The 6th edition of the benchmarking Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) (http://www.AWIEForum.org) conference and awards held on December 2 and 3, 2020 hosted more than 60 African and global thought leaders across business and politics who shared insight and thought leadership. The flagship event was attended by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, City of Atlanta, GA, U.S. Embassy in South Africa, Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa, UNDP, UNIDO, IFAD, ITC, The World Bank, Nedbank, Afreximbank, AGRA, USAID, Deutsche Post DHL, APO Group, Visa, SAP, The Economist, KPMG, Dalberg, African Development Bank (AfDB), MEDA, African government representatives, Mohammed VI Polythenic University (Morocco), Thunderbird School of Global Management (USA), and many more.
The conference theme this year was, Reimagining business and rebuilding better. The two-day event aimed to explore post-pandemic recovery for the African markets, and to address women’s economic empowerment; share entrepreneurship trends; connect and network with trailblazers from all over Africa and beyond.
AWIEF2020 prestigious keynote speakers included the Mayor of City of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, H. E. Lana Marks, and the Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, H. E. Wamkele Mene.
According to Mayor Bottoms, “Atlanta’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI) and Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) are connecting to strengthen the ties between Atlanta and the African continent”. “Africa holds a very special place in the heart of Atlanta,” said Mayor Bottoms. “The global health crisis has put a lens of uncertainty on our world, we are treading uncharted territory across the globe. The definition of balance in our lives has been stretched for everyone, especially for women who lead our communities. Programs like WEI and AWIEF serve to level the playing field while bringing more women leaders to the table and helping to foster diverse business communities.”
Winners of the 2020 AWIEF Awards
The AWIEF Awards, held on December 3, honoured and celebrated the achievements of women entrepreneurs and innovators across the African continent. Eight women founders and entrepreneurs emerged winners across eight different categories, out of the twenty-four selected as finalists from across the continent, including Botswana, Cameroun, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Tanzania.
YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR AWARD
Winner: Hannah Lavery, Founder Hannah Lavery (South Africa)
AGRI ENTREPRENEUR AWARD
Winner: Victoria Mwafulirwa, Managing Director, Homes Industries (Malawi)
TECH ENTREPRENEUR AWARD
Winner: Marlize Holtzhausen, Founder and CEO, Response24 (South Africa)
CREATIVE INDUSTRY AWARD
Winner: Ayanfeoluwa Olarinde, Lulu Arts and UnEarthical (Nigeria)
Winner: Porcho Marguerite Sogoba, CEO, MUSODEV (Mali)
ENERGY ENTREPRENEUR AWARD
Winner: Amma Serwah Boateng, Co-founder, Destra Energy Group (Ghana)
SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR AWARD
Winner: Rita Stryker, CEO, Willette Safehouse (Liberia)
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Winner: Daisy Mmabatho Molefhi, Founder and Vice Chancellor, ABM University College (Botswana)
AWIEF Awards 2020 featured also the 2020 APO Group African Women in Media Award with Zimbabwean journalist Debra Matabvu emerging as the winner.
AWIEF2020 sponsors and partners included: Nedbank, Afreximbank, AGRA, USAID, APO Group, UNDP, and WESGRO.