These powerful African women are bringing huge changes to African business, media, politics, and diplomacy. They range from CEOs and high-ranking government officials to women with a mobile phone and big dreams.
Large numbers of children under age 5 suffer stunted growth, anemia or low weight in Tanzania. Freda Chale founded the Regent Estate Senior Women’s Group (RESEWO), a group of women working with schools to teach young children how to grow and cultivate plants. RESEWO’s goal is to increase knowledge of and access to nutrition. RESEWO aims to help people appreciate the nutritional value of their indigenous plants.
Nigerian architect Adenowo hosts a regular radio show in which she mentors women. Adenowo earned her first degree in architecture by age 19. By 23 she was designing her first building. Today Adenowo is one of Nigeria’s most accomplished architects. When she isn’t busy designing institutional facilities such as auditoriums and corporate offices, she is providing women with tips for success on her radio show, or working on her Awesome Treasures Foundation, which helps mentor women and young girls.
Through their platform She Leads Africa, Belo-Osagie and Osei help turn female small business entrepreneurs into larger business owners. The company connects female entrepreneurs to networks, education and financing. She Leads Africa recently held an entrepreneurship showcase competition that attracted more than 400 applications from 27 countries and several industries. The company has around 1,000 women-led start-ups in its network and aims to raise that number to 10,000 by the end of 2015.
Kamariza is the founder of Solid Africa, a non-governmental organization that caters to vulnerable patients in public hospitals. Her organization does things like provide medicine that isn’t covered in basic expenses, deliver hygienic products to vulnerable patients, and even assist in paying medical bills. One of the most notable things about Kamariza is that she wasn’t wealthy when she began her organization. And neither are many of the organization’s helpers. Solid Africa follows a model that gathers young people and their limited resources and with that, finds solutions to societal problems.
Working as the senior investment adviser to Nigerian Minister of Agriculture, Osakwe has helped make changes in policies regarding private sector investments in food and agriculture that have resulted in more than $4 billion in investments from private investors. Osakwe also helps potential investors come up with long-term agreements with agribusinesses.
Mashego is co-founder and CEO of Diep K Steel & Aluminum –one of a handful of women working in the industry at this level. Diep K steel & Aluminum produces stainless steel staircases, designer steel gates, aluminum roofing and other aluminum products. Mashego maintained a full-time, separate job when she first started the business with her husband but has since completely taken over the company.
Akerele-Ogunsiji leads Rise Networks, a social enterprise that creates opportunities in integrating technology into the education and development of youth. The organization receives investments from private and public sectors, and works in several channels including job access and thought leadership capacity building on youth inclusion. Rise Networks has created startups such as Passnownow.com, a crowd sourced, media oriented learning-based social community for teens moving into adulthood.
Jadesimi is managing director of the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base. She helps facilitate the $500-million industrial village and specialized port facility where operations such as oil and gas drilling, ship repairs and specialized manufacturing take place. She is credited with helping transform LADOL — West Africa’s Free Zone and Logistics Hub for Multinational Industrial and Offshore Companies — into the go-to for West African maritime oil and gas activities.
Makama is the Communications Director at Africa Practice, one of Africa’s top strategy and communications consultancies. She’s worked to bring in enormous international names as clients, as well as investors including Blackberry, PayPal, Union Bank, Renaissance Capital and Bloomberg.
Moosajee is working to deliver the next generation of female engineering leaders. Through her non-profit organization Women in Engineering, Moosaje connects engineering-inclined women to resources that cover a spectrum from workshops for high school students to networking events for women already in the engineering industry.
At just 27 years old, Disu founded Africa Fashion Week in New York. Between her New York-based communications and brand strategy company Adirée, and her connections in Africa, Disu has nurtured international economic partnerships for Africa’s fashion industry. She is working on launching African Fashion week in other capitals including London and Paris.
These three women founded MFarm, a mobile software that helps farmers and buyers of agricultural products see the most recent retail prices on products, so they can adjust their own prices or negotiations accordingly. MFarm hosts a virtual marketplace where consumers can buy directly from farmers and farmers can find potential customers.