The involvement of women entrepreneurs in Africa’s export sector has experienced a noteworthy surge over time. These resilient and barrier-breaking women have not only achieved remarkable success across various industries, but they have also paved the way for other aspiring female entrepreneurs to enter the African export market. Their inspiring stories serve as proof that with determination, innovation, and resilience, women can make a significant impact and become role models for others. As we celebrate Women’s Month, it is important to acknowledge these exceptional women who are leading the way in exports in Africa. 

1. Stella Okoli, the visionary behind Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries and its esteemed CEO, has established a prominent presence in Nigeria’s pharmaceutical landscape. Through her astute leadership, Emzor has flourished into a key player in both African and international markets. In 2023, Okoli’sunwavering commitment to expanding global reach bore fruit as Emzor’s products found their way to more than 20 countries spanning Africa, Europe, and Asia. This remarkable achievement not only bolstered Nigeria’s pharmaceutical industry but also demonstrated the sheer potential of African enterprises on a global scale.

2. Ibukun Awosika established and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of The Chair Center Group, a prominentNigerian company that specialises in manufacturing and retailing furniture. In the year 2023, Awosika’s dedication to expanding into international markets yielded significant growth in her company’s overseas sales figures. The Chair Center Group’s exceptional furniture designs, which boast both high-quality craftsmanship and innovation, have garnered recognition across global markets. This recognition has subsequently paved the way for successful export agreements with multiple African nations as well as major consumer hubs in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Awosika’saccomplishments not only solidify Nigeria’s position as a premier destination for superior furniture production but also serve as an inspiration for aspiring female entrepreneurs looking to venture into export-oriented enterprises. 

3. Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu is renowned for establishing soleRebels an Ethiopian footwear brand celebrated globally due to its commitment to sustainability and handmade production methods. In 2023, Alemu’s unwavering dedication towards championing Ethiopian artistry alongside environmentally friendly practices resulted in remarkable triumphs within the export sector. The distinctive shoe designs offered by soleRebels crafted using recycled materials that prioritise ecological preservation resonated profoundly with international consumers worldwide; thus leading to a surge in demand for their products across more than 50 countries around the globe.

4. Fatoumata Ba, the CEO and co-founder of Janngo, a technology company headquartered in Senegal, has made significant strides in driving technology-enabled exports from Africa. In 2023 alone, Ba’s efforts have yielded remarkable results. Through Janngo’s digital marketplace and e-commerce platform, African producers have been able to forge connections with international buyers, thereby expanding export opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises across the continent. Not only has Ba contributed to the growth of Senegal’s export sector but she has also provided a platform for other African countries to showcase their products and services on a global scale. With over $8 million raised in funding thus far, she is now poised to expand her business throughout the entire continent. Moreover, through her empowering platform, Ba actively supports African women entrepreneurs by helping them scale their businesses and engage in global trade.

Being a woman from South Africa, it is essential for me to recognise the female entrepreneurs who are propelling South Africa’s export economy. Similar to the courageous and resolute women who battled against the pass law in 1956, these individuals are showcasing bravery and unwavering determination as they stimulate growth and solidify themselves as unstoppable powerhouses. Through their flourishing export enterprises, they are making substantial contributions to the nation’s economy. Their triumph serves as evidence of their diligent efforts, unwavering determination, and inventive mindset.

1. Thoko Zwane established Zano Nutraceuticals, a South African company specialising in the manufacturing and export of organic skincare items. Overcoming initial challenges, she successfully expanded her business into various international markets by forming partnerships and securing contracts with prominent retailers worldwide.

2. Lebo Diseko is the creator of Olive Bath and Body, a company that crafts handmade bath and beauty products using natural ingredients sourced from South Africa. With her entrepreneurial acumen and dedication to sustainable product development, Lebo has transformed Olive Bath and Body into a globally recognised brand, exporting to countries such as the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

3. Lindiwe Matlali is the visionary behind Africa Teen Geeks, a non-profit organisation based in South Africa that strives to provide coding and STEM education to underserved children. Through her innovative strategies and unwavering determination, Lindiwe has successfully expanded the reach of Africa Teen Geeks across the African continent. This expansion has involved fruitful collaborations with international partners and securing funding from prestigious global organisations.

4. Nokwazi Mzobe is recognised as the mastermind behind Matoyana Business Solutions, a company that offers invaluable business development and consulting services specifically tailored for small and medium-sized enterprises. Nokwazi’s exceptional expertise coupled with her relentless dedication have propelled Matoyana’s services beyond South African borders, attracting clients on an international scale while establishing an influential global presence. 

5. Ivy Makhosi stands proudly as the founder of Ivili Loboya, a reputable South African enterprise specialising in crafting exquisite mohair products for exportation. Ivy’s steadfast commitment to sustainable production practices and unwavering focus on delivering high-quality craftsmanship have significantly contributed to Ivili Loboya’s prominent position as one of the leading exporters of mohair products to various international markets including Europe and the United States.

6. Vuyiswa Kings is the originator of Vumelana Advisory Fund, a South African enterprise that offers advisory services to land reform projects. Using her expertise and strategic acumen, Vuyiswa has effectively extended the reach of VumelanaAdvisory Fund’s services beyond South Africa, providing guidance and collaborating with international entities and governments. 

7. Tsogo Mathebula is the innovator and CEO of a technology company based in South Africa that specialises in delivering groundbreaking solutions for the agricultural sector. Through her exportation of top-notch agricultural technology and services, she has played a significant role in advancing farming practices across various African countries. 

8. Qhawekazi Jwara, a young entrepreneur hailing from South Africa, has made remarkable strides in the exportation business involving handmade traditional crafts. She has achieved immense success by showcasing both the splendour and cultural importance of these crafts to global markets. The growth experienced by her business in international markets spanning Europe, the United States, and Asia can be attributed to her commitment towards ethical sourcing practices for materials along with unwavering support local artisans.

The accomplishments of these women entrepreneurs exemplify the immense capacity of African female business owners to stimulate economic development through international trade. 

Moreover, their triumphs have been instrumental in fostering greater equality and creating inclusive economic prospects for women across Africa. By granting access to vital resources and capital, these enterprising women have empowered their counterparts to pursue entrepreneurial aspirations and unlock their full economic prowess. Consequently, this has led to a surge in female engagement within the export industry while simultaneously enhancing financial inclusion for women throughout Africa.

About Shantall Ramatsui: Founder and Chief Implementation Officer at Shantui Solutions

Shantall Ramatsui is the founder of Shantui Solutions, an enterprise development agency. She is also a public relations maven and exudes her talents at another agency she founded, Shantui PR, where she specialises in science, technology, engineering, defence, aerospace, maritime, mining, corporate,and government communications.

She has grown to be a serial entrepreneur with 15 years of experience in corporate marketing, business development, public relations and management. Shantall has been instrumental in the development, monitoring and evaluation of Enterprise Development Programmes initiated at corporate and state-owned entities. She has also served on the board, committees and executive teams of Business Organisations such as the Business Women’s Association of South Africa (BWASA), the National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA) and the Aerospace Maritime Defence Association of South Africa (AMD). 

Shantall is passionate about developing SMMEs, aiming to influence them to succeed in becoming sustainable and profitable entities. This is evident in her support of the Township Economy Revitalisation Programme and the partnerships secured for this purpose. 

In her private capacity, she is driven by community development programmes and lends her time and services to organisations such as Rotary International, and serving in the Reserve Force of the South African Air Force in the capacity. She is currently actively involved in the organisations implementing South Africa’s National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide. 

All work and no play do make Jill a dull girl, so she unwinds at her second most loved place, the golf course. She is an avid golfer and participates in social and amateur professional games.

Get in touch with Shantall Ramatsui

Mobile: +27 71 457 8289 (WhatsApp Enabled)






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