Last month, I was honoured to speak at Ambition Africa 2021 in Paris, the leading annual business forum for Franco-African economic and trade relations. It offered two days of engaging conversations on building stronger partnerships across multiple industries in both regions. With over 1,250 participants from France and 39 African countries, I was in the illustrious company of many dynamic business leaders.
As a member of a panel on “Consumer Goods and Leisure: Who is the 21st Century African Consumer,” I shared some of the perspectives I’ve gained along KAEME’s journey. Our customers are – and forever will be – at the very centre of all we do, so I found my panel particularly exciting. KAEME’s vendor network within West Africa gives us access to one of the continent’s most vibrant business regions while painting a vivid picture of 21st Century African consumers. Young, urban and tech-savvy, they are eager to support local brands and expect memorable experiences when they do. They hold us to high standards of authenticity and social responsibility. They are also adventurous, well-informed and very aware of international trends.
What does any of this mean for businesses in the consumer goods and leisure space? For starters, I pointed out the significant demand for quality goods and exceptional service delivery. At KAEME, we have the privilege of serving customers all over the world, and our vision has always been to represent Ghana distinctly on the global luxury-goods market. For us, this means having a (shea-moisturised) finger on the pulse of what our customers expect and more importantly, how we can consistently raise the bar for the premium skincare they deserve. I also emphasised that African customers are not to be taken for granted: this continent of 54 unique countries is bursting with commercial potential. Participating in Ambition Africa 2021 has made me even more confident that harnessing our people, knowledge and markets will make us a global economic force to reckon with.
Can I say how ecstatic I was to be in the midst of so many African and diasporan female leaders? It was in equal parts inspiring and illuminating as we shared ideas on how to collaborate and support one another in realising our shared goals. Being given a seat at some of the highest tables in the room was a truly humbling experience, one that has challenged me to pursue excellence even when I think no one is watching. Creating KAEME has been a fantastic labour of love that never ceases to amaze me.
After two incredible days of highlighting the economic power of African men and women, my biggest takeaway as an Ambition Africa speaker and participant was this: Africa has a lot to offer the world, and we have a responsibility to believe in this with all we’ve got to make this happen. Ours is an amazing continent with some of the brightest talents on the planet. We owe it to ourselves and generations to come to see the opportunities in front of us and invest in whatever it takes to capitalise them, on our own terms.