Vickie Remoe Institute of Digital Communications

Meet Anta Babacar Ngom Senegal’s first woman presidential candidate in a decade

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Later this month, Senegal will hold elections, with only one woman among the six presidential candidates. Anta Babacar Ngom, a 40-year-old business executive, champions marginalised communities, promising job creation and the establishment of a women’s bank for economic empowerment.

Ngom, the first woman presidential candidate in over a decade, faces low expectations of emerging as a leading contender for the presidency. However, activists perceive her candidacy as a milestone indicating gradual progress in the fight for gender equality, marking the first time in years that a woman has entered the presidential race.

She is the CEO of Sedima, a leading poultry production group in Senegal, founded by her father in the 1970s. Under her leadership, Sedima expanded its operations to include flour milling in 2014 and inaugurated two new factories—a flour mill and an abattoir—in 2016, with a total investment of $29 million. Sedima has also extended its presence to neighbouring countries such as Mali and Equatorial Guinea, and even as far as the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Throughout the 1990s, Senegalese women rallied through grassroots organizations. The nation appointed its first female prime minister in 2001, and in 2010, a law mandating gender parity in electoral lists for all political parties bolstered female involvement in politics.

In 2012, two women contested the presidency, each receiving less than one per cent of the vote. Nevertheless, analysts underscored the significance of their participation. Presently, women constitute over 40 per cent of parliamentarians in Senegal, one of the highest rates of representation in Africa.

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