Is ‘Made in Africa’ possible? – Helen Hai at TEDxBeijing

Helen Hai without a doubt is a business leader with vision, determination, and passion.

Helen Hai - CEO of Overseas Investment of Huajian Group
Photo: Petterik Wiggers/Panos Pictures

Editor’s note: This is a remarkable video – one that citizens and government leaders throughout Africa should view over and over. Helen, without a doubt, is a business leader with vision, determination, and passion.

As a resident of Ethiopia, we’re excited to see what other ideas Helen has in order to transform our economy.

When thinking about Africa, words like be “War”, “Disease”, “Corruption”, and “Safari” may come to mind. But this is not truly Africa. In this TEDxBeijing Talk, Helen Hai, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization Goodwill Ambassador for industrialization in Africa, brings out the often overlooked side of Africa through three personal stories.

Helen explains why she chose Ethiopia, which ranked 125th in World Bank Doing Business Report at the time, as the location to start a shoe factory. Secondly, the problems she encountered when doing business in Africa. Lastly, how her childhood experiences triggered her to help Ethiopia find the right path of development, and change the lives of many local people.

CEO of the Made in Africa Initiative, which advises the governments of Ethiopia, Rwanda and Senegal for industrialization and investment promotion. Ambassador Hai is Co-Founder of C&H Garments, which is a pioneer Pan-African export-oriented garments manufacturer with presence in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Senegal.

Ambassador Hai was trained as an actuary in the United Kingdom with 15 years of international experience in FTSE100 companies. She served previously as Vice President and Chief Actuary for Zurich Financial Services in China, and a Partner in Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group in London. Ambassador Hai was named a 2015 Global Young Leader by World Economic Forum and received the 2015 African Business Icon Award.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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