Thursday, 25 August 2011 15:18

Forbes' 100 Most Powerful Women 2011: Okonjo-Iweala, Ramos, Heita listed

Written by Forbes/Huffington Post/Afripol
Wang, Oprah, Clinton Wang, Oprah, Clinton forbes

A Nigerian and Two south Africans made the Forbes' List : Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was ranked 87th, Maria Ramos ranked 93 and Nonkululeko Nyembezi-Heita ranked 97

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a Nigerian, " made headlines when she left the World Bank in July, where she was a managing director and the second-in-command, to become the finance minister of Nigeria. While it shocked some supporters who saw her as a contender for the Bank's top job, it also brought a sense of deja-vu. From 2003 to 2006 she served as finance minister of Nigeria under President Olusegun Obasanjo, whose administration was known for liberalizing the Nigerian economy, building close ties with the U.S. and closer ties with prominent Nigerian businessmen. Okonjo-Iweala's main achievement was to secure a debt write-off of $18 billion from Nigeria's creditors."  At the moment she was appointed Minister of Finance and head of several Economic Groups by President Jonathan. She is probably the most powerful woman in Nigeria.

Maria Ramos, South African,  "In the first half of 2011, Maria Ramos managed a 19% rise in profits at Absa Group, majority-owned by Barclays and South Africa's largest bank, and despite continued lending caution expects the second half to follow suit. This year the economics-trained chief began the integration of Barclays and Absa's African units as part of its "One Bank in Africa" strategy and to push regional growth. Before coming to Absa in 2009, Ramos had a rich public-sector career. She was the Group Chief Executive of Transnet Limited, the state-owned rail, pipeline and ports agency. From 1996 to 2003, Ramos served as South Africa's director general of the National Treasury for its first post-apartheid government. She moves between a high-octane job and high-profile life, married to South African politician Trevor Manuel, who served as finance minister for over a decade."

Nonkululeko Nyembezi-Heita, South African: "A tough year for ArcelorMittal South Africa's CEO, which reported drooping returns and pessimistic projections for coming quarters in late July when stock prices hit their lowest low since 2008, slumping to roughly $9/share. Nyembezi-Heita told investors that she's keeping a close eye on the economic situation worldwide and its effects on the mining industry in her country but says much of the trouble can be attributed to a slowdown in construction. Fiftyone-year old Nyembezi-Heita has led the South African arm of the global steel company, based in Luxembourg, since 2008. Arcelor Mittal South Africa is the largest producer of steel on the continent with a production capacity of 7.8 million tons annually."

This year's No. 1 in the ranking, German Chancellor Angela Merkel -- recognized as the "undisputed" leader of the EU -- is key to curing what ails the euro zone. As the Arab spring turns into the autocrats’ summer, No. 2-ranked U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton provides encouragement to dissidents, while Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg (No. 5) and Twitter’s Katie Jacobs Stanton (No. 56) empower the rebels storming the barricades with an uninterrupted newsfeed -- or a way to report in 140 characters or less.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Maria Ramos Ramos

 

Nonkululeko Nyembezi-HeitaHeita

Michele Bachmann (No. 22) is rocking the 2012 presidential race while Sarah Palin (No. 34) is still playing coy. We have lots of business leaders too: women from Silicon Valley and Wall Street and Main Street; entrepreneurs of import, like HTC’s Cher Wang (No. 20), Zhang Xin (No. 48), billionaire cofounder of real-estate empire SOHO China, and media marquise Arianna Huffington (No.31).

The Power 100 Women are not just newsmakers -- they are custodians of the news. Jill Abramson (No. 12) makes her first appearance as new executive editor of the New York Times. BBC News, run by Helen Boaden (No. 51), reaches some 34 million viewers weekly. Probably best known are the televised journalists: ABC's Christiane Amanpour (No. 44) and Diane Sawyer (No. 47), Ann Curry of TODAY (No. 66) and On The Record's Greta Van Susteren (No. 75).

Other famous faces make the list this year because they have exploited their celebrity status to build global businesses or champion humanitarian causes. Lady Gaga (No. 11) raised over $200 million to fight HIV/AIDS while Angelina Jolie (No. 29) continues her work as a U.N. ambassador.

The United Nations counts two power women in the ranks: Josette Sheeran (No. 30) of the World Food Programme, the world's largest humanitarian agency, and Helen Clark (No. 50) of the UN Development Programme. Other nonprofit leaders include CARE USA's Helene Gayle (No. 36) and Judith Rodin (No. 71) president of the 98-year-old Rockefeller Foundation.

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, centre, inspects a guard of honor, during her visit to the state house,  in Abuja, Nigeria, Thursday, July 14, 2011. The German chancellor says her country wants to boost energy partnership with Africa's top oil producer. Angela Merkel told journalists at the presidential palace in the West African country's capital Thursday that Nigeria and Germany are to set up a commission primarily aimed at boosting energy partnership between the two nations.

German Chancellor Merkel ranked number one in the list

Ten percent of the list has bank accounts in the 10 figures, including the self-mades Oprah (No. 14) and J.K. Rowling (No. 61). These billies do more than just eat bonbons: Walmart heiress Alice Walton (No. 85) is opening her preeminent collection of American art to the public with the Crystal Bridge Museum on 11/11/11, while Georgina Rinehart (No. 19), the richest woman in Australia--and said to be on track as the richest person in the world in 2012--is using her wealth to campaign against national environmental reforms and taxes.

Christine Lagarde (No. 9), France's former finance minister, for example, is now managing director of the I.M.F., and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (No. 87) switched from the World Bank to finance minister of Nigeria. Susan Wojcicki (No. 16) was upped to SVP at Google and Denise Morrison (No. 80) was promoted from COO to CEO for Campbell Soup. She's one of 29 CEOs here. Dilma Rousseff (No. 3) and Yingluck Sinawatra (No. 59) were elected as president of Brazil and prime minister of Thailand, respectively, now in a club of eight heads of state on the list.

Many powerful women were missing in the list including President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Obiageli "Oby" Ezekwesili, a Nigerian national, Vice President for the World Bank's Africa Region and wife of Nelson Mandela, Graca Machel.

THE LIST:    http://www.forbes.com/wealth/power-women/list (The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women)

Picture credits:  Forbes

Information credit: Forbes, Huffington Post

Last modified on Thursday, 25 August 2011 15:58