Ground-breaking speaker line-up announced for 6th FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit

March 3, 2021 | Africa

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), presented by Mastercard 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 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 actor and UNHCR high-profile supporter Gugu Mbatha-Raw; Emirati business woman, author and artist, Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi; Olympic athlete Zola Budd Pieterse; IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath; Nigerian entrepreneur Folorunso Alakija; FORBES AFRICA’s African of the Year 2020 honoree, the former Nigerian Finance Minister and expected incoming 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 orchestra conductor Ofentse Pitse; explorer Saray Khumalo; and South African female rugby player, Piwokuhle Nyanda. These phenomenal women – 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 will be participating in a panel discussion titled; “The Rise of the Low-Touch economy: Financial And Digital Inclusion In A Pandemic World.” Joining Ms Ebehijie Momoh, Area Business Head, West Africa, Mastercard as panellists are formidable women who are leaders in the field of business; Ngover Ihyembe-Nwakwo, Head, Coverage, RMB Nigeria, Yvonne Ike, Managing Director, Sub Saharan Africa (EX-RSA) at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Sola David-Borha, Chief Executive, Africa Regions at Standard Bank Group

”At Mastercard, we’re committed to leading the charge in re-shaping the way our world is designed, coded, and constructed. We’re pushing our networks further, forging ambitious partnerships and championing the people, businesses and innovations that are transforming the way our world works. Furthermore, we are in full support of championing and empowering women-owned businesses”, commented Ebehijiie Momoh, Area Business Head, West Africa, Mastercard.

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 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.”

Roberta Naicker, Managing Director of the 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 One-on-one interviews

  • Ebehijie Momoh, Area Business Head, West Africa, Mastercard
  • Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, chair of GAVI and finalist for the position of Director-General of the World Trade Organization
  • Gugu Mbatha-Raw, British actor and UNHCR High-Profile Supporter
  • Gita Gopinath, Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund
  • Zozibini Tunzi, Miss Universe 2019
  • Folorunso Alakija, Nigerian entrepreneur and Vice Chair of Famfa Oil
  • Zola Budd Pieterse, South African Olympic athlete

#LWS2021 “In-the-Spotlight” speakers

  • Saray Khumalo, explorer and Africa’s first black woman to summit Mount Everest
  • Piwo Nyanda, South African rugby player
  • Shama Kheraj, Founder and CEO of UpStudio in Tanzania
  • Ofentse Pitse, South African musician and orchestra conductor
  • Natasha Muhoza, Rwandan poetess

The 2021 FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit (LWS) presented by Mastercard is 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 or Alternatively, follow the conversation on social media @LWSummit #LWS2021 #LeadingWomanSummit.

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