Mo Abudu, Okonjo-Iweala make Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women 2022 list

by Joseph Omoniyi
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Nigeria’s two-time former minister of finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Nigerian Media mogul, Mo Abudu have again made the 2022 list of Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who retains her 91st position from the 2021 list has more than 30 years of experience working in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and North America as an economist and international development professional.

In March 2021, she became first woman and the first African to serve as Director-General of the World Trade Organization.

She has said she believes in the power of trade to lift developing countries out of poverty and help them achieve sustainable development.

Earlier in her career, Okonjo-Iweala had two terms as Nigeria’s Finance Minister, from 2003-2006 and 2011-2015. She also briefly acted as Foreign Minister in 2006.

She was also Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance that has immunized 760 million children globally.

One of the most powerful women in global media and CEO of Ebony Life, Mo Abudu, started Ebonylife TV in 2006, a network that now airs in more than 49 countries across Africa, as well as in the UK and the Caribbean.

Over the years, EbonylifeTV has struck major partnership deals with Sony Pictures Television, AMC Networks and Netflix.

The deal with Netflix marked the first time an African media company signed a multi-title film and TV agreement with the streaming giant..

Abudu who dropped from 98th to 99th was born in London but was sent by her parents to live with her grandmother in Nigeria when she was 7. She returned to Britain four years later.

According to Forbes, the list was determined by four main metrics: media, impact, money, and spheres of influence. “For political leaders, we weighed gross domestic products and populations; for corporate leaders, revenues and employee counts; and media mentions and reach of all. The result is a collection of women who are fighting the status quo,” Forbes said.

Ursula von der Leyen who was appointed president of the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, in July 201, sits at the summit of the list.

She is the first woman to serve in the role, which is responsible for legislation affecting more than 450 million Europeans.

From 2005 until 2019, von der Leyen served in Angela Merkel’s cabinet–the longest tenure of any cabinet member.

For the last six years of her time in the cabinet, she was Germany’s defense minister.

She spearheaded a 750 million euro Covid relief bill in 2020 and, in 2022, became one of the West’s staunchest supporters of Ukraine amid Russia’s unprovoked invasion.

Third on the list is Kamala Harris, who became the first woman, the first Black person, and the first South Asian-American to become U.S. vice president.

She’s no stranger to firsts: In 2016, Harris was the first Indian-American woman to be elected to the United States Senate.

And in 2010, Harris became the first African-American and first woman to serve as California’s attorney general.

Harris is a California native; she was born in Oakland to immigrant parents (her mom was from India and her dad was from Jamaica).

As a Howard University alumna, Harris is the first graduate of a historically Black college or university to hold the vice presidency.

 Other great powerful women on the list include Oprah Winfrey, Nancy Pelosi, Rihanna,  Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Oprah Winfrey, Dolly Parton, and Reese Witherspoon.

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