MARRAKESH, Morocco – In Africa, women remain heavily underrepresented in various fields including politics and efforts to improve good governance in the continent, making it difficult for them to rise through the male-dominated hierarchy.
However, a new global initiative aims to change the status quo, with the aim of convincing that women and men to work together to build a more sustainable and inclusive world. by Investing for better governance with African women.
The launch of Women in Africa (WIA), an unprecedented global initiative to encourage international and pan-African companies to identify, bring together and support women’s talent ON September 25 is seen as a major breakthrough in efforts aimed to enhance Africa’s good governance.
The inaugural summit i which was presented under the High Patronage of His Majesty Mohammed VI in Marrakech, Morocco, has sought to identify priority actions to create organizational changes on the continent.
WIA convened 370 men and women from 35 countries in Africa and around the world, from all sectors, including: Zuriel Oduwole, an activist engaged in the education of young girls in Africa; Elizabeth Medou Badang, CEO Orange Cameroon; Joel Macharia, founder and CEO of Abacus; Evelyne Tall, former Executive Director of the Ecobank Group; Takunda Chingonzo, founder of TechVillage, and more.
Below is a press release from the summit
Official Launch of the Women in Africa Initiative:
“Investing for Better Governance with African Women”
For Immediate Release, Marrakech, Morocco, September 26, 2017 – September 25 marked the official launch of Women in Africa (WIA), an unprecedented global initiative to encourage international and pan-African companies to identify, bring together and support women’s talent. Women are the future of Africa, so the goal of this inaugural Summit is to identify priority actions to create organizational changes on the continent. Women in Africa is presented under the High Patronage of His Majesty Mohammed VI.
A community mobilized for women’s entrepreneurship in Africa
On Monday, September 25, WIA convened 370 men and women from 35 countries in Africa and around the world, from all sectors, including: Zuriel Oduwole, an activist engaged in the education of young girls in Africa; Elizabeth Medou Badang, CEO Orange Cameroon; Joel Macharia, founder and CEO of Abacus; Evelyne Tall, former Executive Director of the Ecobank Group; Takunda Chingonzo, founder of TechVillage, and more.
This community of experts and talent aims to demonstrate the need for new governance that includes African women.
Speaking at the women in Africa launch ceremony, Binta Touré Ndoye, CEO of the Orabank banking network, said: “We often hear about the potential of Africa with its legions of strong and able women. I am one African woman, among millions of others, who earnestly wants us to round that bend and move from potential to action. What we need in Africa is to break the innumerable taboos and start unleashing the true potential of half a continent’s population… Imagine what, when fully harnessed, the sheer power of 600 million women can do…That many African women working together, as well as alongside their male peers, can positively alter the future of Africa. Women produce 61.9% of economic goods, but only account for 8.5% of wage-earning employees. This gender gap costs Africa an estimated $95 billion annually.”
WIA Philanthropy: African business creators honored
One of the three pillars of the Women in Africa initiative, WIA Philanthropy, is an endowment fund that encourages the development of companies created by young African women.
In close collaboration with the consulting firm Roland Berger, WIA Philanthropy put out a call for applications for entrepreneurial projects launched across the continent. The goal is to increase the visibility of young entrepreneurs in Africa and around the world and to help them to connect with potential clients, partners and investors.
- 400 African institutions were solicited
- 260 applications from 31 countries were received
- 16 entrepreneurs were selected by an international jury
- 6 finalists pitched their companies at the Women in Africa Summit:
- Vivian Nwakah, founder of MedSaf (Nigeria) and recipient of the Gold Award WIA-Roland Berger – MedSaf works directly with leading pharmaceutical manufacturers, eliminating issues relating to quality control and ensuring fair pricing, to deliver medications to hospitals, pharmacies, and clinics across Nigeria
- Evelyn Namara, founder of !nnovate (Uganda) – an electronic voucher system that uses simple feature mobile phones and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) system to help small holder farmers redeem seed crops, fertilizers and pesticides
- Damilola Olokesusi & Busola Majekodunmi, founders of Shuttlers (Nigeria) – enables professionals to access comfy and efficient transport to and from work, using technology and a multi staff bus system
- Nisha Ligon & Doreen Kessy, co-founders of Ubongo (Tanzania) – Tanzania’s first homegrown cartoon series, designed to help kids discover the joys of math through fun, local stories and songs
- Astria Fataki, founder of EnergyGeneration (Togo) – committed to energy and sustainable development
- Nonhlanhla Joye, founder of Umgibe (South Africa) – a unique farming method that uses plastic bags as a medium of growing
The 16 selected entrepreneurs were invited to take part in the first WIA Summit to present their projects.
The 6 finalists, coached by Christian Kamayou, founder of MyAfricanStartUp, had the opportunity to pitch their innovative projects and benefit from the global reach of the Women In Africa summit.
This first selection of entrepreneurs was made possible thanks to the support of several partners, notably Roland Berger, GFI, Stop Hunger, and Facebook, which allowed increased visibility on social networks.
“Tonight, here in Marrakech, we celebrate inspiring women entrepreneurs who will help change Africa. To support them is to contribute to the economic, social and environmental development of Africa. I am delighted that Roland Berger has been a part of this project from the start,” said Charles-Édouard Bouée, global CEO of Roland Berger.
“The choice was extremely difficult for the jury, proving the quality of the projects selected and the resilience of these young women who want to help change the future of a whole continent. If through WIA Philanthropy we can humbly offer them the visibility they deserve, then they can become role models for the next generation,” concluded Marine Victor-Thomas, COO of WIA, and Executive Director of WIA Philanthropy.
The first WIA Summit is organized in partnership with France Média Monde, Huffington Post Maghreb and IC Publications.
The WIA initiative has already received the commitment of several international partners, including Orange, Roland Berger, DS Avocats, Engie, Deloitte, Ubuntu Capital, Accor, L’Oréal, Suez, White & Case, and OCP.
Note for Editors:
-Complete profiles of the 6 selected entrepreneurs and the list of the jury are available here: https://wia-initiative.com/women-in-africa-actions/wia-philanthropy/
-For interviews with entrepreneurs and innovators, please send an e-mail via this link: https://wia-initiative.com/press-room/
-Follow all WIA Social Summit updates on Twitter: @WIAInitiative; Facebook: @WomenInAfricaInitiative. Hashtag: #WIASUMMIT
-For more information on Women in Africa, visit: www.wia-initiative.com
About Women in Africa
Women in Africa (WIA) is an innovative initiative that aims to encourage international and pan-African companies to identify, bring together and support female talent. WIA is convinced that women and men together must build a more sustainable and inclusive world. The reins of the initiative were entrusted to Aude de Thuin, specialist in women’s issues on the subjects of economy and society, founder of the Women’s Forum. It is supported by influential leaders on the continent such as Ismaël Douiri, CEO of Attijariwafa Bank; Nigest Haile, founder of Cawee Ethiopia; Nayé Bathily, Director, World Bank, all members of the WIA Advisory Board, and ambassadors representing WIA on the continent including Patricia Nzolantima, DRC; Candace Nkoth-Bisseck, Cameroon; Irene Kiwia, Tanzania; Tessy Kayitana, Rwanda; Hafsat Abiola, Nigeria; Mariame Fonfana, Cote d’Ivoire and Hindu Ibrahim Oumarou, Chad.
The three pillars of WIA are:
- WIA Institute: A producer and catalyst of studies on women in the African economy. This is a necessary step to track the evolution of the Summit’s actions. The Institute also provides industry and thematic reflection laboratories (WIA LABS) that ultimately produce reports, recommendations and concrete action plans.
- WIA Club: A membership community that convenes throughout the year, as well as a digital platform and HR program that provides research, talent placement and helps to identify leading African women for international board positions.
- WIA Philanthropy: An endowment fund to encourage and support start-ups run by young African women. WIA Philanthropy promotes education in the field of economic development and training through innovative channels and networks.
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