Forbes published its annual list of the 100 most powerful women in the world, a few days ago. I am always excited when I see one such list. Women are really going places these days. As was to be expected, the list is dominated by American women. After all, Forbes is an American media and most of the names in this list are not surprising.
- Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
- Dilma Roussef, President of Brazil
- Melinda Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Michelle Obama, First Lady, US
- Hilary Clinton, Philanthropist
No one can disagree on the fact that these women are truly the most powerful . But let’s not forget that the cinema and music industry has also produced powerhouses like
17. Beyonce, Singer, Entrepreneu
37. Angelina Jolie, Actress, Humanitarian
45. Lady Gaga, Singer
If you are like me, the first thing you do when you are on the Forbes website is to check the methodology. The methodology of the most 100 influential women were chosen from an initial list of 250 candidates in seven categories or power bases:
- Lifestyle (including entertainment and fashion)
- Nonprofits and NGOs
To determine the rank within each category, as well as overall rank on the list of 100, Forbes applied three metrics: money, media presence and impact. For Politicians, the GDP of their countries was used.
Now, let’s go to what really interest us, how many African women made it to the list? More importantly, who are they? Do we even agree?
#47. Joyce Banda, President of Malawi
Malawi’s first female president (and second on the African continent) spent her initial year in office pushing for rapprochement with the international donor community while grappling with spiralling inflation and an angry populace at home. With foreign aid accounting for nearly 40% of Malawi’s revenue, Banda urged global financial institutions to restore the dollars and Euros frozen during the autocratic regime of her predecessor. But her decision to devalue Malawi’s currency by 50% — to meet IMF conditions — has resulted in soaring costs for food and fuel and widespread protests. Her first 12 months were also marked by progress in decriminalising homosexuality and major public health initiatives such as the $15 billion Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria. 2013 SPOTLIGHT: Would not apologise for her office’s claims that Madonna made “poor people dance for her” and failed to keep promises to build schools in Malawi.
#83. Ngozi Ojonko Iweala, Minister of Finance, Nigeria
One year in office after a failed bid for the World Bank presidency, Nigeria’s Harvard-educated finance minister produced a 6.5% increase in GDP from 2011 to 2012. Nigeria is the third largest economy in Africa with nearly $50 billion in foreign reserves. 2013 SPOTLIGHT: Okonjo-Iweala is a member of the ethnic Igbo group, and faces criticism at home for appointing Igbos to top positions in finance, most recently Nigeria’s representative to the IMF — a charge her supporters counter is a “scurrilous campaign to tarnish” her image.
#87. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President, Liberia
Johnson-Sirleaf is an African icon. She is the continent’s first female head of state, a 2011 Nobel Prize winner for her work promoting Liberian reconciliation, and a luminary on the global women’s empowerment circuit.
Liberia’s enormous resource wealth has attracted a flood of interest from foreign investors, including a $1.5 billion deal with Anglo-Australian miner BHP as well as Chevron Petroleum and Exxon Mobil. Priorities in coming months are reconstruction of the nation’s weak infrastructure and electricity grid. 2013 SPOTLIGHT: Last year, the Harvard University-trained and former World Bank economist was tasked by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to co-lead a high-level panel on next steps for the UN Millennium Development Goals to cut extreme poverty by 2015.
I, personally, agree that these women are really the most powerful women of African and deserve their places in this list. Politicians are a very powerful lot wherever they are.
What do you think? Do your agree? If not, who would you rather see on this list? Before your answer check the overall list on the Forbes website and Leave your comment.