Seven African women to watch in 2016

22 January 2016

Thuli Madonsela, South Africa

Thuli Madonsela is considered South Africa’s leading constitutionalist and moral conscience. With ever-growing clout and reputation in challenging times, she is viewed as the country’s public protector in both title and in the hearts of many citizens.

Madonsela has challenged corruption in all its forms, from government spending, to graft in parastatals and fraud among individuals. Named as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi, described her as “an inspirational example of what African public officers need to be”.

She is outspoken on all forms of discrimination and injustice, not only in South Africa, but across the continent. In 2016 and beyond, Madonsela will continue her work in a country weathering political changes, while debating leadership alternatives for the future.

Isabel dos Santos, Angola

The daughter of Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Isabel dos Santos is being groomed as a successor to the role. In the meantime, she is one of Africa’s leading businesspeople, holding majority ownership in the Condis retail company, as well as shares in oil, gas and telecoms companies. Dos Santos has earned a formidable reputation for business savvy and determination, something she now wants to use in her political life.

Dos Santos, with an engineering degree from King’s College in London, will want to reinvigorate infrastructure in her homeland, as well as offer a new, prosperous direction for the people of Angola.

Niale Kaba, Ivory Coast

Niale Kaba is the first female minister of economy and finance in Ivory Coast. She has strong business experience as the former managing director of Ivory Coast Tourism and part of the craft industry and informal sector ministry.

In her portfolio, Kaba will oversee $25-billion (about R413-billion) worth of infrastructure investments into the country over the next five years. She has already piloted a $500-million Islamic bond deal and $1-billion bond, which attracted $4-billion in orders in 2015.

While her country has weathered coups and economic tailwinds over the last 10 years, the current stability offers much for Kaba to work with in leading Ivory Coast to becoming one of the new major business regions in Africa.

Wided Bouchamaoui, Tunisia

As president of the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, Wided Bouchamaoui was part of the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet organisation that received the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize for finding solutions to a constructive, pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the 2011 Jasmine Revolution.

She has since become the face of Tunisia’s economic re-emergence and democratic maturation, working to build international partnerships, find more global engagement to aid Tunisian economic transition, and fight terrorism. In the continuing after-effects of the Arab Spring, the call by women for democracy, economic opportunity and political diversity in the region continues into 2016; Bouchamaoui is one of its strongest voices.

Saida Karim Lamrani, Morocco

#CountryOfTheWeek #Morocco Current Associate Vice President of Holdings Group Safari-Sofipar Cofimar, Saida Karim…

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As the vice-president of Holdings Group Safari-Sofipar Cofimar (Safari Group), Saida Karim Lamrani manages the empire built by her father, former prime minister Mohammed Karim Lamrani.

The group has substantial or majority stakes in numerous Moroccan companies, including commercial banking, vehicle distribution, chemicals and metallurgy interests. Lamrani aims to use her leadership role as a mutually beneficial bridge between Europe and North Africa.

She is a member of the Confederation of Moroccan Businesses as well as a member of the board of the Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity, an organisation aimed at tackling the challenges of income and gender inequality and poverty in Morocco. Her influence and voice in influencing government policy for the good of the people is considered ground-breaking in this traditionally patriarchal country.

Jeannine Mabunda Lioko, Democratic Republic of Congo

Jeannine Mabunda Lioko is the adviser to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) president Joseph Kabila on the effects of sexual violence and child soldier recruitment, which is prevalent across the war-torn and impoverished areas in the country.

Lioko has held positions in the DRC’s finance industry and was minister of state assets for five years. She also sits on the boards of numerous non-profit and non- governmental organisations, including the Collectif des Femmes Unies Contre le Silence abuse support network. She also works closely with US politician Karen Bass in calling for an end to militia recruitment and exploitation of children on the global stage.

Linah Kelebogile Mohohlo, Botswana

Linah Kelebogile Mohohlo has been governor of the Bank of Botswana since 1999 and a member of the Blair Commission for Africa, an initiative established under Tony Blair when he was prime minister of the United Kingdom to examine and provide ideas for development in Africa.

She is also a member of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Committee on Financial Services for the Poor and sits on the Investment Committee of the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund.

Mohohlo co-chaired the meeting of the World Economic Forum for Africa in Cape Town in 2011. She is also a member of the Africa Progress Panel, a group of 10 distinguished individuals who advocate for equitable and sustainable development in Africa.

Her current focus is on the economic development of Botswana, particularly in the global arena. The country is giving South Africa strong competition in cornering substantial financial market share.

Mohohlo is aiming at diversifying the overall economy of Botswana for long- term sustainability, particularly in the midst of the country’s current diamond windfall. However, her greatest hope is to make Botswana a model for other emerging African economies looking towards sustainability.

Source: AFKInsider