Home » Ten female moguls redefining the role of women on the African media scene

Ten female moguls redefining the role of women on the African media scene

by Ishioma Emi

Africa’s media industry is still nascent when compared to its European and U.S. counterparts. This is because the sector is marred by underdevelopment, political instability, lopsided policies, poverty and ultimately gender bias toward women, leaving the continent with a male-dominated media industry.

In the 1980s and 1990s, only a handful of women were visible on Africa’s media scene. They were chiefly involved in traditional media (radio, broadcast television, cable and satellite TV, print and billboards) and were only minor players. It was rare for a woman to hold a significant stake in the sector at the time.

But the new millennium witnessed an unexpected shift, as women began to feature more prominently in the media sector in mid-2000s. 

African women are now daring to create their own media avenues and dictate the tone of the industry. While some now run their own media outfits, others are senior executives at leading media organizations. 

Below is a non-exhaustive list of prominent female media moguls, which we have carefully selected from different subregions in Africa.

This list highlights 10 female media moguls who are making a definitive mark on the African media landscape through the ventures they founded or manage, while earning millions of dollars annually.

#1 Mosunmola “Mo” Abudu (Nigeria)

Holdings: EbonyLife Media

Office: CEO

Mosunmola “Mo” Abudu is a Nigerian media mogul and philanthropist. In 2006, she founded EbonyLife Media, a premium media conglomerate comprising EbonyLife TV, EbonyLife Films, EbonyLife Studios, EbonyLife Place (a luxury entertainment resort) and EbonyLife Creative Academy.

In 2015,  Forbes named her “Africa’s Most Successful Woman.” In 2017, The Hollywood Reporter rated her among the “25 Most Powerful Women in Global Television.”

#2 Edith Dankwa (Ghana)

Holdings: Business and Financial Times Limited (B&FT)

Office: CEO

Edith Dankwa is a Ghanaian media entrepreneur, consultant and founder of Ghana’s biggest business newspaper, Business and Financial Times Limited (B&FT).

Founded in 1989, the company renders business advisory services and has served as a market entry strategist for businesses that seek to extend their operations to Africa.

Through B&FT, Dankwa controls Business Times Africa Magazine, Energy Today Magazine and B&FT.

#3 Mai Abdel Asim (Egypt)

Holdings: Media & More

Office: Founder

Mai Abdel Asim is an Egyptian media entrepreneur and founder of Media & More.

The company is a full-service digital media agency and creative boutique engaged in social media, online marketing, design and development, content creation and viral video production for reputable media clients from different sectors.

She also founded What Women Want (Magazine), The Travel Mag (discontinued) and Mindfood Publications, Egypt’s first publishing house designed to publish exclusively female authors.

#4 Gwen Lister (Namibia)

Holdings: The Namibian

Office: Founder

Gwen Lister is a Namibian journalist, publisher and anti-apartheid and press freedom activist.

On Aug. 30, 1985, she founded The Namibian, the largest daily newspaper in Namibia, published in English and a section in Oshiwambo on Fridays, which was originally aimed at promoting Namibian independence from South Africa.

She has received numerous international accolades for her active role in ensuring press freedom and transparent journalism during the oppressive apartheid government.

#5 Linda Ifeoma Ikeji (Nigeria)

Holdings: Linda Ikeji Blog/TV

Office: CEO

Linda Ifeoma Ikeji is Nigeria’s most successful and controversial gossip blogger. She is also a writer, entrepreneur and former model. 

Her blog, www.indaikeji.blogspot.com, launched in 2016 and later became www.lindaikejisblog.com in 2017.

By 2016, the business announced the launch of its online TV network, Linda Ikeji TV, alongside other products including online radio broadcasting and media studio rental.

#6 Betty Irabor (Nigeria)

Holdings: Genevieve Magazine

Office: CEO

Betty Irabor is a Nigerian columnist, philanthropist, writer, publisher and magazine proprietor.

In 2003, she founded the glossy magazine Genevieve Magazine, rated as “Nigeria’s leading inspirational and lifestyle magazine.” The magazine is currently distributed in Africa, the United States and Europe. 

She is a former columnist at the UK-based Black & Beauty.

In 2005, she launched the Genevieve PinkBall Foundation, promoting breast cancer awareness, early detection and treatment. It holds the annual Pink Ball fundraiser for cancer patients.

#7 Anita Erskine (Ghana)

Holdings: Anita Erskine Media.

Office: Founder and Managing Director.

Anita Erskine is an award-winning media personality and executive, who is ranked one of the top-100 most influential women in Africa.

She is the founder of Anita Erskine Media, a content development company that she uses to form strategic alliances with other production companies and international networks, including IFactory Live and the Discovery Channel.

She also founded the Women’s Elevation Fund to provide free tertiary education for girls from underserved communities in West Africa who want to pursue film and TV production.

#8 Amy Mowafi (Egypt)

Holdings: MO4 Network

Office: Co-Founder

Amy Mowafi is the female co-founder of MO4 Network, a media empire that she built with her three younger brothers.

MO4 Network is a leading digital media hub and marketing agency with offices in Cairo, Dubai and London.

Founded in 2012, the company employs more than 250 people across its subsidiaries.

#9 Susan Makore (Zimbabwe)

Holdings: Zimbabwe Media Commission

Office: Commissioner

Susan Makore is a media consultant and trainer who was appointed commissioner of the Zimbabwe Media Commission in 2020.

Earlier, she worked for AB Communications for 12 years, seven as CEO before leaving the company on Dec. 31, 2020.

She led the business’ expansion into radio, newspapers and outdoor advertising.

#10 Nancy Matimu (Kenya)

Holdings: MultiChoice

Office: CEO

Nancy Matimu is a B2B growth expert with a track record that spans more than 15 years. 

Before taking up MultiChoice Kenya’s top executive role, Nancy was vice president and head of market development for Sub-Saharan Africa at MasterCard.

She was also the chief digital and marketing officer at HFC Bank and served in top managerial positions at Safaricom.

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