List Of 100 Most Powerful African Women For 2023


Distinguished African women who are shattering stereotypes worldwide comprise the Avance Media’s 100 Most Influential African Women 2023 rating, which includes two presidents, three vice presidents, a prime minister, ministers, and prominent CEOs of for-profit and nonprofit organizations.


To honor and celebrate the outstanding achievements of African women who inspire the continent’s future leaders, the company launched its yearly publication.

It includes H.E. Samia Suluhu Hassan, president of Tanzania; Dr. Rasha Kelej, senator; and Rt. Hon. Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, prime minister of Namibia.

For the fifth year in a row, the most influential NGO, Kelej, also the president of the More Than a Mother campaign, has been acknowledged.


Under her direction, the Merck Foundation won the title of 2022 NGO of the Year, making it the most powerful organization in Africa. Together, these efforts have transformed patient care, sparked a cultural shift, supported girls’ education, empowered women, and ended the stigma associated with infertility both within and outside of Africa. These efforts have a significant impact on shaping Africa’s future in key sectors like health, education, and economic empowerment.

Kelej has received recognition for her dedication to improving patient care in developing nations such as Africa, empowering women, and educating girls.

“Thank you all for acknowledging my efforts and dedication, which is a part of the Merck Foundation’s commitment to strengthening the healthcare system, changing the way patient care is provided with an emphasis on women’s health, and empowering women and girls to achieve their potential and pursue their dreams,” says Kelej.


She adds, “I promise to continue to my efforts in leading Merck Foundation to further empower women, support girl education, and improve patient access to quality and equitable healthcare in Africa, Asia and beyond. Congratulations to all the exceptional women who have been selected this year with me. Well deserved.”

Kelej was also conferred with the Doctorate of Letters (D.Litt) Degree (Honoris Causa) by the Krishna World University, India, for her outstanding achievement in the social sciences, justice and reform, earlier this year.


Campaign: More Than a Mother

More than 1,700 scholarships have been awarded to young doctors from 50 countries in collaboration with 22 First Ladies of Africa who serve as ambassadors for the More Than a Mother campaign.

These physicians, who went on to become the first specialists in their respective nations, are awarded scholarships for one-, two-, and three-year diplomas as well as master’s degrees in more than 42 crucial and underrepresented specialties.

“This is a huge accomplishment for us that over 780 scholarships out of the total scholarships are given to female medical graduates,” says Kelej.


Educating Linda programme

Through the ‘Educating Linda’ programme in partnership with 22 first ladies of Africa, Kelej has also contributed to the future of thousands of school girls by providing scholarships and essential school items in many African countries.

This programme has benefitted many girls by providing scholarships in many African countries like Burundi, Central African Republic, DRC, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Zambia, Zimbabwe and more.

Moreover, 3,000 sets of essential school items have been distributed for girls’ schools in many countries like Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, and Zambia.


Mars Awards

the Merck Foundation has also announced the Mars Awards to appreciate and recognise Best African Women Researchers and ‘est Young African Researcher.

The aim is to empower women and young African researchers, advance their research capacity and promote their contribution to Stem (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), with a focus on the role of scientific research in women’s health and reproductive care this year.