Top speaker line-up announced for 2023 FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit!

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Hard-hitting topics centred around this year’s theme, Women 3.0: The Icons and Ideas Shaping Africa will be tackled by some of the most influential women on the continent. Organisers are excited to give audiences a behind-the-scenes look at a selection of the speakers featuring at the 8th FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit, taking place on 8 March 2023 (International Women’s Day) at SunBet Arena, Time Square in Pretoria, South Africa.

In association with The Macallan and supported by Coca-Cola, the 2023 FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit will focus on topics ranging from wealth to Web 3.0 and mining to fintech, agritech and climate resilience, all of which will be debated and discussed by industry leaders. This is an incredible opportunity for audiences to interact with these game-changers live, at what has fast become a calendar highlight.

“The 8th edition of the FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit is already on track to become one of our most dynamic events as we welcome an illustrious speaker line-up to the stage,” commented Renuka Methil, Managing Editor, FORBES AFRICA. “Considering the socio-economic challenges as a result of the pandemic, there is a lot we’re having to navigate. This summit is the ideal space to gain inspiration and guidance from those who are not only navigating these challenges, but forging new paths for our future generation of female leaders.”

Thami Banda, Brand Ambassador – Africa at The Macallan commented: ‘’The Macallan is extremely proud to collaborate with FORBES WOMAN AFRICA, both brands respect values that women bring in the business world. At The Macallan, we have a long history of inspirational women, from the current Lead Whisky Maker, Kirsteen Campbell to the exceptional Janet Harbinson, who – against all odds – steadied The Macallan ship after her husband’s passing. Guided by her conviction and strong belief in doing the next right thing for everyone she cared about, she unconsciously made history by overseeing the process that produced the most expensive single malt whisky, The Macallan 1926. It is, therefore, only right that we pay tribute to African women who embody such spirit and courage.”

Patricia Obozuwa, Coca-Cola Africa Vice President for Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability, said Coca-Cola Africa is excited to support the FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit in honouring International Women’s Day and celebrating the achievements and resilience of women across Africa and the world.

“Empowering women to thrive is a global commitment by The Coca-Cola Company. We believe women are critical to the success of our business, therefore, we aspire to be 50% led by women globally by 2030,” said Obozuwa. “Women are integral to the continued success of the communities we proudly serve. Women and youth empowerment is one of the focus areas under Coca-Cola Africa’s sustainability platform, JAMII, where we commit to unlocking economic opportunities for women across the continent.”

She continued: “The impact of Coca-Cola is evident through initiatives such as the 5by20 Program, a global initiative to economically enable five million women entrepreneurs by 2020, which surpassed its target by enabling six million women – including over two million in Africa. When women are empowered, their families and children are empowered. Their communities are empowered. Their country is empowered, and our continent can flourish.”

This illustrious event is being hosted by The Maslow Time Square, a premier hotel in Pretoria. General Manager, Ruben Gooranah, commented: “We are proud to be hosting The FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit for the first time in our SunBet Arena at Time Square, and having the delegates stay in our Maslow Time Square Hotel. The Maslow Time Square is the only Sun International hotel with a multi-star grading meaning we have our 3-star foundation, 4-star Median and 5-star Zenith rooms all available in one hotel. It’s an honour to celebrate these leading women and the influence and positive impact they make.”

Speakers at the 2023 FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit

Having served in a number of senior positions and board member roles across the oil and energy, chemicals, financial services and retail industries, Nolitha Fakude brings vast experience to her position as the Chairman of Anglo American’s Management Board in South Africa and as the Group Director responsible for South Africa on Anglo American plc’s Group Management Committee (GMC). This multi-award-winning leader serves as President of the Minerals Council of South Africa (MINCOSA), Non-Executive Director of the JSE Limited, and Vice President of the International Woman’s Forum South Africa (IWFSA) – as well as the Patron of Guild Cottage home for girls.

Another individual committed to empowering women is Uganda’s Dr Nataliey Bitature, Chief of Staff and Board member of Simba Group (among many others), which is an East African group of companies spanning various sectors including telecom, education, energy and real estate. Nataliey is also the Founder of Musana Carts, a social enterprise building solar-powered street food vending carts; and HER an online mentorship platform with more than 4,000 young African women. Nataliey has been recognised by Forbes 30 Under 30, The World Bank, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the World Economic Forum as a business leader and innovator. 

Also joining the speaker programme is the Founder and CEO of Mobihealth International, Dr Funmi Adewara, a woman passionate about changing the provision of healthcare to underserved communities. This British-Nigerian Physician and Cambridge-trained bioscientist is a multi-award-winning entrepreneur and a globally recognised telehealth expert. Her work sees her contribute to policy formulation around healthcare, particularly telehealth programmes for Africa, as an external reviewer to the Africa Development Bank, a contributor to the United Nations, the World Health Summit, and the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria. Under her visionary leadership, Mobihealth pioneered telehealth in the Nigerian Air Force in 2021, a first of its kind for the continent.

Another accomplished entrepreneur joining the speaking panel is Irene Kiwia, the Co-Founder and CGO of Adanian Labs – a Pan African tech venture studio scaling technology businesses. Boasting a string of accolades, Irene has led successful transformational programmes for women and youth, starting from her home country of Tanzania and extending across the continent. Through Adanian Labs, Irene is fulfilling her mission to build tech capacity in Africa and support African tech entrepreneurs build and scale businesses. In addition to Adanian Labs, Irene is the Founder of Twaa (a global networking platform for women to connect and build digital communities), the Founder of eCOBbA (an AI-driven FinTech platform for savings and investment groups), and the Founder of The Africa Blockchain Center (a Pan African Web. 3.0 company focused on building blockchain capacity and solutions.)

Another illustriousprogramme addition is Patricia Scotland, the 6th Commonwealth Secretary-General. She’s the first-ever woman to hold the position and the second from the Caribbean, her home country being Dominica. Having trained as a lawyer, Patricia became the first black woman appointed to the Queen’s Council (QC) in 1991 and, at age 35, she was also the youngest ever QC. She continued to make history as the first black woman appointed Deputy High Court Judge, Recorder and Master of Middle Temple, thereafter joining the House of Lords in 1997 as Baroness Scotland of Asthal, and going on to serve as a minister in the Foreign Office, the Home Office and the Lord Chancellor’s Department. Furthermore, she was appointed Attorney General in 2007, the first woman to hold the post since it was created in 1315. Throughout her career, she has undertaken major reform of the criminal justice system, including the introduction of the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act.

These ground-breaking women will be joined by a line-up of inspiring speakers, among them:

  • Aisha Ayensu, the Founder & Creative Director of the internationally acclaimed luxury fashion label, Christie Brown.
  • Dr Helena Ndume, a Namibian ophthalmologist internationally renowned for her humanitarian work which includes free sight-restoring surgeries for 35 000 Namibians.
  • Fatima Yagana Babakura, the cover star of Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 list for 2022 and Founder of Timabee Global Resources, a platform that seeks to inspire aspiring accessory designers.
  • Hellen Dausen is a former model, Miss Universe Tanzania, an entrepreneur, and organic skincare formulator at Nuya’s Essence, a natural bath and body-care brand she founded in 2013.
  • Kaitlin Rawson (25) has built a sizeable platform on TikTok, educating her audience on politics and social issues. Participating in pole fitness since 2014, she started competing seriously in 2018, about two years after a spinal cord injury. She is the current world champion and world record holder for ParaPole PPM1.
  • Lehlogonolo Machaba is a South African LGBTQI activist and speaker, becoming an influential voice in South Africa after being the first trans woman to participate in the national pageantry in 2021 and 2022.
  • Naseem Banu Lahri, the Managing Director (MD) of Lucara Botswana, is the first woman to serve in this capacity for a diamond mining company in Botswana, and the youngest female MD in mining in the world.
  • Palesa Mokubung is a South African designer and Founder of Mantsho, a women’s clothing line renowned for its distinctive prints and textiles.
  • Tumi Morake is instantly recognisable as the face of major campaigns for Savanna, Vodacom, Kellogg’s and Sanlam; as well as being part of a Netflix series – the first African female stand-up comedian to have her own special on the platform, and the first woman to host Comedy Central on African soil.
  • Thami Banda, The Macallan Brand Ambassador, worked his way from security guard to one of the most sought-after whisky connoisseurs on the continent.
  • Patricia Obozuwa, Coca-Cola Africa Vice President for Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability.
  • Nonkululeko Gobodo is the CEO of AWAKENED Global and the first black African woman to qualify as a chartered accountant in South Africa.
  • Thamani Thothe is the Founding Creative Director of Botswana headquartered company White Label Fragrances (WLF) – an African luxury niche fragrance brand and the first citizen-owned company of its kind.
  • Vimbai Masiyiwa is a 28-year-old businesswoman and the Executive Director of Batoka Hospitality Limited, a purpose-driven hospitality company and the first black female-owned safari lodge group in Africa.

Attendees to the 2023 FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit can look out for more heavy hitters set to be revealed in the coming weeks.

After a full day engaging on critical issues and unlocking new opportunities, the summit will culminate in the prestigious 2023 FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Awards, a glittering ceremony where the most accomplished leaders and luminaries will be honoured for their impactful work.

More information:

The 2023 FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit:

When: 8 March 2023

Where: SunBet Arena at Time Square, Pretoria, South Africa

Time: 08h30 – 15h30

Theme: Women 3.0: The Icons and Ideas Shaping Africa


When: 8 March 2023

Where: SunBet Arena, Time Square, Pretoria, South Africa

Time: 19h00 – 23h00

Ticket prices

Summit – R1 500

Dinner – R1 500

Full Access – R 3 000

Table Bookings – Contact the Events Team for more information.

Accommodation booking:

How to get involved:

You can become a part of the change by registering to attend the summit; visit the following platform: Alternatively, you can follow us on social media @LWSummit, #LWS2023. You can also come on board as an event sponsor or activation sponsor.