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Kenya: Lupita, Riria in Forbes List of Africa’s 50 Most Powerful Women



Two Kenyan women are among Africa’s 50 most powerful women who have made notable contributions and challenged the status quo.

Dr Jennifer Riria, a founding member of Kenya Women Finance Trust, and award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o feature in the list that was announced during the Forbes leading women summit 2020 in Durban, South Africa, over the weekend.


Dr Riria, Echo Network Africa Group Chief Executive, has previously been recognised as a model for women’s empowerment in Kenya and Africa.

In 2013 and 2014, she was voted the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

She is also chairperson of Women’s World Banking, a microfinance network of over 53 micro-finance institutions from 30 countries.

Lupita has made a name in the performing arts as the first Kenyan to win an Academy award for her role in the historical drama 12 Years a Slave.

She is also an advocate of women’s rights and is vocal about preventing sexual harassment and working for women’s and animal rights.


She is also an author having published a New York best-seller children’s book, Sulwe, last year.

The listing of the continent’s leading women by Forbes Africa is a first of its kind. It’s meant to recognise women who are challenging the status quo and creating a trail on terrain where there was none.

In an article on their website, Forbes Africa noted that the women were drawn from various sectors including business, politics, media, science, sports and public life.

“They are reshaping history, closing inequalities and pioneering new avenues of wealth creation and in turn, lifting others with them,” the article reads.

South Africa and Nigeria stole the day having the most women listed. South Africa had 18 women and Nigeria 10.

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