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[Introduction by Oni Aningo, Executive Director and Founder, Global Group Media and Creator, Rising Women Series.]

This edition of Rising Woman Africa celebrates visionaries, leaders, entrepreneurs, and creatives across the continent who have thrived within their families, communities, and businesses, even during a global pandemic.

Their individual efforts have impacted Africa’s political, social, and economic developments, along with the arts, healthcare, finance, and other sectors. As the continent continues to heal from the pandemic, these changemakers have taken initiative to forge ahead. 

[A note from Oni Aningo, Executive Director and Founder, Global Group Media and Creator, Rising Women Series: This article is dedicated to the late Ezim Julia Egbuagu-Ugwu, whose legacy as a business leader and humanitarian continues. Committed to her community, she was the founding Pastor at Everlasting Love Assembly, Lagos and served as the Global President of the Anglican Girl's Grammar School Awkunano Old Girls Association until she passed. Following her death in 2020, 1952.Africa was set up as a safe space for African artistssupporting creatives to create their own paths out of poverty. ]   

Kanayo Awani, M.D., Intra-African Trade Initiative, Afreximbank, Egypt/Nigeria

Awani leads the implementation of the Intra-African Trade strategy as well as the support for the African Continental Free Area. In 2020, Awani was named one of the Most Influential People of African Descent by that organization (MIPAD).

Ngozi Ekeoma, M.D., Nepal Oil & Gas Ltd, Nigeria

[See photo, top of page]:
Ekeoma expands operations of trading, supply, and production support in down and mid-sub-sectors of the petroleum industry. In 2020 she built The Abia Centre, a certified 50-bed medical center in her hometown to serve Covid-19 patients.

Anaiah Bewa, Director, External Affairs, Vodacom, Democratic Republic of Congo

Bewa brings over 20 years of experience in France and the DR Congo in both private and public sectors, particularly in managing organizations and country programs.

Chief Adenike Olumide-Emmanuel, CEO, Adenike Selah Foods and Products Limited, and Chief Formulator, Shea Baby Brand, Nigeria

Adenike manages Adenike Selah Foods and Products Limited, which specializes in organic and natural products, including their hero product, Shea Baby.  

Graça Machel, former First Lady, South Africa and Mozambique, and Founder, Graça Machel Trust

Machel is an African stateswoman whose work is rooted in advocating for global health, child welfare, women's rights, and empowerment. She is recognized as one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people. 

Dr. Monisola Adanijo, Co-Founder, Naveen Healthcare, Nigeria

Dr. Adanijo is a cardiologist with 22 years of experience working as a doctor. She is also a wife, a mom, a fitness enthusiast, a speaker, mentor, and a medical philanthropist.

Onyinye Ikenna-Emeka, GM, Enterprise Marketing, MTN Nigeria PLC, Nigeria

With over 22 years of experience in telecommunications and logistics, Onyinye oversees effective commercial models and helps nurture new business lines into mature revenue-generating and sustainable engines.

Olufunto 'Funto' Boroffice, Founder and CEO, Chanja Datti Nigeria/USA

Funto has created a platform to promote circular economy. She has created over 200 green jobs and has diverted over 4,500 tons of waste from landfills.

Dr. Ngozi Onyia, Managing Director and Founder, Paelon Memorial Hospital, Nigeria

Onyia is the founding partner for Paelon Memorial Hospital—the first hospital in Africa to achieve a Level 5 in the Safe Care Quality Improvement Process.

Kavita Chellaram, Founder, Arthouse Contemporary and kó Gallery, Nigeria

Chellaram, an avid art collector, founded the Arthouse Foundation, a non-profit artist residency program in Lagos supporting more than 30 artists.

Tucci Goka Ivowi, CEO and Founding Member, Ghana Commodity Exchange, Ghana

Ivowi is an international business leader with over 20 years' experience in marketing and general business management in over 20 countries. Prior to the GCX, she served as Managing Director, Business Executive Officer, and Marketing Communications Director for 22 countries for Nestlé.

Jane Muigai Kamphuis, Founder and Director, The Toolkit iSkills, Ltd, Kenya

Through TTI, Kamphuis helps unemployed Kenyan youths gain skills and find work placements in construction, infrastructure, renewable energy, agriculture, and ICT sectors.

Sihame Arbib, CEO, Victory Capital, France/Morocco

Arbib created Victory Capital, a consulting firm in public affairs and business development focused on countries in Europe-Mena-Africa. 

Eliane Munkeni Kiekie, Managing Partner and Founder, ACF & Associates, Democratic Republic of Congo

Kiekie’s expertise includes auditing and statutory audit, management and finance, chartered accountancy, tax solutions, and training development.

Dr. Kemi DaSilva, Founder, Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF), Nigeria

Dr. DaSilva is an OBGYN specialist and public health professional. She founded WARIF, a nonprofit that tackles the issues of gender-based violence, rape, and trafficking of young girls and women in communities across Nigeria.

Rashmi Sharma, CEO, Jewel of Africa, Zambia

Sharma is an FGA gemologist and the designer behind Jewel of Africa, whose mission is to hand-craft beautiful, ethically sourced jewelry made in Zambia. 

Oby Iheme Okwuanakwe, Founder, Cutest Gifts Ever Ltd, Nigeria

Iheme is the founder of a premium corporate gift store and also serves as the executive director of Jeks Nigeria Limited, an indigenous engineering and procurement company.

Nneka Stephanie Eke, Chief Operating Officer, Nepal Oil & Gas Ltd, Nigeria

Eke manages the day-to-day trade operations of Nepal Oil & Gas. She also maintains relationships with clients, other industry players, and regulators.

Fade Ogunro, Founder and CEO, Bookings Africa, Nigeria

Ogunro is an ambitious and visionary techpreneur with experience spanning journalism to television executive producer roles during her 15-year career.

Sandra Ejang, CEO, Western Silk Road and Azza Naturals, Uganda

Ejang is the CEO of Western Silk Road, which provides households with technical skills for beekeeping and zero-interest microfinance loans for hives.

Esther Akinnukawe, Chief Human Resources Officer, MTN Nigeria Communications PLC, Nigeria

Akinnukawe provides people management leadership for MTN Nigeria. She has over 27 years experience spanning the banking, education, and telecommunication sectors.

Mary Concilia Anchang Onambele, Founding Chair, The African Chamber of Trade and Commerce; Managing Partner, Onambele-Anchang & Associates Law, Cameroon

Onambele is the first African lawyer in French-speaking African member nations accredited to practice intellectual property law. In 2006, she became the first African female member of the ICC International Court of Arbitration of the Paris-based International chamber of Trade and Commerce. 

Bukky George Taylor, Founder and CEO, Robert Taylor Media Ltd, Nigeria

Taylor is the founder of one of Africa’s leading communications agencies and the cofounder of Africa’s first social calendar app, CRAWL.

Hiwot Yohannes, Founder, Askalite Formula, USA/Ethiopia

Yohannes is an Ethiopian American pharmacist who traveled to over 50 countries investigating skin care concerns of people of color. Subsequently, she developed Askalite Formula, an innovative, premium skincare company dedicated to solving the concerns for skin of color by using proprietary ancient Ethiopian ingredients. 

Dedo Kofi, Owner, Adeko Ltd., Ghana

Dedo leads a full-service advertising agency, Adeko Minds, as well as Niche Expressions, a luxury brands mini department store. She is also the Country Lead in Ghana for Luxuria Lifestyle International magazine. As a coach Dedo teaches people who are looking to launch and scale their businesses. 

Ezinne Nwazulu, Retail Business Manager, Nepal Oil & Gas Services, Nigeria

Nwazulu provides business strategy, supervision, and advisory support to all the retail subsidiaries under Nepal Oil & Gas. She launched 234Finance, a media platform that bridges the gap between investors and investment opportunities across Africa, serving 12,000-plus startups, investors, and strategic partners.

Chantal Pembe Abitbol, Founder and CEO, L’habitat Décor and FCP Foundation, Democratic Republic of Congo

Abitbol is an entrepreneur who founded L’habitat Décor, a furniture boutique. She also founded the Foundation of Chantal Pembe to promote reading and French fluency among children.

Tomie Balogun, Founder and CEO, Twelve, Nigeria

Tomie founded this fintech company to help millennials in Africa build investment portfolios in a way that lifts them out of poverty and contributes to economic growth. In three years, the TGIC community has facilitated $17 million-plus in investments across multiple SMEs in Africa.

Sacha Okoh, CEO, SO Aesthetic Makeup and Viva Boutique, Ghana:

Okoh is a makeup artist who launched SO Aesthetic Makeup and is the coowner of Viva Boutique, an African luxury boutique that curates collections across brands. 

Kavita Shourie, Guide, Aquarian Alchemy, Roots to Sky, and BloomBars, USA

Aquarian Alchemy is a conscious Shakti lifestyle connecting ritual arts of mothering and yoga. Roots to Sky Sanctuary is a collective of BIPOCs who bridge the matriarchal lines with indigenous wisdom. At Bloombars, Kavita is a Visionary towards a community art space for inclusivity of multi-generational education. 

Rania Elkalla, CEO, Shell Homage, Egypt

Elkalla is an integrated designer bringing innovation to material design. She created a new biodegradable composite material out of discarded egg and nutshells as a replacement for oil-based plastics.

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