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Monday, May 27, 2013

Five powerful African women

Forbes has just released the official list of the world's 100 most powerful women of 2013. I am not sure which criteria Forbes experts used. Based on the list, they have probably included criteria such financial or diplomatic influence. However, I was disappointed to notice the insignificant representation of African women on the list. This may be partly explained by the background of those in charge of the selection.

Dr.Wangari Maathai (Photo: writespirit.net)


I believe there are more powerful African women who could have been included on the list. Well, I decided to share with you my list. The Jessica Foumen's most powerful women, you may say (laughter). Below is the  list of the five most powerful African women I know. Also, you may read the list of the most powerful African women by Forbes or  the top 10 richest women in Africa by Ventures. Feel free to write your suggestions at the end of this article

1. My Mom
The most powerful woman in the world will always be my Mom. She has always amazed me with her determination and her strength. Her name may never be published  on a Forbes' list but it will be written on my heart forever. I believe the same can be said for most African moms. 
                                                             
 2. Wangari Mathaai
Three years ago, the book "Unbowed" of the deceased Dr.Wangari Maathai changed my life. I found it in an small American library by accident. Finally, my passion for a better Africa made perfect sense. Despite the challenges she faced in Kenya, she became the first East-African woman to receive a PhD and  to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her contributions towards sustainable development, peace and democracy. 

3.  Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
First female Head of State on the continent, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was the strong leader war-torn Liberia desperately needed. Since she came to power, Liberia has been able to move forward. This African icon has survived civil wars and exiles. This graduate from Havard University has also received a Nobel Peace Prize.

Joyce Banda (Photo: guardian.co.uk)

3. Joyce Banda
Elected shortly after President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, President Joyce Banda from Malawi is the most powerful African women according to Forbes. She is the first female Head of state for her country. According to Forbes, her first year was marked by major public health initiatives such as the $15 billion Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria.

Dr.Dambisa Moyo (Photo: realsociology.edublogs.org)

4. Dambisa Moyo
This Zambian-born economist is a New York Times bestseller who brought a fresh narrative on the table with her publications and books, particularly "Dead Aid."  Dr.Dambisa Moyo is an Alumn from Oxford University and Harvard University. In 2009, she was named by TIME Magazine as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World."

5. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala 
This Harvard alumn is the Minister of Finance of Nigeria. Under her leadership, Nigeria has witnessed a 6.5% increase in GDP from 2011 to 2012, as reported by Forbes. Nigeria is the third largest economy in Africa with nearly $50 billion in foreign reserves. Dr.Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala failed the bid to become the president of the World Bank.