AWIEF 2020 Programme


AWIEF2020 is a two-day virtual event featuring leading high-profile keynotes, a ministerial panel, industry stakeholder panels, fireside chats, masterclasses, exhibition, AWIEF Pitch n Grow/Demo, the AWIEF Awards, and of course, networking opportunities.

Event Schedule

09:45 – 10:00

Opening ceremony

MC – Leanne Manas, Broadcast Anchor/TV Presenter, SABC

Opening remarks

Irene Ochem, AWIEF Founder and CEO

10:00 – 10:25

Opening Keynote

 H. E. Lana Marks, Ambassador of the United States to the Republic of South Africa

10:30 – 11:25

In conversation with African business leaders

COVID-19, a global pandemic of the century, has turned the world upside down. Global economies, from developed to the developing world, have been hit very hard. What have been the greatest impacts, challenges, and opportunities? We must rebuild fast and differently. We must reimagine structures, leadership, and policies. What can and must we do differently or better to put the continent on a stronger footing and return to a path of sustainable development? Speakers deeply versed in African economies will highlight the identified structural problems and how to reimagine and rebuild better.

  • Kunle Elebute, Senior Partner, KPMG Nigeria and Chair, KPMG Africa

  • Aida Diarra, SVP and Head of VISA Sub-Saharan Africa

  • James Mwangi, Executive Director, Dalberg Group

  • Robyn de Villiers, Chairman and CEO Africa, Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW)

Pratibha (Pat) Thaker, Editorial Director, Middle East and Africa, The Economist Intelligence Unit

11:30 – 12:25

Reimagining investment and accelerating gender-lens investing for impact – How to make entrepreneurship work better

One of the biggest challenges facing early-stage businesses and, in a particular way, women-owned businesses, is the lack of investment opportunities to grow and scale. COVID-19 has disproportionately affected women-owned ventures. How do we fund the recovery or finance entrepreneurs out of the pandemic? As concerns about inequality and financial inclusion become increasingly urgent, many investors are eager to generate both business and social returns. They want to “do well by doing good”. Impact investing – directing capital to businesses that are expected to yield social and environmental benefits as well as profits – and gender lens investing are becoming more and more critical and fast-evolving.

  • Dorothy Nyambi, President and CEO, MEDA, Canada

  • Toyin Sanni, Group CEO, Emerging Africa Capital Group and Chairperson, Women in Finance Nigeria

  • Monica Delores Hooks, Executive Director, Atlanta’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI), USA

  • Marieme Ester Dassanou, Coordinator, Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA), African Development Bank (AFDB)

Ononuju Irukwu, Head, Private Banking, FBN Bank UK

12:30 – 12:55


H. E. Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

13:00 – 13:55

Rebuilding in Africa: The bridging role of technology

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated progress in digital transformation and digital economy expansion in Africa. Findings indicate technology has fundamentally changed business and is set to play an even much larger role in key growth sectors such as agriculture, education, healthcare, e-commerce, and ICT. We are going to see an increased adoption of homegrown innovations and technologies. How then do we create stronger structures and policies to build innovation resilience? How do we foster and support inclusivity in innovation and technology, including removing barriers and addressing the gender gap in access to connectivity, data, and digital learning?

  • Cathy Smith, Managing Director, SAP Africa

  • Vanessa Adams, VP Strategic Partnerships and Chief of Party, Alliance for a Green Revolution (AGRA)

  • Jonathan Smit, Founder and Managing Director, PayFast

  • Katya Blouin, Chief Business Officer, APO Group

  • Anino Emuwa, Founder and Managing Director, Avandis Consulting

  • Steven Pope, VP, Head of Go Trade, Deutsche Post DHL Group

Justin Norman, Founder and Host, The Flip Africa

14:00 – 14:20


Networking Sessions

14:20 - 14:30

Keynote remarks

Keisha Lance Bottoms, Mayor of Atlanta

14:30 – 15:00


Landry Signé, Senior Director and Full Professor, Thunderbird School of Global Management, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution’s Global Economy and Development Program,  Distinguished Fellow, Standford University’s Center for African Studies

15:00 – 15:55

Regional food trade in the era of COVID-19: State of play for women and lessons for building back better

Despite recent re-opening of economies across the continent, women traders still experience the knock-on effects from the pandemic triggered shock. Different stakeholders, including governments, private sector, development partners, women business networks, have implemented measures to help women who were severely affected by the pandemic shock. The Regional Food Trade Coalition Women in Trade Thematic Working Group will host this session to discuss experiences and lessons from interventions implemented across the continent to help women in food trade build back better from the devastating impacts of the pandemic. The discussions will also focus on necessary conditions to build and strengthen women traders’ resilience to multiple shocks.

  • Gloria Atuheirwe, Director, Women in Trade, TradeMark East Africa

  • Chioma Adiele-Okpara, Gender and Inclusion Manager, USAID West Africa Trade & Investment Hub (WATIB)

  • Daniel Njiwa, Head, Regional Food Trade and Resilience, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)

  • Robert Skidmore, Chief, Sector and Enterprise Competitiveness, Division of Enterprises and Institutions, International Trade Centre (ITC)

  • Nigest Haile, Founder and Executive Director, Centre for Accelerated Women’s Economic Empowerment (CAWEE), Ethiopia

Vanessa Adams, VP Strategic Partnerships and Chief of Party, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)

16:00 – 17:30

Simulation Pitch Demo: LeadTech Incubation in partnership with Mohammed VI Polytechnic University UM6P

17:30 - 18:00

Networking Sessions

09:30 – 09:35

Opening remarks

09:35 – 09:55


Ayodele Odusola, UNDP Representative for South Africa

10:00 – 10:20

Presentation: Coming in from the Cold: Re-engineering Brand Africa as we Establish a Continental Free Trade Area

Saul Molobi, CEO, Brandhill Africa

10:25 – 11:20

Policy panel: A ‘Decade of Action’ for achieving the SDGs: 2020-2030

Only ten years left! In view of the important milestones for Africa of not only the UN SDGs but also the African Union Agenda 2063 and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), how do African governments and the public sector step up to address the challenges and reposition the continent for a resilient and innovative future?

  • Honourable Vera Kamtukule, Deputy Minister, Labour, Skills and Innovation, Republic of Malawi

  • Véronique Haller, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Switzerland to South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mauritius and Namibia

  • Lerato Mataboge, Deputy Director General, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Republic of South Africa

  • Sara Mbago-Bhunu, Regional Director, East and Southern Africa, IFAD

  • Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, The World Bank Country Director for South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Eswatini

Rose Sibisi, Chief Executive Officer, CBC Television, Zambia

11:20 – 11:30


Networking Sessions

11:30 – 12:25

Building back better in African agriculture and food sector: The role of women in a digital and green revolution agenda

The pandemic has exacerbated Africa’s food insecurity, disrupting entire supply chains, and widening gender and social inequality gaps. Agriculture remains the continent’s largest industry employer, offering huge potentials for value chain enhancement and scale across borders. Digital technology offers opportunities for farmers, entrepreneurs, and investors to leverage innovative agritech solutions and improve the efficiency of food production and consumption in Africa emerging from the pandemic. African agriculture is seeing inspiring innovations and technological advancing. However, this trend is deeply gendered in research, access, use and extension services. What are the roles of women and technology in agriculture? What opportunities does technology offer for boosting gender equality and women in agribusiness growth? How do we address gender technological gaps and develop gender-responsive policies?

5 minutes presentation: VALUE4HERConnect – Africa’s first women in agribusiness digital market place

  • Nidhi Tandon, Socio-economic Advisor, East and Southern Africa, UN Women

  • Moulay Lahcen Ennahli, SVP West Africa, OCP Africa
  • Caroline Pomeyie, Founder and CEO, Oceansmall Company Limited, Ghana
  • John-Paul Iwuoha, Founder and CEO, SmallStarter Africa, Nigeria
  • Léa Rouanet, Economist, Gender Innovation Lab, The World Bank

Sabdiyo Dido, Head of Gender and Inclusiveness, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)

12:30 – 13:30

Powering Africa’s Rebuilding Efforts: Key Trends and their Impact

Africa still suffers from widespread and large-scale energy poverty. As business, education, and health shifted to technology platforms during COVID-19 pandemic, the critical role of energy and power could not be overemphasized.  The energy landscape and the energy mix are rapidly changing, driven by technology and environmental concerns. How do you address the energy challenge for rebuilding back better in Africa? What does the AfCFTA mean for the energy sector and what will be the major new opportunities in energy infrastructure? How do you accelerate female participation and increase the proportion of women leaders in the African energy sector?

  • Onyeche Tifase, Head Strategy, Technology & Innovation, Siemens Energy Industrial Applications Division

  • Salma Okonkwo, Founder and CEO of Blue Power Energy, Ghana

  • Ken Etete, Group CEO, Century Group, Nigeria

  • Amith Singh, Head of Energy Finance, Nedbank

  • Hicham El Habti, President, Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, Morocco

Bertha Dlamini, President, African Women in Electricity and Power

13:30 – 14:15


Networking Sessions

14:15 – 14:30

Presentation: How Afreximbank is driving Africa’s transformation through the use of innovation and digitisation: Now and into the future

Robert Ochola, Director and Global Head for Strategy and Innovation, Afreximbank

14:30 – 14:45

Presentation: Quality, Standards and Technology in the context of post-Covid recovery of African economies

Juan Pablo Davila, Industrial Development Expert, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO)

14:45 – 15:30

Passion and Purpose: Young Entrepreneurs Stories

Past AWIEF alumni and Award winners; and youth entrepreneurship enthusiasts, share stories and entrepreneurial journeys with no holds barred. In candid accounts of their successes and setbacks—from launching start-ups to helping their communities—they are poised to share how their passion and purpose are helping them advance their business goals and redefining leadership across Africa. How have the youth been affected by COVID-19 and what matters to them most at present and moving forward? The panel provides profound inspiration and ideas for every young man and woman who hopes to lead change in Africa.

  • Shannon Smuts, Founder and CEO, Pure Good Food, South Africa

  • Hyasintha Ntuyeko , Founder and CEO, Kasole Secrets, Tanzania

  • Nokuthula Nyamweda, Youth Entrepreneurship and SME Development Officer, UNDP South Africa
  • Nomso Kana, Founder and Managing Director, Sun n Shield 84 Tech

Edith Njage, Co-founder and CEO, ARIELLE for Africa, Kenya

16:00 – 17:30

AWIEF Awards 2020

AWIEF Awards
– celebrating excellence in African women entrepreneurship

APO Group African Women in Media Award
– recognizing the support of female journalists for women entrepreneurship in Africa

17:30 – 18:00

Networking Sessions

AWIEF Exhibition

AWIEF offers an exhibition platform for companies, organisations and women-owned businesses to showcase their projects and innovations.

This is a provisional programme and may be subject to change.