Our List of Top Influential African Women in 2018

In light of this year’s International Women’s Day, we have compiled a list of top 5 influential African women that are impacting their specific communities.


The impact of women in this world cannot be understated and thus, it is in this light that the International Women’s Day is always observed on the 8th day of March every year. While a day is not enough to fully celebrate and appreciate the impact of women in our societies in general, we can continue to appreciate women every day by speaking about their achievements and impact in our communities. In this regard, we have compiled a list of top 5 influential African women in 2018. While this is not an exhaustive list, it gives you insights into what 5 powerful women are doing to not just impact their communities but to also contribute their token to impacting the world.


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian Feminist, Novelist, and Author who is known as a fierce campaigner for equal gender rights and women empowerment. Adichie has been involved in several political movements and campaigns against sexual violence including the #metoo movement. In 2012, Adichie gave a powerful talk at TEDxEuston in London titled “we should all be feminists” which had over 5 million views. In the video, she shared her experiences on being an African feminist and her views on sexuality and gender construction.


Bogolo Joy Kewenedo is currently the Minister of Investment, Trade, and Industry for Botswana. Her zest in translating policy into action and goal of improving the living conditions of her people made the new President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi, to appoint her to his cabinet. At the age of 31, she is celebrated as Africa’s youngest minister. Last year, she was appointed by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres to serve as a member of the UN High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation.


Bethlehem Alemu is a fierce entrepreneur from Ethiopia who started her footwear company, SoleRebels in 2005 to provide eco-friendly, fair trade jobs to her community. Her firm converts tires into smart shoes. SoleRebels has been expanding rapidly since its founding and currently, it has 18 stores around the world, including the USA Japan, Austria, Spain, and Switzerland, among others. Bethlehem was the first female African entrepreneur to address the Clinton Global Initiative and was also named as one of the top 12 women entrepreneurs in the last century by CNN.


Wanjira Mathai is the daughter of late Wangari Mathai, the famous Nobel Prize winner and environmentalist who spent her life campaigning for sustainable development, democracy, and peace. In the same vein, her daughter is well known for continuing her mother’s legacy and thus, as a board member of the Green Belt Movement, she recently campaigned to plant over 30 million trees. She is also a senior adviser at the World Resources Institute and for the Partnerships for Women’s Entrepreneurs in Renewables (wPOWER).


Ilhan Omar is a 36-year old Somalian who lived at a refugee camp in Kenya for around 4 years. She is the first naturalized African and Somali-American elected to the United States Congress. Before her political position, she has been a fierce campaigner for affordable housing, healthcare, and a living wage. In 2017, she was one of the 46 women to feature in Time’s Magazine’s report, “Firsts: Women who are changing the world.”


We have just shown you what our list is. Who makes your own list of top influential African women and why?

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