Dr. Balonwu, was named alongside Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex and chart-topping rapper, Stormzy at the 2020 Powerlist Black Excellence Awards in London. She was awarded the Powerlist UK International Award, which is given to a person based outside of the UK who is considered to have distinguished themselves as a change-maker, innovator, inspiration and person of considerable influence.
She 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 for women and girls of African heritage around the world. AWB works with partners such as Ford Foundation, Wikimedia, Bank of Industry, Nigerian Stock Exchange and other organisations on initiatives that support the empowerment of women and girls of African heritage around the world.
While accepting her award, Dr. 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” said Balonwu. 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.”
Now in its 14th year, the Powerlist awards, celebrate 100 of the UK’s most influential people of African and Afro Caribbean heritage in business, the public sector, science, technology, sports, media and the arts. More on the 2020 Powerlist awards available here: