Forbes magazine has featured four Moroccan women in the Middle East’s Power Businesswomen 2021 list, published on February 4.
The list ranked 50 businesswomen in the Middle East and North Africa region according to their influence and achievements over the past year.
Nezha Hayat was the first Moroccan to appear on the list, ranking eighth, followed by Salwa Idrissi Akhannouch (19th), Rita Maria Zniber (33rd), and Miriem Bensalah Chaqroun (36th).
The criteria considered in the ranking include the accomplishments of the businesswomen over the last year, their work experience, their social initiatives, and the size of their businesses.
The first Moroccan on the list is the chairperson and CEO of Morocco’s Capital Market Authority, the organization responsible for capital markets in the country, such as stock exchange and brokerage firms.
Nezha Hayat is also the president of the Africa Middle East Regional Committee at the International Organization of Securities Commissions, a federation that regulates the world’s securities and futures markets.
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.
Salwa Idrissi Akhannouch
Married to the 12th-richest man in Africa, Salwa Idrissi Akhannouch is also a successful businesswoman.
She is the founder and CEO of AKSAL Group, the exclusive franchise in Morocco for 45 global brands, including Fendi, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Zara, Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear, and Gap.
AKSAL Group, which has 1,130 employees, is also the managing company of Morocco Mall in Casablanca, one of the largest shopping centers in Africa.
Recently, in 2017, Idrissi Akhannouch’s company launched a social initiative to support cultural, educational, and health projects across Morocco.
Rita Maria Zniber
The third Moroccan on Forbes’ list, Rita Maria Zniber, is the chairman and CEO of Diana Holding, a multisectoral family business that has been operating for nearly four decades.
The company’s scope mainly includes agriculture, olive growing, poultry farming, trade, and distribution. The holding also manufactures several food products and beverages.
The Moroccan businesswoman has more than 50 years of experience in the food and beverage industry. She is also the founder of the Rita Zniber Foundation, a non-profit organization that takes care of abandoned children in Morocco.
Miriem Bensalah Chaqroun
The fourth and final Moroccan on the list, Miriem Bensalah Chaqroun is the director of Holmarcom Group, a family holding business, and the CEO of Oulmes, the largest mineral water company in Morocco.
Bensalah Chaqroun is a well-respected figure in Morocco’s business sphere. Between 2012 and 2018, she served as president of the General Confederation of Enterprises in Morocco (CGEM).
The Moroccan businesswoman was appointed in October 2019 by the UN Secretary-General to join the Global Investors for Sustainable Development (GISD) alliance.