Computer scientist and banker Zandile Lambu says Africa is in dire need of effective and transformational leadership.
“Africa is in dire need of individuals who are willing to take the lead to solve problems, thereby developing communities,” says Zandile. She sees her participation in President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative(YALI) as an opportunity to fill this gap and an “opportunity to learn from other African professionals and entrepreneurs, as well as receive mentorship from industry experts from established corporates in and outside Africa.”
During her time as a YALI Washington Fellow, Zandile will spend six weeks taking business and entrepreneurship courses at prestigious Yale University. “I hope to learn more about how to start and run a sustainable business that develops the community and betters the lives of women and young people,” she says.
She is quick to list a litany of challenges many African countries face. “The number of companies closing down as well as the rate of retrenchment in this country is alarming,” she says.
“There is a gap that needs to be filled to give women and young people outside of the capital city an opportunity to work in formal environments, as well as to generate income to support their families,” she argues. She has already participated in and led programs that address these challenges. For example, she currently serves as a mentor in TechWomen Zimbabwe’s Technovation Challenge, an entrepreneurship program and competition that teaches young women (age 13-23) how to code and develop mobile apps. Zandie was also part of the team that won StartupBus Africa in 2013 by developing an employment-matching product called “Workforce.”
Zandie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the National University of Science and Technology. She is passionate about technology, disruptive innovation, women’s empowerment, entrepreneurship, and education. She is currently employed by Econet, a telecommunications company, where her responsibilities include mobile money (Ecocash) and other overlays for Econet Wireless. Her previous professional experience includes IT and retail banking at local bank.