Tropics Business Summit – How Can African Countries Change The Narrative With Woman Leadership


“Any country that limits women’s contribution to society to only childbearing pays a heavy price in terms of it’s socioeconomic development”. – World Health Organization

According to Blackden and Bhanu 1999, “African women work far longer hours that men. On average, their workdays may be 50% longer, and their work is closely integrated with household production systems. Women are especially prominent in agriculture, particularly in processing food crops, and in providing water and firewood, although men predominate in agriculture in much of the Sahel.

Income earned by women is more likely to be used productively—for children’s food, clothing, and education. But due to customary and legal restrictions, women in Africa have less access to productive assets, including land, and to such complementary factors of production as credit, fertilizer, and education. Women farmers receive only 1% of total credit to agriculture”.


The 8th African Union Gender Pre-Summit held in 2016 in Addis Ababa identified the following challenges facing African Women:

Gender-based violence

Exclusion of women from peace tables are barriers to achieving gender equality in Africa

Harmful cultural practices

Economic exclusion

Financial systems that perpetuate their discrimination

Lack of access to education and poor retention in schools

Limited participation in political and public life

Over and above the challenges identified by the pre-summit, is the challenge of gender-blind policies developed in various Africa countries.

How can African countries change the narrative with Women Leaders

With Nomsa Nteleko (CEO, OS Holdings – South Africa) and KrissBrochec (CEO, Africa Digital Academy – Congo/France)Moderator: Mpho Mahlatsi (South Africa)

Makeda – Queen of Sheba

During the reign of Makeda , Ethiopia was considered to be second after Egypt as far as power and fame was concerned . This made several kingdoms to be fascinated by how this female ruler could make such a small kingdom to become one of the most revered kingdoms in the world . This was what made King Solomon to be interested in having a commercial relationship with Sheba . As a result , he decided to invite Queen Makeda to Israel , and the rest is history.


African countries can change the narrative with Women Leaders by:

  • Adopting and implementing policies that are gender sensitive;
  • Facilitation, support and development of women-owned Small, Medium Enterprises (SMEs); 
  • Entrepreneurship training;
  • Business incubation;
  • Mentorship programmes;
  • Specialised Technical skills training;
  • Inclusion of women across the overlapping political, social, and economic spheres

“African women have been called “a powerful untapped economic force” and will be absolutely integral in addressing the development challenges Africa faces”. World Economic Forum