Marie-Chantal Kaninda (pictured), executive director of the World Diamond Council (WDC), was listed by the May edition of Forbes Afrique as one of Africa’s 100 most influential women.
Kaninda ranked number 14 on the annual list from Forbes Afrique, a French-language edition of Forbes that covers the African continent.
A native of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kaninda has served as WDC executive director since March 2017. Prior to joining the WDC, she was the chief adviser for external affairs, Africa, for Rio Tinto from 2012 to 2016. She has also held external affairs roles at De Beers and AngloGold.
Other roles include establishing the MCKM Foundation, which helps educate girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo; serving as a vice president of the DRC’s National Committee for Women’s Soccer; chairing the British Congo Business Group (BCBG); and holding the chairperson role at an anti-corruption working group in the DRC’s private sector.
“We are exceedingly proud of Marie-Chantal’s being recognized by Forbes Afrique and privileged to have a person of her talent, experience, and commitment at the head of WDC’s management team,” said Stephane Fischler, WDC president, in a statement. “Throughout her long career, she has worked to improve the lives of Africa’s disadvantaged people, be they women, artisanal miners, or individuals impacted by ongoing violence. Her belief that a country’s natural resources can fuel the development of all its people essentially embodies what we strive for in the WDC.”
In the same statement, Kaninda said she was “proud to be part of an organization like WDC, which not only advocates for an ethical diamond industry, but also shows that equal opportunity begins at home.”
Wrote journalist Nadia Mensah-Acogny in the list’s introduction: “African women are still under-represented in the private sector. Like everywhere in the world, diversity remains a challenge for women in Africa.”
(Image courtesy of the World Diamond Council)