African women are increasingly setting the pace in the entrepreneurship scene. They are taking advantage of technological advances and transcending traditional barriers to build creative and sustainable businesses that meet the needs of African consumers.
15 Mar 2016
Female leaders like Toyin Dania have made me confident and optimistic about Africa’s future and my ability as a young woman to actively contribute to the diaspora in the UK and in Africa.
Over the years, Toyin Dania has made important contributions to the work of ACES Youth Project. Toyin was a mentor, leading member of the board, head award’s judge (2009-2012), award presenter and key speaker at our ‘Oscar Style’ achievement awards – ACES Diamond Ball Awards. Her passion for innovation and young people in enterprise is exemplary. Toyin constantly finds ways to motivate the lives of young people. She is currently one of the board members of Street Children Empowerment Foundation.
Toyin exemplifies women empowerment, leadership and integrity. She has shown me that it is possible to make an impact in Africa and the UK. This is why writing about her was so important to me.
Toyin Dania, the Country Manager of Djembe Communications for Ghana continues to drum the beat of an important message – ‘creating opportunities for African entrepreneurs’. Djembe’s leading drummer for West Africa is making waves in the international development community, by having innovative discussions with a generation of people invested in the sustainability of the motherland.
Toyin Dania has over 25 years of outstanding work in international development, enterprise and NGO communities. She developed, led and managed over ten UK and EU funded projects and also has an in depth experience of working with NGOs: African Foundation for Development (AFFORD), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Remit Aid, Department for International Development (DFID), Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) and Comic Relief. She has designed and implemented projects and programs that supported the creation of jobs and business opportunities within the UK, Nigeria, Ghana, locally in Sierra Leone and in diaspora communities.
Toyin is actively encouraging Africans to march to the beat of their own drum. Her recent webinars on ‘Education Made in Africa’ & ‘Africa’s Womenpreneurs: What’s Next?’ have created international conversations about providing the best African specific solutions to inequality in the educational system and lack of entrepreneurial opportunities for women.
Toyin Dania’s incredible career in supporting the diaspora to use their power, skills and knowledge in developing Africa, is outstanding. Her commitment through her various roles past and present in exploring the best frameworks in stimulating entrepreneurship and employment in Africa, is commendable.
Writing about Toyin Dania evoked an array of emotions.
Growing up, the diaspora and Africa’s development have always been two concepts that are mutually exclusive. Initially my only understanding of the role of the diaspora in the future of Africa stemmed from the weekly debates between my father and his friends on the state of affairs in Nigeria. They would talk about their frustration with the lack of jobs, an unstable economy and political corruption.
Soon their conversations became a ritualised occurrence in our household. Their discussions led me to a cynical view of the future of Africa, as their heated discussions of what needed to be done always remained in the four walls of our living room. Their active engagement with Africa’s development started and ended with sending money to their extended families back home. I started to believe that the issues that Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Fela-Kuti and Wole Soyinka campaigned for through literature, music and political resistance would always prevail in Nigeria and the whole of Africa.
I am truly proud and inspired that an African woman is in a position to invest and support the growth of African nations. Her story is motivating for young people like myself who are interested in careers in international development. She is a role model for the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community (BAME) and an inspiration to young female entrepreneurs. It is fair to conclude, that Toyin Dania is an individual the BAME community need to watch – as one of the next leading moguls in Africa.