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Merck Foundation CEO, Rasha Kelej, among 100 Most Influential African Women 2020

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Merck Foundation, Rasha Kelej, has been featured in the list of 100 Most Influential African Women for 2020.

The list was released by Public Relations and Rating Firm, Avance Media.

This is the second time she has received such recognition, after being nominated by the New African Magazine which operates in the United Kingdom (UK), in 2019.

Rasha Kelej, who doubles as the President of Merck More Than a Mother, a flagship programme of the foundation, received the recognition for her efforts at training hundreds of African doctors to support African communities during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

It also comes in the wake of her collaboration with 18 African first ladies to build local healthcare capacity, empower young girls in education, and break infertility stigma across the continent.


The list has some of the most powerful African women from 34 countries chosen from various career backgrounds including diplomacy, philanthropy, politics, activism, entrepreneurship, business leadership, and entertainment.

Among some of the personalities are the First Lady of Namibia, Mrs. Monica Geingos; the former President of Liberia, Elene Sirleaf and the CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu.

Rasha Kelej

In an acceptance speech, Dr. Kalej said she was honoured to have been nominated among other top female African personalities who are contributing their quota towards the development of the continent.

“I feel honoured and proud to receive this recognition and to be included in this prestigious list among such renowned African women from all spheres of life. This is an important recognition not only for me but to Merck Foundation and our team,” she said.

She added that “As an African and an Egyptian woman, I have a great passion for improving access to equitable and quality healthcare solutions for all Africans.”

She said the foundation was in collaboration with some African first ladies to do more to empower and educate young girls across the region.

“I strongly believe that empowering women starts with education — to enable them to be independent, healthier, and stronger. This recognition will also encourage and motivate me to empower the talented girls of my beautiful continent,” she stated.

She pledged her unflinching support towards building healthcare capacity in Africa, Asia, and other parts of the world.

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