Women in Africa (WIA), an initiative to encourage international and pan-African companies to identify, bring together and support women's talent has named Dr Patrick Awuah, the Founder and President of Ashesi University (Ghana), as African Man of the Year.
The inaugural award was presented at the first WIA Summit, which took place in Marrakech, Morocco, on Wednesday.
The African Man of the Year Award was developed in partnership with Déclic, a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) consulting firm and highlights the exceptional commitment of men who helped to promote the role of women and gender equality in the African socio-economic landscape.
Presenting the award in his absence, the President of Women in Africa, Ms Aude de Thin, said: "At Women in Africa, we are convinced that if we want to create a society that ensures equal representation of men and women in leadership and governance, we cannot and should not exclude men from the conversation.”
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“Men hold 90 per cent of the power, so it is imperative that we work together, men and women, hand in hand”, saying this was how the idea of the African Man of the Year Award was born.
“The award is a way to spotlight a man who, through his actions, contributes to the empowerment of women and the promotion of women's leadership,” Ms Aude de Thin said.
About Dr Awuah
Dr Awuah founded Ashesi University in 2002 to strengthen the capacities of young people in Ghana and Africa and help them increase their chances of achieving leadership positions in their countries.
Fifteen years after its inception, Ashesi University has a gender-balanced campus with 48 per cent female students.
The university also offers an inclusive engineering programme, where women represent 40 per cent of the fresh students and 33 per cent of the sophomore engineering classes.
Dr Awuah has designed a curriculum intentionally aimed at including the perspectives of women, including implementing summer high school programmes that inspire girls to pursue careers in science and engineering; funding more scholarships for women; and providing mentorship and counselling necessary to help women succeed in college and in their subsequent careers.
The Managing Director of Déclic, Ms Radia Cheikh Lahlou, said, "Gender inequality costs Africa $95 billion a year. The inclusive development of the continent would not happen without the effective involvement of women.’
She added that “through the African Man of the Year Award, we sought men who involved women in the leadership of their organisations in an effective and formalised way.”
“Without claiming to have had a comprehensive approach to covering the 54 countries and all the men in these countries, we have succeeded in identifying one who reflects this idea by adopting a very clear methodology and extremely demanding criteria: a man who is African and who is active on the continent; who has formalised an approach to integrating gender equity in the governance of his organisation; and who, in addition, has influenced outside the walls of his organisation in support of gender equity.”