Ground-breaking speaker line-up announced for 6th Forbes Woman Africa Leading Women Summit

In the wake of a tumultuous period in history, many are reflecting on lessons learnt in 2020 while seeking guidance on how to navigate this new reality going forward. Bringing together the continent’s most powerful female voices, the FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit (LWS) will take on a guiding role, hinging the conversation on this year’s dynamic theme – Africa Reloaded: The Power of The Collective. Coinciding with International Women’s Day, the 6th #LeadingWomanSummit, presented by Mastercard, will run from 8 to 9 March 2021, boasting an impactful speaker line-up for this free-to-attend virtual platform.

There is not just one keynote speaker at #LWS2021 but a star-studded galaxy of names including 2019 Miss Universe, South Africa’s own Zozibini Tunzi; British actress and UNHCR high-profile supporter Gugu Mbatha-Raw; Emirati business woman, author and artist, Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi; British-Sudanese supermodel and designer, Alek Wek; IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath; Nigerian entrepreneur Folorunso Alakija; FORBES AFRICA’s African of the Year 2020 honoree, the former Nigerian Finance Minister and first female African Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; the Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland; the United Nations’ representative in China, Siddharth Chatterjee; South African music conductor, Ofentse Pitse; South African explorer, Saray Khumalo; and South African rugby player, Piwo Nyanda. These – and many more trail-blazers – will engage the audience through hard-hitting talks, fireside chats and insightful panel discussions that look back on the year while identifying opportunities for growth and recovery on the continent.

“Mastercard has a strong sense of responsibility to take action when it comes to equality,” commented Suzanne Morel, Mastercard Country Manager for South Africa. “FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit is one of those great examples where we can play a key role through our sponsorship. The summit provides professional women with an opportunity to discuss some of the world’s biggest issues – business challenges, workplace issues and the further empowerment of African women. It’s also a fantastic chance to showcase truly inspiring women who are doing extraordinary things, to share their stories and really network with others.”

Renuka Methil, Managing Editor of FORBES Africa & FORBES Woman Africa, said this year would certainly draw on a lot more emotion, following the challenges of the previous year, but that participants would undoubtedly feel more compelled to act on these than ever before: “The Covid-19 experience has brought to light some harsh realities – the deepening inequalities that continue to be experienced by Africa’s women and the continent within the global economy. But it has also lit a fire in many of us. If there is going to be action taken, it needs to be now, and I think that momentum will flow through and beyond this year’s summit.”

“The convergence of powerful, industry-leading women could not have happened at a better time, and on a better platform than the FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit. Collectively, we have the power to break down the barriers that were amplified over the past year – specifically, driving the conversation around inequality in access to connectivity, and the crucial opportunities that are enabled through this,” said Lianne Williams, Head of Marketing, Vumatel; South Africa. “The telecommunications sector, for instance, not only empowers the continent with digital tools and information that grows economies, but also allows individuals to access opportunities such as online learning and remote working in the digital age. These is the empowerment we strive to deliver to all communities.”

Roberta Naicker, Managing Director, ABN Group, said the event was a ‘solutions-driven platform’ for women seeking a change in the global narrative: “We have seen that people don’t just want to talk about their problems, they really want to understand how they can actually roll up their sleeves and solve them. We’re looking forward to great conversations this year that tackle global challenges.”

#LWS2021 Panel Discussions

· Agility and flexibility: Culture change in the C-Suite

· The isolation economy and the double shift for women

· Rise of the low-touch economy: Financial and digital inclusion in a pandemic world

· Warriors in healthcare: What’s life like on the frontline?

· Private equity: Still a man’s world?

· The lost generation: The gendered impact of Covid-19 on education

· Back to the garage: Working-from-home (WFH) and the remote revolution

· CFOs, CIOs and CTOs: The new corporate Czars in a COVID era

· Why the Covid-19 pandemic is also a gender pandemic

#LWS2021 Speaker Line-up

· Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, newly-elected Director-General of the WTO (​Please place her image first)

· Zozibini Tunzi, Miss Universe 2019

· Gugu Mbatha-Raw, British actress and UNHCR high-profile supporter

· Alek Wek, British-Sudanese supermodel and designer

· Piwo Nyanda, South African rugby player (Mastercard)

· Patricia Scotland, Commonwealth Secretary-General 

· Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi, Emirati businesswoman, author and artist; UAE 

· Folorunso Alakija, Nigerian entrepreneur and Vice-Chair of Famfa Oil

· Bisila Bokoko, Spanish-African-American businesswoman; USA

· Vanessa Nakate, climate activist; Uganda

· Natasha Muhoza, poet/storyteller and lawyer; Rwanda

· Ilwad Elman, Somali-Canadian activist, 2021 Nobel Peace Prize nominee; Director, Elman Peace Centre; Mogadishu

… and many others! Check www.leadingwomensummit.co.za for the full speaker line-up.

The 2021 FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit (LWS) presented by Mastercard, is a free-to-attend virtual event, expected to draw more than 2 000 attendees from across the globe on 8 and 9 March 2021. Don’t miss out on what is set to be one of the year’s most impactful events.

How to get involved:                                                  

Become part of the change by registering to attend the summit at 

https://hopin.com/events/forbes-woman-africa-leading-women-summit or visit

www.leadingwomensummit.co.za for more info. Alternatively, follow the conversation on social media @LWSummit #LWS2021 #LeadingWomanSummit.