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Mar 1, 2013, 


NEW YORKMarch 1 -- The Africa-America Institute issued the following news:

Africa is on the move and has entered into an exciting phase of rapid transformation and growth. Global economic stats
 boast the fact that the continent of Africa is one of the fastest growing regions in the world, and forecast economic growth 
of 5.6 percent in 2013.
Yet we know that for Africa to build on this momentum of tremendous growth and robust economic development, everyone
 must be included in the continent's development process.
Compelling evidence confirms what we've all known, that women are powerful drivers of economic development. Today, 
the level of women's entrepreneurship in Africa is at nearly 40 percent, higher than in any other world region. The Africa 
Competitiveness Report 2011 revealed that African women comprise up to 70 percent of people involved in informal 
cross-border trade, an activity that contributes $18 billion a year to southern Africa economies alone.
The vital role of women in contributing to Africa's socio-economic development is nothing new to The Africa-America 
Institute. Dating back to our founding, AAI has recognized the enormous potential of women and committed itself to 
providing formal education and practical training to prepare African women for a "new Africa". 
Our female alumni are some of Africa's - and indeed, the world's - most accomplished leaders. The late Dr. Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, launched the Green Belt Movement in Kenya, which empowered communities, with a focus on women, to conserve the environment and improve quality of life. President Joyce Banda, a successful businessperson, is the first female president of the Republic of Malawi. These are just two of our distinguished female alumni making waves at the highest levels.
And it's no secret that education, particularly higher education and advanced professional training, must be at the heart 
of Africa's development to foster greater economic productivity and to build an educated and skilled workforce for 21st 
century jobs. The 2012 Africa Business Investors Conference, organized last September by AAI under the theme, "Jobs
 for Africa's Future", drew attention to women's remarkable contributions in boosting business profitability and economic growth in Africa. High-level keynote addresses and plenary sessions from African heads of state and senior African, international and U.S. leaders made a strong case for dramatically expanding women's participation in economic life to increase entrepreneurship and business ownership as well as equip them with the skills for successful employment in a knowledge-based global economy. Former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, who is currently executive director of 
UN Women, pressed African nations in a keynote address to "unleash" the full potential of women to achieve job creation
and sustain rising economic growth rates. "By opening doors to women across Africa, allowing women's entrepreneurial talents to flourish, and developing successful businesses that create jobs that stimulate the economy, we can make economic growth rise even higher," said Bachelet. "The whole economy gains momentum when women have access to education and training." Investing in women is smart business and essential to spurring economic growth. 
The continent of Africa is clearly making progress. AAI was deeply honored to pay tribute to Africa's only two female heads of state, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of the Republic of Liberia and President Joyce Banda, at our 28th Annual Gala for championing the rights of women and their full inclusion in economic development to boost economic growth. 
This is just one example of progress at the leadership level.  By Amini Kajunju

In Tanzania, it's Wide Open for Women in Tourism

by Karen Hoffman
It should come as no surprise to anybody who has been in the dynamic presence of the Honorable Mme. Zakia Hamdani Meghji, MP,Tanzania's Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism since 1987, that the door is wide open with opportunities for women to excel as professionals in the country's rapidly growing travel industry, starting right from the top. The private sector, recently paid tribute to Hon. Meghji (left) for her strong leadership and contribution to the tremendous increase in tourism since she became Minister, and honored her by affectionately naming her "Mama Utalii" (Mother Tourism). Leading the Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) as Chairperson, is another lady Hon. Fatma Saidi Alli (MP), who has two women TTB member colleagues Ms. Vicky Swai and Ms. Scholastica Ponera.At the heart of TTB headquarters, Judith Gumbo, Senior Administrative Secretary to the Managing Director since 1993, brings to her position extensive field experience from various national parks around the country. Accomplished women can be found in all sectors of the industry, public and private: Ms. Maria Mmari, Senior Tourist Officer, MNRT, Ms. Mary Lwoga, Branch Manager, TTB Arusha; Ms. Severa Masawe, Legal Counsel, TTB; Ms. Saada Juma, British Airways Manager, Tanzania - to name but only a few.
Fatema Tapya, Marketing Manager, Coastal Travel Services. Coastal Travel Services. Coastal Aviation, based in Dar es Salaam, is truly a company on the cutting edge of Tanzania Tourism. It has expanded from a travel service providing charter and schedule air carrier to the Southern Circuit and Zanzibar to an airline that "connects all the dots" by providing service to all of Tanzania's National parks, in addition to coastal and inland destinations. At the heart and pulse of this dynamic company is the Marketing Manager Fatema Tapya. Originally from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Fatema has been with Coastal for five years. "I have always been fascinated with nature and travel, and joining Coastal gave me the head start to make a career in tourism. Although equipped with IATA accreditation, Fatema says that most of her experience came through on the job training. "We create our own safaris, and this requires hands-on practical experience," said Fatema. Initially she started out as a tour consultant, but now Fatema can be found arranging special interest safaris, sending out press releases, going on safaris to see new products and facilities, or at travel trade exhibitions in Europe demonstrating Coastal's new state-of-the art on-line reservation system to travel agents. What does Fatema find the most challenging part of her job? Understanding the particular requirement of tourists from different parts of the world and cultures and how to design a safari that will match these needs. Her personal challenge, as a woman, is to adapt her own role coming from a more traditional culture, while at the same time slip into the more public role of taking care of tourists. Fatema's personal warmth and professionalism seem to guide her through this challenge very successfully.More->

Veronica Ufunguo, Tourism Officer, Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority

In 1996, Veronica Ufunguo, at 22, was one of only two female tour guides in the Ngorongoro Crater. Born in the Crater region, with a father that worked for the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA), Veronica was always fascinated with tourism and the benefits that it brought to the local people. However, she also understood early on the conflicts that arise when balancing tourism promotion with environmental and cultural preservation. She started as a Cadet with NCAA. Finally, she was selected for the coveted job of tour guide in the Crater. The three-month training was spent learning the Crater routes, about the animals and the flora and fauna. As Veronica looks back on her guide experience she said "the most rewarding part was being able to take people to see the animals close up and share their excitement with them." However, she admitted the challenges were learning how to work with tourists, and explain about some of the rules and regulations that were necessary to enforce in order to protect the environment, such as not being able to get environment, such as not being able to get out of the vehicles or dash after an animal off the official crater routes. Her guide work at NCAA inspired Veronica to study tourism at Makarere University in Uganda where she received her Bachelor in Tourism, majoring in marketing, ecotourism and cultural tourism. Upon graduation she did an internship at Kilimanjaro National Park where she helped gather visitor statistics.
Now back at NCAA, Veronica is focusing on improving the quality and standards of the Visitors Center. "My vision is to help create a Visitors Center that is technologically up-to-date and interactive. The facilities would have information that will appeal to all ages, as well as be accessible for tourists with disabilities. Most important, the guides at the center would be trained and knowledgeable about the history of Ngorongoro Conservation Area." She would also like to introduce guest surveys on site at the hotels and lodges around the Crater. It is hard for tourists who meet Veronica, not to be captivated by her enthusiasm and love for the Ngorongoro Crater area.  
Shabnaam Saleem, Hotel General Manager
As I checked in to the Mtoni Marine Center Hotel in Zanzibar, this lovely young lady, elegantly dressed, extended a warm welcome. She was working at the Front Desk. She proceeded to offer me assistance in making phone calls to set up interviews and appointments and offered to give me a tour of the beach front property. I had no idea that Shabnaam Saleem, this modest, soft spoken, 25- year-old, was the hotel's General Manager. Shabnaam, born on mainland Tanzania, received her degree from Kenya's well known Utalii (Tourism) College. She received hotel management experience as an intern with Serena Lodges and Hotels, one of East Africa's well known luxury chains. If it was just the fact that she was a woman, or only 25, it would be enough of a challenge to command the respect of her hotel staff. But working in the environment of a very traditional Zanzibari Culture, Shabnaam said she had to learn how to be a good manager within the context of society expectations by showing respect for local customs. As she donned her Buibui, the traditional black cape and head covering, to escort me to the airport, Shabnaam, a gracious, yet determined young lady, slipped gracefully between her role as Hotel General Manager to her accepted role as a woman in Swahili Society. Currently Shabnaam has taken leave from Mtoni Marine Center to pursue further studies in Hotel Management.



Jun 12, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - Constancia Mangue Nsue de Obiang, First Lady of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, joined First Ladies of Africa to honour the contributions and commitments of African women leaders who are working to improve living standards for women on the African continent.

In her welcoming speech, Mrs. Nana-Fosu Randall, Voice of African Mothers founder,talked about her life working at the UN and her efforts to found Voice of African Mothers. While sharing the story behind the organization she said, "We stand to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, to help them." Mrs. Obiang attended the Voices of African Mothers welcoming reception at the UN Millennium Hotel as part of the three days of events leading to the Millennium Development Goals 2013

Women's Progress award gala to be held at the United Nations on Thursday, June 13, 2013. Mrs. Nana-Fasu Randall praised Mrs. Obiang and the other first ladies present for their exemplary leadership and contributions to making women and children a top priority in Africa. The First Lady has helped change attitudes toward women in Equatorial Guinean society. Educating women is one of her top priorities, and her continuous involvement in activities to promote social development has made her a leading figure in efforts to improve the status of women in the country and on the African continent. She has also provided many grants and loans through associations that have increased women's earning power, promoted women entrepreneurs and small businesses, and boosted the contributions of women to the economy. First Ladies of Mali, Niger, Tanzania, Burundi, and the former First Lady of Suriname and their delegations were also present.

 Ms. Suzan Muhwezi
is President of the Africa Travel Association, Uganda Chapter, which is now a growing force in the East African Travel Tourism Community. Biography and profile of Mrs.. Muhwezi to come.


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