Sub-Saharan Africa

Salma Abdulai

Thato Kgatlhanye

Thato Kgatlhanye launched her company when she was 18. As she was about to start her undergraduate degree, she came up with an idea to help underprivileged pupils who face challenges with their education. Rethaka – literally meaning “we are fellows” – encourages children to attend school and learn effectively.

Suzana Moreira

Originally from South Africa, Suzana Moreira moved to Mozambique 3 years ago to launch a mobile commerce platform, moWoza. MoWoza is the contraction of the word “mobile” and the Zulu word “woza”, meaning “to come” or “to run”. Suzana explains: “The service is about running for our customers”. In addition to its four employees, the company works with delivery men and women operating on a commission basis.

Chinwe Ohajuruka

Chinwe Ohajuruka, 52, lives in the United States and is of Nigerian heritage. Her 3 degrees in architecture and 3 accreditations in green building led to the creation of Comprehensive Design Services, a company that provides “comprehensive solutions to complex problems”, as Chinwe explains.

Oulimata Sarr

Oulimata Sarr is currently the Deputy Regional Director of UN Women for West and Central Africa. UN Women is the United Nations entity mandated for gender equality and empowerment of women. Prior to the UN, she spent ten years at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member institution of the World Bank Group.

Winnifred Selby

Winnifred Selby, who likes to be known as Winnie, was just 17 years old when she co-founded Afrocentric Bamboo, a company that manufactures and markets bicycles made from bamboo. Today, at just 19, she is heading what has become a growing brand that is struggling to keep up with demand.

Amy de Castro

Bamboo Revolution was born out of a project Amy Castro completed for a postgrad degree in entrepreneurship at the University of Cape Town. Amy, 24, worked with a team of five other students who were inspired by the sustainability of bamboo. ‘We wanted to come up with a bamboo product that had the potential to become fashionable.’ After considering several ideas, the group decided to focus on bamboo watches.

Achenyo Idachaba

Born in the US to Nigerian parents, Achenyo Idachaba spent her formative years between Nigeria and America, where she forged a successful career as a computer scientist and business analyst. Yet she always nursed the idea of going back to Nigeria. ‘I felt it would be good to come back here and do something that would impact lives sustainably.’ In 2009, she finally decided to take what she calls a ‘leap of faith,’ moving to Ibadan to set up an environmental consulting business.

Gail Mawocha

Gail coordinates sustainable income generating activities through the use of traditional skills such as handcraft. Her work has impacted at least 2000 rural women artisans in Zimbabwe and Swaziland. Gail developed the Rural to Ramp Handcraft project which is a design initiative that partners international as well as local designers with rural handcraft artisans to develop products that are African by inspiration and contemporary in design.

Odile Lacoin

Odile LACOIN is currently working as a Manager at the leading consulting firm A. T. Kearney. She joined Consulting after graduating from the Ecole Polytechnique and the University of Oxford.

Dedicated, with an outstanding strength of character, she demonstrates a great ability to manage complex situations, requiring both strong analytical skills to rapidly identify key levers and great interpersonal skills to not only convince Management to change but also the entire organization, and ultimately make change happen.

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