AWIEF 2021 Programme

AWIEF2021 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.

09:00 – 09:10

Opening remarks by MC

Peter Ndoro, Anchor/Broadcast Journalist, SABC

09:10 – 09:25


H. E. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO, African Union Development Agency – New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD)

09:30 – 10:30

Creative industry

Dialogue: Women making impact in the creative industry

  • Bethlehem Tilahun-Alemu, Founder & CEO, SoleRebels, Ethiopia
  • Adele Dejak, Founder & Creative Director, Adele Dejak, Kenya
  • Nuru Nyerere-Inyangete, Executive Director, Epitome Architects, Tanzania
  • Jenna Clifford, Founder, Jenna Clifford, South Africa


Moderator: Michael Sudarkasa, CEO, Africa Business Group (TBC)

10:30 – 10:45


10:45 – 11:45

Ministerial panel

High-Level Ministerial dialogue – How can African governments bolster their economies beyond COVID-19 pandemic?


  • H. E. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister, International Cooperation, Egypt
  • H. E. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, Minister, Communications and Digitalisation, Ghana
  • H. E. Paula Ingabire – Minister, ICT & Innovation, Rwanda
  • Amel Hamza – Acting Director, Gender and Civil Society Engagement Department, African Development Bank 

Moderator: Eleni Giokos, Anchor & Correspondent, CNN

11:45 – 12:45


The AfCFTA: Shaping Africa’s economic destiny – Opportunities for women empowerment

(Panel session sponsored by FedEx Express)


  • Natasha Parmanand, Managing Director, Operations, FedEx Express, Southern Africa
  • Tabitha Karanja, Founder & CEO, Keroche Breweries
  • Sthembiso Dlamini, CEO, Gauteng Tourism Authority
  • Patricia Obozuwa, Vice President, Government Affairs, Communications & Sustainability for Africa, Coca Cola Company
  • Michael Sudarkasa, CEO, Africa Business Group

Moderator:  Yavi Madurai, Founder & Executive Director, The Pan African Business Women’s Association (PABWA)

12:45 – 13:30


13:30 – 14:30


E-commerce for Africa: Promoting digital entrepreneurship

(Panel session sponsored by PayFast)


  • Marek Zmyslowski, Co-founder, SunRoof & Regional Manager Africa, RTB House
  • Colleen Harrison, Head of Marketing, Payfast
  • Mark Matovu, Founder & CEO, Nampya Farmers Market, Uganda
  • Farouk Khailann, CEO, Premium Africa Holdings

 Moderator: Rose-Marie Bouboutou, Broadcast Journalist, BBC

14:30 – 14:45

Fireside chat

Fireside Chat with:

Manal Rostom, Athlete & Nike Ambassador


Interviewer: Mimi Fawaz, Broadcast Journalist, BBC

14:45 – 15:45

Young entrepreneurship


Future-makers: In conversation with African young women entrepreneurs 


  • Myriam Fournier Kacimi, Founder & CEO, Sungy, Algeria
  • Chebet Lesan, CEO, BrightGreen Renewable Energy, Kenya
  • Shamim Nabuuma Kaliisa, Founder & Executive Director, Chil Artificial Intelligence Lab, Uganda
  • Odunayo Eweniyi – Founder & COO, Piggyvest, Nigeria


Moderator: Ramah Nyang, Business Journalist, Bloomberg & CGTN (Africa Bureau)

Side Event
12:00 – 15:30


Pitch n Grow™ – Culminating Demo Day event for 2021 cohort AWIEF Growth Accelerator (In partnership with Nedbank)


Closing – AWIEF2021 Conference

Peter Ndoro, Anchor/Broadcast Journalist, SABC

2021 AWIEF Awards

Sponsored by: Amazon Web Services

Hybrid Event: Virtual; In-person at Marriot Hotel Melrose Arch, Johannesburg


2021 AWIEF Awards Ceremony & Gala Dinner

MC – Asanda Beda, Broadcast Journalist, SABC
Entertainment – Yvonne Chaka Chaka

Opening keynote address:
Tiara Pathon, Digital Skills Lead – Africa, Amazon Web Services

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.