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The top 10 African women in government you should know

Gender parity in government has traditionally been a major challenge in African politics.

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Nigerian Women Affairs Minister Pauline Kedem Tallen.

Gender parity in government has been a major challenge in African politics. A problem deeply rooted in the continent’s indigenous cultures, religions and traditions is the relegation of women to the background. 

However, in recent years, African governments have intensified efforts to ensure gender inclusiveness in government, as they strive to catch up with the UN 2030 Gender Parity goals.

According to a report, women are facing a barrage of challenges underpinned by entrenched sexism, be it a dearth of opportunity, lack of economic support, or outright prejudice.

Nevertheless, women occupied 24 percent of Africa’s 12,113 parliamentary seats in the upper and lower houses in 2020, up nine percent in 2000.

Below is a selected list of some of the top 10 women in African governments as of 2021 worth knowing:

#1 Sahle-Work Zewde (Ethiopia)

Designation: President

Sahle-Work Zewde is an experienced diplomat and the first female head of state in Ethiopia’s modern history. 

She was a UN special representative to the African Union and head of the UN Office to the African Union — the first woman in the role. She was previously director-general of the UN Office in Nairobi and held a range of diplomatic posts, including Ethiopia’s ambassador to France and Djibouti.

#2 Samia Suluhu Hassan (Tanzania)

Designation: President

Samia Suluhu Hassan is Tanzania’s sixth and current president. She is the first female head of state in Tanzania and a member of the ruling social-democrat Chama Cha Mapinduzi party. 

She took office in March following the untimely death of President John Magufuli.

#3 Jessica Rose Epel Alupo (Uganda)

Designation: Vice President

Jessica Rose Epel Alupo, commonly known as Jessica Alupo, is the ninth and current vice president of Uganda. She has been in the role since 2021. She is a Ugandan politician, educator and former military officer. The 47-year-old previously served in the cabinet as an education minister between 2011 and 2016.

#4 Mariam Chabi Talata (Benin Republic)

Designation: Vice President

Mariam Chabi Talata Zime Yerima is a Beninese politician. She is the vice president of Benin after being elected in the 2021 Beninese presidential election as the running mate of President Patrice Talon.

Talata is one of the founding members of the Progressive Union Party and also the first female vice president of the National Assembly.

#5 Anne Waiguru  (Kenya)

Designation: Governor

Anne Mumbi Waiguru is the second governor of Kirinyaga County in Kenya. She assumed office on Aug. 22, 2017.

Previously, she served as the first cabinet secretary in the Devolution and Planning  Ministry. Waiguru is the first of only three female governors in Kenya. She served as the first female vice-chair of the Council of Governors between December 2017 and January 2019.

#6 Patricia De Lille (South Africa)

Designation: Cabinet Minister

Patricia de Lille is a South African politician, who is the current public works and infrastructure minister and leader of the Good political party. She was previously mayor of Cape Town from 2011 to 2018 and Western Cape provincial minister of social development from 2010 to 2011

#7 Clare Akamanzi (Rwanda)

Designation: Cabinet Minister

Clare Akamanzi is an international trade and investment lawyer, CEO of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and member of the Rwandan cabinet. Prior to these roles, she served as the head of strategy and policy for President Paul Kagame and as COO of the RDB for more than seven years.

#8 Dagmawit Moges Bekele (Ethiopia)

Designation: Cabinet Minister

Dagmawit Moges Bekele is a 37-year-old Ethiopian politician serving as the transport minister of Ethiopia since October 2018. She once served as deputy mayor and the head of the Communication Affairs Bureau of the Addis Ababa City Administration.

#9 Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe  (Nigeria)

Designation: Deputy Governor of Kaduna State

Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe is a Nigerian politician and the deputy governor of Kaduna State in Nigeria. She is the state’s first female deputy governor. She was elected in the 2019 Nigerian general elections in February under the ruling APC political party.

On Oct. 15, 2019, as acting governor, she presented the 2020 budget to the Kaduna State House of Assembly, thereby becoming the first woman in Northern Nigeria to do so.

#10 Pauline Kedem Tallen (Nigeria)

Designation: Cabinet Minister

Pauline Kedem Tallen is Nigeria’s women affairs minister. She made history to become the first deputy governor of Plateau State and the first woman to be a deputy governor in northern Nigeria in 1999. 

She was appointed minister in 2019 by President Muhammad Buhari after turning down an ambassadorial nomination in 2015. She refused the nomination on the grounds that she was not consulted prior to the announcement. She also stated that she would not accept the offer for equal distribution of power among the three senatorial districts of her native state of Plateau because she is from the same local government as Governor Simon Lalong.

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African-American billionaire Oprah Winfrey files lawsuit against creators of ‘Oprahdemics’ podcast

As the “Queen of Talk,” Winfrey has built a thriving media empire that includes Harpo Productions.

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Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah Winfrey, a well-known African-American billionaire and talkshow host, has filed a lawsuit against the creators of the “Oprahdemics” podcast through her company, Harpo Productions, claiming that the program misleads the public into believing she sponsored or approved it.

According to Reuters, Winfrey, the wealthiest Black woman in the United States and one of the world’s richest Black billionaires, stated that she is neither seeking profit nor damages from the creators of “Oprahdemics,” and she is not attempting to halt the podcast.

She demanded that the podcast’s name be changed because its live events dilute Harpo’s “Oprah” and “O” trademarks and that the use of the word capitalizes on the goodwill that she has spent decades building, a move she said could cause irreparable harm to Harpo’s reputation.

Many consider Winfrey, who turned her hit talk show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which aired for 25 years, into a media and business empire, to be an institution.

Winfrey returned to the small screen in 2020 on Apple TV+ for an interview show about COVID-19 as part of a multiyear deal with the streamer.

Since the start of the year, her net worth has declined from $2.6 billion to $2.5 billion at the time of writing this report, resulting in a total loss of $100 million for the leading businesswoman.

As the “Queen of Talk,” Winfrey has built a thriving media empire that includes Harpo Productions, which has worked on films like “The Color Purple,” “Beloved,” and “Selma.”

She also has a 25.5-percent stake in the Oprah Winfrey Network, the cable channel that she launched in 2011, and a seven-percent stake in Weight Watchers, a global company that provides weight loss and maintenance services, which is presently worth $492 million.

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These are the four African billionaires whose net worth has increased since start of 2022

Among them are Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote and Egypt’s wealthiest man Nassef Sawiris.

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Nassef Sawiris.

Only four of the 21 African businessmen on our radar with a net worth of $1 billion or more have seen their fortunes improve since the beginning of the year.

Among them are Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote and Egypt’s wealthiest man Nassef Sawiris.

The recent surge in the shares of companies in their portfolios has resulted in a combined wealth increase of nearly $2 billion for these four African billionaires since the start of the year.

According to data compiled by Billionaires.Africa, this is how they stand at the moment.

#1 Aliko Dangote

Net worth: $19.8 billion

Year-to-date wealth gains: $670 million

Nationality: Nigerian

Aliko Dangote, the chairman of Dangote Industries Limited, Africa’s most diversified manufacturing conglomerate, has seen his net worth rise by more than $670 million this year, from $19.1 billion at the start of the year to $19.8 billion at the time of writing.

The increase in his net worth can be attributed to a bump in the market value of his 86-percent stake in Dangote Cement Plc, which accounts for $9.06 billion of his $19.8-billion fortune.

Since the year began, shares in Dangote Cement, Africa’s largest cement manufacturer, have increased from N257 ($0.614) per share to N265 ($0.633) per share.

Earlier this week, the company’s share price plummeted to N241 ($0.57) per share, resulting in a staggering $863-million loss for the billionaire in a single day.

However, renewed buying interest among investors on Wednesday saw the billionaire recoup part of the wealth loss and net a year-to-date wealth gain of $670 million.

#2 Nassef Sawiris

Net worth: $7.16 billion

Year-to-date wealth gains: $670 million

Nationality: Egyptian

Egypt’s richest man Nassef Sawiris, a scion of Egypt’s wealthiest family, is one of the four African billionaires who have seen significant increases in their net worth since the beginning of the year.

The leading billionaire, who serves on the boards of Adidas and OCI N.V., a global nitrogen product manufacturer and distributor, has seen his net worth rise by $659 million since the beginning of this year, from $6.5 billion to $7.16 billion at the time of writing this report.

The majority of his fortune stems from his 38.8-percent stake in the Netherlands-based OCI N.V., which is worth $2.52 billion, and his six-percent stake in Adidas, which is worth $2.13 billion.

#3 Abdul Samad Rabiu

Net worth: $5.8 billion

Year-to-date wealth gains: $400 million

Nationality: Nigerian

Thanks to the listing of BUA Foods Plc, Abdul Samad Rabiu, the founder of BUA Group, one of Africa’s fastest-growing conglomerates, has seen positive wealth gains this year.

The market value of his stake in his newly consolidated food conglomerate, which went public on Jan. 5, offset the decline in the market value of his stake in his cement business, BUA Cement Plc, as its share price fell from N71.95 ($0.17) to N58.8 ($0.14) at the time of writing this report.

His net worth has risen by $400 million since the start of the year, from $5.4 billion to $5.8 billion.

#4 Nicky Oppenheimer

Net worth: $8.20 billion

Year-to-date wealth gains: $250 million

Nationality: South African

South Africa’s second-richest man Nicky Oppenheimer, who previously ran the diamond mining firm DeBeers before selling it to Anglo-American a decade ago, has seen his wealth rise by $250 million this year, from $7.95 billion to $8.2 billion, thanks to the revaluation of his private equity investments.

Oppenheimer, who is Africa’s third-richest man and South Africa’s second-wealthiest man, invests the majority of his net worth in private equity in Africa, Asia, the United States, and Europe through London-based Stockdale Street and Johannesburg-based Tana Africa Capital.

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South African billionaire Johann Rupert-linked SEACOM partners with BT Group

Seacom is privately funded and 75 percent African-owned.

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Johann Rupert. ©Billionaires.Africa

SEACOM has announced a strategic alliance with UK telecommunications service provider BT Group as it prepares to enter the African enterprise cybersecurity market.

SEACOM is a leading pan-African telecom services provider linked to South Africa’s richest man Johann Rupert.

The partnership aligns with SEACOM’s plans to expand its portfolio of services targeting African businesses. By leveraging BT Group’s infrastructure and expertise, SEACOM hopes to secure its own infrastructure and deliver new networking and security solutions to African businesses.

“With SEACOM’s global network and local presence and BT’s global reach and expertise, we will be able to deliver a comprehensive portfolio of cloud, security, and connectivity services that are reliable, scalable, and at the cutting-edge of the industry,” Oliver Fortuin, CEO of SEACOM, said.

BT Group, which protects some of the world’s largest organizations from cyber threats through a dedicated network of security operations centers around the world, announced that SEACOM customers will gain access to BT Group’s Cloud Security Incident Event Management (SIEM) platform.

The SIEM platform provides real-time visibility and monitoring across an organization’s entire IT environment, acting as an additional layer of security to SEACOM’s existing ICT solutions.

Seacom, which bills itself as Africa’s most extensive ICT infrastructure provider, is privately funded and 75-percent African-owned, with Rupert’s investment holding Remgro owning 30 percent of the company.

South African mining magnate Patrice Motsepe owns a 15-percent stake in the pan-African telecom services provider through his financial services conglomerate, Sanlam.

Jubilee Holdings, a Kenyan investment holding backed by Aga Khan IV (Shah Karim al-Husayni), increased its stake in SEACOM from 8.8 to 18.8 percent earlier this year after acquiring an additional 10-percent stake in the company.

According to Nizar Juma, chairman of Jubilee Holdings, the transaction will strengthen the company’s ability to diversify its investment priorities across major sectors of the economy.

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