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Amujae Leaders discuss life-changing advice they would give their younger selves and ambitious young African women and girls

With their trailblazing achievements in various spheres of public leadership, Amujae Leaders are role models for many African women and girls who aspire to take on the mantle of leadership and create positive change on the continent.

As women leaders, they have often navigated challenging circumstances and overcome adversity in order to succeed in their leadership endeavors.

The EJS Center spoke with some of the Amujae Leaders about their journey so far and the advice they would give their younger selves, as well as other women and girls who are inspired to follow in their footsteps.

Emphasizing the role of education as a cornerstone of successful leadership, Amujae Leader Fatoumatta Njai encouraged young girls to be determined in their quest for personal growth and success.

“To the young girls, I say: giving up is not an option… builds your confidence, which in turn opens up opportunities by making you a go-getter.”

Amujae Leader and Minister of Transport of Ethiopia Dagmawit Moges Bekele said that the key to unlocking the secret of success is learning from one’s own mistakes:

“I would advise my younger self that patience and persistence ultimately pay off… She should always look for learning opportunities in every bad situation that she faces.”

She added that girls across Africa must be able to access opportunities that allow them to gain the skills and mentorship needed to rise to leadership positions.

As the CEO of the Rwanda Development Board, Amujae Leader Clare Akamanzi has been instrumental in creating thousands of new jobs for young Rwandans. African women, she said, must be given the opportunity to meaningfully participate in the continent’s economies and contribute to its growth:

“I really want to see more women driving the business sector of Africa, and create value, resources, and wealth that can stay for generations to come and secure the continent’s transformation in the long term.”

Ms. Akamanzi also urged young women and girls to remain hopeful and motivated despite setbacks, saying that “life always gives you a second chance and the opportunity to excel.”

Amujae Leader Ghada Labib said that her leadership journey taught her to believe in the power of education and to be resilient in the face of adversity. Investing in oneself, keeping an open mind about career choices, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance are the main pieces of advice she would give her younger self, she added.

Ms. Labib also stressed that opportunities should be given to young African women to become successful innovators and entrepreneurs:

“I aspire to see more support networks for young women entrepreneurs, and more financial inclusion… Entrepreneurship is a mindset and mindsets don’t have genders.”

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