Even though there has been limited progress in the area of women’s economic empowerment, according to World Bank data, the rate of female entrepreneurship is higher in Africa than in any other region of the world. These women entrepreneurs represent a powerful source of economic growth and opportunity. This panel will focus on examining the relative successes of efforts aimed at leveling the playing field for women’s pursuit of economic empowerment through entrepreneurship, what legal and regulatory obstacles women still face in their pursuit for social and economic progress (including gender restrictive laws), and outlining what types of economic and legal reforms should be pursued in order to pave the way for more opportunities for other women entrepreneurs.


njuhi-chegeNjuhi Chege is a Board Member and the National Peace Spokesperson for FAFA which was set-up in 2008 during the post-election violence which took place in Kenya. The purpose was to show creativity in the face of destruction by generating positive energy and empowering people from all communities to come together for peace. FAFA continues to organize world class events that explore and bridge cultures through fashion, art, sports and music while promoting sustainable peace (www.fafakenya.org). Njuhi is also founder of Riri Jewellery that focuses on the promotion of youth entrepreneurship through jewellery making (www.ririjewellery.com).

She has extensive experience in Strategic Peacebuilding having lived and worked in Israel- Palestine and engaged with senior policymakers including; Finland’s first female president Tarja Halonen, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi who served as the official spokesperson for the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East peace process and Professor Naomi Chazan who served as Deputy Speaker of the Knesset. Njuhi has worked as an International Consultant at the UN Women headquarters in New York City developing strategies for the professional development of youth in Africa. Other international leadership roles include; Peer educator in Cameroon, Environmental researcher at Bielefeld University in Germany, and most recently mentor/ speaker for young women at the Leadership and Debate Training Program at Hunter College in New York.

She graduated with an M.A. in International Peace Studies from the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies- University of Notre Dame, and a B.A. in Political science and Sociology from the University of Nairobi. She is an alumna of the renowned Political Leadership Development Programme, and Pioneers of Change that seeks to create a positive political leadership culture in Kenya.


Sibongile SamboSibongile Sambo is the founder and managing director of SRS Aviation – the first 100% black female owned aviation company that offers clients professional and personalized flight options to destinations around the world. Sibongile holds a Bachelor of Administration from the University of Zululand, Bachelor of Administration Honours from Unisa, Advanced programme in Organisational Development from Unisa, a Marketing certificate from Institute of Marketing Management, a Mining Executive Preparation Programme from Wits. Sibongile is currently working on her Masters of Science Degree in Management of Technology and Innovation in Aviation. Prior to establishing her own company, she worked for organisations such as Telkom, City Power and De Beers. She is the 2006 winner of the BWA’s Regional Business Women of the year award for the Star-up category. She is a winner at the BIBA (Black Woman in Business Awards) 2006 in London, and she is the 2006 winner of the Impumelelo Top Female Entrepreneur of the year and a Finalist at the Cosmopolitan Movers of the year 2007. Sibongile is a recipient of the 2008 BMF (Black Management Forum) Presidential Award in the Category of Youth Business Leadership and in 2010 Sibongile is a recipient of the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) 2010 held in Cape Town.


Valerie DabadyValerie Dabady: Ms. Dabady is an experienced transactional and policy lawyer who has worked on award winning deals in Africa in the power, equity funds and transportation sectors. Ms. Dabady’s experience includes investment in smaller, regional SME-focused to larger, pan-African based equity funds; as well as funding to regional African banking institutions. Throughout her career, she has also negotiated financing provided to sovereign African countries including Ethiopia, Tanzania, Egypt, Rwanda and Burkina Faso. From 2009-2012, she was Advisor to the Vice-President responsible for crafting the Africa Development Bank’s strategy in its member countries and was closely associated with the re-engagement with Zimbabwe. Ms. Dabady is currently in charge of the return of the African Development Bank to its Headquarters in Abidjan. Prior to joining the African Development Bank, she received her JD from Harvard Law School (’92) and worked at Baker & McKenzie and O’Melveny & Myers in New York.


AG TWITTER (1)Aminu Gamawa (Moderator) is a world-class legal and dispute resolution trainer and practitioner that helps individuals, businesses and organizations resolve disputes. He applies collaborative approach in providing creative solution to complex and sensitive disputes. He assists clients who face barriers in managing relationships, creating or structuring deals reach a mutually satisfactory settlement. Aminu also provides legal and policy advice to wide range of organizations across private and public sectors, including corporations, government agencies, educational institutions, and nonprofit entities. He is a regular commentator on VOA (Hausa) and BBC on legal, political and International Affairs. He is a social entreprenuer and recipient of many awards and fellowships in recognition of his contributions to development and women empowerment. Aminu holds an LL.M. from Harvard University, and an LL.B. from University of Maiduguri; BL from Nigerian Law School, Lagos. He is currently a Doctoral candidate and Coordinator Harvard Law School Graduate Forum. www.aminugamawa.com