Women do run the world and the following article sets out to salute the African women that have broken down gender barriers in various industries both on the African continent and the rest of the world.

Njeri Rionge – Kenya

The Kenyan businesswomen started small by selling yoghurts at various schools in Nairobi. A few years and successful businesses later, she went on to co-found East Africa’s leading internet company; Wananchi Online.

Folorunsho Alakija – Nigeria

Entering the business world as a secretary, Folorunsho Alakija soon quit her job and moved to England to study fashion design in the 1980s. She later returned to Nigeria before starting her own fashion label; Supreme Stitches. Her other business ventures include her oil exploration company; Famfa Oil and her real estate investments. Her success was so huge that by 2016, she was Africa’s second wealthiest woman. According to Forbes, she was worth $2.1 billion.

Sibongile Sambo – South Africa

Sibongile Sambo was rejected when she applied for a flight attendant job with South African Airways so she started her own aviation business becoming the founder and managing director of SRS Aviation. The company became the first black female-owned aviation company in the country. It offers both professional and personal fight options to any place around the world with charter services including tourist and VIP charters.

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu – Ethiopia

The poverty in Addis Ababa led Alemu to find a way in which she could translate her community’s skills into a business. This business became SoleRebels which is now one of the largest footwear companies on the continent, having stores in both Europe and Asia.

Tabitha Karanja – Kenya

Karanja is the founder and CEO of Keroche Breweries, the only large-scale brewery in Kenya owned by a Kenyan. She battled against East African Breweries (EAB), an international company that had monopolised the Kenyan market for more than 90 years, before finding success thanks to her main beer brand, Summit. Her resilience is admirable.

Bridgette Radebe – South Africa

Bridgette Radebe is the country’s first black female mining entrepreneur and president of the country’s largest mining chamber, the South African Mining Development Association.

Iman Abdulmajid- Somalia

One of the world’s most famous models, the Somali-born former supermodel Iman created cosmetics that catered specifically to women of colour. Iman Cosmetics is a $25 million a year business.

Dr Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie- Nigeria

The Nigerian born author has received wide critical acclaim for her work as well as her view on gender equality. She’s also been featured in TIME magazine as one of its Top 100 Most Influential People in the world.

Nicky Newton-King – South Africa

Newton-King holds three law degrees and served as the Deputy CEO of JSE for nine years before becoming the first woman to hold the title of CEO in 2012.

Whether it’s the month of August or the Beginning of May, continue to respect and salute the strong and successful African women who continue to make their mark in the world and who encourage us to do the same.

By Pierrette Mulumba

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