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Africa’s women power players shaking up business

By Oheneba Ama Nti Osei
Posted on Thursday, 30 November 2017 14:48

Maria Ramos,
South Africa, CEO Barclays Africa
With early jobs running the treasury and turning around the parastatal Transnet, since 2009 Ramos was with Absa and is now CEO of Barclays Africa.
Her latest move is an attempt to enter the Mozambique market, as the bank goes back on the offensive after the Barclays plc sell-off of its African subsidiary.

Isabel Dos Santos,
Angola, Chairperson, Sonangol
Billionaire daughter of the billionaire president of Angola, Dos Santos now runs the state oil company Sonangol.
She has been candid about the need to break the behemoth into business units that are more competitive.
Whether or not she will be the one to do it depends on how the ruling party handles the presidential succession after upcoming elections.

Miriem Bensalah-Chaqroun,
Morocco, President, Confédération Générale des Entreprises du Maroc
The widely respected businesswoman not only turned around an ailing water bottling business, but as the head of the Moroccan business confederation she has also been a battler in parliament, representing the interests of industry.

Frannie Leautier,
Tanzania, Senior VP, African Development bank
An MIT grad, a former vice-president of the World Bank and also with experience running investment funds, Leautier brings a wealth of expertise to the table for the AfDB

Wendy Applebaum,
South Africa, Owner, DeMorgenzon
From the world of insurance to wine estates via the creation of Wiphold, South Africa’s first fund controlled entirely by women, Applebaum is also a quiet force in corporate South Africa through her directorships and her philanthropy.

Shahira Zeid,
Egypt, MZ Investments
The chair of a holding company that stretches across the energy, logistics and tourism sectors, Zeid is one of Egypt’s keenest-eyed private-equity operatives. MZ’s stakes in oil services companies will come into their own as the new Zohr gas field comes onstream.

Bridgette Radebe,
South Africa, Chairperson, Mmakau Mining
The sister of magnate Patrice Motsepe and husband of ANC insider Jeff Radebe, Bridgette has not shirked from critiquing the system that she works in, helping to shape South Africa’s mining charter and backing the opposition on calls for the nationalisation of mines.

Zyda Ryland, South Africa,
CEO Woolworths, South Africa
Rylands has been picking up international awards for her tenure at Woolworths. Growing up the daughter of a tailor in apartheid South Africa has created a relentless businesswoman, humble and tough, who has worked her way up the Woolworths system.

Catherine Uju Ifejika,
Nigeria, Britannia-U
In the male-dominated oil business, you need toughness to break through. Ifejika has it in spades, creating her ­company from scratch in 2001, making her the only woman in Nigeria to run an upstream oil company.

Lizé Lambrechts,
South Africa, CEO, Sanlam
A trusted hand, Lambrechts replaced Ian Kirk at the helm of South Africa’s largest insurer. She has worked at the parent Sanlam group for several decades and is now tasked with expanding the company onto the continent outside South Africa.

From the June 2017 print issue

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