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  Since pre-colonial, colonial and early post-colonial eras, the world has witnessed the rise and influence of powerful African women whether as queens, queen-mothers, warriors, activists, writers, entrepreneurs, and industrialists.
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Whether it is Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt who lived between 1500 and 1400 BC or Queen Mother Idia of the Benin Empire who led her people to victory against the Igala between 1515 and 1516 or the Dahomey all-female military battalion of the 1600s who fiercely protected the Kingdom of Dahomey in West Africa from external threats or the colonial activists like Margaret Ekpo and Fumilayo Ransome Kuti or prolific pioneer women writers in Africa like Flora Nwakpa and Buchi Emecheta, Africa has produced amazons that have inscribed her name in gold globally. In recognition of the pivotal role women from the continent play globally, Forbes included three African women in its list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful African Women 2022 ranking. Connect Nigeria features African women on this influential list.

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

WTO | 2021 News items - History is made: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala chosen as  Director-General
World Trade Organisation
The World Trade Organization boss, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala needs no introduction as she has occasionally graced the Forbes list as one of the most powerful women in the world. She is an economist and international development expert with more than 30 years of experience working in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America. She is presently the director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), a position she’s been occupying since March 2021, as the first woman and the first African to head the organization. Formerly, the 68-year-old economist served two terms as Nigeria’s finance minister, from 2003-2006 and 2011-2015; she also briefly acted as foreign minister in 2006. As a finance minister, she carried out sweeping home-grown economic reforms that steadied the macro-economy and tripled Nigeria’s growth rate. Some of her reforms ranged from trade, financial and real sector issues. Her accomplishments as finance minister generated international recognition for strengthening the transparency of government accounts and bolstering institutions against corruption. In October 2005, she spearheaded negotiations with the Paris Club of Creditors that led to the revocation of Nigeria’s external debt of $18 billion. The debt deal also decreased the country’s external indebtedness from $35 billion to $5 billion. The economist also had a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, rising to the number two position of managing director of operations. She was recognised at the apex financial institution for leading several World Bank initiatives to assist low-income countries. Okonjo-Iweala was educated at Harvard and has a doctorate in regional economics and development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the recipient of multiple awards, including a Global Leadership Award from the United Nations Foundation as a “Champion for Global Change.” She was also named Time magazine’s European Hero of the Year Award in 2004 for her work on economic reform in Nigeria, Euromoney magazine Global Finance Minister of the year, 2005, Financial Times/The Banker African Finance Minister of the year 2005, This Day (one of Nigeria’s premier newspapers) Minister of the Year award 2004 and 2005, among other honours.
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Undoubtedly, Okonjo-Iweala earns honour in the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women 2022, judging from her tall achievements.

Samia Suluhu Hassan

Samia Suluhu Hassan Is on the 2022 TIME 100 List | TIME
Samia Suluhu Hassan came into the global limelight when became the first-ever female leader to govern the United Republic of Tanzania. She became the country’s sixth president after the death of her predecessor, President John Magufuli. Samia Suluhu Hassan’s advancement to the top began in 2000 after she was voted as a special seat member of the Zanzibar House of Representatives and appointed a minister, making her the only high-ranking female minister in the cabinet at the time. In 2010, she was elected to the national assembly and became the Minister of State for Union Affairs. In 2015, she became the first female vice president in Tanzania’s history after President John Magufuli was elected. She continued to hold office after the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party won the 2020 presidential election. When Magufuli died in 2021, Hassan was sworn in as his successor. One of the first actions of the president was to establish national plans to mitigate the covid-19 pandemic in Tanzania, unlike her predecessor. Her government has been praised for promoting investment, tourism and peaceful relations with neighbouring countries. Hassan’s reforms have led to Tanzania working proactively with multilateral and bilateral partners in the region and around the world. The President has demonstrated his commitment to the climate agenda by attending United Nations climate change conferences. She also implemented policies to make education accessible to girls and young women. Their policies have allowed pregnant girls and young mothers to attend formal schools. Hassan’s exemplary leadership challenges the stereotype that women cannot hold top positions and opens the door to leadership for many women and young girls around the world.

Mo Abudu

Oscars: Mo Abudu joins Academy Award members - Vanguard News
Vanguard News
Mo Abudu is a Nigerian media mogul, television personality, and philanthropist. She is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of EbonyLife Television, a multimedia company that produces films, television shows, and live events. Abudu is also the host of the talk show “Moments with Mo,” which airs on EbonyLife TV and has featured guests such as Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, and Trevor Noah.
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Abudu was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and received her education in the United Kingdom. She returned to Nigeria in the 1990s and worked in the banking and telecommunications industries before eventually starting her own business. In 2006, she founded EbonyLife TV, which has since become one of the leading media companies in Africa. The company’s programming includes a mix of local and international content, including dramas, comedies, talk shows, and documentaries. Abudu is known for her work in promoting African culture and storytelling through her media company. She has won numerous awards for her work, including the Forbes Africa Person of the Year award in 2013 and the Trailblazer Award at the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards in 2014. In addition to her work in media, Abudu is also involved in philanthropy. She has supported a number of charities and causes, including education, healthcare, and the empowerment of women and girls. In 2018, she founded the Mo Abudu Foundation, which focuses on improving the lives of women and children in Nigeria through education and economic empowerment. Abudu is a role model for women in business and media, and she is known for her strong leadership skills and her dedication to her work. She is an inspiration to many and has helped to pave the way for other women to succeed in the media industry in Africa. Featured Image Source: BusinessDay
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This article was first published on 11th January 2023


Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.

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