The Women Agripreneurs of the Year Awards (WAYA) is thrilled to announce its 15 finalists for the 2023 edition. Chosen from a pool of 1,340 applications spanning 42 African countries, these candidates represent an outstanding cohort of women who are driving innovation and growth in African agri-food systems.
The winners of the 2023 WAYA will be announced during the AGRF Summit 2023 set for September 5-8, 2023 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The finalists represent an outstanding cohort of women who are driving innovation and growth in the agri-food, agritech, and aquaculture sectors in Africa. These agripreneurs, from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, demonstrated unmatched innovation and entrepreneurial excellence within their communities and beyond. Their outstanding work has created jobs, increased incomes, and improved food security for many across the continent.
This year’s awards have seen an increase in the number of countries represented from 38 to 42 countries this year. This growth is a testament to the increased women’s participation in innovation within agri-food systems in Africa.
The Top 15 finalists each stand a chance to be among the ultimate four winners who will receive a total of $85,000 in cash prizes. To determine the ultimate winners, AGRA has brought together a panel of independent judges comprised of prominent women with a strong passion for women’s economic empowerment.
The panel includes: Betty Kiplagat, the Government Affairs Leader for Africa and the Middle East at Corteva; Binta Touré Ndoye, a pan-African banker; Caroline Emond, the CEO of Ithe International Dairy Federation; Marieme Esther Dassanou, the Director of Gender Programs at MasterCard Foundation; and Judy Matu the National Executive Chairlady at AWAK.
The top 15 finalists per category and in alphabetical order are as follows:
Outstanding Value-adding Enterprise
- Bernice Dapaah, CEO, Bright Generation Community Foundation-Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative (Ghana)
- Jimoh Fatima, CEO, Nafarm Foods (Nigeria)
- Juliet Kakwerre Nyakojjo Tumusiime, CEO and co-founder, Cheveux Organique International (Uganda)
- Miriam Kanyua Chabaari, the MD and CEO of Tharaka Honey Bee Products (Kenya)
- Sabiha Rashid, the CEO, Rosho – Mastermind Ventures (Tanzania)
Female Ag Tech Innovator
- Cecilia Rolence China, CEO, AfriTech Organic Leather (Tanzania)
- Fatma Abdirizak Fernandes, CEO, Quincewood Group (Tanzania)
- Joyce Waithira Rugano, Founder and CEO, Ecorich Solutions (Kenya)
- Maryanne Ruguru Gichanga, Director, AgriTech Analytics (Kenya)
- Mwende Gatabaki-Ndii, the founder and MD, Africa Aquaculture Resource Center (Kenya)
Young Female Agripreneur (Rising Star)
- Adelaide Mwasyoghe, the founder, AIS Solutions (Tanzania)
- Judith Endelesi Karia, the founder and MD, Ava Group Investment (Tanzania)
- Lucy Chioma Aniagolu, the founder, Agrodemy Enterprises (Nigeria)
- Siny Samba, CEO, Le Lionceau (Senegal)
- Tracy Vongai Mapfumo, the founder and MD, Eny’s Treats (Zimbabwe)
The VALUE4HER Women Agripreneurs of the Year Awards (WAYA) is a recognition initiative led by AGRA and launched in 2021 as part of AGRA’s flagship VALUE4HER program, which aims to empower women agripreneurs across Africa. WAYA honors exceptional African female agripreneurs who have achieved excellence within the agricultural value chains and showcased remarkable innovation in contributing to food security, climate resilience, and the empowerment of women and youth. These awards play a crucial role in increasing visibility for successful women, serving as positive role models, stimulating innovation, and fostering ambition among women agripreneurs. Through the WAYA initiative, AGRA strives to inspire and empower a new generation of women agripreneurs, driving sustainable and impactful change in the agricultural sector across Africa.
Founded in 2006, AGRA is an African-led African-based organization that seeks to catalyze Agriculture Transformation in Africa. AGRA is focused on putting smallholder farmers at the centre of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives. As the sector that employs the majority of Africa’s people, nearly all of them small-scale farmers, AGRA recognizes that developing smallholder agriculture into a productive, efficient, and sustainable system is essential to ensuring food security, lifting millions out of poverty, and driving equitable growth across the continent.