Below are some African businesswomen who walked the walk and talked the talk. That makes them AFKInsider’s candidates for the most memorable quotes by African businesswomen in 2015.
1. Adenike Ogunlesi, Nigeria
Founder: Ruff ‘n Tumble, a children’s clothing manufacturer and retailer. She started the company in 1996 out of the trunk of her car in Lagos. Today she has 15 stores in five cities and No. 16 opening before the end of the year. There are plans to open 25 more stores by 2018.
“Find your authentic self – everybody else is taken. Find out who you are, what your purpose is, what you like doing, what you are passionate about – and then go after it with everything in your total being. Things will then fall in place. As they say, the Earth conspires when you are clear on the universe that you want – it will give you that universe, it will.”
2. Wided Bouchamoui, Tunisia
President of Tunisia’s Employers’ Organisation (UTICA)
Bouchamoui received the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet for its role in building democracy in Tunisia.
The quartet — made up of the Tunisian General Labor Union, Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, Human Rights League and Order of Lawyers — established an alternative, peaceful political process at a time when the country was on the brink of civil war,” said Kaci Kullman Five, head of the committee.
The quartet played a key role as a mediator and force for democracy, paving the way for a peaceful dialogue among citizens, political parties and authorities across political and religious divides, countering the spread of violence.
Bouchamaoui, head of the trade group in the quartet, said Tunisia’s experience could be “exportable” to other countries.
She said told France’s i-Tele TV the Nobel prize “is for all the Tunisian people.”
“We did it together, the four of us”
3. Nykhor Paul, Model, South Sudan
South Sudanese model Nykhor Paul got more than 20,000 likes on Instagram after she posted this comment in July:
“Dear white people in the fashion world!… Why do I have to bring my own make-up to a professional show when all the other white girls don’t have to do anything but show up.
“Don’t try to make me feel bad because I am blue-black – it’s 2015”
4. Robtel Neajai Pailey, Liberia
Academic, activist and author
Many people including Africans equate corruption with Africa but this is flawed thinking, Pailey said in a TEDx talk. Corruption exists everywhere, and it’s just as bad in the U.S. as in developing countries.
Pailey is the author of “Gbagba,” an anti-corruption children’s book published two years ago to critical acclaim. She was also on the Financial Times 2015 list of “25 Africans to Watch.”
“Corruption is a function of both greed and poverty. There is nothing uniquely African about corruption.”
5. Razia Khan, Botswana
Regional Head Of Economics, Africa, Standard Chartered Bank
Khan is responsible for advising the bank’s executive committee on African matters. She provides in-depth analysis on African economies to clients, and is a frequent media commentator. She also provides updates to finance ministries, multilateral institutions and central banks in Africa.
A member of the advisory board of the Royal Africa Society, Kahn has served as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Councils on Population and on Poverty and Development.
“A good, long-term measure would be to focus on drawing informal sector companies into the tax net.”