A New Voice For A New Africa

Forbes Woman Africa
Published 6 years ago

Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said, “I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights.”

This sentiment might not be far off for 2010 Tutu Fellow, Zimbabwe-born Jacqueline Chimhanzi.

She did her PhD in Strategic Marketing at the Cardiff Business School in the United Kingdom, and now, added on her work portfolio, Chimhanzi has recently been appointed the Chief Executive Officer of the African Leadership Institute (AFLI), after being on the institute’s board of directors for six years.

“Every day feels like I am waking up to my calling,” says Chimhanzi, describing what it’s been like settling in her job.

Formerly the Senior Strategist at Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), Chimhanzi was recognized by FORBES as one of the 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa, who are shaping the narrative for the continent’s growth, in 2012.

It was when she was part of the Tutu Fellowship Program that her career started to focus more on Africa and she decided to play a role in making the continent a better place.

“The program helps you notice the difference you can make,” she says.

Making a difference became her mandate wherever she worked after the fellowship. The budding photographer worked as Lead: Africa Desk at Deloitte South Africa.

“I raised my hand with the Africa Desk venture and part of [any] career progression, especially for women, is to raise your hand in any given opportunity,” she says.

Part of her vision is to see the infrastructure gap on the continent closed and Africans investing in Africa, especially in women, who she says benefit the least when it comes to business and funding opportunities.

To see this materialize, Chimhanzi, with the support of Graça Machel, founded New Faces New Voices in 2010. It is a pan-African platform which focuses on expanding the role and influence of women in the financial sector.

Chimhanzi says some of the challenges unsettling investors are policies in various African countries and the slow pace of implementing concepts.

“We need an app that connects funders and projects because there is an information asymmetry in the market gap in our continent. Another challenge in the rest of the continent is that capital markets are very shallow, most banks lend in the short-term and interest rates are very high,” she says.

However, it is not all doom and gloom. Chimhanzi is optimistic about young Africans making their mark on the continent. She says leaders need to “draw on the talents and experiences from the youth in order to co-create solutions”.

Chimhanzi also wishes to see Africa transform into the self-sustainable continent she believes it can be.

With someone like Chimhanzi steering the wheel, Africa has a bright future.