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Kenya’s Jennifer Riria Named Model African Woman Of The Year 2022

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Dr. Jennifer Riria, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Echo Network Africa, has been awarded the Model African Woman of the Year 2022 during this year’s annual continental convocation of the Young African Women Congress (YAWC). She is the second African woman to grab this prestigious award after Ghana’s first female Chief of Staff Akosua Frema Osei Opare received it in its maiden edition in 2019.

At a colourful ceremony held on Tuesday, October 4, 2022 at the auditorium of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana, the Young African Women Congress (YAWC) Network, a continental based organization in Africa with its headquarters in Accra, Ghana presented the award to her.

Dr. Jennifer Riria is a researcher, a gender specialist and an award-winning banker with more than 30 years’ experience in the banking industry. She is a founding member of Kenya Women Holding and Kenya Women Finance Trust (KWFT), a microfinance bank which has empowered more than 3 Million women over a period of 30 years. As CEO, she spearheaded the transformation of KWFT from a microfinance institution to a regulated middle sized bank.

In addition, she has served in many other leadership roles both locally and internationally. She served on many boards including the Women’s World Bank Board as the chairperson. Dr. Riria is currently the Chairperson of the Africa Women Leaders Network (AWLN) – Kenyan Chapter and the Patron of the Democracy Trust Fund (DTF), a semi-autonomous organization that supports and positions women to participate in democratic processes in Kenya.

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She recently re-launched the “Jennifer Riria Foundation” whose focus is to enhance young women’s leadership through innovations and connection to industry players in the private sector.

Dr. Riria could not hide her joy as she described the award as the “most emotional” award out of the many she has received. In her acceptance speech, she acknowledged the presence of the Leader of the Women’s Caucus in Ghana’s Parliament, Hon. Lydia Seyram Alhassan, the Members of the Diplomatic Community as well as other dignitaries.

She stated that “young women want better life, better positioning…etc”. However, she quizzed how they were going to achieve that. In response, she said that older women should mentor younger women as well as young men. She pleaded with people in position to support young people.

In concluding her acceptance speech, Dr. Jennifer Riria offered her true love which she described as an effortless network across Africa, an invitation to join the Jennifer Riria Foundation, an unwavering support and a connection with ECHO Network Africa. Finally, she dedicated the award to her god grand-daughters and all 7-year-olds in Africa. Her hope is that they will take the mantle when the older people leave the scene.

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