Most Powerful Women in Africa (2024)

In a continent marked by diversity, resilience, and dynamism, African women are increasingly taking center stage in various spheres, showcasing their prowess, leadership, and determination. From politics to business, media to diplomacy, these women are breaking barriers, reshaping narratives, and inspiring generations to come. Here, we delve into the lives and achievements of some of the most powerful women in Africa according to Forbes, whose contributions have not only transformed their respective fields but also have had a profound impact on the continent as a whole.

1. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

most powerful women in Africa
A global icon in economics and diplomacy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the world stage. With an illustrious career spanning both the public and private sectors, Okonjo-Iweala has served as Nigeria’s Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, where she implemented far-reaching reforms and initiatives to foster economic growth and development. In 2021, she made history by becoming the first African and first woman to lead the World Trade Organization (WTO), where she continues to champion inclusive trade policies and advocate for the economic empowerment of women across the globe. Okonjo-Iweala’s visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to equity and justice make her a true trailblazer for women in Africa and beyond.

2. Mpumi Madisa

forbes powerful women in africa
Bidvest CEO Mpumi Madisa at her office in Melrose ArchPicture: Masi Losi

As the CEO of Bidvest Group, one of South Africa‘s largest diversified industrial companies, Mpumi Madisa exemplifies resilience, innovation, and excellence in business leadership. With a background in finance and a keen understanding of the corporate landscape, Madisa has risen through the ranks to become one of the most influential figures in the African business world. Under her stewardship, Bidvest has continued to thrive, expanding its presence across sectors such as automotive, freight, and services. Madisa’s strategic vision and commitment to driving sustainable growth have earned her widespread acclaim and recognition as a trailblazer for women in corporate leadership.

3. Samia Suluhu Hassan

Most powerful women in Africa
In March 2021, Samia Suluhu Hassan made history as the first female president of Tanzania, following the passing of President John Magufuli. With this historic appointment, Hassan not only shattered glass ceilings but also emerged as a symbol of hope and progress for women in politics across the continent. Prior to assuming the presidency, Hassan served as Tanzania’s Vice President, where she played a pivotal role in shaping the country’s socio-economic agenda and fostering regional cooperation. Her leadership style, characterized by pragmatism, inclusivity, and compassion, has garnered praise both domestically and internationally, positioning her as a transformative figure in African politics.

4. Mo Abudu

powerful women in Africa

A pioneering figure in Africa’s media and entertainment industry, Mo Abudu has revolutionized the landscape with her innovative approach to storytelling and content creation. As the founder and CEO of EbonyLife Media, Abudu has been instrumental in producing groundbreaking films, television series, and talk shows that celebrate African culture and narratives. Through platforms such as EbonyLife TV, she has provided a voice for marginalized communities and amplified diverse perspectives on the global stage. Abudu’s entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to empowering African creatives have cemented her status as one of the most influential women in the continent’s media landscape.


Uzonna Anele
Uzonna Anele
Anele is a web developer and a Pan-Africanist who believes bad leadership is the only thing keeping Africa from taking its rightful place in the modern world.


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