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Kenya’s Lupita, Dr Riria among Africa’s most powerful women according to Forbes




Two Kenyan women are among Africa’s 50 Most Powerful Women as listed by Forbes.

Kenya Women Finance Trust (KWFT) founder Dr Jennifer Riria and award-winning Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o are featured on the list of the continent’s leading women in 2020, the first of its kind by Forbes Africa.  

When announcing the unranked compilation during its 2020 Forbes Woman Africa Leading Women Summit in Durban, South Africa, Forbes stated that the list is recognizing African women who are “challenging the status quo and creating a trail on terrain where there was none.”

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

Lupita Nyoong’o (Courtesy)

Lupita is the first Kenyan to win an Academy award for her role in 12 Years a Slave. Apart from acting and her role advocating for women’s rights and against sexual harassment, Lupita has also made a name for herself as an author. She published a New York best-seller children’s book, Sulwe, in 2019.

Dr Jennifer Riria (Courtesy)

Dr Riria is the Group Chief Executive Officer of Echo Network Africa; a founding member of KWFT; and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year- 2013 and 2014. She is also the chair of microfinance network – Women’s World Banking that covers over 50 microfinance institutions across 30 countries.

Here are some of the phenomenal African women who featured in the list alongside Lupita and Dr Riria:

Graca Machel

Founder, Graca Machel Trust

Country: South Africa


Charlize Theron

Hollywood Actress

Country: South Africa


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


Public Speaker

Country: Nigeria


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Angelique Kidjo

Four-time Grammy Award Winner

Country: Benin


Manal Rostom

Founder, Surviving Hijab

Face of Nike Pro Hijab

Country: Egypt


Winnie Byanyima

Executive Director, UNAIDS

Country: Uganda


Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

First female President of Liberia

Nobel Peace Laureate

Country: Liberia


Yvonne Chaka Chaka

Award-winning musician

Country: South Africa


Bonang Matheba

Media personality

Country: South Africa


Caster Semenya

Olympic Champion

Country: South Africa


Fatou Bensouda

Prosecutor, International Criminal Court

Country: Gambia


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