President, Women in Africa Initiative
Recognized by Europe-based A Different View as one of fifteen champions for World Democracy, Hafsat Abiola is President of Women in Africa (WIA) Initiative. WIA is an organisation which provides a platform for leading and high potential African women to connect and raise their level of individual success and collective impact.
Her experience covers the local to global. From an eight-year stint as a member of cabinet in Nigeria’s industrial state where she was responsible for expanding access to public services for the poor; to her work as a councillor of the World Future Council, a global entity that identifies, analyses and spreads the world’s best policies; Hafsat works to promote the sustainable development agenda at all levels. She is one of three leads of Connecting Women Leaders and the Special Envoy to Africa of the Women Political Leaders.
Inspired by women’s often unrecognised contributions to developing their families and communities, Hafsat believes women are the greatest untapped resource available to meet the challenges facing the continent of Africa. Through her non-profit, the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), which works in Nigeria; and WIA, which operates across Africa, she is working to build a critical mass of women with the capacity to take on these challenges and to bring about the breakthroughs Africans need.
Hafsat’s commitment to fostering democracy and development in Africa is a tribute to her parents, celebrated philanthropists who lost their lives in the course of their efforts to restore democracy during a time of military rule in Nigeria.
She graduated from Harvard University with a A.B. in Development Economics (Hons.) and received a Master’s in International Development from Tsinghua University. She is the recipient of several awards including the recognition as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2006, the Goi Peace Foundation award in 2016, the Freedom Award from the U.S. National Civil Rights Museum in 2019, and the Excellence Award from the Forum de Bamako in Mali in 2021.