|The month of May this year saw Africans from across the continent celebrate unity and heritage. Culminating in Africa Day on 25 May, Africa Month is an opportunity to bring to the fore all that makes the African continent unique and to pay homage to those who are striving for a peaceful and prosperous future for the continent.
As changemakers and pioneers in all spheres of life, African women leaders are key contributors to Africa’s socioeconomic and political progress. Whether in households and communities, or in national and international institutions and organizations, African women are creating positive change through exceptional leadership.
The EJS Center’s Amujae Leaders influence change in several fields across the continent, through their various achievements and continuous quest for higher leadership roles. Through public engagements and community activities throughout Africa Month, they have shone a light on the importance of women’s leadership for Africa’s progress and development.
The latest cohort of Amujae Leaders participated in key Africa Day inspired events with a focus on women’s representation and youth development.
Amujae Leader Fatou Jagne Senghore participated in an ECOWAS workshop in Accra, Ghana, to launch the ‘Women and Early Warning’ initiative. In remarks published following the event, she emphasized the meeting’s focus on “the need to foster equality and equal representation of women in decision-making institutions at the regional and national levels, and the enactment and implementation of parity laws.”
Ms. Jagne Senghore – founder of the Center for Women’s Rights and Leadership, and a human rights advocate – was also recently chosen to be on the judging panel of the One Young World Politician of the Year Award. She joins three other experts – Former President of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla; Human Rights Lawyer, Payam Akhavan; and Founder and CEO of the International Civil Society Action Network, Sanam Naraghi Anderlini – to promote youth leadership and select this year’s five most influential young politicians.
Speaking at a high-level ministerial panel during the AU’s Specialized Technical Committee on Youth, Culture, and Sports in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Amujae Leader Emma Theofelus called on African governments to listen to the demands of the youth and offer them opportunities to thrive and become the leaders of the future. A young woman leader herself, Ms. Theofelus has several achievements to her name; a Namibian lawyer, Member of Parliament, and Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Technology.
Together with 2023 Amujae Leader Joanah Mamombe – a gender and human rights leader and the youngest woman Member of Parliament in Zimbabwe’s National Assembly – and Amujae Leader Bogolo Kenewendo, Ms. Theofelus was selected in May to be part of the Nala Feminist Collective’s 2023-2025 Council. The purpose of this Council, which includes 17 women leaders under the age of 40, is to advocate for gender equity and equality for young women in Africa.
Ms. Kenewendo, a Climate Champions’ Special Advisor, Africa Director in 2022, participated in the Net Zero Delivery Summit in London where she emphasized the importance of unlocking climate finance for Africa. Addressing an audience of finance experts, she underscored the need to invest in carbon markets as a means to boost sustainable development in Africa and improve the lives of the most vulnerable populations.
An inaugural meeting for the Women’s Leadership Circle on 13 May in Botswana featured Amujae Leader Peggy Onkutlwile Serame. As the Minister of Finance in Botswana, Ms. Onkutlwile Serame participated in a discussion around the topic ‘Investing Through Social Capital.’ She was also in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, to take part in AFDB’s Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors.
The month of May also offered Amujae Leaders from the first two cohorts various opportunities to showcase their leadership potential. Amujae Leader Angèle Makombo featured as a guest speaker at WFP’s Leadership Meeting in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, where she stressed the need to promote sustainable agricultural practices and value chains. Amujae Leader Clare Akamanzi moderated a panel on the African Continental Free Trade Area at the National Security Symposium in Kigali. Nigeria Governors’ Forum invited Amujae Leader Dr. Jumoke Oduwole to speak at its induction program in the presence of re-elected and newly-elected governors. Malado Kaba, Former Finance Minister, Consultant, International Development and Finance Expert Republic of Guinea, participated in the Africa Development Bank Annual Meetings on Africa Day in Egypt, where she listened to young African entrepreneurs’s needs to help them achieve their mission.
Along with its Amujae Leaders, the EJS Center marked Africa Day and Month with renewed commitment to help African women advance on the path of leadership and amplify their voices in all spheres of life across the continent.