NAME Diane Mushimiyimana AGE 33 HOME Kigali, Rwanda CAUSE Championing women entrepreneurship in Africa
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Female entrepreneurship particularly, where we are seeing a growing number of initiatives aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and empowering women in the process. reflects a generally growing interest in female entrepreneurship in developing countries, which, in turn, is due to greater interest in the role played by entrepreneurship in the economic development process. Women have been assigned a special role not only because they stand to benefit from entrepreneurship being the poorer and more discriminated against gender, but also because they are seen as a critical driver of entrepreneurship in light of their unique role in the household and the rise in female-headed households across the developing world.
Diane Mushimiyimana, a CollatEd Lab Regional Representative is also known as the Global Youth Mentor of the Five Continents Women’s Network and a Managing director of Urugoli Media. This young leader is passionate about Leadership. Her experience in Social Entrepreneurship, peacebuilding & conflict management spans more than 10 years.
She lives in Kigali, the capital and largest city of the African country of Rwanda, which is surrounded by volcanic mountains and also called the land of a thousand hills. Diane among other things runs Urugoli Media in Kigali as its managing director. She is a staunch supporter of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as Global Goals, were adopted in 2015 by all member states of the United Nations as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people can enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. Mushimiyimana is also an alum the Professional Fellows Program (PFP) sponsored by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’.
Diane also strongly believes that the key to achieving these goals is education and cooperation. Her slogan is ‘TogetherWeCan’.
In addition to managing news media, Diane is a very active speaker and presenter at public forums across Africa where she actively advocates for socio-economic change for the people of Africa.
We spoke with Diane about her journey as an activist for women’s entrepreneurship: the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for women entrepreneurs in Africa, what motivates them in a male-dominated world, how she overcame defeat, how fighting poverty became part of her life – and much, much, more! We have received many questions about women in the world of entrepreneurship and we will try to answer as many as we can.
What was the reason you started working in the field of women’s entrepreneurship? To bring changes in various sectors especially in the areas of peace building, conflict resolution, justice and security towards socio-economic transformation. I also want to create jobs through the technology sector and empower women and youth for sustainable development. African entrepreneurship is central to Africa’s future prosperity. The biggest business opportunities in the coming decade will be created by Africans who start businesses, generate jobs and wealth, and capture growth opportunities, Across Africa. Possibly Local solutions to some problems.
Can you tell us more about the organization you work for? I actually work for two organizations. The first is CollatEd LAB. CollatEd LAB is the world’s first policy innovation lab that aims to unite cross-sectoral, global leaders to advance the development of inclusive and sustainable societies. It is the first NGO to use open innovation as a means of pedagogy to drive Education Sustainable Development in the Global Action Program network. CollatEd Lab has a vision that technology, policy and education will shape the future of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
CollatEd Lab is currently working in over 100 countries in partnership with government ministers, national leaders, United Nations agencies, universities and non-governmental organizations to find sustainability-focused policy solutions not only to the global pandemic, but also to advance the role of data science in the policy-making process in Africa.
Anyone can become a Global Innovator today to crowdsource policy solutions and advise international governments. For more information about CollatEd LAB follow this link https://www.collatedlab.com/
The second is Urugoli News. Urugoli is a media organization that disseminates, distributes and collects news. You can follow my media related work here http://www.urugoli.co/
Why did you choose this field of work? In my Education career at Mount Kenya University (MKU, Rwanda) and Smith College (Northampton, MA, USA) and IHE Delft, Netherland, Europe. I learned Science, technology, Media & journalism (over 11 years), Social-Economic transformation, Water science, also I am passionate about peacebuilding and conflict management, regional market integration, science, technology, Leadership, education, mentoring, entrepreneurship and economic development growth and sports (Basket & Tennis), and to achieve SDGs. I want to contribute to Socio-Economic transformation in my country, region and globally to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
What do you think needs to happen next for the African economy to get back on track for the next global development boom? As of early 2020, macroeconomic fundamentals in Africa were improving, with investments, rather than consumption, accounting for more than half of the region’s growth. Inflation was falling and the continent was making impressive strides towards accomplishing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Africa must build on the momentum and strive to prevent the coronavirus pandemic from reversing the gains of the past 20 years. The economy needs to be strengthened. We need to invest more and embrace digital transformation and entrepreneurship and work closely with international NGOs.
The CollatEd Lab, for example, is the world’s first policy innovation lab that aims to unite multi-sectoral, global leaders to drive the development of inclusive and sustainable societies. Through partnership and sustained collaboration with African Countries, it will therefore be more fruitful, especially at Social Economic Recovery.
What is the role of African entrepreneurs in the future recovery of the African economy? They must have access to competitive finance. They should also commit to following internationally recognized environmental, social and governance standards. Cumulative losses in the gross domestic product (GDP) across the continent could range between $173.1 billion and $236.7 billion in 2020 and 2021. The coronavirus pandemic threatens to increase the debt burden of African countries from 60 percent to 70 percent of gross domestic product, heightening the likelihood of a sovereign debt crisis. The additional financing required to cushion the consequences of the crisis could be in excess of $150 billion.
What opportunities do you see for women’s entrepreneurship in Africa? They have the opportunity to participate in the cooperative sector, embrace entrepreneurship, trade business, and digital transformation. There are many areas where women can be more involved: Science, technology, commercial businesses, education, media, digital transformation, health sector, etc.
To empower them into scientific, economic and social research, countries should pursue global and continental partnerships to prepare for eventualities. Private sector growth and revamping education and labour markets for the future of work are also key.
What advice do you have for women entrepreneurs or women who may want to start a business? Stay focused, never give up! they need to consider hard work, networking, teamwork and sharing opportunities. What is also very important in this day and age is to create jobs, and embrace digital transformation. This will help in job creation, innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship etc.
Education is a key to achieve our dreams and SDGs. ‘TogetherWeCan’.
What does a day look like for you “on your heels”? I start with prayer at 3am, then have breakfast. Then I start my work by studying, attending or planning conferences and workshops. In the evening, I exercise for 30 minutes. In my work day, I also take time to mentor some aspiring women entrepreneurs.
What has been your biggest obstacle and how have you dealt with it? The lack of effective policies in some sectors, the lack of funding, the lack of technology. There is also a lack of educational infrastructure for young women entrepreneurs here in Africa.
What motivates you? To be diligent with the goal of impacting economic growth and SDGs in different sectors globally. To be involved in women working groups on socio-economic transformation.
What is your vision for the future of Africa? Strengthening Agenda 2063 to bring Africa together in many ways, including the inclusion of science and technology. Embracing digital transformation in Africa will improve education, health, agriculture and trade.