MONROVIA, Montserrado – Three Liberian women have been listed among the 2020 Top 100 Most Influential African Women. Antoinette Sayeh, Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, and former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf were rated and ranked in the field of Business Leadership, Governance, and CSO and Philanthropy, respectively, by Avance Media, a leading African public relations and rating firm.
The women have been listed among the most powerful African women from 34 countries, chosen from various career backgrounds, including diplomacy, activism, entrepreneurship, business leadership, and entertainment. According to Avance Media, the selection was made on the basis of excellence in leadership and performance, personal accomplishments, commitment to sharing knowledge, breaking the status quo, and overall being an accomplished African woman.
Avance Media said it selected “women who have climbed the corporate ladder, started their own businesses, or have been at the forefront of decision making both locally and internationally.”
This list, according to Prince Akpah, managing director of Avance Media, “is focused on women who are leading various initiatives across the continent and seeks to present them as role models for the younger generation.”
Sayeh is the deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund. She previously served as a finance minister for Liberia under the presidency of Sirleaf, where she laid the groundwork to help the country in clearing US$4.6 billion worth of long-standing multilateral debt arrears.
Howard-Taylor was a first lady under former president Charles Taylor who later entered politics in her own right, becoming elected senator of Bong twice before being elected as vice president on the Coalition for Democratic Change ticket. She holds a graduate degree in banking and two bachelor’s degrees in banking and economics.
As still the only female elected as head of state, former president Sirleaf will always hold a prominent role on the continent. A Nobel Peace Prize laureate and winner of the world’s largest prize, the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Governance, Sirleaf has now established her Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development, which aims to push for more representation for women across the continent in leadership roles.
Howard-Taylor and Sirleaf were both named in last year’s list.
The annual publication by Avance Media, through its girls’ empowerment project, Be A Girl, is launched to highlight and celebrate the astounding accomplishments of 100 women from Africa, in a bid to both celebrate Africans and showcase the individual and collective works of women who are earnestly inspiring the next generation of leaders in the continent.
Featured photo by IMF and Zeze Ballah