Who are the most powerful women in Africa?
Africa, a continent rich in diversity and untapped potential, has been witnessing a remarkable transformation in recent years, largely attributed to the contributions of powerful and influential women.
These trailblazers have broken barriers, shattered glass ceilings, and made significant strides in various fields, from politics to business, science, and social activism.
In this article, we celebrate some of the most powerful women in Africa who have played pivotal roles in shaping the continent’s future.
1. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia) – Political Pioneer
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the 24th President of Liberia and the first female head of state in Africa, is a trailblazer in African politics.
Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, Sirleaf’s leadership has been marked by her commitment to democracy, peace, and economic development.
Her presidency was a testament to the transformative power of women in leadership roles.
2. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Nigeria) – Economic Visionary
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a Nigerian economist and former finance minister, is a global leader in economic development.
In 2021, she made history by becoming the first African and the first woman to serve as the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Okonjo-Iweala’s extensive experience in international finance and commitment to economic reforms positions her as a powerful force for positive change in Africa and beyond.
3 . Mpumi Madisa (South Africa) – Business
Mpumi Madisa was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bidvest Group Limited. Bidvest is a South African conglomerate with interests in various industries, including services, trading, and distribution.
Madisa was listed as the 88th most powerful woman in the world and the second most powerful woman in Africa by Forbes in 2023.
4 . Samia Suluhu Hassan (Tanzania) – Politics
Samia Suluhu Hassan was the President of Tanzania.
She assumed office on March 19, 2021, following the death of President John Magufuli.
Samia Suluhu Hassan made history as the first female president of Tanzania following her election.
Hassan was listed as the 93rd most powerful woman in the world and the third most powerful woman in Africa by Forbes in 2023.
5. Mo Abudu (Nigeria) – Media & Entertainment
Mo Abudu is a media magnate, businesswoman, and philanthropist from Nigeria.
Mo Abudu is most recognized for being the founder and CEO of EbonyLife Media, a media and entertainment firm with some of the biggest film credits on the entire continent.
Mo was listed as the 98th most powerful woman in the world and the fourth most powerful woman in Africa by Forbes in 2023.
6. Amina J. Mohammed (Nigeria) – Diplomatic Dynamo
Amina J. Mohammed, a Nigerian diplomat and the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, has played a crucial role in addressing global challenges, including sustainable development and climate change.
Her leadership has emphasized the importance of collaboration and inclusivity in finding solutions to complex issues, making her an influential figure on the international stage.
7. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria) – Literary Luminary
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian author and feminist icon, has used her literary prowess to champion gender equality and challenge societal norms.
Her novels, including “Half of a Yellow Sun” and “Americanah,” have garnered international acclaim and have been instrumental in shaping conversations around identity, feminism, and post-colonialism.
Adichie has continued to use her literary prowess to tackle societal issues, particularly the leadership lacuna across the continent.
8. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (South Africa) – Advocate for Gender Equality
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, a South African politician and the Executive Director of UN Women, has dedicated her career to advancing gender equality and women’s rights.
As a powerful advocate, she has been instrumental in raising awareness about issues such as violence against women and economic empowerment. Mlambo-Ngcuka’s leadership has contributed significantly to the global fight for gender equality.
9. Folorunso Alakija
Folorunso Alakija is a Nigerian businesswoman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. She is involved in various industries, including fashion, oil, and printing.
Folorunso Alakija is renowned for her title as the richest woman in Africa.
She is the founder and owner of Famfa Oil Limited, a Nigerian oil exploration company.
Alakija has also been actively involved in philanthropy, supporting causes related to education and healthcare.
The women mentioned here are just a few examples of the many powerful and influential figures across Africa. Their accomplishments serve as an inspiration for the next generation, highlighting the importance of diverse voices in shaping the continent’s future.
As these women continue to make strides in their respective fields, Africa is poised to benefit from their visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to progress and positive change.