Women Advancing Africa Forum

“Driving Social and Economic Transformation”

Date: 9-12 August 2017

Venue: Hyatt Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania





Dear Women Advancing Africa Forum Participant,

About Women Advancing Africa

The Women Advancing Africa (WAA) Forum is a platform for women across the continent to come together to set an agenda that will massively improve the lives of women (and girls) across the African continent. The inaugural Forum will be launched on the 9th – 12th August 2017 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The WAA Forum signifies an important step in building an energetic movement driven by women. It promises to be colourful and festive while convening, connecting and catalyzing action by women to bring about social and economic transformation on our continent.

WAA will bring together experts and opinion shapers from all walks of life and from diverse backgrounds and ages to celebrate women’s achievements. We will identify common solutions to strengthen women’s participation in the economy.

Our Program Directors

Renée Ngamau is a qualified lawyer, life and business strategist and a presenter on Capital FM in Kenya.

Chidiogo Akunyiliis Global Leadership & World Economic Forum Fellow. She has Executive Masters in Global Leadership.

Main WAA Forum Programme highlights include:
Plenary Sessions:

The plenary sessions are designed to set the scene and explore broad themes starting on Day 1 with how women can take advantage of current and future economic opportunities in their bid to achieve economic liberation. An informal conversation with two legends of the African women’s movement will follow. A session that analyses the role of women in the economy and lightning talks on women as drivers of social change will conclude the day’s plenary.

Day 2 begins with an exciting panel of young people talking about their vision for Africa, more lightning talks on smart partnerships and collaborations, and a session on how we intend to track women’s economic progress (or lack thereof) using specific indicators and credible data.

Day 3, our final plenary, brings together all the participants to agree on a common action advocacy agenda that will drive our work after the Forum on critical issues that affect women regardless of their income level and the sectors in which they operate.

The WAA Forum will convene six tracks:

Track 1: Agribusiness

Track 2: Energy, Extractives and Infrastructure

Track 3: Services and Trade

Track 4: Technology

Track 5: Financial Inclusion

Track 6: Changing the Narrative: Media and Creative Industries

  • Each track will convene like-minded women in related sectors to discuss challenges and opportunities in smaller groups. Once together, the women will connect and engage in structured conversations aimed at identifying solutions and pitching new ideas that will benefit women in that sector and beyond;
  • Industry-leading speakers, together with the participants, will share their expertise, showcase the latest innovations, highlight available resources and demonstrate alternative business models to inspire and motivate;
  • Each track will focus on social change, ensuring that WAA is a platform for changing the lives of women individually and collectively. Each track will convene three times over the course of the conference, culminating in a final session to identify priorities that can be addressed collectively.

Side events will be held on the 9th of August on a range of topics including Leadership, Girls Education and Health, Food Systems and Nutrition, How Women are Depicted in the Media and honouring the contributions of African Legends of the Women’s Movement.

Co-Create breakfast sessions from the 10th to the 12th will allow for further sharing of ideas and deepening connections for partnerships and collaborations on a range of topical issues such as cross border trade, using tools to strengthen advocacy in mining, innovative financing solutions for women entrepreneurs, the creative economy, leadership and wellness.

Celebrating Legends of the African Women’s Movement

We stand on the shoulders of giants and want to honor the many legends who have paved the way for our generation and the generations to come. At the forum, we will celebrate the contributions of:

Aïcha Bah Diallo, founding member of the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) and former Minister of Education of Guinea.

Graça Machel, Founder of Graça Machel Trust and the Foundation of Community Development in Mozambique. She also served as Minister of Education in Mozambique.

Dr. Penina Mlama, Executive Director of the Forum for African Women Educationalists, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Professor of Theatre Arts at the University of Dar es Salaam.

Dr. Getrude Mongella, former Secretary-General and Chair of the Beijing World Conference on Women and first President of the Pan-African Parliament.

Dr. Mamphela Ramphele, former activist against apartheid, academic and businesswoman.

Dr. Gennet Zewide, Founder and Executive Director, Women’s Strategic Development Center and former Minister of Education in Ethiopia.

African Women Writers

We also want to honor female writers whose voices as social activists need to be amplified. Stories have power. They influence the way we experience the world we live in today. Throughout history, writers have shaped and shifted human perceptions through words. The writers that will participate in the forum are:

Sandra Mushi, a published writer and poet. Her works address the choices, challenges and consequences on the state of women and children’s rights.

Ngasuma Kanyeka, a poet, short-fiction writer and occasional journalist who writes on the whim. She focuses on reflective, intimate pieces that depict conflicting images of light and darkness, showcasing characters that are flawed, lovable and layered.

Hilda Twongyeirwe, an editor and a writer of poetry and short stories. She has co-edited publications aimed at making the voices of marginalized women hears such as Farming Ashes (2008), Beyond the Dance (2009), I Dare to Say (2012) and Taboo (2015).

Esther Karin Mngodo, is a journalist and a features writer. Esther writes about people and systems that affect their wellbeing and has done extensive work with regard to women empowerment and human rights.

Kgauhelo Dube, an Arts and Culture entrepreneur focused on literacy and the promotion of African writers in the media. She is thrilled to be part of the revival of African Literature.


The following reports, studies and books will be launched and discussed at the Forum.

“The Female Economy in Africa” - a groundbreaking report that provides a situational analysis on where women feature in the economy. Produced by the UN Economic Commission for Africa in collaboration with the Graça Machel Trust.

“Women in Media: What is the Narrative?” – a study conducted by the New Faces New Voices and Women in Media Network’s Kenya Chapter on the portrayal of women in Kenya’s leading media.

“Survey to Explore Growth Barriers Faced by Female Entrepreneurs in East Africa” – conducted by the Kenyan Chapter of the Graça Machel Trust’s Women in Finance Network, New Faces New Voices.

“The Empowerment of Women” - a study conducted by the Southern Africa Trust in collaboration with the Graça Machel Trust.

“Women Creating Wealth” – a compilation of success stories of African women in business. Produced by She Inspires Her in collaboration with the Graça Machel Trust.

“Case studies of innovative ways to empower African women” – compiled by the Graça Machel Trust

Expected Outcomes

The WAA Forum is results-driven and action oriented and must produce tangible outcomes in the way women drive transformation by:

  • celebrating women’s achievements and sharing their stories and successes to build a powerful intergenerational movement of women across Africa.
  • Prioritizing the removal of structural barriers that prevent women from achieving their economic potential.
  • Changing the way that governments and the private sector look at women and how they allocate resources to benefit women.
  • Creating a common action advocacy agenda among women to drive social and economic transformation that is measurable and impactful.

We look forward to seeing you and hearing your voice, as we search for solutions together!

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