FABL’STYLE is so grateful to be here with Roberta Annan.
Roberta Annan is an award-winning businesswoman. She was the youngest African to be inducted into the African Leadership Hall of Fame. Annan is the Founder and Managing Partner of Annan Capital Partners, an investment and advisory company in Sub-Saharan Africa with a portfolio of assets in sustainable hospitality, agribusiness and sustainable luxury in Africa
Passionate about developing business opportunities for women in Africa, she started the African Fashion Fund in 2014 to empower African designers to access the global fashion industry and market. She is also the co-founder of Impact Fund For African Creatives ~ a fund that invests in creative businesses across Africa.
FAB: You are such an inspiration. We are so honored to have this interview with you, in person. You are incredibly powerful. Tell us, who is Roberta Annan?
ROBERTA ANNAN: I am a passionate professional who is particular about investing in people. I value honesty and cherish relationships and have always believed I am a part of something bigger. I am a woman, and a mother who is inspired to impact change.
FAB: What inspires you to be a better you?
ROBERTA ANNAN: My mother and son inspire me to do better each day and strive for more.
FAB: Where did your entrepreneurial drive start?
ROBERTA ANNAN: My entrepreneurial journey began in 2012. After schooling and working abroad for several years, I decided to return to Africa to help build the continent in meaningful and sustainable ways. I set up a consultancy to support African businesses and entrepreneurs to drive growth, promote development and change the African narrative.
FAB: What is the culture of doing business in Ghana and that of US?
ROBERTA ANNAN: The culture of doing business in both countries varies pros and cons. In US, there is a lot of infrastructure, incentives, resources, etc. to support business growth. However, in Ghana, there’s quite a gap. The ecosystem is quite challenging. There are a lot of bureaucracies, monopoly in certain industries and to some extent, the business environment is not really favorable.
FAB: How did your exposure to different cultures help you develop your skill set?
ROBERTA ANNAN: Living across four different continents helped me to appreciate various cultures, and exposed me to various perspectives. These experiences helped shape my values, ethics, opinions and principles.
FAB: How did you adopt based on your environment, or blended cultures to achieve success? ROBERTA ANNAN: I love new challenges and adapting to new environments hasn’t been very difficult for me because of my past experiences.
FAB: Tell us about the African Fashion Foundation.
ROBERTA ANNAN: African Fashion Foundation is a non-governmental organization that empowers fashion designers and creative professionals from Africa and its diaspora to succeed in the global fashion industry. We provide professional and educational developmental opportunities in partnership with established players in the fashion industry to support the success and progression of the African creative economy. Since 2011, we have provided numerous opportunities.
FAB: How has it empowered African fashion designers to access the global fashion market?
ROBERTA ANNAN: African Fashion Foundation has given a lot of African fashion designers the opportunity to access the global fashion market through a lot of ways. So far, we have launched 15 initiatives, dispersed over $1.3m in grants and supported the careers of about 60 fashion designers and creatives. Click on this link to find out more about the projects we have worked on:
FAB: How do you finance your projects with the African Fashion Foundation?
ROBERTA ANNAN: Our projects and initiatives are normally funded through grants and partnerships with global fashion brands, fashion schools, creative economy supporters among others.
FAB: How incredible is Africa’s potential when it comes to fashion?
ROBERTA ANNAN: Africa holds a lot of potential when it comes to the fashion industry. Through my work, I have met and worked with so many incredible talents all over the continent. And I must say I am really impressed with the level of originality and innovation coming out of Africa’s fashion industry. Many fashion brands are looking inward.
FAB: Thank you very much, it was an honor.