African women have always played active roles in local economies; now, the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa wants to tap into this. The 26th WEF on Africa 2016 will take place May 11-13, in Kigali, Rwanda. Rwanda is a regional high-tech hub and possesses one of the fastest GDP growth rates in Africa. In a call for entries that closed April 25, the WEF on Africa sought applications from African women who are influential as innovators and entrepreneurs. The forum plans to thrust five of these innovators and/or entrepreneurs into the spotlight in Kigali later this month.


(Huffington Post)

(Huffington Post)

The call was open to women innovating across sectors, not just limited to technology. Fashion design, social entrepreneurs, and artists were also invited to register. The main criterion is women who are influential, have set a standard, and worked towards improving the lives of people in their societies. Women who have done their part in generating wealth and economic empowerment. Basically, any woman who has utilized innovative technology and new ways of approach to their business models.


The five women will be picked by a panel of experts and will be presented as role models to inspire and empower the next generation of African women. In Kigali, the women will engage with regional and global leaders in business, government, and civil society sectors. They may even find investors for their business models. This year, the WEF on Africa will look into digital transformation and how it can contribute to wealth generation in Africa.


Co-chairs for the forum this year include influential people, such as Tony O. Elumelu, founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation, and Graça Machel, founder of the Foundation for Community Development. The search for Africa’s brightest five entrepreneurs and innovators falls under the theme of “Connecting Africa’s Resources Through Digital Transformation.” The growth of technology on the continent presents an opportunity for new jobs and industries. Presumably, the top five will engage with this in new ways.


Which African woman do you think should make it to the WEF on Africa in Kigali? Let us know who in a comment below or on Twitter @rafeeeeta