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WIA Regional Summit: Women Demonstrate Their Potential for An Innovative and Inclusive Africa

Wednesday, 06 June 2018
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On Thursday, April 12, 2018, was held in Dakar, Senegal, the 1st West Africa Regional Summit of Women In Africa (WIA) Initiative, the first international platform for economic development and support of African women leaders and with high potential.

Faye Lena from DELVIC Senegal, Lene Fandame from TdE Togo, Geraldine Mpouma Logmo from CDE Cameroon, Koffi Kouassi Léontine from SODECI Côte d’Ivoire, Ngalane Aminata from ONAS Senegal, Aminata Mbaye Fall and and Bousso Adama from SDE Senegal and Korotoumou Fofana Sannon from AfWA Executive Management participated in this meeting on behalf on the network of women professionals in the Water and Sanitation sector set up by the African Water Association. They took this opportunity to pay visits to, first, the association of professional women in the water, sanitation and the environment sector of Senegal, then to the ONAS sewage sludge treatment and recycling plant and finally to the Managing Director of SDE, the Managing Director of SONES and the Managing Director of ONAS.

"Women Entrepreneurs in Africa: How to Leverage? This was the theme of the meeting which was attended by a total of 167 women and men from 15 different nationalities.

Several highlights marked the meeting, including the plenary session which had as theme: “Africa, a model for the world in female entrepreneurship”.

Fatoumata Ba, Founder and Managing Director of Janngo Africa but also godmother of the WIA Philanthropy Foundation, said that “in West Africa, the first click for women was inspiration, the second was education and the third technology. The digital haunts me because it easily enables African women entrepreneurs to export themselves beyond their borders or on the continent. But this technology that accelerates and develops local projects of women entrepreneurs does not replace these women!” She added that her greatest pride is to have successfully convinced an African group (Jumia) to achieve gender equality, notably 50%”.

For Nimna Diakité, President of the Federation of Corn Producers of Saloum (FREPROMAS) has the status of cooperative and federates 28 local networks of farmers with 2558 producers including 1087 women, “When a woman decides to succeed, she succeeds”.

Ndèye Thiaw, Managing Partner at Brightmore Capital, said based on her experience, that “the lever for action in favor of women is mainly political and that this requires a different type of ministry than that of the female condition”. Driven by a strong commitment to contribute to the development of the private sector and innovative investments with a social and profitable impact, she said that with the Brightmore Capital investment “she analyses projects led by women both on basis of social and financial indicators. We look at the whole value chain. After several initiatives in entrepreneurship, she confirms that her experience has taught her not to be afraid of failure.

For Tidjane Deme, partner at Partch Ventures (and former boss of Google for French-speaking countries in Africa in Dakar), “African countries, starting with Senegal, must understand that if they want to develop, they must rely on women”. He also explains that “one of the levers for speeding up the development of projects led by African women entrepreneurs is that they agree to open their capital to investment funds. It's relevant and useful.”

Fatou Sow Sarr, Socio-anthropologist, Director of the Gender and Scientific Research Laboratory of IFAN, Chairperson of RASEF (African Network for the Support of African Entrepreneurship) and coordinator of the Caucus of Women Leaders of Senegal, explained that “Public policies have to facilitate the environment of women entrepreneurs, and particularly their family lives, so that they are able to ensure the proper development of their activities”.

The 1st West Africa Regional Summit of Women In Africa (WIA) Initiative was successful according to the participants. The end of the meeting was marked by the official launch of call for applications for Project 54, sponsored by the WIA Philanthropy Foundation, which aims to support women who are shaping the future of the continent through technological innovations. The 54 selected women will benefit from international visibility and targeted support during the Summit of Women In Africa (WIA) Initiative in Marrakech on September 27 and 28.

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