Igniting Change and Reshaping Economic Narratives

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The Shared Value Africa Initiative connects with Dr. Emmanuel Dei-Tumi, President of Uganda-based Human Capital International (HCI), an organisation devoted to the empowerment of Africa’s overlooked demographics—women and youth. From boosting financial literacy to advocating for a shift in how the informal sector is viewed and managed, Dei-Tumi champions innovative approaches that tap into Africa’s informal sector’s potential for inclusive economic growth.

Emmanuel Dei-Tumi, the visionary behind Human Capital International (HCI), has an innovative approach to reshaping Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. HCI’s primary goal is to empower African entrepreneurs, particularly women and youth, by enhancing their skills and knowledge in contemporary leadership, management, and business ethics. The focus on women and youth arises from the fact that they constitute a significant proportion of Africa’s informal sector – a critical part of the continent’s economy often overlooked.

However, significant challenges exist, primarily due to Africa’s largely patriarchal society which makes accessing finance difficult for women. Since many women don’t own property, traditional banks often deny them loans due to lack of collateral. HCI is advocating for change by partnering with faith-based institutions, which are integral to many African communities, to raise awareness about these issues and push for change.

Dei-Tumi emphasises the importance of financial literacy and business ethics education, encouraging faith-based institutions to educate their communities about responsible borrowing and repayment habits. As defaults contribute to high credit costs across Africa, this education could help decrease interest rates and make loans more accessible for entrepreneurs.

HCI is also focusing on the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which has the potential to transform the continent’s economy. However, the significant players in the informal sector, predominantly women and youth, are at risk of being left out. To ensure their inclusion, Dei-Tumi proposes that these individuals form associations, supported by governments and faith-based institutions. This approach would position them as active players within the AfCFTA and prevent the widening of the poverty gap.

Dei-Tumi advocates for a shift in how the informal sector is viewed and managed. Instead of trying to formalise these businesses as done in other regions, Dei-Tumi suggests an approach where informal sector operators are empowered to function as if they were formalised. He believes that by building systems and following procedures, they can better manage their finances, grow their businesses, and contribute more significantly to the continent’s economy.

In fact, HCI promotes collaboration as the key strategy for supporting Africa’s entrepreneurs. Through initiatives like their annual Strategic Leaders’ Summit, HCI has created a platform for SME ecosystem players from across the continent to discuss pertinent issues and potential collaborations.

His call for collaboration extends not only to the Summit, or young professionals and entrepreneurs, but also to institutions and organisations that are active players in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. He highlights the need for an integrated effort where everyone works towards a shared vision, such as the Agenda 2063 for Sustainable Development. Instead of fragmented, isolated efforts, pooling resources and pulling together would result in a much more significant impact.

In addition, Dei-Tumi emphasises the importance of changing the current discourse around poverty and wealth. By shifting the conversation from poverty alleviation to wealth creation, he suggests a much-needed reframing of the narrative and strategy for Africa’s economic development. This focus on wealth creation involves reprogramming understanding and mind-set towards money and business, essential to fostering a new generation of successful entrepreneurs.

In summary, Emmanuel Dei-Tumi and HCI’s innovative approach to supporting Africa’s informal sector showcases the potential of overlooked demographics. By focusing on women and youth, enhancing financial literacy, promoting business ethics, advocating for a shift in property rights, and calling for greater collaboration among different actors in the ecosystem, HCI is carving out a path for inclusive growth in Africa. Their work underscores the importance of informal sector players, particularly women and young people, in driving Africa’s economic future, reminding us that economic progress lies not just in the hands of large corporations but also in the power of small businesses, grassroots organisations, and individual entrepreneurs.


Emmanuel Dei-Tumi is an experienced professional Speaker and trainer in Strategic Leadership, small and medium scale start up Coach, and a youth development expert with a versatile range of qualifications and rich mix of people development skills.  His passion, expertise and experience are in Business Startups coaching, strategic leadership development, Youth Development and empowerment, as well as, and attitudinal change. Emmanuel has over twenty years of experience in the design and implementation of youth Development and business start- up modules, consulting for private and public sector Institutions including international development agencies complimented by a background of Investment coaching and counseling.