Elsie Kanza was born and educated in Kenya to Tanzanian parents.
Kanza is the Director, Head of Africa at the World Economic Forum, the Geneva, Switzerland based organization whose mission is to engage political, business and social leaders to shape global agendas and effect local change.
Prior to her role as Head of Africa at the World Economic Forum, Elsie served as Personal Assistant and Economic Advisor to His Excellency, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of Tanzania from 2006 to 2011, where she was responsible for economic affairs.
Kanza began her career with the Ministry of Finance and Central Bank of Tanzania where she worked in various capacities from 1997 to 2006. Now at the helm of the World Economic Forum on Africa, Elsie’s job involves cooperating with relevant leaders and stakeholders in influencing Africa’s growth in the new era.
Nominated in 2011 to the Rising Talents Program of the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society, and named one of Forbes’s 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa in 2011, Kanza is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader for 2011 and an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow for 2008.
Kanza holds a BSc (cum laude) in International Business Administration from the United States International University for Africa, an MSc in Finance from the University of Strathclyde and an MA in Development Economics from Williams College.