In 2017 there was only one African on the Forbes list of 100 Most powerful women. Same is the case for 2018 with Ethiopian president Sahle-Work Zewde, being the lone African.
Sahle-Work, a long serving diplomat and international civil servant was nominated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and subsequently confirmed by parliament.
As at the time, she became the sole female president in Africa and Ethiopia’s first. She ranked 97th on the list that was topped by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
As at end of last year, Africa’s richest woman and daughter of the immediate past Angolan leader, Isabel dos Santos was the 74th most powerful woman in the world.
What Forbes wrote about #97 Sahle-Work Zewde
- In October 2018, Sahle-Work Zewde became Ethiopia’s first woman president and the only serving female head of state in Africa.
- A seasoned diplomat and veteran of the United Nations, Zewde was appointed with a unanimous vote by parliament.
- In her first address to parliament, Zewde promised to be a voice for women and stressed the importance of unity.
- The appointment joins a series of unprecedented shifts as part of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s reforms focused on easing government control.
- Traditionally a ceremonial role, Zewde’s appointment is a tremendously symbolic move for the conservative country, opening the door for gender parity.