Meet the Top 20 Inspirational Women of the African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe (ADIPWE) list 2021

Welcome to the 8th edition of the Top 20 Inspirational Women from the African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe (ADIPWE), a list published to mark the International Women’s Day and celebrate the achievements of some of the most inspiring women from Africa both in the Diaspora and on the continent.

These women are being celebrated for their achievements and by putting Africa on the global map.

There is no particular ranking for this list compiled using nominations from the members of the public, internet sources and personal.

Here are the Top 20 Inspirational Women from the African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe (ADIPWE) 2021

Download the pdf version – 2021 List of the top 20 Inspirational Women from the African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe (ADIPWE)

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Nigeria | USA | Politics

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the first woman and the first African to hold the office. She is an international development expert, former minister and sits on the boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, and the African Risk Capacity (ARC).

Previously, Okonjo-Iweala spent a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, scaling the ranks to the number two position of managing director, operations. She also served two terms as finance minister of Nigeria. She was the first woman to serve as the country’s finance minister, the first woman to serve in that office twice, and the only finance minister to have served under two different presidents. In 2005, Euromoney named her global finance minister of the year.



Sanda Ojiambo

Kenya| USA| NGO

Sanda Ojiambo is the new director of UN global compact. Her job is to lead the Global Compact in its next phase, mobilize a global movement of sustainable companies and stakeholders, and bring the full weight of the private sector to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Sanda served as Head of Sustainable Business and Social Impact at Safaricom PLC, in Kenya, as Senior Manager of the Safaricom and MPESA Foundations during which time she led the implementation of several public-private partnership initiatives between Safaricom and United Nations entities.


Zeinab Badawi

Sudan | UK| Media

Zeinab Badawi is a television and radio journalist. She was the first presenter of the ITV Morning News, and co-presented Channel 4 News before joining BBC.

In November 2009 she was named International TV Personality of the Year by the Association for International Broadcasting in the Annual Media Awards. She was named in Powerlist 2012 and 2015 as one of Britain’s top 100 most influential members of the black community.

Zeinab is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for Africa. Through her own production company, she has produced and presented many programmes, including currently the TV series of Africa’s history.


Laila Chiadmi

Morroco | Spain | Engineering & Science

Laila Chiadmi, PhD in Pharmacy is president and founder of the Association of Foreign Researchers, AINVEX and member of Techne Research Group, University Granada-Spain. Laila has dedicated her life to scientific research to the service of society and has received several awards and distinctions at an international level and has written several scientific articles in specialized publications. 

She organizes cultural trips every year for the benefit of researchers and new generations of the Moroccan community.


Ukonwa Kuzi-Orizu Ojo

Nigeria | USA| Corporate 

Ukonwa Kuzi-Orizu Ojo is the Global Chief Marketing Officer, Prime Video and Amazon Studios. She is an award-winning marketer with two-decade track record as a builder of top global brands. Prior to joining Amazon, Ojo was CMO at M∙A∙C Cosmetics.

Ukonwa struggled in her early career to progress through the corporate ladder as a woman of colour. But she has successfully found her place in billion-dollar companies where she can confidently and unapologetically be herself. She advocates and encourages young women to be their authentic selves at work. She is a strong champion for diversity and inclusion.

She has been recognized with over 50 awards and honors including Black Enterprise’s 25 Women Changing the World. 


Evelyne Tall

Senegal | Finance 

Evelyne Tall is Founder & Chairman at E. & Partners. She is one of the top names in Finance in Africa, having spent 36 years contributing to the growth of a Pan African Bank in 34 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

She has since embarked on financial strategy consulting with the aim of creating new champions through investment mobilization. Evelyne is also passionate about the developments across Africa and the role of women in the financial world.

Her biggest lesson in life: With expertise and ethics you can get top jobs. But it’s a journey that requires resilience and courage.


Wassila Kara Ibrahimi

Morocco | France| Entrepreneurship

Wassila Kara Ibrahimi is the founder of Bil consulting, a business leader, and an active advocate for women. This activist entrepreneur created the first women’s club HR in Morocco, a network founded primarily to change the prejudices of recruiters and facilitate women’s access to leadership positions. She has served two terms in a row as vice-president of Afem (Association of women entrepreneurs in Morocco) where she gave a boost to the country’s female entrepreneurs.

“Wassila is, in my opinion, the greatest campaigner for the emergence of women at the corporate level: whether the woman is an executive or a business leader.” Amal 


Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu

Nigerian| UK| Law 

Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu is a political & women’s rights activist. She scrutinizes government policies from a gender and diversity inclusion perspective and co-organises women’s marches and social campaigns. She founded the Women in Leadership publication as a platform to drive positive change on topical issues that impact women globally through inspiring personal leadership journeys.

She established She@LawTalks to promote women & BAME leadership in the legal profession through universities and secondary schools. 


Naomi Sesay 

Sierra Leone | UK| Media/Speaking  

Naomi Sesay is a Diversity & Inclusion expert, International Keynote Speaker, Corporate Trainer & Author. She is passionate about leadership and global transformation. Naomi is the CEO of Swiipe Wealth, an educational organisation with a drive to get as many people financially secure through creating passive income.

With over 20 years’ experience in television and media, Naomi Sesay has devoted her career to serving as a powerful advocate for diversity and inclusion, and trail-blazer for social enterprise. 

Naomi’s signature workshop, The Law of Intention Experience, became the foundation for her book, The Human Upgrade. It has also led her to realise her dream of building a school in Matamp, Sierra Leone.


Bibusa Wißemann

Zambia | Germany | Entrepreneurship

Bibusa Wißemann is the founder & CE of Sensxafrica Consulting that plays a global role in enabling African entrepreneurs by supporting them with business skills, education, network and mentoring. She is also a business communication expert as well as a global Investment and IT Solution Consultant.

Her other expertise is in renewable sustainable energy, social entrepreneurship and organising entrepreneur summits in Europe and Africa.  

“Bibusa is the embodiment of a true African woman, hardworking, determined and nurturing. Her work is centred on the development of the African continent.” Calvin


Kadidia V. Doumbia

Cote d’Ivoire | USA | Media

Kadidia V. Doumbia is the founder of the Manden Bakary Media and the editor in Chief of the Manden Magazine, an international online magazine with the goal to create a bridge between the African diaspora, the African-American community and people on the African continent to learn about each other. The magazine is bilingual, French and English, to reach out to a diverse population.

A frequent guest at the Voice of America French-speaking African Department, Kadidia is invited to speak about education and everyday life issues in the diaspora community in the United states of America. 


Vanessa Adande

Gabon | Social entrepreneurship

Vanessa Adande is the General Manager Ellipsis, Conseil. She worked in big consultancy firms in USA and France before coming back to her natal Gabon where she co-founded Ellipsis. She is dedicated to helping busines owners to master and optimise financial tools.

Vanessa has also created the Foundation Louise to support the fight against sickle cell disease and education initiatives in Gabon.


Maria Pedro Miala

Angola |The Netherlands | Social entrepreneurship

Maria Pedro Miala is a Nurse and founder of Tele-Saude Educativo. She noticed that the health system in Angola is very poor but there are not many doctors and nurse entrepreneurs who are trying to fix this problem. She started a telehealth platform to solve that problem. She is also one of the mentors of Founder Institute Virtual Luanda 2021 to promote and mentor young entrepreneurs with startups in the health sector to help them to grow and excel.

Maria is also a member of the Editorial Board at the Journal of Telemedicine Reports in Atlanta (USA) where they promote African researchers and encourage them to submit their work and be recognized on an international level. 



TOGO | Social entrepreneurship

Eco-architect and urban planner for sustainable cities, Essi Farida Geraldo is a Woman Leader. She is committed to protecting the environment through her international Youth Architect Community (YAC) program which trains in green leadership and entrepreneurship. She has initiated and executed many social projects for rural areas.

Essi is the Togo Member of Parliament for the State of African Diaspora and is the author of an inspiring leadership book written on her return from Chicago entitled “How I Met the OBAMA Couple”.

“I consider Madame Geraldo to be a heroine because in just a few months since I joined her association Youth Architect Community, I have changed my perception of my surrounding environment.” Lynx


Josiane Faubert 

Gabon | USA | Entrepreneurship

Josiane Faubert is the creative behind PICHA Stock, an Afrocentric visual marketplace. PICHA offers a curated selection of high-quality Afrocentric visuals to be used in different ways.

Photography led Josiane to PICHA Stock with the mission to provide representative and authentic visuals of Afrocentric communities that marketers can use on their campaign and in advertising.

With her passion for authentic images and visual representation, she is a catalyst for changing the widely accepted one-dimensional narratives of Afrocentric communities interested in redefining Afrocentric visual stories. 


Souadou Niang 

Senegal | Entrepreneurship 

Ex-housekeeper in a renowned hotel in the USA, Souadou Niang has now become the owner of her own luxury hotel, with 60 employees and 80% of women.

Souadou rose through the ranks whilst studying and became one of the hotel managers. With this experience, she returned to her country, Senegal, to create her own boutique hotel. From a very young age, Souadou was passionate about management. She wanted to start her own business and prove that African women are capable of achieving big projects and she did it. Today, she aspires to conquer Africa and the world.


Ebere Akadiri

Nigeria | Netherland | Entrepreneur 

Ebere Akadiri is an entrepreneur, leadership and business strategist and founder of Rise and Lead Europe. She writes and speaks about entrepreneurship, leadership and gender diversity and inclusion.

Arriving in a new country with a different culture, different language, zero networks, and not knowing where to start, Ebere restarted her career from scratch. Refusing to give up on her dream, she launched a food business then reinvented herself and launched a new business. She is now the founder of the Rise and Lead movement to increase women’s representation in leadership positions in the workplace and the marketplace.

She is passionate about Africa and her country Nigeria and recently co-founded FEM-START Africa in Nigeria to boost the entrepreneurship ecosystem.


Rokhaya Diallo 

Senegal | France | Media 

Rokhaya Diallo is a journalist, writer and award-winning filmmaker, widely recognized for her work in favor of racial, gender and religious equality.

In 2007, she co-founded the INDIVISIBLES, the association that created the “‘Y A BON AWARDS”, an annual parody of the Academy Awards “honoring” French public personalities who made the most outrageous racist remarks during the year.
Rokhaya’s published works include “Racism: a guide” and How to talk to kids about racism. As a figure to be reckoned with in the public arena, Rokhaya is one of the rare women of her generation whose voice has become an integral part of the world of media.


Flavilla Fongang

Cameroon | UK | Entrepreneurship 

Flavilla Fongang is a Brand Strategist and founder of Colours Rule a Marketing Agency. She is also an Author, International Keynote Speaker, founder of TLA – Black Women in Tech & Tech Brains Talk Podcast Host. She was awarded the “She’s Mercedes” businesswoman award by Mercedes Benz.

Flavilla cares a lot about diversity and inclusion to provide more equal opportunities for the next generations. She was invited at The Palais de l’Elysée by the President of France and the President of Ghana to discuss business opportunities in Africa.


Amini Kajunju 

Democratic Republic of Congo | USA| NGO/Entrepreneurship

Amini Kajunju is the Executive director of the International University of Grand Bassam (IUGB), founder and CEO of the Bashi Group, an international consulting firm that support projects and investments in education and entrepreneurship in Africa. 

Amini was the first African to serve as President and CEO of the Africa-America Institute (AAI), a U.S.-based international organization that works to increase the capacity of African individuals and institutions through education, training and dialogue. 

She is passionate about connecting Africa and the United States. She also cares about promoting entrepreneurial education in schools and the entrepreneurial ecosystem necessary to create jobs and wealth for African nationals.




African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe (ADIPWE) is an online forum that aims to:

  • Celebrate the success of African Women in Europe (and in the global world including in Africa).
  • Give visibility to women who have achieved success in their own way but may still be unknown by the wider public.
  • Inspire the new generation of African Women and share ideas to make a difference (no matter how big or small it is).
  • Contribute to Africa rebranding and development by identifying opportunities to transfer the vast amount of knowledge gained outside the continent.

This forum is open to women of the African Diaspora and to anyone who has a passion for Africa development.

Join ADIPWE LinkedIn group with 400+ members to participate in the conversation.


About the Editor:

Francine Beleyi is the Editor and Founder of African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe (ADIPWE), a list started in 2011 to feature the achievements of African women in their host countries and on the continent. Francine is a bilingual, French-English, Digital Strategist, Business Advisor and expert in Personal Branding. She is the result of three cultures: Togolese, French & British and is passionate about the development of Africa and empowering people with digital literacy to take advantage of the opportunities in the digital economy.

She is the founder of nucleus of change, international speaker and award-winning author of the book ‘Personal branding in the digital age: How to become a known expert, thrive and make a difference in the connected world’. She hosts the podcast Meaningful Work, Meaningful Life available on iTunes, Spotify and Stitcher.


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