10 influential African diaspora women

02 Mar 2018

From business to health, fashion and entertainment, Africa’s women are changing the world at home and abroad.

They are remaining connected with their roots and driving change in a variety of sectors.

So who are the African women with the most impressive international achievements and contributions?

Cécile Kyenge

Cécile Kyenge, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, faced racist taunts as Italy’s first black minister. Despite those attacks, she ran for and won a seat as an elected Member of the European Parliament and serves on the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.

Ronke Ademiluyi

Ronke Ademiluyi is the founder of African Fashion Week in Lagos and London, which showcases designers based in Africa and the African diaspora.

Winifred Byanyima

Ugandan-born Winifred Byanyima is the executive director of the charity campaign group Oxfam International. She has also co-founded the 60-member Global Gender and Climate Alliance and chaired a United Nations task force on gender aspects of the Millennium Development Goals.

Eden Hagos

Ethiopian-Canadian Eden Hagos is the creator of Blackfoodie, a successful online platform celebrating black-owned restaurants and African recipes and chefs.

Kemi Adetiba

Nigerian Kemi Adetiba is an award-winning director, producer and cinematographer based in New York. Her Africa-focused work includes music videos, commercials, television content and films which can be seen on MTV, BET and Netflix, among other places.

Leymah Gbowee

Activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee is celebrated for her efforts to end the civil war in her home country of Liberia, but more recently she has worked in Accra heading the Women, Peace and Security Network Africa, an organisation supporting women’s capacity to avert and end conflicts. Her motto? Women’s work is never done.

Eniola Aluko

Nigerian-born Eniola Aluko, a qualified lawyer, is an English footballer who plays for Chelsea Ladies. She has spoken out against racist attitudes and received an apology from the Football Association last year for racially discriminatory remarks made to her, while she has also fought for better pay for England’s female players.

Alimatu Dimonekene

London-based Alimatu Dimonekene has used her own experiences as a survivor of female genital mutilation in Sierra Leone to campaign against violent and exploitative practices against women and girls. She has won a number of awards for her advocacy.

Georgie Badiel

The Burkinabé model and former Miss Africa Georgie Badiel is now a New York-based author and activist raising awareness about the lack of potable drinking water in her West African homeland.

Marieme Jamme

British-Senegalese technology blogger Marieme Jamme is the co-founder of Africa Gathering, which brings together entrepreneurs and experts to exchange ideas about Africa’s development. Last year she won the Innovation Award at the Global Goals Awards held by UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for her work in advancing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.