The Case for Female Leadership - African Style
Sustainability as an employer
For a few decades now industry experts and local employees alike have been asking a seemingly forever persistent question: how does Africa unlock its undeniably vast hospitality and tourism growth potential? The answers have been many. Some experts, such as Fred Swaniker, founder of African Leadership University (ALU) and a former McKinsey consultant with a Stanford MBA, subscribe to the view that sustainability travel sector offers young African entrepreneurs a chance to establish themselves in a relatively unexplored market with huge upward trends in both demand and supply.
This assumption is well supported: the world is gradually becoming more environmentally and socially conscious with tourists increasingly seeking carbon-neutral experiences paired with giving-back-to-the-community models, especially when it comes to such a diverse (both in terms of culture and geography) continent as Africa.
While environmental tourism might be a solution for many aspiring hospitality and travel professionals, it is by no means a panacea. This is especially apparent when the rates of female leadership are explored. Lagging behind in the majority of countries on the continent, these rates are defied, though, by such cases as Asilia’s Dunia Camp in Serengeti, Tanzania. Not only is it managed by a woman, it is also run by an exclusively female team.
Back in 2014 Angel Vendeline Namshali was the only female Tanzanian camp manager in the whole of Serengeti. Since that time much has changed – both from the standpoint of economic inclusion and people’s perception of a woman’s role in a household and, more generally, in the country. Speaking at a recent Empowers Africa’s Annual Women Leading Change event in New York, Namshali shared how much the cultural attitudes towards female leaders have changed in her country in the past decade.
Who knows, perhaps, it is one of those occasions where social transformation opens doors to a positive economic shift, leading to the inclusion of the huge and highly capable labor force into the formal business environment, finally shining the light on the extraordinary African women.