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How Female Appointments Could Change Africa’s Fortunes

Last week, the World Trade Organization appointed its first African and first female director-general, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The Nigerian-American has a stellar financial pedigree, having worked as Nigeria’s finance minister, and at the World Bank for decades. And in mid-February, economist and deputy governor of Rwanda’s Central Bank, Monique Nsanzabaganwa, was elected as the African Union’s first female deputy chairperson. Effectively the commission’s chief operating officer, Nsanzabaganwa will be tasked with overseeing desperately needed reform. It’s inspiring to see African women reach such heights—a sign of the many strides the continent has made in gender parity. Africa has a remarkably high number of female entrepreneurs, and the highest representation of women at the board level than any other region in the world—25%, against the global average of 17%, McKinsey’s 2019 report on gender in equality for African women noted.