Edith Kahbang Walla was always committed to advancing the continent of Africa. For that reason, she returned to her native Cameroon to start her career after studying in the United States at Howard University. “I’m very connected to my country, I’m connected to my family, and I knew that whatever business I did or contribution I was going to make, it had to have an impact on the larger community,” she explains to Vital Voices Global Partnership.
True to her word, all of her career endeavors have been in the interest of her country. As an entrepreneur she’s marked achievements in the areas of strategy and organizational development for African institutions and local governments, facilitating international conferences on African development issues, economic improvement, gender equity, employment and entrepreneurship. As a political leader, she has advocated for change via the United States Cameroonian embassy in Washington D.C. during her college years, been a key advisor to the main opposition party of Cameroon, Social Democratic Front (SDF), and served on the municipal council of the city of Douala. As a social activist, she’s led the Cameroon Gender and Development Network as president, founded a citizenship movement called Cameroon Ô’Bosso that introduces special interest groups to national policy making and is a founding member of the Women Entrepreneurs of Cameroon.
She wants, simply, for Cameroonians to excel, and the issue in her eyes, is leadership. “We don’t have a lack of resources. We don’t have a lack of capacity. We have a very strong deficiency in leadership; in good, strong leadership,” she tells Vital Voices. Walla’s leadership has been recognized worldwide; in 2007 by World Bank as one of seven women entrepreneurs working to enhance Africa’s business environment, in 2010 by Newsweek as one of 150 women who shake the world, and in 2011 with a Vital Voices Global Leadership Award. Although her presidential run that year ended in defeat (Walla came in sixth out of 23 candidates), she continues to lead and inspire others to lead. As the Founder and CEO of Strategies! Leadership and Management consulting firm, she invests in women leaders with her time and expertise.