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Top 10 African Female Business Leaders

ArcelorMittal CEO, Nonkululeko-Nyembezi-Heita

More and more, African women are moving away from their traditional homemaking role and making a real mark on the continent’s business scene. As an increasing number of women shake of traditional shackles and mix it with their male counterparts in the moneymaking sector, Tom Jackson looks at ten who have accumulated sizeable power in African business.

Maria Ramos

53-year-old South African Ramos heads up Absa Group, South Africa’s largest bank. Absa is majority-owned by Barclays and posted sizeable profits last year. She is in charge of the integration of Barclays and Absa’s African units in order to further its “One Bank in Africa” strategy and push regional growth. Ramos joined Absa in 2009, having previously had a rich career in the public sector, serving as Group CEO of Transnet Limited, the state-owned rail, pipeline and ports agency. She also served as South Africa’s director general of the National Treasury in the first post-apartheid government. She is married to former finance minister Trevor Manuel.

Siza Mzimela

Mzimela is the first female Chief Executive Officer of South African Airways (SAA), having been appointed to the role in February 2010. She was the first woman to be appointed to the International Air Transport Association’s board of directors in 67 years. Previously CEO of South African Express Airway (SAX), Mzimela’s first job was in the small business and retail division of Standard Bank in 1991. Three years later she joined Total SA as a Corporate Planning Analyst responsible for managing capital projects , before joining SA Airways (SAA) in 1996 as a research analyst. After various promotions at SAA, Mzimela was appointed Executive Vice-President of global passenger services in 2001, later taking on responsibility for global sales and the airline’s Voyager programme. She is also a board member of SA Tourism and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. In 2002, she was a finalist in the Nedbank Businesswoman of the Year Award.

Nonkululeko Nyembezi-Heita

CEO of the South African arm of Luxembourg-based global steel company ArcelorMittal, the largest producer of steel on the continent…


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