5 businesswomen making waves across Africa

four images of five women

Written by Editor

24/02/2022

 

By Zolani Sinxo

 

Africa’s economy is expected to grow by 3.8 percent in 2022 after the COVID-19 pandemic lowered GDP growth, which saw per capita income decline by 5½ percent.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the growth is mostly supported by external conditions of trade and commodity prices. In addition, bountiful agricultural production in some countries will boost the region’s economy – The Exchange

Here are four remarkable stories from Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda, and South Africa. Inspirational stories of innovation, resilience, and hard work, showing that no matter where you come from, or how difficult your upbringing, anything is possible.

 

Kenya

Tabitha Karanja from Kenya has defined all odds and challenged existing stereotypes to become one of the leading entrepreneurs in her home country. In 1997, together with her husband, Tabitha founded Keroche Breweries in a sector previously dominated by multinationals.

With her style of leadership and resilience, she has grown Keroche Breweries to be the second-largest brewery in Kenya. The company targets 20% of the Kenyan market and sources local produce from small farmers – making an important contribution to the local and national economies.

Tabitha has received numerous awards and honours – most notably in 2010 President Mwai Kibaki honored her with the Order of the Burning Spear (M.B.S.) Award.

 

Rwanda 

Accessible and clean water is one of the main challenges that weaken Africa’s social and economic development and Christelle Kwizera, a social entrepreneur in Rwanda is on a quest to change this narrative. 

Kwizera is slowly becoming a household name in East Africa – she is the founder of the Water Access Rwanda, known as WARwanda. The company provides clean and affordable water not only in her home country, but to the broader East African region.

Christelle has said she started WARwanda with the desire to eliminate water scarcity whilst at the same time providing young people with employment – and this desire was born after witnessing how rural and urban households were affected by a lack of readily available, clean, water. 

“We are a social enterprise committed to eradicating water scarcity by providing appropriate technologies for durable access to water. 

“Established in 2014, our mission and vision have guided our services as we provided clean water access to over 132,000 individuals, schools, business and farms in Rwanda and across the borders in DRC, Burundi and Uganda.”

So far, Warwanda has provided water to over 100,000 Rwandans through a network of 95 boreholes and her company is the only enterprise to be awarded the Africa Entrepreneurship Award. 

At the age of 26, in 2019, Christelle was recognised by INCO as Woman Entrepreneur of the Year in Paris. 

 

Ghana

One of the greatest challenges we face as a continent is that our natural resources are exported, refined and sold back to us at exorbitant prices. Two sisters from Ghana, Kimberly and Priscilla Addison, are challenging this situation and showing the world what Africans are capable of.  

Kimberly and Priscilla are the founders of ‘57 Chocolate, a chocolate manufacturing company which was founded in 2016. Their chocolates are known to be organic and handmade with Ghana’s finest organic cocoa beans.

The number 57 in their brand name symbolises the year of Ghanian independence when Kwame Nkrumah became the first African President of Ghana, this means their products are deep-rooted in the Ghanian cultural and economic well-being. 

‘57 Chocolate aims to inspire the people of Ghana, especially the youth, to create and develop made-in Ghana products which will result in much needed job opportunities. 

The two sisters who previously lived in Geneva, Switzerland said while there, they thought that it was strange that Switzerland is known for its chocolate, but the country has no cocoa trees, meanwhile Ghana is the second-largest producer of cocoa. 

In an article written by Selorm Tamakloe the two said they saw the need for chocolate manufacturing in Ghana and across the continent of Africa and thought that this could be an opportunity to put the country on the map. 

“Generally, there is untapped potential in the manufacturing of chocolate across the continent of Africa. In Ghana, the candy shelves of supermarkets and malls are overflowing with foreign chocolate bars, some undoubtedly made with Ghana’s very own cocoa. On the other hand, Ghana is known for its cocoa, but not for its chocolate products. Having recognized all this, we were determined to create a Ghanaian brand that is reputable locally and internationally,” reads the article. 

’57 Chocolate produces about 1 000 bars per week.

 

South Africa 

In South Africa, Zeenat Ghoor was the winner of the Standard Bank’s Top Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2019, a prestigious accolade that celebrates women in business and those who are doing remarkable work in the country. 

Zeenat is in an industry that is still male-dominated and despite all the challenges she has risen to be a leader in the construction industry. 

She studied civil engineering at the University of Cape Town and after years in the industry Zeenat started her own company, Aspire Consulting Engineers. 

According to an article in the previous edition of Standard Bank Top Women, Ghoor started her company with the intention of giving skilled, disadvantaged artisans opportunities to secure work in the market. 

“Aspire (my company) would do new builds and renovations for homeowners; the edge I would offer to my clients is that I am an Engineer by profession and would manage their project from a time cost and quality point of view.”

She registered with SAICE for over a decade and completed her professional registration with ECSA 5 and registered with SACPCMP. Her company is registered with CESA, SAIBPP, SAICE and WPN. 

Although challenges persist in the industry, Zeenat Ghoor is determined to succeed against all odds. 

Africa abounds with stories of entrepreneurial verve, tenacity and opportunity.  And with the projected growth for the coming years, these can only multiply.

 

Sources:

The Exchange

WARwanda

Standard Bank Top Women Leaders

Selom Tamakloe

Keroche Breweries

‘57 Chocolate

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