TANZANIA: Ms Elsie Kanza


Ms Elsie Kanza currently, she serves as Director for Africa at the World Economic Forum. At the Forum the Africa Team is responsible for the Forum’s Africa Strategy and champions multi-stakeholder regional initiatives, such as Grow Africa partnership initiative, Africa Strategic Infrastructure Initiative, Water Resources Group Partnership initiative, and Responsible Mineral Development Initiative in collaboration with regional organisations.

Ms. Kanza works specifically on connecting senior government officials in sub-Saharan Africa with leasers at the World Economic Forum to facilitate collaboration. In an interview with In2EastAfrica, she said that the new job is essentially an extension of her last job as an advisor because she is working so closely with government officials. She develops partnerships that will help her team achieve their broader development goals.

Ms. Kanza held various positions with the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank of Tanzania from 1997 – 2006. From 2006 to 2011 she served as a personal assistant and economic advisor to the Republic of Tanzania president, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, making her an extremely influential political figure in Africa.

Ms. Kanza is also dedicated to promoting youth leadership in Africa as well. She particularly focuses on helping the World Economic Forum’s “Shapers” community which consists of 20-30 year olds working on development projects across Africa.

As one of Forbe’s 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa, Elsie Kanza is a young Tanzanian woman set to be a very powerful leader in Africa.




  1. BSc (Hons) in International Business Administration, United States International University – Africa;
  2. MSc in Finance, University of Strathclyde, UK;
  3. MA in Development Economics, Center for Development Economics, Williams College, USA.

Work Experience


  1. 1997-2006, various positions with the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank of Tanzania.
  2. 2006-2011, Personal Assistant to Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, responsible for Economic Affairs.
  3. Joined the World Economic Forum in 2011. Since 2014, Senior Director, Head of Africa, World Economic Forum.

Awards and Nominations


  1. 2008, Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow.
  2. 2011, Young Global Leader nominee, World Economic Forum.
  3. 2011, Rising Talents nominee Program of the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society.

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