Five inspirational women leaders associated with the EJS Center recognized among 100 Most Reputable Africans

Five pioneering and inspirational women leaders associated with the EJS Center have been recognized on Reputation Poll International’s 2020 list of 100 Most Reputable Africans. EJS Center Board Member Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Amujae Coaches Dr. Vera Songwe, Bineta Diop, and Winnie Byanyima, and Amujae Leader Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, OBE have all been featured on the list, which highlights leaders from the public and private sectors with a proven track record of making a positive difference on the African continent. 

With 47 women and 53 men featured on the list, the leaders were selected based on three key criteria: integrity, visibility, and impact. 

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is an economist and international development expert with over 30 years of experience. She is Chair of the board for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the African Risk Capacity (ARC) and co-chairs The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. She also serves as a Special Envoy to mobilize international support for the fight against COVID-19 for the African Union and is currently a nominee for Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). She has been ranked by Fortune as one of the 50 Greatest World Leaders in 2015, by Forbes as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the World consecutively for four years, by Time as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2014, and by the UK Guardian as one of the Top 100 Women in the World in 2011. 

Dr. Vera Songwe is the UN Under-Secretary-General and 9th Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), becoming the first woman to lead the institution in its 60-year history.  As Executive Secretary, Dr. Songwe’s reforms, focusing on “ideas for a prosperous Africa”, have brought to the fore critical issues of macroeconomic stability, development finance, private sector growth, poverty and inequality, digital transformation, trade and competitiveness. She has been named one of the ‘100 Most Influential Africans’ by Jeune Afrique in 2019, ‘100 Most Influential Africans’ by New African Magazine in 2017 and one of the ’25 Africans to watch’ by the FT in 2015.

Bineta Diop is the Founder and President of Femmes Africa Solidarité, an international NGO dedicated to promoting peace, security, and development in Africa. She has played an instrumental role in achieving gender parity within the African Union Commission’s leadership and has led peacebuilding programs as well as many women centered peace and security initiatives. In January 2014, Madam Diop was appointed as a Special Envoy on Women, Peace, and Security for the African Union. She also served as co-Chair of the World Economic Forum on Africa in 2014, as well as being recognised as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time in 2011. 

Winnie Byanyima is the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). Born in Uganda, Ms Byanyima was elected for three terms and served eleven years in the Ugandan Parliament. She is a world recognized expert on women’s rights and founded the Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE), a leading NGO in Uganda and has served at the African Union Commission and at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as Director of Gender and Development. Before joining UNAIDS, Ms Byanyima served as Executive Director of Oxfam International and has also served on numerous global boards and commissions. 

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE, is Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone. She has been recognized globally for her efforts to transform Freetown through a focus on resilience, human development, features of healthy cities and urban mobility; with the use of innovation as an underlying principle. She was also instrumental in her country’s Ebola response, serving as Director of Planning at the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC). In collaboration with others, she developed and implemented the strategy to end the outbreak in Sierra Leone. In recognition of her contribution to the Ebola response efforts, she was awarded an Ebola Gold Medal by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone in December 2015 and was made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom in January 2016.

These five outstanding women leaders are joined by both inspirational women and men and stand as testament to the power of women in overcoming structural barriers to drive sustainable change across the continent. We congratulate them all.

You can see the full list here.

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