As ‘100 Women Creating A Better Africa’ Lists Okonjo-Iweala, Amina Mohammed, Mo Abudu, Liya Kebede, Others…

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By Onuwa Lucky Joseph

The 2021 class of the annual WeForGood 100 Women Creating a Better Africa was announced recently to sustained applause for those so recognized. And as expected, some perennial heavyweights made the list who will make any list of accomplished women worldwide; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Amina Mohammed, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liya Kebede, and Mo Abudu being a few of such names.

This year’s list was made against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic which has wreaked havoc as it streaked its way across countries of the world. Women, in their different capacities as health care workers, caregivers, community organisers and innovators have tended to be directly in the path of the pandemic and so have found themselves carrying even more burden than the usual overload they are used to on behalf of the rest of humanity.

Which is why according to Temitayo Ade-Peters, CEO of WeForGood, this year’s nominations were thrown open on the 9th of March, right after the International Women’s Day celebration which is commemorated on the 8th of March every year. This year’s list had Covid in mind and it was with a thought to honouring some of the trailblazing women whose efforts light the path and give women the courage to showcase their ingenuity on whatever stage they play in.

Mrs. Ade-Peters says it is her company’s way of celebrating, honouring and showcasing women making impact across various communities in Africa. “We are pleased with the makeup of the final list”, she said, adding that “we believe it will greatly inspire other women as it presents an incredible picture of women from different walks of life and at different stages of influence but with a common commitment to make Africa better for us and for the next generation”.

She said even though the final list could not exceed 100 in number, “each face on the picture collage represents thousands of women who continue to push the boundaries in their various fields to create a better Africa.”

Using the SDG Goals as benchmark, this writer teased out the number of names that were listed for distinction under the different goals. It was not surprising to see that Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) had the lion share of honorees with all of 25 names, a full one quarter of the list. Why it’s so? Easy. Women, long relegated to the lower rungs of the economy are moving in and moving up with, if you like, an aggressive vengeance. There’s real strength to their upward movement in matters economic. The 25 names so listed belong to the beacons, but behind them are thousands and hundreds of thousands and soon millions who are equally breaking glass ceilings and looking to do more than the manly in the economic space.

They are entrepreneurs building businesses, and running organisations and institutions. Those scoring consistently under Goal 8 include names like Tara Fela-Durotoye, Mo Abudu, Wendy Ackerman and Wendy Applebaum, (both from South Africa), Adenike Ogunlesi, Rawya Mansour from Egypt, Lydia Nsekera from Burundi, Fade Ogunro, and many others. It’s an energized movement of stalwart women with minds made up not just to do well for themselves and their families but even more for their gender and for humanity.

The SDG Goal with the second highest number of honorees on the WeForGood 100 Women Creating a Better Africa belong in Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. Women know, intuitively, that acclaim for individual progress is not enough. Until a system is institutionalized that makes women’s progress not a maybe but the norm, things can revert to the reviled old status quo in a heartbeat. And so 18 of the honorees are laboring assiduously in that particular Goal 8 vineyard, tweaking the details in their various countries so that what they leave behind would be much different from what they met.

Amina Mohammed is right on that list. Having done what she did with the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the MDGs, she spent but little time as Minister for the Environment before joining the UN where, at the highest level as Deputy Sec Gen, she can intervene on matters of global policy formulation that are then sold in as delicate and persuasive way as possible to the various governments especially those in the 3rd World who need more women participation in the national scheme of things.

Goal 8 also has stellar names like Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (DG, WTO), for whom not much can be said by way of introduction. She, by sheer force of will and brilliance has made of herself a worthy icon revered globally. Now she’s bent on ensuring as much equitability as possible in world trade. It’s a tough undertaking, but she’s known for her fearlessness and doggedness. The hope is that if she is able to succeed in this particular quest, Africa, especially, would, rather be a dumping ground, become also a veritable supplier of goods to the West and East and everywhere else.

Right after Goal 16 is Goal 3 with 16 honorees. It’s what the world knows women for: nurturing. Women have not moved away from that despite some noxious ideological expectations. Instead, a lot more women are having their play on this traditional turf of theirs, ensuring that their different countries and by extension, continents and the world is in better shape. Adana Chukwuma is an honoree here, as well as Angelina Makore of Zimbabwe, Edna Adan Ismali of Somalia, Glenda Gray of South Africa, and home girl Dolapo Fasawe, amongst others.

The other goals with good scorers were Goal 4 (Quality Education) with 9 honorees; Goal 5 (Gender Equality) with 8 names listed; Goal 9, (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) with 6 names and Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) with 5 names.

It was not so good to see Goal 6: (Clean Water and Sanitation) without any honorees. The same fate also befell Goals 14 (Life Below Water) and 15 (Life on Land). But it is to be expected. A lot of the names on the list are pioneers of sorts, helping to move the women of Africa away from solely domestic concerns to issues that are much larger than their nuclear homes but which impinge at the end on the day, on the wellbeing of Mama Africa and the different countries from which we hail.

Kudos to Temitayo and her team for a good job that can only get better. It would not be out of place to say that next year’s nominations should start a lot earlier and given wider publicity so that more of Africa can be represented on merit and based on measurable impact of the individuals. And in this day of the hybrid online cum physical meets, it would be nice to take this further by coming up with an event or series of events that get the younger ones to see and hear their role models, and to draw inspiration that helps the young ones push even further than the ones they look up to.

FULL LIST OF 100 WCBA

1-Abosede Alimi-Nigerian-Governance-GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

2-Ada Osakwe -Nigerian-Food and Agriculture -GOAL 2: Zero Hunger

3-Adana Chukwuma-Nigerian-Public Health-GOAL 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

4-Adaora Mbelu-Nigerian-Entrepreneurship -GOAL 4: Quality Education

5-Adejoke Lasisi-Nigerian-Entrepreneurship -GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

6-Adenike Akinsemolu-Nigerian-Public  Sector-GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

7-Adenike Ogunlesi-Nigerian-Entrepreneurship-GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

8-Adenike Oyetunde-Nigerian-Media-GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities

9-Afua Osei-Ghanaian-Media-Goal 5: Gender Equality

10-Amina .J. Mohammed-Nigerian-Activist-GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

11-Angeline Makore-Zimbabwe-Public Health-GOAL 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

12-Anino Emuwa-Nigerian-Business-Goal 8: Decent work and Economic Growth

13-Anita Erskine-Ghanaian-Media-GOAL 5: Gender Equality

14-Arunma Oteh-Nigerian-Education-GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

15-Ayoronke Tosin Yeye-Nigerian-Entrepreneurship-GOAL 4: Quality Education

16-Banke Kuku-Nigerian-Entrepreneurship-Goal 8: Decent work and Economic Growth

17-Bethlehem Dessie-Ethiopian-Technology-GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

18-Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola-Nigerian-Waste Management-GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

19-Bozoma Saint John-American-Business-GOAL 4: Quality Education

20-Chebet Lesan-Kenyan-Agrowaste-Goal 13: Climate Action

21-Chidi Koldsweat-Nigerian-NGO-GOAL 1: No Poverty

22-Chinwe Ohajuruka-Nigerian-Entrepreneurship -GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

23-Chioma Ukonu-Nigerian-Recycling-GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

24-Cima Sholotan-Nigerian-Social-GOAL 17: Partnership for the Goals

25-Comfort Alli-Nigerian-Education-GOAL 4: Quality Education

26-Damilola Solesi-Nigerian-Education-GOAL 4: Quality Education

27-Debola Deji-Kurunmi-Nigerian-Entrepreneurship -Goal 5: Gender Equality

28-Dena Grushkin-American-Education-GOAL 4: Quality Education

29-Dieynaba Sidibe-Senegal-Activist-Goal 5: Gender Equality

30-Dolapo Fasawe-Nigerian-Environment-GOAL 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

31-Edna Adan Ismali-Somalian-Education-GOAL 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

32-Ehime Eigbe-Akindele-Nigerian-Food and Agriculture-GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

33-Ellen Jhonson Sirleaf-Liberian-Education-GOAL 4: Quality Education

34-Eva Sonaike-Nigerian-Entrepreneurship -GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

35-Evelyn Namara Ugandan-FinTech-GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

36-Fade Ogunro-Nigerian-Business-GOAL8: Decent work and Economic Growth

37-Fatou Bensouda-Gambian-Activist-GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

38-Femi Olayebi-Nigerian-Entrepreneurship -GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

39-Fridah Githuku -Kenyan-Activist-GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

40-Glenda Gray-South Africa -Public health-GOAL 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

41-Hajer Sharief-Libyan-Activist-GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

42-Ijeoma Ndekwu-Nigerian-Business-GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

43-Ilwad Elman-Somalian-Activist-GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

44-Jennifer Riria-Kenyan-Social Sector-GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

45-Josina Ziyaya Machel -Mozambique-Activist-GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

46-Joycee Awosika-Nigerian-Business-GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

47-Judy Dlamini-South Africa -Activist-GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

48-Kiara Nirghin-South Africa -STEM Activist-GOAL 2: Zero Hunger

49-Kofo Akinkugbe-Nigerian-Business-GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

50-Lauren Dallas-South Africa -Entrepreneurship -Goal 5: Gender Equality

51-Liya  Kebede-Ethiopian-Public Health-GOAL 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

52-Lola Omolola -Nigerian-Activist-Goal 5: Gender Equality

53-Lydia Nsekera-Burundi-Business-GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

54-Magda Wierzycka-South Africa -Business-GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

55-Mamokgethi Phakeng-Senegal-Education-GOAL 4: Quality Education

56-Manka Angwafo-Cameroonian-Agribusiness-GOAL 1: No Poverty

57-Marlene-Joannie Bewa-Benin Republic-Activist-GOAL 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

58-Maya Horgan Famodu-Nigerian-Business-GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities

59-Melene Rossouw-South Africa -Activist-GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

60-Mo Abudu-Nigerian-Entrepreneurship -GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

61-Mories  Atoki-Nigerian-Public health-GOAL 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

62-Naomi Tulay-Solanke-Liberian-Public Health-GOAL 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

63-Ngozi Okonjo Iweala-Nigeran-Development-GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

64-Nimi Akinkugbe-Nigerian-Business-GOAL8: Decent work and Economic Growth

65-Nkem Okocha-Nigerian-Entrepreneurship-GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

66-Nkemdilim Begho-Nigerian-Technology-GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

67-Nneka Mobisson-Nigerian-Technology-GOAL 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

68-Nnenna Kalu Makanjuola-Nigerian-Public Health-GOAL 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

69-Obiageli Katryn Ezekwesili-Nigerian-Business-GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

70-Ola Brown-Nigerian-Public Health-GOAL 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

71-Olajumoke Adenowo-Nigerian-Entrepreneurship -GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

72-Olubukola  Asafa-Nigerian-Business-GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

73-Ommo Clark-Nigerian-Technology-GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

74-Omoyemi Akerele-Nigerian-Business-GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

75-Oyindamola Honey Oyediyi-Nigerian-Business-GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

76-Phumzile Mlambo-South Africa -Activist-GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

77-Phuthi Mahanyele-South Africa -Business-GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities

78-Precious Moloi Motsepe-South Africa -Public Health-GOAL 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

79-Rawya Mansour-Egypt-Activist-GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

80-Rebecca Enonchong-Cameroon-Technology-GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

81-Sahle-Work Zewde-Ethiopian-Politician-GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

82-Samira Haruna Sanusi-Nigerian-Activist-GOAL 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

83-Sia Alexander-Nigerian-Public Sector-GOAL 1: No Poverty

84-Tara Fela Durotoye-Nigerian-Business-GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

85-Temitope Okunnu-Nigerian-Climate change-Goal 13: Climate Action

86-Theresa Kachindamoto-Malawi-Activist-Goal 5: Gender Equality

87-Thuli Madonsela-South Africa -Activist-GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

88-Togola Hawa Semega-Mali-Activist-GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

89-Tosin Faniro-Dada-Nigerian-Entrepreneurship -GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

90-Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji-Nigerian-Entrepreneurship -GOAL 4: Quality Education

91-Uche Pedro-Nigerian-Business-GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

92-Ugochi Ugbomeh-Nigerian-Technology-GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

93-Vera Songwe-Cameroon-Business-GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

94-Wadi Ben-Hirki-Nigerian-Activist-GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

95-Waris Dirie-Somalian-Activist-Goal 5: Gender Equality

96-Wendy Ackerman-South Africa -Business-GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

97-Wendy Applebaum-South Africa -Business-GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

98-Wendy Luhabe-South Africa -Activist-GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

99-Yvonne Chaka Chaka-South Africa -Public health-GOAL 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

100-Zulaikha Patel-South Africa-Activist-GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

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