WOMEN BUSINESS LEADERS MAKING PROGRESS IN AFRICA

By África M. Ariño

I’m a humanist. I love people. I celebrate any type of progress that contributes to an improvement in people’s lives. To the extent that through their work they contribute to such an improvement, I celebrate the progress of women business leaders — such as those portrayed in a recent article at The Africa Report (“Star dealmakers. 50 women shaking up business”).

One of the featured women is Ibukun Awosika. She‘s the Chair of First Bank Nigeria — the first woman to achieve such a position in this institution. Also, she’s CEO and founder of the Chair Centre — a market leader in the office furniture and the banking security systems industries in Nigeria. And I’m proud to say that she’s is a graduate from IESE’s Global EMBA program.

Awosika is a great example of the values that the term Africapitalism entails (see Africapitalism: Capitalism with African values). Succeeding in Africa takes a high level of entrepreneurship, and a particular focus on social contributions along with a shared purpose. Awosika has embodied these values: she co-founded Women in Business, Management, and Public Service (WIMBIZ), a Nigerian based non-profit organization with the objective of elevating the status and influence of women. You may be interested in her inspirational book Business His Way where she encourages entrepreneurship.

Where do these 50 women work? The table below shows their distribution by country where they work, and the graph that follows shows the distribution by economic sector:

Women countries
Women distributed by countries


Women distributed by sectors

Little by little, women are making inroads, and play influential roles in large companies. 15% of senior management positions in African companies are held by women. Although there’s still a long way to go, this figure has gone up from 5% in 2010. Both men and women have important, complementary contributions to make to the business world, don’t we?

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