September 21, 2016

A women's empowerment event not to miss

AWIEF is bringing together the best of African women leaders under one roof at this year's forum in September

AWIEF is here again! The 2016 edition of the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum is around the corner and it is billed to make unprecedented strides in AWIEF’s Pan-African campaign to accelerate the economic empowerment of women in Africa’s best interest.

AWIEF Founder and CEO, Mrs. Irene Ochem, speaking to reporters at AWIEF offices in Lagos confirmed the participation of Lagos State as Official Partner and Host State Government with the Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode giving the keynote speech and welcome address at the opening ceremony on the 29th of September 2016.


Mrs. Ochem went on to say that a major highlight of the event has been occasioned by AWIEF’s partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB). The AfDB in a special dedicated high-level panel will be unveiling the modalities and details of African Development Bank’s USD-300 million Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) program. AWIEF is committed to not just talking about the issues affecting African women’s economic empowerment but, most importantly, AWIEF is committed to taking action and engaging in programs and initiatives through AWIEF NGO and social enterprise that will create that positive impact and actually change the African Woman’s economic fortune for the better.

The event is holding on the 29th and 30th of September at The Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos. Pre-conference workshops powered by GOOGLE and LEAP Africa to be held on the 28th of September 2016. Registration is ongoing online at or by email to:

For Sponsorship, registration or other participation call +234 814 376 9875/+234 814 760 7909/+234 818 570 1455.

August 20, 2016



Under the theme “Accelerating women’s economic empowerment in Africa’s best interest", the 2nd edition of the premier Africa Women Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) will once again gather, from across Africa and the globe, top women entrepreneurs and women in business, thought leaders, investors, SMEs, MSMEs, international development organizations, NGOs, foundations, government policy-makers, and the media. AWIEF is a platform to discuss the role of women in Africa’s economic growth, address the challenges faced by female business-owners, analyze those challenges and proffer innovative and sustainable solutions that effectively foster the empowerment of African women and unleash their full potential for successful business entrepreneurship.

The conference will feature participation from global leading institutions and decision- makers seeking to transform the African economy with women empowerment as a driver of development.

AWIEF Founder and MD Irene Ochem

Addressing current challenges

According to Irene Ochem, AWIEF Founder and Managing Director of ICO Conferences & Events, “despite leading the world on women entrepreneurship, African female business-owners enjoy less recognition and support than their male counterparts for their contribution to poverty reduction, employment and wealth creation. AWIEF will unveil comprehensive strategies for enhanced economic participation and opportunities for women throughout the continent. We are addressing such current challenges as inequalities in access to economic opportunities, less access to finance, technology, market information, business networks, as well as gender bias in education and skills development”

She continues: “This year the AWIEF pre-conference training workshops will focus on three areas: 1) Technology in Business 2) Entrepreneurship Strategies and Creativity in Business 3) Result-Oriented Sustainable Business Development.”

The 2016 AWIEF Conference targets the broadest spectrum of participants and regional inclusion from across Africa and has received endorsement and support from many relevant African and global institutions and organizations. AWIEF will create a networking opportunity with potential business partnerships, knowledge-sharing and peer-learning. It therefore allows African women entrepreneurs compare their challenges, learn and connect across borders to enhance and expand their impact.

With a wider coverage of exhibitions, AWIEF provides the perfect continental platform to present and showcase your brands, technologies, products and services to female African decision makers, influencers and qualified buyers from diverse industry and business sectors.

AWIEF is your opportunity to be a part of a continental drive to invest in and support the empowerment of women for unleashing Africa's full economic growth and transformation. You will meet face-to-face for two days with top local and international professionals and business women from diverse industries.

Meet the leading women and esteemed speakers for the event


AWIEF 2016 has an exciting concentration of esteemed, high-level, reputable and international speaker profiles which include:
  • H.E. Susan Shabangu, Honourable Minister of Women in the Presidency, South Africa 
  • H.E. Dr Diane Gashumba, Honourable Minister of Gender & Family Promotion, Rwanda 
  • H.E. Senator Aisha Alhassan, Honourable Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Nigeria 
  • Almas Jiwani, President Emeritus, UN Women Canada & Founder/CEO, Almas Jiwani Foundation, Canada 
  • Melody Kweba, President/Chairperson, South African Women in Mining Association (SAWIMA), South Africa 
  • Tara Femi-Durotoye, CEO/Creative Director, House of Tara International, Nigeria 
  • Adenike Ogunlesi, Founder/Chief Responsibility Officer, Ruff ‘n’ Tumble, Nigeria 
  • Khanyi Dhlomo, Founder/CEO, Ndalo Media, South Africa 
  • Fiorina Mugione, Chief, Entrepreneurship Section, United Nations Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Switzerland 
  • Mary Olushoga, Founder AWP Network, USA 
  • Regina Honu, Founder/CEO, Soronko Solutions, Ghana 
  • Melanie Hawken, Founder/Editor-in-Chief, Lionesses of Africa, South Africa 
  • Shimite Bello, Group President/CEO, Quintessential Group, Nigeria 
  • Thelma Ekiyor, Co-Founder/CEO, Afrigrants Resources Ltd, Nigeria 
  • Sandra L Ross, Associate Executive Director, LITE-Africa 
  • Nkemdilim Begho, Founder/Managing Director, Future Software Resources Ltd, Nigeria 
  • Christine Ngiriye, Managing Director, Africa 2.0, Rwanda 
  • Achenyo Idachaba, Founder/Creative Director, MitiMeth, Nigeria 
  • Hilda Ndude, Chairperson, Black Business Women Association (BBWA), South Africa 

AWIEF dates and venue:

Two-day Conference and Exhibition: 29 – 30 September 2016
Pre-Conference Workshops: 28 September 2016
Venue: The Civic Centre, Lagos, Nigeria

To register and attend (by email or online):

Telephone: +27 21 826 8878
Mobile: +234 814 376 9875 (Nigeria); +27 76 052 1199 (South Africa)
Twitter: @awieforum


March 8, 2016

Happy International Women's Day

Image courtesy of tribe
The purple ribbon
International Women’s Day is celebrated in many parts of the world today, focusing on women’s achievements in history, recognizing the social struggles women continue to face in our modern society with the hope to change the general perception of women.

It’s only in the last century that women attained equal rights lawfully in most civilized societies—the right to employment, the right to vote, to equal taxes, the right to their own property, their marital and reproductive rights. In many ways there are leaps and bounds made in the fight for gender equality, thanks to the feminist movement, while in some ways it seems stifled, much is yet to be done. A woman still earns 75 cents compared to a man’s dollar in wages for the same employment with the same job requirements, is subject to sexual discrimination in the workplace. Gender equality is still a distant dream in many societies where a woman is denied an education, the right to her own body, suffer genital mutilation, traded in marriage by the time she’s twelve; her voice is silenced and she’s expected to remain in subservience to a man, who believes her sole purpose of being is to reproduce. In such societies woman has two choices, obey tradition or be killed. Women continue subject to violence and discrimination. 35% of women all around the world have experienced some form of violence in their lifetime according to WHO (that's 1 in 3 women).

The prevalence today continues in the face of perceived inequality and lack of education. We all know too well, the atrocities committed by the militant group Boko Haram, kidnapping 276 young girls right out of school in Chibok, Borno State, Nigeria, making them cooks, sex slaves, even killing them. Ever wonder why they kidnapped only girls? Boko Haram, meaning “western education is evil.” To groups like this one, girls are not to receive a formal education. Known atrocities like this have caused some brave young women to continue to fight against oppression at a risk to their lives. We salute the activists such as Nobel price winner Malala Yousafzai—a brave 15 year old Pakistani who survived 3 gun shots by militants for advocating her rights to an education; Miriam Makeba (Mama Africa), Funmilayo Ransome Kuti—the first woman in Nigeria to drive a car and the mother of the famous political activist and musician Fela Ransome Kuti and Winnie Mandela for her activism against apartheid. Despite the precedence set by these and many brave women in our history, much is yet to be achieved in the matter of gender equality.

Are you a feminist?
In a discussion once, a well distinguished man asked, "are you a feminist?" He must have overheard a debate I was involved in nearby with a handful of men and women of African decent discussing gender roles in a modern day African society. He must have noticed how passionate I felt about the topic, eyes wide open, overt gestures, voice echoing through the banquet hall as I insisted that boys and girls must learn how to cook and clean just the same and there's no such thing as only girls belonged to the kitchen, like we were taught growing up. I paused and pondered over that question, looked up at him, smiled. "Matter of fact I am, we all should be feminists."

I wear my purple ribbon today with a badge of honor—for being a woman.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...