Foreign Minister Olubanke King-Akerele believes that women in Africa have something special to bring to the table: peace and prosperity.
Minister King-Akerele was born in 1946 with a commitment to Liberian politics and higher learning in her blood. Her grandfather was Charles D. B. King, Liberia's 16th president, who started the renowned Booker T. Washington Institute, a Liberian college modeled on the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. She holds degrees from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria and Brandeis and Columbia universities in the U.S.
With previous stints at the United Nations, where she was deputy director for the United Nations Development Program for Women, and as Minister of Commerce and Industry in Liberia, King-Akerele is part of a growing stable of female political leaders in Africa, from South Africa to Rwanda.
She is tasked with both helping to formulate and implement Liberia's foreign policy, no small challenge for a country that has been ripped apart by 14 years of civil war.
King-Akerele believes that international investment, if not the sole solution, plays a tremendous role in Liberia's success. She is taking her cause on the road internationally, speaking to a wide variety of public and private sector leaders about opening up trade with Liberia.