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Celebrating African women achievers of 2017
January 14, 2018, 12:37 pm
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The year gone by was a good year for many African women as their years of effort and achievements in their chosen field finally received due recognition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cameroon: In April last year, Cameroonian economist and banking executive Vera Songwe was appointed the new Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission on Africa (ECA). Dr. Songwe beat more than 70 candidates to clinch the post which was held by Dr. Carlos Lopes who stepped down from the organization in September 2016. ECA is one of the United Nation’s five regional commissions, and its mandate is to promote the economic and social development of African states.

Egypt: In February 2017, Egypt got its first female governor when President Abdel Fatteh Al-Sisi appointed Nadia Ahmed Abdou Saleh as governor of Baheira Governorate, located in the Nile Delta to the country’s far north. Egypt has a total of twenty-seven governorates and they form the top tier of the country’s jurisdiction hierarchy. She previously held the post of deputy governor in 2013.

An engineering graduate from Alexandria University’s faculty of Engineering and Chemistry, she was previously also the head of the country’s Holding Company for Water and Wastewater.

Gambia: In January 2017, opposition parties in The Gambia, with support from the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), managed to oust long-serving President Yahya Jammeh. Three months later, the country’s new parliament was constituted and Adama Barrow was named the country’s new president. The parliament also picked its first female speaker, Mariama Diack Denton.

“I will do my best to live up to expectation and look forward to working with all sides of the Assembly, as well as ensure that the welfare of the people is the priority,” she said after taking her oath of office in April.

Also in April, The Gambia announced the appointment of Ndey Yassin Secka-Sallah as the first visually impaired female Member of Parliament. She was nominated to the post by President Barrow as one of five nominees he can nominate to parliament as per the constitution.

And, again in The Gambia, following an age-limit controversy, President Barrow retained Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang as the country’s first female Vice-President. She is also the country’s minister of women’s affairs.

Ghana: One female trailblazer in Ghana’s judicial history was followed by another in June, as President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo chose Justice Sophia Akuffo as the country’s new Chief Justice. She as sworn in to the top judicial post in place of the country’s first female Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood, who retired as Chief Justice after a decade in office. Chief Justice Akuffo holds the fourth highest position in the country after the President, Vice-President and the Speaker of Parliament.

In 2017, Ghana also appointed its first female Brigadier-General, Constance Ama Emefa Edjeani-Afenu. Her appointment came in March, when she was conferred the rank by the country’s Chief of Defense Staff Major-General Obed Boamah Akwa, during a ceremony in the capital Accra.

Nigeria: In February 2017, Nigeria’s Amina Mohammed took oath of office as Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations during a ceremony held at UN Headquarters in New York. Her appointment was announced by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres in late 2016, when Mrs. Mohammed was serving as Nigeria’s environment minister. She becomes only the second African woman to be appointed to the role of Deputy Secretary-General of the UN; the first was Tanzania’s Asha-Rose Migiro who served in that position between 2007 – 2012 under former UN Chief Ban Ki-moon.

South Africa: In May 2017, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma appointed Justice Mandisa Maya as the President of the Supreme Court of Appeal, making her the first woman to occupy the position.

“Her appointment to the position elevates her to the third highest position in the Judicial Branch, after the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic,” Zuma said at the time. The court is the second highest judicial body in South Africa.

 

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