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Posted on 2 November 2020 by UCT GSB Press Office
Learning & Development

Big ambitions to drive financial inclusion in Africa

UCT GSB alumna Fadzai Chitiyo-Kunaka has just started a new position with the National Treasury as a short-term consultant for The World Bank — while also coming to grips with motherhood following the birth of her firstborn, a baby daughter, only four months ago.


UCT GSB alumna Fadzai Chitiyo-Kunaka has just started a new position with the National Treasury as a short-term consultant for The World Bank — while also coming to grips with motherhood following the birth of her firstborn, a baby daughter, only four months ago. 

Juggling motherhood and a career is not for the faint-hearted but Fadzai Chitiyo-Kunaka takes her inspiration from many exceptional professional women — including the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, who brought her small baby to Parliament and recently won a second term in office following widespread praise for her handling of the coronavirus crisis.

“If anything, becoming a mom has made me aware of how motherhood activates more parts of a woman’s brain. You are always planning, thinking two or three steps ahead to make sure everything is fine — those are valuable skills when you think about it!”. Specifically, she has been thinking more deeply about how financial solutions should be tailored for women in developing countries. “We need more of a social and gender lens when we talk about investment, not only in South Africa, but in the rest of Africa too,” she says, citing the $320 billion financing gap for female entrepreneurs in formal sector SMEs in developing countries alone, and the $93 billion credit gap for women-led SMEs. “There is a strong business case for investing in women, since they are known to invest 90% of their earnings back into their family’s healthcare, food, and education, which further boosts economic activity", she adds.  

Born in Zimbabwe, Chitiyo-Kunaka came to South Africa at the age of 13, going on to study International Relations and Economics with an Honours in African Studies at the University of Cape Town (UCT), before enrolling for the MCom in Development Finance at the UCT GSB in 2016.

She had intended to study engineering but while still at school she was invited to attend the Global Young Leaders Conference (GYLC) in New York — “a tremendous honour” — and there she became aware that she was passionate about socio-economic development and uplifting the African continent. This realisation was to shape her career. Following her studies, she was a senior research associate at Jack Hammer before joining Dalberg, a global development consultancy group, as a senior consultant where she has been asked to apply her expertise at macro and micro level to address challenges on the continent.

She has travelled widely across Africa and says the continent is her home. “I am very optimistic about Africa. I have seen how many countries have grown in leaps and bounds and how good leadership, even benevolent dictatorships, can help progress. Africans really do have the solutions for many of the issues facing the continent.” She also thinks the strong emerging middle class is shaping into a major consumer base, while there is a big untapped workforce, another positive for the continent.

But much of this will depend on whether the continent can achieve greater financial inclusion. As Chitiyo-Kunaka sees it, the political and economic landscape will be shaped by the flow of capital. More than that, individual citizens on the continent need to be empowered to understand and gain access to finance, she believes, especially those who are currently not part of the formal banking system and yet represent so much potential in terms of productivity and entrepreneurship.

Armed with an MCom in Development Finance from the UCT GSB, her current work with the National Treasury is in drafting action plans for the national financial inclusion policy in South Africa and the national consumer financial education policy.

With a new baby in the house, some might expect her to change her pace, but that is not on the cards for her. Although she admits that “juggling responsibilities as a working mom is harder than doing my MCom”, she is too ambitious — both for herself and the continent of Africa. “There is so much to be done and I can’t wait to get started!” 


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Learning & Development

Widening access to financial services

UCT GSB MBA alumna, Philisiwe Precious Nduli, named as one of the Top 200 Young South Africans by the Mail & Guardian in 2018, is passionate about widening access to financial services — and ensuring that those services make the world a better place.

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Posted on 8 August 2019 by UCT GSB Press Office
Media - Positioning women as catalysts
Learning & Development

Positioning women as catalysts for innovation in Africa - Gloria Muhoro (MPhil)

Positioning women as catalysts for innovation in Africa

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Posted on 28 June 2019 by UCT GSB Press Office
Media - High-tech and old-school
Learning & Development

High-tech and old-school: a winning combination for success - Chad Bartlett (PGDip)

Chad Bartlett, Director of Partnerships at tech company, Grove, describes his time at the UCT GSB, where he completed a PGDip, as a life-changing experience.

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Posted on 20 June 2019 by UCT GSB Press Office
When a love of numbers becomes - Media
Learning & Development

When a love of numbers becomes a passion for doing good

WHEN A LOVE OF NUMBERS BECOMES A PASSION FOR DOING GOOD

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Posted on 13 June 2019 by UCT GSB Press Office
THE 5 ATTRIBUTES OF SUCCESSFUL WOMEN LEADERS
Learning & Development

The 5 attributes of successful women leaders

Whether they are CEOs, scientists, entrepreneurs or venture capitalists, successful women often share a few key characteristics that are worth taking note of - and the good news is that these are skills any woman can develop, they believe.

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Posted on 17 April 2019 by Jenny Boxall
Media -Playing the long game
Learning & Development

Playing the long game - Stanley Vorsatz (MBA)

It was while doing his MBA that Stanley Vorsatz began to understand his strengths and weaknesses more clearly, a lesson worth the cost of admission itself. Now he’s putting that learning to good use in his own company.

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Posted on 25 March 2019 by UCT GSB Press Office
Managers will need Media
Learning & Development

Managers will need a new mindset to lead in a technology-driven world

The 4th Industrial Revolution offers businesses new opportunities for growth and inclusivity - but it will be critical to invest in the essential capabilities of, especially, managers to cash in on this dividend

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Posted on 7 March 2019 by Mzoxolo Gulwa
african_businesswoman - Media
Learning & Development

An angel for African businesswomen - Lelemba Phiri (MCom)

She has been a television presenter, a university lecturer, a public sector and corporate key executive as well as an author and recipient of prestigious awards like the Zambian Woman of the Year Award in 2015, but it is with her gender-lens angel investment fund, that Lelemba Phiri believes she can make the biggest impact on the continent she loves.

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Posted on 21 February 2019 by UCT GSB Press Office
Media - A boring job? Maybe to some...
Learning & Development

A boring job? Maybe to some - Nellis Beyers (MBA)

Dr Nellis Beyers, Medical Services Manager for the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, is bringing business thinking to bear on healthcare systems, making sure that more lives are saved and more lifechanging operations can be performed on children in need.

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Posted on 18 February 2019 by UCT GSB Press Office
Bradley fortune
Learning & Development

On being nimble and expanding your worldview: Q&A with Fortune Gamanya (EMBA)

Whether you’re an organisation facing down the Goliath of the 4th Industrial Revolution, a woman in the workplace or an MBA student embarking on a new trajectory, you need to be lean and agile and ready to engage, unapologetically, on your own terms, says the founder of Luminary Advisory & Consulting and EMBA alumna, Fortune Gamanya

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Posted on 1 August 2018 by UCT GSB Press Office
Phatizwe Malinga profile media
Learning & Development

Q&A with Phathizwe Malinga (EMBA) on the Internet of Things

A digital future has the potential to improve the quality of life for all South Africans but requires that companies transform their business models to take advantage of it, says UCT GSB EMBA alumnus Phathizwe Malinga.

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Posted on 2 July 2018 by UCT GSB Press Office
Saving us from plastic soup - Richard Hardiman med
Learning & Development

Saving us from plastic soup - Richard Hardiman (MBA)

Self-proclaimed “accidental environmentalist” and GSB alumnus Richard Hardiman has built a drone, based on a science fiction character, that can clean the ocean. His tech start-up, Ranmarine, produces the WasteShark - the only thing standing between us and the garbage that is turning our oceans into plastic soup.

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Posted on 3 April 2018 by UCT GSB Press Office
Deon James - Media
Learning & Development

When energy meets application: transforming the electricity market - Deon James (Modular MBA)

UCT GSB alumnus Deon James has been a force for change in the energy industry for more than twenty years. He describes his career trajectory since graduating from the part-time MBA programme in 1990.

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Posted on 22 February 2018 by UCT GSB Press Office