Forbes ranks Joyce Banda ‘most powerful woman’ in Africa, 47th world

Malawi President Joyce Banda has been ranked most powerful African woman and has climbed 24 places from last year to reach 47 in the world,  of according to an index put together by world’s leading business magazine Forbes.

The Malawi stateswoman is among the nine heads of state included in the lists.

The prestigious list, which  is in its 10th year, ranks women – mostly policymakers, businesswomen and celebrities – according to influence, wealth and media presence.

It uses rankings of wealth, media presence and impact to rate its candidates.

Pres. Banda: Most powerful woman in Africa
Pres. Banda: Most powerful woman in Africa

Forbes website noted that President Banda – who became southern Africa’s first woman leader in April 2012 after the death of president Bingu wa Mutharika –  “ has continued to stay fast to her convictions”  on  brave reforms.

An aide to Malawi’s first female vice president said Banda was “delighted” with the ranking on Forbes.

Banda  was a grassroots gender rights activist before joining politics and jointly scooped the Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger award with Mozambican president Joachim Chissano in 2005.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has topped the Forbes World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list for the third year running.

Mitchelle Obama climbed three places from last year to reach fourth while Brazilian President Rousseff and philanthropist Melinda Gates took second and third.

Hillary Clinton remained in the top 10, ranked fifth, despite no longer holding the post of US Secretary of State.

Forbes said: “We’ve selected women that go beyond the traditional taxonomy of the power elite (political and economic might).

“These change-agents are actually shifting our very idea of clout and authority and, in the process, transforming the world in fresh and exhilarating ways.”

Other notable powerful women include the 26-year-old pop singer Lady Gaga makes it as the youngest at  number 45. The oldest, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, who is 86, ranks at number 40.

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