The stereotype found in Africa as men should be the only leaders and influencers should change, but power comes in different forms despite men taking the majority in leadership roles and influence, but I believed the notion has changed in recent times. African women have taken from men and are leading by influence, through their respective successes and the impact they gave back to their own people.
Today it’s not new to see female leaders holding presidential posts, successful entrepreneurs, female engineers, technology and hard-working African women who are going for the extra mile to make the Africa we believe and work for, which was dominated by men in the last 50 years.
African women have been ambitious and eager to build industries, change societies, save lives, rewrite African history and are continuing to transform the African continent through influence. We will look at the brightest stars who are game changers and making Africa proud, through innovation and courage in their respective societies or countries. Some people called them the continents emerging power brokers, the amazons to watch or the custodians of tomorrow.
Today we have seen a number of women around the world making great efforts to positively impact their communities and leave a legacy for generations to come and enjoy. These young power and influence to make sure that Africa is the best place to live and grow. Some of these women are change makers, influencers, visionaries and policymakers in their various countries. These are African women who are continually contributing to the socio-economic and political sectors in Africa.
We will look at some of these young and powerful African women who have power or influence to inspire every young African.
1. DAMBISA MOYO
She is a Zambian economist who is recognized at the global stage and an international author in macroeconomics. She holds a degree in economics and a postgraduate degree in business, public administration from the reputable universities of both Harvard and Oxford. She serves as a board member in various institutions and companies around the world including Barclays Bank, SAB Miller, the global brewer, and Barrick Gold. Before she became an international speaker she served two years at the World Bank as a consultant and eight years at Goldman Sachs as a research economist. She is someone Africans are definitely proud of.
2. ISABEL DOS SANTOS
She is definitely Africa’s richest woman, Isabel is the daughter of former Angolan president Jose Eduardo Santos who is one of the richest men in Africa. Her entrepreneurship and business life has been manifested in her success as a businesswoman. Isabel holds major shares in international companies such as Unitel, an Angolan telecom giant, Angola’s Banco BIC of Portugal, ZON Optimus a Portuguese cable TV company just to name a few. She is inspirational to young women in Africa who want to do business.
3. ELLEN JOHNSON- SIRLEAF
She is a Liberian politician who served as president of Angola from 2006 to 2018. She was the first elected female president in Africa. She is a powerful woman who rendered endless efforts in fighting the deadly Ebola virus that claimed many lives in her native country, Liberia. She was the minister of finance in Liberia from 1979 to 1980 after the bloody coup that made her left Liberia and held senior roles in international financial institutions around the world. She was the first female elect to be the chairman of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) since its formation. She won a noble price in 2011 for her efforts in the safety of women, women rights and peacebuilding works.
4. ORY OKOLLOH
Ory is a Harvard trained lawyer, a blogger, and lawyer. She is the founded “Ushahidi” a crowdsourcing utility that gives the Kenyan citizen journalist and other eyewitnesses around the world to report and share violence through the internet, email, SMS, WhatsApp, and Twitter. She is one of the most influential women in global technology and that have made her Google’s policy manager for Africa. She no doubts an inspirational woman in African technology and beyond.
5. CLAIRE AKAMANZI
Claire Akamanzi is the chief operating officer of the Rwanda Development Board, it is a government body responsible for facilitating economic growth and development in Rwanda by making sure that the private sector grows as well. She was the deputy director general of the Rwanda investment and export promotion agency. She also has a successful career working in the public services and took the role of Rwanda’s commercial diplomat in London and also a trade negotiator in Geneva for the Rwanda government at the World Trade Center. She is really an icon in Africa.
6. WANGECHI MUTU
Wangechi Mutu is a Kenyan artist and sculptor and a popular contemporary artist in recent times. Her work of art was displayed in 2013 at the Nasher Museum of art at the duke university in Durham, North Carolina. Her work of art has gained global recognition when her work was displayed in major museums in Europe and America which include the San Francisco Museum of modern art, the Miami art museum, and Museum Kunst Palast in Dusseldorf, in Germany.
7. RAPELANG RABANA
Repelang is a South African entrepreneur and an African icon as an entrepreneur. She is the founder and CEO of South African based Yeigo communications, a company that develops software for telecoms like voice over IP, instant messaging, push email service and SMS messaging. She also founded Rekindle learning in 2012, a company that provides mobile learning solutions.
8. NGOZI OKONJO IWEALA
Ngozi is a Nigerian woman of power and wealth. She was the first female black candidate to contest for the president role of the World Bank group. She was former finance minister in Nigeria her. She is a woman of influence and has been part of programs that help to improve government transparency and economic stabilization. She is the chairman of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and immunization alongside the African risk capacity. Ngozi is the founder of the center for the study of economics in Africa and earns several awards for her good work.
9. MINOUSH ABDEL-MEGUID
She is an Egyptian investment banker who founded union capital, an investment firm who specialized in small and medium-sized enterprises. She is also the founder and president of the Egyptian young bankers Association an organization that focuses on training and mentoring young bankers.
10. REBECCA ENONCHONG
Rebecca is a renown female in technology. She is the founder and CEO of AppsTech a globally recognized application solutions company for enterprises in almost 50 countries around the world. Her tech company is changing business dynamics in Cameroun and the continent. She is the chairman of Active Spaces, a tech hub found in Cameroun. She continues to mentor and advise African tech startups by promoting tech. Rebecca is a board member of several organizations like VC4Africa a mega online community for African investors and entrepreneurs.
African women play important roles in their respective countries, not with the notion that men are supposed to lead and influence in Africa but what a man can do a woman can do. Today some organizations are set up specifically to empower African women to take leadership and influential roles.
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