At a lavish awards ceremony held on Friday night in Kigali, Rwanda, the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) (www.AWIEForum.org) presented the winners of the 2023 AWIEF Awards.
This year, a number of remarkable and inspirational African women entrepreneurs succeeded in generating opportunities, improving lives and communities, and propelling Africa’s development. At the awards ceremony held at Kigali Convention Centre in Kigali, eight winners were declared from among the twenty-four strong female entrepreneurs and founders who had been chosen as top finalists in September by an impartial and international panel of judges. The 24 top finalists were female entrepreneurs from 14 African nations (Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe,Tunisia) who worked in a variety of areas.
The highly successful two-day AWIEF2023 Conference, which drew over 500 attendees from over 50 countries—41 of which were African—was capped off with the AWIEF Awards ceremony and gala dinner.
The AWIEF Awards honor, recognize, and celebrate exceptional female company owners and entrepreneurs in Africa and other industry sectors for their contributions to the continent’s economic growth and social development.
The inaugural AWIEF Lifetime Leadership Award was unveiled during this year’s event. FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura received this award in appreciation for her exceptional leadership and services to the sports industry. It was also a celebration of her inspirational influence and achievements on a worldwide level, as the first African, non-European, and female FIFA Secretary General in the organization’s 116-year history.
“Getting the first AWIEF Lifetime Leadership Award is such an honor. This honor is not just for me; it is for everyone who has given their best to our sport and assisted us in changing women’s football in recent years. They have left behind a wonderful legacy that includes a FIFA that is dedicated to football, a sport that delights and uplifts boys and girls worldwide, and a FIFA that is acknowledged by international organizations,” Ms. Samoura stated.
“We have given more girls and women the chance to play football, even in countries where it would have been considered almost impossible only a few years ago.”
In addition, Ms. Samoura encouraged women to “invest in African football” because it has a lot of unrealized potential in her acceptance speech.
“Then obviously, you women need to invest in football,” she remarked. If, by the next Women’s World Cup, at least a few of you call me and say, “Madam, because we saw you in Rwanda and decided to invest in football, today we are club owners,” I will be retiring in peace in my lovely country of Senegal. Now that you have so many talents, the ball is in your court to make it happen.
One thing to keep in mind is that football holds great promise for Africa and for fostering global peace. Football is a global sport that unites people, spreads love, and opens minds. It also crosses national boundaries.
Founder and CEO of AWIEF, Irene Ochem, stated during the opening remarks of the gala dinner and AWIEF Awards 2023 ceremony that “Fatma Samoura has shown exceptional leadership in such a male-dominated sector as sports, and in particular, football.” We are genuinely thrilled to honor and celebrate her tonight because she serves as an inspiration to other women. The AWIEF Awards 2023 Winners are:
- YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR AWARD – Salamba Diene, CEO, Biosene Sarl, Senegal
- TECH ENTREPRENEUR AWARD – Kidist Tesfaye, Founder & CEO, YeneHealth, Ethiopia
- AGRI ENTREPRENEUR AWARD – Nonopa Tenza, Founder & MD, Kevinot Farming, South Africa
- ENERGY ENTREPRENEUR AWARD – Ifeoma Malo, Co-Founder & CEO, Clean Technology Hub, Nigeria
- CREATIVE INDUSTRY AWARD – Yasmina Belahsen, Founder, MayaDigital, Morocco
- SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR AWARD – Mundih Noelar Njohjam, Medical Doctor, Epilepsy Awareness, Aid & Research Association, Cameroon
- EMPOWERMENT AWARD – Zulfat Makarubega, Founder, University of Tourism, Technology & Business Studies, Rwanda
- LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD – Dalia Ibrahim, CEO, Nahdet Misr Publishing House, Egypt
- Ecobank was AWIEF Awards 2023 sponsor for the Empowerment Award category.