Black Female CEO Monica Musonda: Pioneering Change in Zambia’s Economy One Noodle at a Time

In the annals of Zambia’s entrepreneurial history, one name shines brightly as a beacon of innovation and resilience – Monica Musonda. From her illustrious career as a corporate lawyer to her transformative role as the founder and CEO of Java Foods, Monica’s journey is a testament to the power of vision, determination, and unwavering commitment to change.

Monica’s path to entrepreneurship was not conventional. With a thriving legal career spanning over 16 years, including stints at renowned firms such as Clifford Chance in London and Edward Nathan in Johannesburg, Monica’s expertise in corporate law was unquestionable. However, it was her time as Counsel at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Washington DC, and later as Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs at the Dangote Group, where she played a pivotal role in landmark projects such as Dangote Cement’s monumental listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, that laid the foundation for her transition into entrepreneurship.

In her TEDx Talk in 2016, Monica shared her “aha moment” – a moment of profound realization that spurred her to action. It was during her tenure at the Dangote Group, where her Nigerian boss highlighted the lack of significant economic activities led by Zambians in their own country. This revelation ignited a fire within Monica, propelling her towards a new mission – to empower her fellow Zambians and transform the country’s economy from within.

In 2012, Monica Musonda took the bold step of founding Java Foods, a Zambian-based food processing company that would revolutionize the nation’s food industry. With a keen focus on providing nutritious, locally produced food products, Monica set out to make a tangible difference in the lives of her fellow citizens. Today, Java Foods stands as a testament to Monica’s vision, employing a team of 82 individuals, of which 40% are women, and contributing to the economic empowerment of communities across Zambia.

Monica’s accolades speak volumes about her impact and influence. As the recipient of the 2017 African Agribusiness Entrepreneur of the Year Award, a Young Global Leader recognized by the World Economic Forum, and a distinguished Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow, Monica continues to inspire and lead by example. Forbes Magazine and Africa Investor have both recognized her as one of the leading Young Power Women in Business in Africa, further cementing her status as a trailblazer in the corporate world.

Beyond her professional achievements, Monica remains committed to empowering women and driving sustainable development in Zambia. Her dedication to agro-processing at a scalable level not only positions her as a pioneer in the industry but also sets a precedent for future generations of Zambian entrepreneurs.

Monica Musonda’s journey is a testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and purpose. As she continues to spearhead change and innovation in Zambia’s food industry, her legacy will endure as an inspiration to all who dare to dream and make a difference.