Meet the 22-Year-Old Who Plans to Make African Women the Face of Finance & Technology
Diana Wilson was born in the bustling city of Newark, NJ. Her mother, long ago, came to America with two possessions: twenty dollars and a dream. However, as she arrived at the pronounced “Land of Opportunity” she soon realized she would face many impediments before attaining the American Dream. She would soon become a single mother to three children in Newark, NJ; a city consistently mentioned only for its high crime rate and drug crisis.
Still, Diana states that, “Her mother worked ceaselessly to instill the morals that she learned from growing up in the rural parts of Tarkwa, Ghana. Her ethics of hard work, perseverance, and grit have shaped my life.”
So as a first-generation Ghanaian, she believes her mother’s sacrifice and training provided her with the proficiency and obligation to not only continue her mother’s dream but to also advocate for Ghanaians. She stated:
I represent the sweat and tears of my mother and my family back home. My mom frequently tells me, “Never forget your roots” and I operate in this concept. My culture has helped me to see past the glamour in America, and to realize that there are many citizens who struggle every day. It is my duty not to only to help foster economic solutions in emerging markets like Ghana but to fight for citizens’ rights.
For these reasons, at the age of 21 years-old, Diana created Yielding Accomplished African Women (Yaa W): Ghana’s first finance and technology accelerator for women! Named after Yaa Asantewaa, a Ghanaian feminist heroine, Queen mother and warrior, Yaa W. is a yearlong free program in which female students complete intensive educational course in finance/technology, leadership development, branding and professional etiquette.
According to the World Bank, Ghana will be the fastest growing economy in the world in 2018. At current rates, 15 to 20 million well-educated young people will enter into Africa’s labor force annually until 2030. Yet, on average, African countries only capture 55% of their human capital, compared to the 65% global average. Moreover, the high-skilled employment share of the workforce is a mere 6% in Africa contrary to the global average of 24%. Keep in mind that there are even lower rates of female economic participation. The Yaa W. program provides comprehensive certification courses, extensive online training software, and experience with hands-on social impact projects, constructed to ensure every participant masters the fundamental skills requisite for employment at top financial and technology corporations.
She has already received assistance from leaders at internationally recognized corporations such as Bank of America, IBM, Standard Chartered Bank and many more. Also, top companies like Google, MTV, Center for American Progress, etc. have recognized her work on empowering women. Her vision is necessary, significant, and has the potential to revolutionize the face of technology and finance in Africa.
Diana describes her powerful vision by stating,
“I am working to see the day when young Black girls understand their beauty and importance, which I struggled to perceive. I am working to see the day when potential meets opportunity for Black women. I am working to create a successful business model that will champion in minority