Africa: 5 Women to Watch in Sustainability


In celebrating women all over the world today, these women have showed spunk, excellence and impacted the society in such a time as this and we cannot but celebrate them! Here are 5 women to watch in Sustainability:



Amina J. Mohammed is the present Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations and the immediate past Minister of Environment of Nigeria.  She is an adjunct Professor in Development Practice at Columbia University.

From 2002-2005, Ms. Mohammed coordinated the Task Force on Gender and Education for the UN Millennium Project. She worked with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning. She is the founder of the Think Tank Center for Development Policy Solutions. She also worked as Senior Adviser on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to three different Presidents of Nigeria from 2000 – 2014.

Earlier in her career, she was the founder and Executive Director of AfriProjects Consortium, a multidisciplinary firm of engineers and quantity surveyors.

She is the 2006 recipient of the National Honors Award of OFR. She was inducted in the Nigerian Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007.


Uganda-born Winnie Byanyima is Executive Director of Oxfam International. She earned engineering degrees in the United Kingdom and began her career as an engineer for Uganda Airlines. She was appointed to the diplomatic service in 1989, where she represented Uganda in France and at UNESCO in Paris.

She is a leader on women’s rights, democratic governance and peace building. She has served in the Ugandan Parliament, African Union Commission, UN task force and United Nations Development Program. She also co-founded the 60-member Global Gender and Climate Alliance.

Ms. Byanyima is a signatory to her country’s 1985 Peace Agreement. She has helped to broker and support women’s participation in peace processes in Rwanda, South Africa, Burundi, Sudan and other countries emerging from conflict.

She holds a M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering in Energy Conservation and the Environment (University of Cranfield), and a B.Sc. in Aeronautical Engineering (University of Manchester).


Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, who was born in Lagos, is a graduate of Fisk University with a master’s degree from Vanderbilt University. She worked for IBM for five years before deciding to study further. She was accepted to study for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

She came up with the idea of a recycling business where raffle tickets are offered in exchange for waste in the second year at MIT.

Today, Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola is the CEO and Co-Founder of Wecyclers, a social enterprise working to provide households in low-income communities with value from their waste. She is an Echoing Green Fellow, Tech award Recipient and laureate of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards.


24-year old Vivian Onano is an advocate for Women and girls’ and youth leader who was born and raised in rural Kenya. She is the Partnerships Manager at SEED Project, Global Youth Ambassador for Water Aid, and Vice-Chair of Global Youth Empowerment Fund Board of Trustees. Her advocacy has seen her appointed as one of the three youth advisors to the UN Women Civil Society Advisory Group. Her capacity in this role is to advise the UN Women Executive Director on issues of youth and women empowerment.

She was once invited the United Nations General Assembly in New York and gave the keynote speech on the impact of the 1995 World Programme of Action for Youth. New African Woman Magazine featured her as one of the “30 under 30: Faces Changing Africa Now” and Forbes Woman Africa profiled her as “One to Watch”.

Vivian is a recipient of the 2016 MTV Africa Award under category “Africa Re-imagined” for her relentless work as a youth advocate and leader. She has a vision and dream to help create an inclusive world for everyone.


Lilian O. Ajayi is the Founder and Executive Director of Global Connections for Women foundation (GC4W). Lilian has served at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Lilian is a Harvard Graduate and an MBA Candidate at Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College CUNY. She is an Adjunct Professor at New York University School of Professional Studies.

She is the Executive Producer and Host of the television broadcast series “Path to Passion,” where young women entrepreneurs are profiled and interviewed. The show aims to inspire + empower other women to follow and live out their passions. She has been invited to speak at several leadership panels including Columbia Business School and Columbia Law School Economic Business, and NYU-Stern Business Economic Forum.

She was awarded the Ambassador of Goodwill of the State of Arkansas and the rest of the World – by the Governor Mike Bebe. She was awarded with the Special U.S. Congressional Award for Outstanding Community Service from Congresswoman Barbara Lee and recognized by Applause Africa magazine as one of the “Top 40 under 40” Most Inspiring Africans in the Diaspora and one of the “Top 20 African Women” with powerful and inspiring voices. Lilian Ajayi was recently named “Power Woman of the Diaspora” by Black Enterprise Magazine.

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