Who are the most influential women in the Maghreb this year? Few women in the region have done remarkably well in a challenging year marked by Covid, and an ongoing political instability in Algeria, Libya and Tunisia. Women have been historically marginalized in the region and only recently have been taking more responsibility to govern, conduct business, and to shape up policy.
Tunisia has led the way since the era of Bourguiba in giving women more freedom and rights and a better platform to contribute to society. However, although Algeria and Morocco have well outspoken women, their actual influence is minimal and ceremonial at best and often playing second class roles in making policy.
Many business women in the region have recently rose in status. However these come from political dynasties and often associated with a husband or daughter of a prominent male figure. Some other exceptional women have really foudn their way to shine and play an important role in society.
Here are the 5 most influential women in the Maghreb in 2021. The ranking is based on many factors such as influence on policy, achievement, public perception and personal story.
Najla Bouden Ramadhane
Ramadhane has became the first women in the Maghreb to lead a government. She was appointed by the embattled president Kais Said. Mrs. Ramadhane is a university engineer with World Bank experience. She is a professor of geo-sciences at the National Engineering School in Tunis. She was also the director general in charge of quality at the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, where she is overseeing World Bank programs.
Nezha Hayat is the Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of Morocco’s Capital Market Authority since 2016. She is a graduate of Business School Paris, she and worked at Société Générale Morocco group where she became in 2007, the first woman on a management board of a bank in the country.
In October 2017, Nezha was elected Vice-Chair of the Africa and Middle East Committee (AMERC) within the International Organization of Financial Market Regulators (IOSCO) for the 2016-2018 term.
Hayat is also a founding member and president of the Club of Women Directors of Companies in Morocco, a non-profit organization that works on promoting the participation of women in the administration boards of companies.
Named as one of the Top 100 Women in Fashion Tech in 2019, Hasna Kourda is bridging the gap between fashion and technology. She is the co-founder of Save Your Wardrobe, an app that allows you to have a digital version of your closet on your phone. Hasna Kourda aims to increase sustainability while creating fashion.
Ghezlan Guenez is an Algerian enterpreneur and businesswoman. She is the founder and Chief Executive of The Modist, the first global e-commerce platform dedicated to luxurious modest fashion.
Ghizlan Guenez has partnered with the World Economic Forum and led a program to deploy $100M in sustainability programs.
One of Morocco’s successful and powerful business women is Salwa Akhannouch, founder and CEO of a leading luxury goods group, AKSAL Group. She is known to supports social, cultural, educational and health projects through the AKSAL SOCIAL INITIATIVE. Salwa Akhannouch is married to Aziz Akhannouch, who is the current prime minister of Morocco. She’s a mother of three children.