Meet the Top 20 Inspirational Women of the African Diaspora Professional Women  (ADIPWO) list 2024


Welcome to the 11th edition of the Top 20 Inspirational Women from the African Diaspora Professional Women (ADIPWO), a list published to mark 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 for 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 inspiration.

Here are the Top 20 Inspirational Women from the African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe (ADIPWO) 2024.


News Release in English & French



The Top 20 Inspirational Women of the African Diaspora Professional Women in Europe (ADIPWE) list 2024


HE Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, Founder & President of ADDI, Zimbabwe | USA

Champion of Africa’s Renaissance

Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao is the founder of the African Diaspora Development Institute (ADDI). As the former African Union Ambassador to the United States, she has been instrumental in promoting the significance of the African diaspora and leveraging their potential to drive Africa’s growth. Dr. Arikana is celebrated for her efforts to inspire economic liberation and political reforms across African nations. She emphasizes the importance of African unity and the strategic harnessing of the continent’s vast resources for its advancement.


Dédé Rose Gamélé Creppy, Nana Benz, Togo

Textile Mogul’s Legacy

Dédé Rose Gamélé Creppy, was one of west Africa’s most influential wax cloth traders. She was the youngest, of the legendary “Nana Benz” — a term coined for the first generation of women cloth traders in Togo. Her work not only made her one of West Africa’s most influential figures in the textile industry but also served as a beacon of female empowerment and economic success in the African community. Maman Creppy died in June 2023 aged 88 but her legacy is preserved in her daughter Yvette Sivomey’s work.


Aya Gertrude Konan, Airline Pilot, Cote d’Ivoire

From Cabin to Cockpit
Aya Gertrude Konan is Cote d’Ivoire first female commercial pilot, having transitioned from a flight attendant to a first officer at Air Côte d’Ivoire, flying the Airbus A320. Her remarkable journey in the aviation industry began in 2013, and after rigorous training, she became the only woman among 15 selected from about 1500 candidates. Gertrude’s perseverance and achievements inspire many in the African community, demonstrating that barriers can be overcome with determination and passion​​​​.


Dr Juliet Ehimuan, Founder Beyond Limits, Nigeria

Empowering Africa Through Innovation

Dr Juliet Ehimuan has significantly impacted the tech landscape in Africa. She has shaped the digital future of the continent through her leadership roles, notably as Google’s Country Director for Nigeria and Director for West Africa. As a thought leader and advocate for personal growth and leadership development, her book “30 Days of Excellence” inspires individuals to achieve their full potential and positively impact their communities.


Josephine Anan-Ankomah, Managing Director of Ecobank Kenya, Ghana Elevate women through finance

Josephine Anan-Ankomah is the Managing Director of Ecobank Kenya Limited and oversees Ecobank’s operations in 18 countries across Central, East, & Southern Africa. With a rich 30-year career in banking, she’s known for strategic and investment banking innovations, significantly aiding African SMEs and corporates towards sustainability. Josephine is also a champion for women’s empowerment, founding Ellevate by Ecobank to support women-led businesses and SheBlooms, offering scholarships and mentorship to girls in Gambia, showcasing her dedication to nurturing future female leaders.


Dr Joy Buolamwini, Founder Algorithmic Justice League, Ghana | USA

AI Bias Buster

Dr Joy Buolamwini is a computer scientist and digital activist renowned for her work on highlighting and combating bias in artificial intelligence (AI). She founded the Algorithmic Justice League (AJL), an organization dedicated to challenging bias in decision-making software through art, advocacy, and research. Through her work, including her TED Talk, ” the “poet of code” seeks to create a world with more equitable and accountable technology. Her efforts have not only led to changes in how companies approach AI but also to a broader understanding of the ethical considerations necessary in the development and deployment of AI technologies.


Mariam Issoufou Kamara, Architect, Niger | USA

Shaping Sustainable Africa

Mariam Issoufou Kamara is a Nigerien architect renowned for her innovative approach in architecture that merges traditional materials and techniques with contemporary design. Mariam transitioned from computer science to architecture and explored gender issues in Niger’s public spaces, showcasing her commitment to socially responsive architecture from the outset. She founded Atelier Masōmī in 2014, an architecture and research firm in Niger that focuses on creating spaces that promote local narratives, sustainability, and community involvement.

Mariam’s dedication to using architecture as a tool for social change is celebrated for its activism-based approach, creating jobs, and preserving local cultures through design.


Georgiana Viou, Michelin Star Chef, Benin | France

Blending Cultures on a Plate

Michelin-starred chef Georgiana Viou is pushing boundaries in African cuisine and bringing the taste of Benin to France. Her unique culinary experience has not only won her critical acclaim but also a coveted Michelin Star for her restaurant “Rouge” in Nîmes, France, in 2023. She moved to Paris with dreams of becoming an interpreter but found her calling in the kitchen, despite the challenges of entering the culinary world as a self-taught chef and a Black African woman in a predominantly male industry. Georgiana views her profession not just as a job but as a medium for storytelling and cultural expression​​​​​​.


Ama Amo-Agyei, Founder & CEO of Plantmade, Ghana | UK

Trailblazer in Natural Wellness

Ama Amo-Agyei founded Plantmade after being fired from her job just before covid 19. Ama’s resilience and creativity enabled her to transform a challenging personal situation into a thriving business with a turnover of £6.2M in under three years. She founded a wellness brand that specialises in natural hair care products. With a modest initial investment, she leveraged her personal experiences with hair loss and breakage to create hand-made, plant-based solutions that quickly gained popularity. Ama exemplifies the power of innovation, resilience and unconventional approach to business in building a brand that resonates with consumers.


Maureen Ayité, Founder of Nanawax, Benin | France

Empowering African Style

Maureen Ayité, has made significant strides in the African fashion industry through her brand, Nanawax. Despite initially not envisioning a career in fashion, her creation of a Facebook group to share her passion for loincloth outfits quickly evolved into a successful enterprise. The brand, inspired by her grandmother’s trade as a loincloth seller, resonates with many for its innovative and stylish approach to traditional African textiles. Maureen’s impact extends beyond fashion with her philanthropic efforts, including organizing fundraisers on Instagram for needy children and supporting flood victims. Her leadership and innovative use of social media have made her one of the most influential African entrepreneurs of her generation.


Aminata Dramane Traoré, Socio-cultural Activist, Mali

Championing Socio-Economic Justice in Africa

Aminata Dramane Traoré, a socio-cultural activist, politician and writer, has significantly contributed to Africa through her alter-globalization activism, challenging neoliberal policies detrimental to Mali and the continent. Her tenure as Minister of Culture and Tourism and her scholarly work, including critical essays on the impacts of global financial institutions on Africa, highlight her commitment to advocating for socio-economic justice and sustainable development. She advocates for an endogenous development strategy, encouraging Africans to reclaim their history through renewed pride and cultural rediscovery.


Leila Doukali, President AFEM, Morocco     

Empowering Moroccan Women in Business

Leila Doukali has led the Association of Women Business Leaders of Morocco (AFEM) since 2019. She has been instrumental in addressing challenges faced by women in business, including lack of training and funding. Aware of the low-female representation in the entrepreneurship sector, Leila is trying to address this issue. Her leadership in AFEM focuses on empowering women entrepreneurs to achieve greater success by creating jobs, unlocking opportunities, and developing infrastructure.


Francine NTOUMI, Founder & President of FCRM, Republic of Congo | France

Pioneering Infectious Disease Research in Africa

Francine Ntoumi is a trailblazer in parasitology from the Republic of Congo, specialising in malaria and expanding into other infectious diseases research, including COVID-19. She is the Founder, President and Executive Director of the Congolese Foundation for Medical Research (FCRM). As the first African to lead the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria’s secretariat, she has significantly contributed to public health research in Africa. Francine is also a leading advocate for more women in science in Africa.


Fatoumata BÂ, VC & Founder of Janngo Capital, Sénégal | France

Tech for good & inclusive social impact

Fatoumata Bâ, is a tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist. At Jumia, Africa’s first e-commerce unicorn, she served as Founder & CEO in Cote d’Ivoire & Managing Director in Nigeria. Fatoumata established Janngo, a social incubator dedicated to nurturing African startups with a focus on supporting women entrepreneurs. Janngo’s mission is to address the significant job and seed capital shortages in Africa by investing in women-led businesses, aiming to foster successful female business leaders and reduce the gender funding gap.


Linda Dounia Rebeiz, Artist-Designer, Senegal | Liban

Visionary Artist and AI Innovator

Linda Dounia Rebeiz is a transdisciplinary artist and designer artist who is committed to championing diversity in the rapidly evolving field of AI.  Linda’s work lies at the intersection of art and artificial intelligence which allow her to create AI art that reflects her personal vision. Linda’s art not only challenges existing biases and stereotypes within AI but also captures the essence of Senegal’s vibrant landscapes and rich history, promoting diversity and questioning global south representations, setting a significant precedent in the intersection of art, technology, and social justice.


Kate Kallot, CEO and founder of Amini, Kenya

Driving Africa’s Data Revolution

Kate Kallot, a pioneering technologist, has made significant strides in advancing technology access across emerging economies. As the Founder & CEO of Amini, an AI startup aimed at solving Africa’s data scarcity by constructing its data infrastructure, Kate has been instrumental in delivering innovative technology solutions with substantial social impact. Her career has spanned various roles at global tech giants such as NVIDIA, Intel, and Arm, where she has led initiatives to expand AI ecosystems and foster inclusive technological advancements. Through Amini, Kate aims to make a lasting impact by enhancing technology capacity and fostering sustainable development on the continent.


Grace Mabogo Thovhakale, Founder of Tiger Build Group, South Africa

From Teacher to Cement Mogul

Grace Mabogo Thovhakale is the owner of Tiger Build Group, a cement blending company in Gauteng, South Africa. Starting as a soft drink seller to fund her education, Grace transitioned from teaching to establishing her own business in a male-dominated industry. Her success showcases her tenacity and vision, making significant strides as the only female owner in the South African cement industry. She is passionate about empowering women and youth in entrepreneurship, aiming to extend her influence beyond South African borders.


Farana Boodhram, Inventor & CEO of Avita Mining, South Africa

Pioneering Equality and Innovation in Mining and Education

Farana Boodhram is an entrepreneur and innovator, recognised for her pioneering leadership in the logistics and mining industry. She is the Founder and CEO of Avita Mining and MiDesk Global and Managing Director of Forever Farana Coveralls. Farana has significantly contributed to the industry by designing and patenting the world’s first protective garment for women working underground. She invented MiDesk, a revolutionary wheelie school bag that transforms into a desk and chair with a solar light, addressing the needs of millions of children in rural areas lacking basic school furniture. Farana is driven by a mission to eradicate poverty and create equitable opportunities.


Rita Isiba, Executive Director at ZARA, Nigeria | Austria

Bridging Cultures, Fostering Engagement

Rita Isiba is a visionary leader, Managing Director at ZARA (Austrian Association for Civil Courage and Anti-Racism Work). She is celebrated for her expertise in fostering an inclusive culture and engagement, with a mission focused on multiplying global mindsets. Rita is also the founder of Aphropean Partners, a platform through which she advances engagement for team cohesion and workplace inclusion. Her work, particularly across Africa and Europe, leverages her expertise to foster an inclusive culture, emphasising the importance of civil courage and anti-racism efforts.


Mariam Tendou Kamara, Founder & MD BAANTOU, Guinea| Pan Africa

Champion of Pan-African Progress

Mariam Tendou Kamara is a multifaceted social entrepreneur with deep roots in Guinea, Senegal, Congo DR, and Liberia.  This visionary leader transcends borders to fuel Africa’s development. Mariam is the Founder & Managing Director BAANTOU also heads BAANTOU, an agency specializing in public relations and digital communications. She co-founded WAFRICA (Women of Africa), leading campaigns across Africa to promote gender equality and empower women. Mariam believes in the power of good people and a brighter future for Africa, inspiring many with her passion for breaking frontiers and achieving excellence.



African Diaspora Professional Women (ADIPWO) is an online forum that aims to:

  • Celebrate the success of African Women across the 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’s rebranding and development by identifying opportunities to transfer the vast 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 ADIPWO 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  (ADIPWO), a list started in 2011 to feature the achievements of African women in their host countries and on the continent.

Francine is an award-winning digital & change strategist, business advisor, specialist in corporate and personal branding. She helps entrepreneurs, CEOs, corporate executives, and governments in their digital communication strategy, management of their personal and professional brand to increase their visibility, better reach their target audience, and improve their profitability in order to have a greater impact.

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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