Nkiru Balonwu, a Nigerian entrepreneur and activist, was one of the winners at the Powerlist UK 2020 awards.

Balonwu won the Powerlist UK International award which is given to a person based outside of the UK, considered to have distinguished himself or herself as a change-maker, innovator, inspiration and person of considerable influence.

Balonwu received the honour for her work as founder and chair of African Women on Board (AWB), an independent, African women-led non- profit organisation focused on advancing narratives and improving realities of women and girls of African heritage around the world.

AWB works with partners such as Ford Foundation, Wikimedia and other organisations on initiatives that advance and improve realities for women and girls of African descent around the world.

Accepting the award, Balonwu challenged the audience to look beyond stereotypes about women of African heritage.

“What do you think of when you think of African women? Do you think of our unsung talents? Or the women on the African continent who have the highest rates of female entrepreneurship in the world?” she asked.

“What if the solution to many of Africa’s problems were its women? Because clearly, you cannot win any game playing half your team.

“As African women, we do not leave the fate of our children to our men alone, therefore she said, we cannot leave the fate of our continent to our men alone. African women need to get on board to create a brighter future for Africa and our children. We must begin by believing in ourselves and owning our strengths.”

Other recipients at the annual award ceremony, which held on Friday, October 25, are Anthony Joshua, boxing champion; Idris Elba; Lewis Hamilton, a Formula 1 World Champion; Ismail Ahmed, the Somaliland-born founder and chairman of WorldRemit, a digital money transfer company with over 4 million users worldwide.


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