For the third consecutive year, the Women in Africa Summit was held in the golden city of Marrakesh. More than 550 people from 80 countries gathered in Moroccan city at the end of June. The theme of this year’s event was “how African women engage in the world and create a new paradigm.”
Founded by Aude de Thuin, and chaired by Hafsat Abiola, the Women in Africa (WIA) initiative is an international platform for economic development and mentoring of female African leaders with strong potential. This year, the “new paradigm” was symbolized by the attendance of Alaa Sahab, a 22 year old Sudanese student, known around the world as “Lady Liberty of Sudan” for making a speech during a demonstration asking for the establishment of a democratic and civil government in her country.
Personalities such as Awa Ndiaye Seck (Women ONU), Cathia Lawson Hall (Société Générale) , Viviane Onano (Leading Light Initiative), Swaady Martin (Yswara), Alyse Nelson (Vital Voices), Rokia Traoré (Chanteuse), Aïssata Diakité (Holding Zabaan), Francine Ntoumi, et Oby Ezekwesili (#BringBringBackOurGirls) participated in conversations on financial inclusion, women in sciences, the impact of climate change, development of female leadership, investment in the new generation of digital inventors, access to financial and agricultures markets for women, and questions of corruption and gender.
In addition, three sessions were dedicated to the way as Africa can revisit its commercial relationships with America, Asia and Europe. “We have to stop to think about charity when we are talking about women from Africa. The only message is women in the economy at the same level as men” added Aude de Thuin.
The weekend culminated with the WIA award ceremony, which rewarded 53 entrepreneurial women among 1,800 candidates. These awards went to entrepreneurial women with high potential who are creating the Africa of tomorrow. Among the winners, several were recognized for their own projects. For example, Ley Zoussi, from Congo-Brazzaville, won an award for her communitarian agricultural platform called “Complete Farmer.” This platform aims to pioneer innovative agribusiness solutions in Africa in order to secure sustainable livelihoods and improve food security across the continent. Corine Maurice Ouattara from the Ivory Coast was recognized for her Health Pass Mousso, a connected wristlet with the medical record of the wearer digitally stored on it.
The summit was a real success and the message is clear: dynamic African women must be supported. “Africa is the only region on earth where more women than men choose the entrepreneurial path,” said Frédéric Oudéa, executive director of the Société Général. African women are destinated to shape the future of the continent.