Africa Wellness Initiative

The Africa Wellness Initiative (AWI) aims to promote African wellness through strengthening wellness institutions, training and human resources development. Together with the GWI, we aim to build a database of wellness operators, practitioners, and indigenous skills for the benefit of Africa and the global wellness industry. The AWI will also help record, develop, and protect the unique skills and indigenous knowledge by promoting a culture of African-inspired knowledge-sharing within the global billion-dollar wellness industry. This is key for a continent that has so much to offer the global wellness arena.

The Latest News and Resources

Initiative Leadership

Mariane Akwenye


Mariane Akwenye, Managing Director, Nomad Group, Namibia

Mariane Akwenye, visionary founder of Nomad, an ecosystem of curated health and wellness offerings with a deep passion for culture and holistic well-being. With over two decades of experience, Mariane established the award-winning Nomad Wellness Homestead and Makai product line. She specializes in ancestry-inspired cultural wellness consultancy and has made her mark in high-end spa resorts across Southern Africa. Through her social enterprise, Mariane empowers undervalued women, particularly those with visual impairment, with essential skills for careers in the health and wellness industry. Transitioning from Namibia’s first black female commercial pilot to a Wellness Entrepreneur, Mariane now advocates for Wellness Tourism in her home country. Committed to inclusivity and promoting African heritage in wellness solutions, she is a pioneer and advocate of African wellness.

Michelle Saudan


Michelle Saudan, Founder & Facilitator of Amanzi Wellbeing, Dubai-Zimbabwe

Born and Raised in Zimbabwe, Michelle was proudly awarded with the Global Wellness Summit’s Susie Ellis Scholarship recipient for Equity in Wellness 2023 and is the Co-Chair for the Global Wellness Institute’s African Wellness Initiative. Amanzi Wellbeing works at the intersection of wellness and community empowerment and is devoted to supporting and holding space for our global community through the awareness of Africa’s Unique Wellness Assets via Transformational Retreats. Intently heart-led on creating safe spaces of healing for the local Southern African community through accessible Trauma-Informed wellness programs, workshops and retreats. She has been traveling around the world from the age of 16 years old and has visited 70 countries, making the global community her home. During her journey she found confirmation of the importance of healing in community, through shared laughter, grief, movement, and mindfulness – concepts also deeply rooted in the African Culture.



The Initiative will include the innovative use and promotion of indigenous African plants, robust programs, and events to build up a strong educational and entrepreneurial spirit within the African spa and wellness industry, as well as help strengthen the industry in terms of standards and accreditation within Africa.

Featured Reports and Resources

Move To Be Well: The Global Economy of Physical Activity – 2019 Sub-Saharan Africa

First-ever research report on the six-sector global physical activity economy, including the fitness, sports & active recreation, mindful movement, equipment, apparel/footwear and technology markets.

Global Wellness Tourism Economy – Sub-Saharan Africa

Global wellness tourism regional data and trends analysis, including, for the first time, the spending premiums for wellness travelers for dozens of countries. Released November 2018.

Wellness Economy Monitor – Sub-Saharan Africa

The 2018 report provides updated figures for the ten industry segments that comprise the global wellness economy: fitness and mind-body; healthy eating, nutrition and weight loss; personal care, beauty and anti-aging; preventative and personalized medicine and public health; spa economy; thermal/mineral springs; traditional and complementary medicine; wellness real estate; wellness tourism; and workplace wellness.

Initiative Members

Meet the renowned thought leaders in this field who are collaborating to educate and evolve wellness in this area of global importance.



View the research, trends, whitepapers, infographics and more from this Initiative, as well as a curated list of third party resources.


Contact Initiative

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