Africa has two slots on the recently released Forbes list of 100 Most Powerful Women in the world. This is an increase of one from the last two years.
The two women are linked by politics and diplomacy. They are Ethiopian president Sahle-Work Zewde, who was the only African in the 2018 list. She is joined by Deputy United Nations secretary-general Amina Mohammed of Nigeria.
Back in 2017, the only African listed was Africa’s richest woman and daughter of former Angolan president Isabel dos Santos.
In 2016, Africa had three slots, two presidential and one in commerce. Then Liberia president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Mauritius president at the time, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim were listed. Nigeria’s business mogul Folorunsho Alakija was the third African.
“In 2019, women around the globe took action, claiming leadership positions in government, business, philanthropy and media. These trailblazers are not to be messed with,” Forbes wrote about this year’s candidates.
What Forbes wrote about Sahle-Work Zewde
- In October 2018, Sahle-Work Zewde became Ethiopia’s first woman president and the only serving female head of state in Africa.
- A seasoned diplomat and veteran of the United Nations, Zewde was appointed with a unanimous vote by parliament.
- In her first address to parliament, Zewde promised to be a voice for women and stressed the importance of unity.
- The appointment joins a series of unprecedented shifts as part of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s reforms focused on easing government control.
- Traditionally a ceremonial role, Zewde’s appointment is a tremendously symbolic move for the conservative country, opening the door for gender parity.
What Forbes wrote about Amina Mohammed
- Amina J. Mohammed is the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.
- She was previously a special adviser to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and was instrumental in setting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- British-Nigerian by birth, Mohammed served as Nigeria’s environmental minister in 2016, guiding the country’s efforts on fighting climate change.
- She worked in three successive administrations in Nigeria, coordinating programs worth $1 billion annually for development goal-related interventions.
Top 10 and other notable candidates
1 – Angela Merkel
2 – Christine Lagarde
3 – Nancy Pelosi
4 – Ursula von der Leyen
5 – Mary Barra
6 – Melinda Gates
7 – Abigail Johnson
8 – Ana Patricia Botin
9 – Ginni Rometty
10 – Marillyn Hewson
20 – Oprah Winfrey
38 – Jacinda Ardern
40 – Queen Elizabeth
42 – Ivanka Trump
61 – Rihanna
66 – Beyonce
81 – Serena Williams
100 – Greta Thunberg