Sunday, June 12, 2011

Female Tanzanian Executive - Susan Mashibe

Executive Director and founder of TanJet

Susan Mashibe was honored by the World Economic Forum as a 2011 Young Global Leader (YGL). This honor is bestowed every year by the forum, recognizing up to 200 outstanding young leaders from around the world for among other things their professional accomplishments. 

Susan is the executive director and founder of TanJet, an international Fixed Base operation service and the first of its kind in Tanzania. TanJet provides logistical support for corporate, diplomatic and private Jets. Her clients include Heads of State, Monarchs, Fortune 500 executives, celebrities, and military flights. It is probably the first woman-owned international company of its kind in Eastern Africa.

Ms. Mashibe also runs another company, Kilimanjaro Aviation Logistic Center, that process landing and overflight clearances for private jets throughout the African continent. She is currently developing aircraft maintenance and repairs services at Kilimanjaro to provide modern and safe scheduled maintenance services for general and corporate aviation within the region. This is a much needed service and she has captured the niche in the market of aviation.

Coat of Arms
Ms. Mashibe was born and grew up in Tanzania. Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa but has always been overshadowed by her two northern neighbors, Kenya and Uganda. It is the only country that embraced and implemented Swahili as a national and official language. Under the leadership of the late President, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Tanzania has largely been ignored by the West because of it rejected the Western approach of capitalism and took on African Socialism (Ujamaa). Ujamaa was and continues to be erroneously associated with the western understanding of socialism/communism. 

Therefore, as its neighbors, Kenya and Uganda, received favorable attention, sadly Tanzania was ignored even though it is the third largest producer of gold after South Africa and Ghana. The impact continues to be felt throughout their economy particularly in health and education. While Kenyans and Ugandans boast high literacy rates, Tanzania's is estimated to be 72%. Although education is compulsory for seven years until the age of 15 years, most children drop out before they are 15 years and some do not attend at all. As of 2006, 87.2% of children who started primary school were likely to reach grade 5.

Susan on the TanJet Falcon
This is why it is so amazing to see a young woman like Ms. Mashibe who has excelled not only nationally but on a regional, continental and international level. It is stories such as these that bring a sense of hope and realization that success is not dependent on government support and policy - as is perceived in Africa. If only more such stories would find their way into the mainstream news media in the West. 


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