Nana Adjoa Sifa Amponsah is a Ghanaian social entrepreneur who supports female agribusiness founders. Through her company Guzakuza, she has guided more than 7,000 young women across 31 countries to create transformative agribusiness ventures in Africa.
Guzakuza, which comes from two Swahili words, guza (touch) and kuza (grow), provides targeted training, access to finance, and mentorship programmes for women in the agribusiness industry throughout Africa, helping to create a more inclusive and supportive environment.
Adjoa Sifa Amponsah is also director at the London Centre for Agribusiness and a member of the UN Women’s Economic Empowerment Reference Group for East and Southern Africa.
What made you want to dedicate your life to fighting female injustice and promoting women changemakers in the agri-business world?
“I believe that empowering women in agribusiness is not just a matter of fairness but a strategic imperative for sustainable development. As we all may know, women play a crucial role in food production, supply chains, and rural economies. By addressing gender disparities and building an environment where women can thrive, we not only promote social justice but also unlock the full potential of the agribusiness sector.
“My dedication to this cause is fuelled by the amazing stories of resilience and innovation that I have encountered in my journey. Women in agribusiness are often unsung heroes, and I am driven by a commitment to amplify their voices, showcase their achievements, and create a platform that encourages more women to become changemakers in the industry.”
Did something happen to catalyse this decision, or have you always wanted to do this?
“My journey has been shaped by a combination of personal experiences, a strong sense of justice, and a continuous commitment to driving positive change.
“Growing up, I witnessed the challenges faced by women in my community who were actively involved in agricultural activities. These experiences ignited a sense of empathy and a desire to understand the systemic issues that perpetuated gender inequalities within the agribusiness sector. As I pursued my education and entered the professional world, these early observations stayed with me, fuelling my determination to contribute to a more equitable landscape.
“However, it was a specific incident during my early career in agribusiness that served as a catalyst for my dedicated focus on fighting female injustice and promoting women changemakers. I encountered a situation where a highly capable and innovative woman in the agricultural sector faced significant barriers in accessing resources and gaining recognition for her contributions. This experience was a turning point for me. It compelled me to delve deeper into the root causes of gender disparities in agribusiness and motivated me to take a more active role in advocating for change.”
Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed when looking at the sheer scale of gender inequality in the countries you operate in?
“Indeed, addressing gender inequality on a large scale can be an overwhelming task. The scope and persistence of gender disparities in the countries where I operate can be disheartening at times. However, rather than succumbing to a sense of overwhelm, I choose to channel that awareness into fuel for action.
“Breaking down the challenge into smaller, actionable steps allows for more targeted and effective interventions. Collaborating with local communities, stakeholders, and organisations helps create a network of support and amplifies the impact of initiatives aimed at addressing gender inequality. It's essential to focus not only on the scale of the issue but also on the progress achieved through strategic, sustained efforts.
“Remaining resilient and maintaining a long-term perspective is crucial. Celebrating small victories along the way, acknowledging progress, and building a sense of collective responsibility within the community contribute to building momentum and sustaining the commitment to challenging gender inequality.”
If you had to pick one ‘rising star’ African startup, which would it be?
“Flutterwave. Flutterwave is a Nigerian fintech company that provides payment technology and infrastructure for businesses and financial institutions across Africa. It enables businesses to make and receive payments from and to anywhere in the world. The company has shown significant growth and garnered attention for its innovative solutions in the fintech space.”
Who is your role model?
“Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.”
What is the best piece of advice that you have followed?
“[It] was to stay adaptable and embrace change. The agribusiness landscape is dynamic, and being open to adapting your strategies, products, or services based on market trends and feedback is key to long-term success. I often emphasise the importance of continuous learning, agility, and the ability to pivot when necessary.”