5 Moroccan women in the list of the most influential businesswomen

The prestigious Forbes Middle East magazine has just unveiled its ranking for the year 2023 of the 100 most powerful and influential businesswomen in the Middle East and North Africa region, five Moroccans are part of it.

This year, the list of the most powerful businesswomen in the region includes 100 candidates, women from 27 different sectors and 27 nationalities. The banking and financial services sector dominates the list with 23 entries, followed by 11 women leading diversified businesses, 8 from the investment sector, 6 from the retail sector and 5 from the healthcare sector.

Thus, two Moroccan women are in the Top 20. The founder and CEO of AKSAL Group, Salwa Idrissi Akhannouch, is ranked 17th thanks to her group which employs more than 1,130 people and is the only franchisee of 45 major brands in Morocco, including Emporio Armani , Fendi, Gucci, Oysho, Ralph Lauren, Zara, Banana Republic, Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear, Bershka and Gap.

In 2011, the group launched the Morocco Mall, which covers 10 hectares with 70,000 square meters of commercial space. Salwa Idrissi Akhannouch launched her brand of cosmetics and beauty products Yan&One in 2017. Additionally, the group had established the AKSAL Academy for retail careers and the AKSAL Social Initiative to support social, cultural, educational and health projects.

In 19th place comes Miriem Bensalah Chaqroun, vice-president and CEO of Mineral Waters of Oulmes, but also director and administrator of Holmarcom Group. She joined her family business, the Holmarcom group, in 1989. She is also vice-president and general manager of Eaux Minerales d’Oulmes, a firm listed on the Casablanca Stock Exchange. In 2021, Les Eaux Minerales d’Oulmes recorded a turnover of 178 million dollars.

In the same year, the Holmarcom group recorded revenues of $1.3 billion. It currently employs more than 6,400 people, including nearly 2,000 working at Les Eaux Minérales d’Oulmès. The Moroccan businesswoman is also a member of the Global Alliance of Investors for Sustainable Development and sits on several national and international boards, including those of Al Akhawayn University and the Renault-Nissan Group.

As for Rita Maria Zniber, the CEO of Diana Holding ranks 33rd thanks to her expertise of more than 40 years. She joined Diana Holding in 1988, whose business portfolio is very diversified: soft drinks, plastics, agriculture, olive growing, beverages, poultry, seafood, distribution and retail.

In November 2021, the company partnered with Mohammed VI Polytechnic University to support innovation, research and development. In March 2022, Diana Holding and the Moroccan Ministry of Industry and Commerce signed a $12.1 million investment agreement for Berkane Juice Processing, a subsidiary of Les Domaines Zniber. At the end of 2022, the company announced a partnership with the equatorial bottling company Coca-Cola to acquire the Atlas company.

Regarding Lamia Tazi, the president and CEO of the Sothema group was ranked 65th. Tazi had joined Sothema in 1997 and began assuming his current role in 2019, now overseeing 1,000 people. Sothema produces approximately 60 million pharmaceutical products per year through six production units and holds 9% of the market share. She is also president of the Omar Tazi Foundation and member of the general council of Azerys, among others.

The executive vice-president of Holdings Safari -Sofipar, Saïda Karim Lamrani, is positioned 80th. It should be remembered that the businesswoman is the daughter of the late Mohammed Karim Lamrani, who served as Prime Minister of Morocco from 1971 to 1994. The Safari Group was established in Morocco in 1994. It now has many global brands under its aegis, including CAT, Lacoste and Longchamp, Jaguar, Land Rover and BMW, among others. In addition, the group has recorded annual revenues of more than 500 million dollars and employs 3,600 people.

It should be noted that for the development of the ranking, the magazine Forbes Middle East took into account the following criteria: the impact that the leader has had on the region and the markets it serves, the achievements and performance of the leader in the past year, the number and extent of sustainability and CSR initiatives led by the leader, designation, company size in terms of revenue, assets, AUM, capitalization stock market and number of employees and the number of years of industry experience the executive has and the length of time she has held her current position.

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