Dr h.c. Hafsat Abiola-Costello
Executive President of Women in Africa Initiative (WIA)
One of three leaders of Connected Women Leaders, Dr. h.c. 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.
An economist with degrees from Harvard and Tsinghua; a pro-democracy activist who lost both parents to her country’s democracy struggle; and a former member of her state’s cabinet in charge of the MDGs and trade and investment portfolios; Hafsat believes women’s equal engagement in the economy and governance systems at all levels will lead to a better world.
Her commitment to harnessing women’s power to transform society is reflected in her work, which spans from the local to global. In Nigeria, she founded KIND, a civil society organization that trains thousands of women in service-oriented leadership. She is one of 50 Councilors of the World Future Council, a Special Envoy to Africa for Women Political Leaders, a member of BMW Foundation’s Responsible Leaders Group, Vital Voices 100 and an alumna of the World Economic Forum’s Community of Young Global Leaders. She is also the recipient of several global and national awards; including, in 2019, the U.S. Civil Rights Museum Public Service Award.