Women are amazing; women are beautiful; women are intellectual; women are ingenious; women are dynamic, and so is Elsie Kanza!
Born and educated in Kenya to Tanzanian parents and later the United States, Elsie holds a BSc (cum laude) in International Business Administration from the United States International University – Africa, an MSc in Finance from the University of Strathclyde and an MA in Development Economics from Williams College. Elsie is the Director, Head of Africa at the World Economic Forum, the Geneva, Switzerland-based organization whose mission is to engage political, business and social leaders to shape global agendas and effect local change.
Prior to her role as Head of Africa at the World Economic Forum, Elsie served as Personal Assistant and Economic Advisor to His Excellency, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania from 2006 to 2011 where she was responsible for economic affairs. She began her illustrious career with the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank of Tanzania where she worked in various capacities from 1997 to 2006. Now at the helm of the World Economic Forum on Africa, Elsie’s job involves cooperating with relevant leaders and stakeholders in influencing Africa’s growth in the new era.
Of the amazing responsibilities she bears, Elsie stated “Someone once described luck as preparation meeting opportunity and I have had a succession of lucky breaks in my career. It is also important to note that while I am recognized as an individual; my success has much to do with the teams that I have had the privilege of working with and leading. Thus my advice is simply to learn continuously, work hard and be prepared to seize opportunities. Every woman that I know works hard, so let me qualify that statement by emphasizing the necessity for hard work to be focused, purposeful and tenacious. Humility goes without saying: there is no “I” in teamwork.”
Nominated in 2011 to the Rising Talents Program of the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society, and named one of Forbes’s 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa in 2011, Elsie is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader for 2011 and an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow for 2008.
She shares her thoughts on the future of Africa; “Africa is forging ahead. Sustained growth – despite the global downturn – has strengthened its leaders’ resolve to stay on a path of reform, even if sometimes the pace is slower than one might wish. Its businesses are beginning to build brands capable of competing internationally. Its consumers are spending more and creating opportunities for jobs. All that is needed now is for the right conditions to be created to enable these achievements to be sustained and accelerated.”
And she is doing her part in building an Africa that has the right conditions to sustain and accelerate growth in all sectors.
Did I say women were amazing?