Ayoo Africa 2020 Honoree
Zimbabwean born, and U.S based medical doctor, Arikana Chihombori-Quao is the former African Union Ambassador to the United States of America. She grew up in the village of Chivhu in Zimbabwe and relocated to the US in 1977. She practiced family medicine for nearly three decades in Murfreesboro, Tennessee where she founded the Bell Family Medical Centers.
“The problems affecting Africa today have been in the making for centuries. The legacy of colonialism is alive and well.”- Arikana Chihombori-Quao
She is known for her upfront views in support of the economic independence of Africa, and that has gained her a lot of popularity. She openly stresses how exploitative ‘neo-colonialism’ is in its policies that are contributing to the problems in Africa today. Prior to her former appointment as the Permanent Representative of the A.U to the U.S, she was Chair of the African Union-African Diaspora Health Initiative (AU-ADHI) from 2012 till 2017.
Dr. Arikana is also a public speaker and an educator.Her lectures have a recurring theme often punctuated with calls to action for Africans. She often insists that the assistance going into Africa from the diaspora is more than any aid from Western powers and is a strong proponent of the fact that “Africans are capable of looking after themselves”.
In early 2019, Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao launched the “Wakanda One Village Project” through which she hopes to have diaspora engagement directly with the continent. In collaboration with the South African Development Community (SADC), Zimbabwe and Zambia offered 2,000 and 132 hectares of land respectively, around the Victoria Falls area for the construction of the Wakanda One Village. The first of its kind in the Southern African region, Wakanda One Village is publicized to include a teaching hospital, a university and technical college, primary and secondary schools, a game lodge, a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant, a farm and much more. Renewable energy power plants and a monorail are part of the plans as well.
– 2015 African Union “Women of Excellence Award
-Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians recipient of several awards
-1996 Award from the late President Nelson Mandela for her contributions to Africa