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2 of 3 Africans on Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women List Are Nigerians

Forbes, the media company known for monitoring world’s businesses, power and influence, unveiled the most powerful women in the world and only three Africans made the list.

The world’s 100 most powerful women in 2022, first published on December 6, includes Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Mo Abudu at number 91 and 99 respectively.

Samia Suhulu Hassan, the president of Tanzania, was the other African on Forbes power list.

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Mosunmola Abudu, better known as Mo Abudu, is a Nigerian media businesswoman. Abudu was born to Nigerian parents in the United Kingdom.

At 19, UK-schooled Abudu had already become a brand ambassador for AVON Cosmetics in the African market. Her early career was human resource management before she transitioned into media.

Abudu’s Moments with Mo was a popular interview-styled TV show which started in the 2000s. She went on to open Ebonylife TV, an entertainment channel, in 2006.

Ebonylife TV airs across Africa, the Carribean and the United Kingdom. Abudu’s company has produced numerous television shows and high-grossing films such as The Wedding Party.

She opened Ebonylife Place, a lifestyle and entertainment resort located in Victoria Island, in December 2019.

Abudu partnered with Netflix, an American streaming platform, to launch crime film Oloture in September 2020.

Forbes stated that Abudu “is one of the most powerful women in global media”.

“Over the years, EbonylifeTV has struck major partnership deals with Sony Pictures Television, AMC Networks and Netflix.

“The deal with Netflix marked the first time an African media company signed a multi-title film and TV agreement with the streaming giant..”


Okonjo-Iweala’s power isn’t new to behold. She has been one of the few brains managing Nigeria’s finances for over a decade.

Okonjo-Iweala is a development economist who is currently the Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

She became the first woman and first African to serve as WTO’s director general.

Before WTO, Okonjo-Iweala worked at the World Bank for about 25 years. She had become the Managing Director of Operation by the time she left the bank.

Okonjo-Iweala served two terms as Nigeria’s Finance Minister from 2003 to to 2015.

“An economist and international development professional, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has more than 30 years of experience working in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America,” Forbes wrote in Okonjo-Iweala’s profile.

“She has said she believes in the power of trade to lift developing countries out of poverty help them achieve sustainable development.

“She was also Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance that has immunized 760 million children globally.”

Okonjo-Iweala graduated magnum cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Harvard University in 1976. She holds a master’s degree in City Planning and a doctorate degree in Regional Economics and Development from Massachussetts Institute of Technology.

Okonjo-Iweala is the founder of NOI-Polls, Nigeria’s first indigenous opinion-research organisation. She also founded the Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (C-SEA).


Tanzania’s president Hassan became her country’s sixth president and first-ever female leader in March 2021.

She rose to the position after President John Magufuli died in March 2021. She had been his vice-president, elected in 2015.

According to her profile, “Suluhu has differentiated her leadership from her predecessor by implementing stricter Covid protocols, including mandatory quarantines for travelers coming from countries with new variants.”

Women from the United States of America dominated Forbes’ power list with astonishing 47 names. Of the top 10, seven are Americans. Forbes said that the list considered money, media, impact and spheres of influence as metrics.

Ursula von der Leyen is the most powerful woman in the world. She is the president of the European Commission.

“For her leadership during the Ukraine war, as well as her handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, von der Leyen sits atop the 19th annual Forbes list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women,” Forbes said.

“Her influence is unique—no one else on the list formulates policy on behalf of 450 million people—but her commitment to a free and democratic society is not. Von der Leyen is just one face of the biggest storyline of 2022: women acting as stalwarts for democracy.”

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