By Amina Faki
A woman has always been assumed to be the weakest being, but even so a number of women stand out against all odds to defy this assumption.
These women that stand out are the smartest and toughest female business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, scientists, philanthropists and CEOs making their mark in the world today. They’re women who are building billion-dollar brands, calling the shots in the financial markets, and crisscrossing the globe to broker international agreements and provide aid.
Their accomplishments are formidable on their own, and even more so given how hard it can be to establish inroads into industries and job titles traditionally dominated by men.
Ranging from CEOs, Head of states, pioneer philanthropists, cultural influencers, billionaires and activists, below is a list of six powerful African women who have been ranked by money, media momentum, sphere of influence and impact in 2016 courtesy of Forbes;
- Folorunso Alakija : Energy
Vice Chair of Famfa Oil
Folorunso Alakija is a Nigerian businesswoman, one of the richest African women and also one of the richest black women in the world. In 2014 she unseated Oprah Winfrey as the richest woman of African descent in the world.
She was ranked number 80 in the world’s 100 most powerful women by Forbes.
- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf : Politics
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a Liberian politician who has served as the 24th and current President of Liberia since 2006. Sirleaf is the first elected female head of state in Africa. She comes in at number 83 in the list of world’s 100 most powerful women.
- Ameenah Gurib-Fakim: Politics
Bibi Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim, GCSK CSK is a Mauritian biodiversity scientist who has served as the President of Mauritius since 2015. In December 2014, she was selected to be the presidential candidate of the Alliance Lepep. She was named number 96 in the world’s 100 most powerful women.
- Isabel Dos Santos: Business
Isabel dos Santos is an Angolan investor considered by Forbes to be the richest woman not only in Angola, but the whole of Africa.
- Ngina Kenyatta: Business
Popularly known as “Mama Ngina”, is former Kenyan First Lady. She is the widow of the country’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta (~1889–1978), and also the mother of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
She has grown over the years to become one of the richest individuals in Kenya, owning plantations, ranches, and hotels.
- Hajia Bola Shagaya: Business
Hajia Bola Shagaya is a Nigerian businesswoman and fashion enthusiast. She is one of the richest women in Africa.
She is currently on the board of Unity Bank (Nigeria) Plc (formerly Intercity Bank) and has been for over eight years. She is also a member of the recently inaugurated Nepad Business Group – Nigeria.
Women have the power and the will to fight, but only the ones with strong will fulfill their dreams. It’s about time that women stand for what they believe in and conquer their world.
As Ellen DeGeneres puts it, I believe we’re all put on this planet for a purpose, and we all have a different purpose. When you connect with that love and that compassion, that’s when everything unfolds.