passion for entrepreneurship, tech-enabled businesses, and empowering women.
She has recently been appointed as the Regional Head for Francophone Africa at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), where she will play a vital role in expanding IFC’s investments in the region, which spans over 20 countries.
IFC is committed to investing in disruptive technologies, venture capital, and funds across the African continent, and Marieme’s appointment will help solidify IFC’s presence in Africa.
With her expertise and experience in the startup ecosystem, Marieme will be able to drive IFC’s VC investments in francophone Africa, further accelerating IFC’s momentum on the continent.
Akouba Angola Aggré, Founder & CEO, Dabali Express (Cote d’Ivoire)
Dubbed the queen of Ivorian fast food, Akouba Angola Aggré is a businesswoman and fonder of many shops in Abidjan: Fashion Empire, MAX 15, MAX Glam and the fast-food chain Dabali express.
When she was returning home from the USA with her spouse, they craved the good local food but wanted it fast. The idea of Dabali Express was born.
The 5th Dabali Xpress restaurant has just opened after less than 2 years of starting this venture.
African Diaspora Professional Women (ADIPWO) is an online forum that aims to:
- Celebrate the success of African Women across the 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’s rebranding and development by identifying opportunities to transfer the vast knowledge gained outside the continent.
This forum is open to women of the African Diaspora and to anyone who has a passion for Africa development.
Join ADIPWE LinkedIn group with 400+ members to participate in the conversation.
About the Editor:
Francine Beleyi is the Editor and Founder of African Diaspora Professional Women (ADIPWO), a list started in 2011 to feature the achievements of African women in their host countries and on the continent.
Francine is an award-winning digital & change strategist, business advisor, specialist in corporate and personal branding. She helps entrepreneurs, CEOs, corporate executives, and governments in their digital communication strategy, management of their personal and professional brand to increase their visibility, better reach their target audience, and improve their profitability in order to have a greater impact.
She is the founder of nucleus of change, 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.
- Twitter: @FrancineBeleyi
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- LinkedIn com/in/francinebeleyi
- To stay in touch for the 2024 edition
- Nominate your favourite woman for the ADIPWE 2024 list