Africa: Three African Powerhouses Make Forbes' Most Powerful Women List

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
6 December 2023

Nigerian trailblazers Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the esteemed Director-General of the World Trade Organization, and media mogul Mosunmola Abudu stand alongside Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan as the African women gracing Forbes' prestigious list of the World's Most Powerful 100 Women.

The three women are not only making a significant impact on their home continent but also redefining global leadership.

To determine the 2023 Power List, Forbes considered four key metrics: money, media, impact, and spheres of influence. For political leaders, GDP and population were crucial factors, while corporate chiefs were evaluated based on revenues, valuations, and employee counts. Media mentions and social reach were analyzed for all potential candidates. The resulting list showcases 100 women who are shaping the policies, products, and political landscape of our world.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, an esteemed economist and international development professional with over three decades of experience, assumed the helm of the World Trade Organization (WTO) at a pivotal juncture, navigating the organization through the complexities of trade protectionism and the global pandemic. She holds the distinction of being the first woman and the first African to hold this prestigious position.

Prior to her appointment as WTO Director-General in March 2021, Okonjo-Iweala had served two terms as Nigeria's Finance Minister, demonstrating her expertise in economic policy and governance. She also held the position of Foreign Minister for a brief period. Her unwavering belief in the transformative power of trade to eradicate poverty and foster sustainable development in developing nations serves as the cornerstone of her leadership.

With over three decades of experience spanning Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and North America, Okonjo-Iweala is a seasoned economist and international development expert. In a historic milestone, she became the WTO's first female and first African Director-General in March 2021.

Her remarkable career also encompasses her tenure as Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which has successfully immunized over 760 million children worldwide.

Samia Suluhu Hassan

Samia Suluhu Hassan is the first woman to hold the position of President of Tanzania and is dedicated to improving the lives of her citizens through initiatives such as investing in education and infrastructure. She is also using her platform to promote African culture and empower women.

Hassan assumed the presidency of Tanzania in March 2021 following the passing of President John Magufuli. Prior to that, she served as vice president, a position she was elected to in 2015.

In September 2021, she made history as just the fifth-ever female African leader to address the U.N. General Assembly. Her address focused on addressing the inequities in global vaccine distribution.

 Mo Abudu  

Nigerian media mogul Mo Abudu is a trailblazer in the media industry, using her platform to promote African culture, empower women, and inspire generations.

Abudu's journey began in 2006 when she founded EbonyLife TV, a groundbreaking network that showcases the rich diversity and vibrancy of African storytelling. Today, EbonyLife TV reaches over 49 countries across Africa, the UK, and the Caribbean, captivating audiences with its captivating dramas, comedies, and documentaries.

Abudu's vision has extended beyond borders, forging groundbreaking partnerships with international media giants like Sony Pictures Television, AMC Networks, and Netflix. In a landmark deal, EbonyLife TV became the first African media company to sign a multi-title film and TV agreement with Netflix, opening doors for a new era of African storytelling on the global stage.

The deal with Netflix marked the first time an African media company signed a multi-title film and TV agreement with the streaming giant.


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