“Zimbabwe has security, safety, capacity to be the shining star of Africa due to its natural resources riches and its educated people forging for a better life, and our nativity that has helped us preserve our values and infrastructure despite many challenges we endured,” Ms. Laureen Adam a Zimbabwean business leader and philanthropist has said addressing Women in Africa (WIA).
The WIA Initiative whose second conference has been convened in Marrakech, Morocco from 27 to 28 September 2018 is the first international platform dedicated to the economic development and support of leading and high potential African Women.
Noting her dedication to Zimbabwe despite the hardship for business to flourish due to a protracted economic decline and high level of liquidity crunch, Ms. Adam said, “as a Zimbabwean woman, I am equipped mentally to understand that there is no social, economic or cultural boundaries that can deter my goals and that Zimbabwe and the world at large are my oyster.”
Underlining that the current Government’s mantra of “Zimbabwe is open for business” as a good omen to turn around the economy and achieve social progress, Ms. Adams said, “I am very much excited about the positive pronouncements made by our new government and looking forward to all female entrepreneurs to work even harder than before as we are the frontrunners to invest and reinvest in our own country to lead the way in changing our misfortune of the past decades.” “we [Zimbabweans] must write our own narrative and we must continue to believe in the hopeful future of our country and invest in her emotionally, financially and physically,” added Ms. Adam.
Noting that Zimbabwean businesswomen and men have already gone through so much trauma and stayed in their country, Ms. Adam said, “it is not because we couldn’t leave like others, but because we are warriors with the burning belief that our country will rise from the ashes with our sweat and ingenuity as the proverbial rising phoenix.”
“I have learnt early in my life that to succeed in life there is no shortcut than hard-work and to do things that I thought I couldn’t do. I am always prepared to go the extra-mile. After all, believing in myself was not the luxury I had, but the only option and reliable tool to making my life and my business a viable and enjoyable undertaking” said Ms. Adam. She noted, “My life is intertwined with my home country Zimbabwe and my beloved continent Africa. My success and belief in myself comes from my belief in the resources and generosity of Africa.”
The conversation about Africa is shifting from human made and natural crisis and subsequent dependency on foreign aid to tremendous opportunities and creativity. “Let alone business-like mine that I created and fostered from scratch in Africa, many foreign companies are paying close attention to the continent as an investment destination,” said Ms. Adam.
Ms. Adam called that Zimbabwe and Africa must tap into the fast-growing youth population of which more than 50% are women and girls, the huge diaspora community and the increasing urbanisation which according to some estimation is expected to drive over 50% of Africans to cities in the next 20 to 30 years should be an asset not a liability of unemployment and social welfare case.
She noted that there was need for a free trade between and within the African economic blocs to make huge difference in Africa’s share of global trade – which currently stands at 3%. “This can only happen if we could increase in local beneficiation in the commodities sector to drive growth by processing local commodities (such as minerals, coffee, cotton) in country rather than exporting them in raw form,” said Ms. Adam.
Noting that the largest economic forces in Africa are small to medium enterprises like her business, which gives Africans and business women to work to meet emerging new demands, Ms. Adam said, “Mobile telephony is the area where Africa has pushed beyond the boundaries in the developed world, and Africa business should compete to pushing for further innovation.”
Stating that there are too few places where entrepreneurs and businesses with ideas and an appetite for risk can bring value and find long-term growth, Ms. Adam said, “our Africa is one of the unexplored place with massive scope for economic and business undertaking. It is time for Africa. It is time for women. And that is why I strongly believe the next frontier of hope for human innovation and business hub will be Africa.”
According to the Women in Africa platform women produce 62 per cent of economic goods, but only 8.5 per cent are salaried, and 27 per cent of women in Africa create a business, which is the highest rate on a global scale. According to Ronald Berger’s 2016 study new deal, new Game for women in Africa, when women hold executive positions 34 per cent higher performance is achieved.
Laureen Adam, one of the 19 current Ambassadors of Women In Africa is the founder and CEO of Trios Health Center and Amara’s Health Spa in Zimbabwe. She has achieved international accolades while operating on the hardest business environment in Zimbabwe with no national currency for decades and having to anticipate extreme changes in the economy.