One of Morocco’s most powerful businesswomen and one of North Africa’s wealthiest female entrepreneurs, Salwa Idriss Akhannouch is the founder and chief executive officer of the Aksal Group, a Moroccan leader in luxury goods, department stores and shopping malls.
The Aksal Group, which attracts 15 million visitors every year and generates an estimated turnover of 5 billion Moroccan dirhams ($514 million), owns a 50 percent stake in the Morocco Mall, one of Africa’s largest shopping centres, built at a cost of over $240 million in 2007.
The conglomerate also owns the sole franchise for several leading brands in Morocco, including Fendi, Gucci, Ralph Lauren , Zara, Banana Republic, Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear and Gap.
Akhannouch inherited her wealth from her grandfather, Haj Ahmed Benlafkih, who made his fortune in the tea trade in the 1960s. She is also the wife to Aziz Akhannouch, a wealthy Moroccan businessman and politician.