These are Africa’s most powerful women

Theodora Aidoo March 09, 2020
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For the first time, Forbes has compiled a Pan-African list of the continent’s most powerful women, derived from business, politics, media, science, sports, and public life.

These women, according to Forbes, are challenging the status quo and creating a trail on terrain where there was none. They are reshaping history, closing inequalities and pioneering new avenues of wealth creation and in turn, lifting others with them.

The unranked list looked at Africa’s leading women across sectors and industries, as well as government agencies and non-profit institutions.

Here are Africa’s 50 most powerful women:


Graca Machel                    South Africa            Founder, Graca Machel Trust                 

Clare Akamanzi                 Rwanda                   Ceo, Rwanda Development Board

Folorunso Alakija               Nigeria                   Executive Vice Chair, Famfa Oil             

Jennifer Riria                    Kenya                     Group Ceo, Echo Network Africa (Ena); Founding Member, Kenya Women Finance Trust         

Louise Mushikiwabo           Rwanda                  Secretary-General, organization Internationale De La Francophonie (Oif)

Aya Chebbi                      Tunisia                   Blogger And Africa Union Youth Envoy  

Elsie Kanza                       Tanzania                 Head of Africa and member of the executive committee, World Economic Forum   

Ibukun Awosika                 Nigeria                  Founder And Ceo, The Chair Centre Group

Dr. Judy Dlamini                South Africa            Founder, Mbekani Group           

Charlize Theron                South Africa            Hollywood Actress                     

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie            Nigeria                  Author, Public Speaker               

Phuti Mahanyele-Dabengwa  South Africa         Ceo, Naspers South Africa  Technology

Obiageli ‘Oby’ Ezekwesili     Nigeria                         Senior Economic Advisor, Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative

Glenda Gray                     South Africa            President And Ceo,  South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)

Thuli Madonsela                South Africa            Law Trust Chair, Social Justice Research at Stellenbosch University 

Wendy Luhabe                  South Africa                   Social Entrepreneur & Co-Founder, Wiphold            

Angélique Kidjo                 Benin                     Four-Time Grammy Award Winner

Manal Rostom                   Egypt                    Founder, Surviving Hijab and Face of Nike Pro Hijab      

Lydia Nsekera                   Burundi                   President, National Olympic Committee (Noc) Of Burundi and Member Of Fifa Council   

Winnie Byanyima               Uganda                  Executive Director, Unaids

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala         Nigeria                   Chair, Board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (Gavi)

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka   South Africa            Executive Director, United Nations (Un) Women             

Waris Dirie                       Somalia                  President and Founder, Desert Flower  Foundation

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf         Liberia                             First Female President Of Liberia, Nobel Peace Laureate

Yvonne Chaka Chaka         South Africa            Award-winning Musician   

Sahle-Work Zewde            Ethiopia                  President of Ethiopia        

Mamokgethi (Kgethi) Phakeng     South Africa  Vice-Chancellor, University Of Cape Town (Uct)  

Rebecca Enonchong           Cameroon               Founder & Ceo, Appstech 

Bonang Matheba               South Africa       MediaPersonality, Entrepreneur    

Fatma Samoura                 Senegal                  Secretary-General, Fifa     

Irene Charnley                  South Africa            Founder, Smile Communications  

Uchenna ‘Uche’ Pedro        Nigeria                   Founder And Ceo, Bellanaija       

Ilwad Elman  Somalia        Founder                 Elman Peace Centre

Wendy Appelbaum             South Africa            Founder and Chairperson,

De Morgenzon Wine Estate         

Olajumoke Adenowo         Nigeria                   Founder, Ad Consulting    

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu   Ethiopia                  Founder and Ceo, Solerebels Footwear, Garden Of Coffee, Tefftastic        

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma   South Africa            Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, South Africa   

Wendy Ackerman              South Africa            Executive Director, Pick ‘N Pay     Caster

Semenya                          South Africa            Olympic Champion 

Rawya Mansour                 Egypt                    Founder and Ceo, Ramsco 

Arunma Oteh                    Nigeria                   Academic Scholar, University of Oxford former Treasurer and Vice President, World Bank London Stock Exchange Africa Advisory Group Member

Fatou Bensouda                 Gambia                   Prosecutor, International Criminal Court (Icc)  

Hajer Sharief                    Libya                     Human Rights Advocate    

Amina J. Mohammed         Nigeria                   Deputy Secretary-General, UN    

Precious Motsepe              South Africa            Founder, African Fashion International

Lupita Nyong’o                  Kenya Oscar-winning Actor        

Vera Songwe                    Cameroon               Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa  

Magda Wierzycka               South Africa            Founder, Sygnia     

Tara Fela-Durotoye            Nigeria                   Founder, House Of Tara International    

Theresa Kachindamoto      Malawi                   Chief of Dedza District

Last Edited by: Updated: May 8, 2020


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