Forbes picks Ethiopian president, Sahle-Work Zewde as the most powerful African woman in 2018

This is the second consecutive year that only one woman from the continent has made the list.

  • Forbes releases its annual list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women
  • Ethiopian president, Sahle-Work Zewde is the most powerful African woman in 2018
  • She holds the 97th position.

Forbes chooses Ethiopian president, Sahle-Work Zewde as the most powerful woman in Africa for 2018.

Ranked number one across the continent, she got the 97th position on the list. This marks the second consecutive year that only one woman from Africa has made the list.

Last year, this position was held by Isabel dos Santos, the oldest daughter of Angola's former president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos and the richest woman in the continent.


This year's list is topped by German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, followed by the British Prime Minister, Theresa May and France's Christine Lagarde in the third position.

Apart from the seasoned diplomat, other black women featured on the 2018 list include media mogul, Oprah Winfrey (20th position), entertainer, Beyonce (50th) and world champion tennis player Serena Williams (79).

On Thursday, October 25, 2018, this 68-year-old career diplomat was appointed as Ethiopia's president. This made her the first female leader of the East African country.


It also made her the 23rd woman to be either acting, appointed, or elected President in Africa since 1975 making this a monumental moment for women across the whole continent.

Right now, she is the only female head of state currently in office on the continent. This right makes Sahle-Work Zewde the most powerful African woman in 2018.

She was chosen unanimously after the former president Mulatu Teshome's abrupt resignation.

Talking about her appointment, she said, "If the current change in Ethiopia is headed equally by both men and women, it can sustain its momentum and realize a prosperous Ethiopia free of religious, ethnic and gender discrimination."


She added, "The absence of peace victimizes firstly women, so during my tenure, I will emphasise women's roles in ensuring peace and the dividends of peace for women."

President Sahle-Work is expected to serve two six-year terms.

Prior to her appointment, she was a top official with the United Nations (UN), and the special representative of the United Nations secretary general to the African Union(AU).

She also previously headed up the organization's Nairobi office as undersecretary general.


Every year, the magazine releases its list of 100 Most Powerful Women in the world.

According to Forbes, the list "celebrates the icons, innovators and instigators who are using their voice to change power structures and create a lasting impact."

Concerning this year, the magazine noted that "This year's listees are building billion-dollar brands, calling the shots in the financial markets, crisscrossing the globe to broker international agreements, and providing aid to those in need."


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