Dr Jennifer Riria has become the first woman from East Africa to win the Africa Economic Builders’ Entrepreneur of the Year award.
The prestigious continental award rewards and recognises people who have contributed significantly to Africa’s growth.
Dr Riria has been awarded for her entrepreneurial success as CEO of Kenya Women Holding Group (which has, as one of its companies, KWFT Microfinance) and contribution to promotion of women entrepreneurs in Kenya.
“I am humbled to be considered for this award. It is not for me alone but for all the women that our work at Kenya Women Holdings has touched and whose entrepreneurial thirst has enabled them provide for their families and build a better society,” said Riria.
She will receive the award on Thursday at a dinner in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
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This year marks the sixth edition of the award. Its past recipients are Sudan’s Mo Ibrahim (chairman and founder, Mo Ibrahim Foundation), Ivory Coast’s Koné Dossongui (chairman and founder, Groupe Atlantique), South Africa’s Louisa Mojela (founder and CEO, Women Investments Portfolio Holdings), Sierra Leone’s Gibril Moseray Fadika (chairman, African Minerals) and Ivory Coast’s Thierry Tenor (CEO, Ecobank Group, and former vice president, International Finance Corporation/World Bank Group).
Riria has had a long career as a microfinance banker and practitioner, researcher and gender specialist, and has built a reputation for building institutions that empower people.
She won the 2013 EY Global Entrepreneur of the Year for East Africa and was enlisted in the global hall of fame as a result. She has also received a Champion of Democracy award from the Ford Foundation for her role in growing the microfinance movement in Kenya.