Hafsat Abiola

Hafsat Abiola

Women in Africa Initiative


A committed humanist, Hafsat Abiola is the president of Women in Africa Initiative, the foremost platform organizing the continent’s leading women into a force for sustainable development.

A former member of the Ogun State (Nigeria) cabinet where, as the Special Adviser on MDGs, she pioneered the use of mobile phones to deliver cash grants to poor pregnant women to ensure their access to antenatal, delivery and postnatal care; and as the Special Adviser on Trade and Investment for a state that is the industrial hub of Nigeria she is working on programs to ensure inclusive growth to address high youth unemployment. She also serves as a councillor of the World Future Council, a global entity that identifies, analyses and spreads policies that contribute to sustainable development.

Hafsat believes that our world needs more than a few exemplary women leaders, it needs a groundswell. Through her non-profit in Nigeria, KIND, and Women in Africa, she is building that groundswell, developing a rising generation of women leaders across Africa committed to moving the continent from crisis to prosperity. Her life’s work is a tribute to her parents, who lost their lives during the movement to restore democracy in Nigeria during a period of military rule.

An economist with degrees from Harvard and Tsinghua, Hafsat hopes to contribute to shaping a world defined by true democracy, real solidarity and universal accountability in place of the status quo of hollowing democracies; global apartheid; and international under-governance. She believes that such a global system reset will usher in a golden era of humanity’s enlightenment and progress. 

The recipient of several global and national awards, including, most recently, the U.S. Civil Rights Museum Public Service award in October 2019, Hafsat is one of 50 councilors of the World Future Council; a member of BMW Foundation’s Responsible Leaders Group; Vital Voices 100; the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders alumni community; and Gucci’s Chime for Change.

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