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Le Figaro, a French daily newspaper founded in 1826, has placed Tirunesh Dibaba, Bethlehem Tilahun and Liya Kebede on a list of what it calls Africa’s 15 most powerful women.
The list includes presidents, lawyers, bloggers, entrepreneurs, scientists and artists.
Calling the women inspiring, the second-largest national newspaper in France stated that they have and continue to contribute to the ‘rise and awakening’ of the continent of Africa.
Long-distance track athlete and three-time Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba, nicknamed the “Baby-faced destroyer” and “Usain Bolt”, was listed as one of the most influential women in Africa.
34 year old Liya Kebede, an Ethiopian-born model and Goodwill Ambassador of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, who currently resides in the U.S, is also on the list. Liya owns the renowned clothing line ‘Lemlem’, which the newspaper says has contributed to the creation of many jobs for people living in Addis Ababa.
Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu also made the list as an influential Ethiopian businessperson. Bethlehem, the creator of the successful soleRebels shoe brand, was stated as a person who embodies a new generation of African entrepreneurs who have built their careers in the global economy and have become success stories.
Among the listings are also Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the current president of Liberia, South African fashion model and actress Charlize Theron and Kenyan activist, lawyer and blogger Ory Okolloh. ‘They are the key to bring about change. Despite the challenges, such as conflicts, inequalities, the difficulties and politics in different areas such as sports or fashion, these African women embody the dynamic continent. They are examples to follow,’ stated the newspaper.