Adefunke Adeyemi

Regional Director, Advocacy and Strategic Relations, Africa, International Air Transport Association (IATA)

Recently recognized as one of the 200 globally Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD) in affiliation with the United Nations Decade for People of African Descent. An alumnus of the University of Cambridge, Adefunke is a catalyst of change, a transformative thought leader and influencer, positively impacting lives and the business environment through her passion, work and initiatives. She is focused on bringing value, best practices and international standards to sectors, industries, businesses and government, through her work and career spanning 20 years. She is a lawyer, advocate and global aviation expert. In her current role as Regional Director, Advocacy & Strategic Relations for Africa at the International Air Transportation Association (IATA), Adefunke advocates for the sustainability and growth of the aviation industry across the region, highlighting its value to economies and societies as an enabler and catalyst for development and growth, and a force for social good. Adefunke is responsible for conceptualising and delivering an ongoing campaign regarding the transformation of Africa’s socio-economic prospects through improved air connectivity across the continent, resulting in the launch of the Single African Air Transport Market by African Heads of State in January 2018, which could translate to billions of dollars in GDP and thousands of jobs for Africa. She is IATA’s focal point for its implementation across the continent. Adefunke is passionate about Leadership and Innovation. She is spearheading a pilot campaign in Africa Middle East on the contribution of Aviation to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. She is involved with IATA's Strategic review for the industry and was also part of the core senior management group tasked with revising the strategic direction of the global aviation industry and the re-organisation of IATA to better meet member and industry needs. Until last year, Adefunke headed the Diversity & Inclusion initiative of IATA in Africa Middle East, also leading its Women in Leadership program in the region, and has mentored several women and men, both within and outside her organisation. She is also a trainer and resource person on leadership, regulation and advocacy. She attended the University of Lagos for her undergradualte law degree followed by a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree from University of Cambridge, U.K. She also holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the Nanyang Business School, NTU, Singapore, during which she simultaneously completed a collaborative Advanced Management Program in Aviation, Leadership and Innovation between the Nanyang Business School, Berkeley Haas School of Business, University of California and the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania. She has held several positions of responsibility through her education and career, and has positively led or contributed to many key industry or social initiatives, including initiating an industry advisory group to accelerate the growth of aviation in Africa, being a focal point for the Oxford and Cambridge Alumni Association for over 10 years, co-founding the Law Ladies Society in University of Lagos, and co-founding a charity that provided health care and supplies for the disabled elderly, indigent children and fertility treatment to women in need, to highlight a few. Adefunke is a member of the Most Influencial People of African Descent (MIPAD), the African Leadership Network, an Associate of the worldwide Institude of Directors, member of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and avid supporter of the African Philanthropy Foundation. She enjoys travelling, running, creative writing and volunteer work. She is an accomplished public speaker, taking crucial messages across Africa and to the world for impact and action in her own unique way.

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