Nkiru Balonwu: Amplifying African Voices and Elevating the African Narrative Globally – Chief Original Gangstar (COG)
There is a kind of joy we feel when we see women winning. No, it’s not because we are misogynistic and do not believe in the strength of women. It is also not because we are biased toward one gender over the other. It is because there are many obstacles and hurdles that society has set in a woman’s path to success, especially in African society. And to see an African woman overcome these numerous challenges to not only become successful but also a global thought leader at the forefront of the progression and development of the African nation… Show us such a woman and we will tell you that you are looking at a COG. Yes, you should grovel!
In today’s issue of Chief Original Gangstar, our COG is Nkiru Balonwu, The Founder of The Africa Soft Power Group, an international nonprofit organisation whose sole objective is to inspire greater collaboration between the creative and financial sectors, the public and private sectors, individual entrepreneurs and companies, and beyond. In this issue, we will be laying out the different hats and belts she wears, as well as the numerous reasons why she was named among New African Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential Africans.
Whether you like it or not, being raised by two lawyers will imbibe you with the kind of discipline and knowledge you never knew you could possess. That is the solid foundation upon which Nkiru Balonwu’s impeccable go-getter character developed. Imagine legal terms flying over your head as a child, then the same terms used to discipline you when you step a foot out of line. Nkiru Balonwu’s background influenced her career decisions to a great extent, as she is skilled in Corporate and Commercial Law, Intellectual Property Law, Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution. The Nigerian entrepreneur holds a Doctorate Degree from the University of California, Berkeley, a Master of Laws (LLM) from University College London (UCL), and a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) (Hons) from the University of Manchester. She also holds a BL from the Nigerian Law School and a JSD, from the University of California, Berkeley, United States of America. Now we are throwing legal terms around too.
Nkiru Balonwu’s company, The Africa Soft Power Group, houses three separate organisations; the Africa Soft Power Project, ASP Global, and African Women on Board (AWB). Through the ASP Group, Nkiru Balonwu promotes the African narrative to achieve global recognition and include the opinions of Africans in global conversations. The Africa Soft Power Project focuses on how Africa can enhance its creative industries, and knowledge economy, and harness its soft power effectively to propel itself forward while championing the inclusion of African voices in global discourse and building a bridge between Africans and people of African heritage around the globe. Through the years, the ASP Group and the organisations under it have been working continuously to position modern African discourse on the world map, creating and convening Africa’s highest-level gathering of the continent’s creative and cultural industries, advancing new and bold narratives about African women’s leadership and taking African soft power to important global events, including the UN General Assembly, Davos and US-Africa Leaders Summit. Nkiru Balonwu consults with some of the world’s leading organisations on designing effective economic, social, and cultural strategies for Africa.
Passionate about the empowerment of African women, she has advised various government agencies, political parties and private sector organisations on how to engage women in politics, in the workplace, and as consumers. Before founding the ASP Group, Nkiru was CEO of Spinlet, which at the time was Africa’s largest music streaming app with 2m+ subscribers. She has also served as the inaugural Lecturer of Gender & Law at the University of Lagos. She sits on the boards of several organisations and nonprofits, including Rele, RDF Strategies, and Sickle Cell Aid Foundation; and advises various creative industry and technology start-ups on go-to-market strategies. She is also a recipient of the Powerlist UK International award, in recognition of her work as the founder of African Women on Board (AWB).
The Powerlist UK award is given to persons based outside of the UK considered to have distinguished themselves as innovators, change-makers and persons of considerable influence. And you must agree that with all Nkiru Balionwu has going on, she is more than qualified to wield this award. In March 2016, Media publication, YNaija, in partnership with Leading Ladies Africa ranked Balonwu among the 100 Most Inspiring Women in Nigeria. Now we can boast that she has our Chief Original Gangstar award as well.
Rosemary Kasiobi Nwadike
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