When it comes to leadership in the corporate world, it is still no exaggeration to say it’s a man’s world. Even when finding after finding has proved that companies with women in executive positions typically have higher profits than those with less or no female representation in managerial roles, there is still a dearth of women in corporate leadership.
A 2016 report by the Peterson Institute for International Economics revealed that nearly a third of 22,000 firms sampled in 91 countries had no woman whatsoever on their boards or c-suite jobs, and 95% did not have a female CEO. In Africa, according to McKinsey & Company Women Matter Africa report, only 5% of private companies have female CEOS. These astonishing statics place women like Maggie kigozi in a very exceptional league.
Maggie Kigozi is one of not many African women who have scaled innumerable barriers to reach topmost positions in the corporate world. A medical doctor by profession, she was unceremoniously ushered into business by the sudden death of her husband in 1994. Left with the grave responsibilities of fending for her young family of three children, she took up a job as the marketing Director at Crown Beverages. While working with Crown Beverages, her high ethical conduct and excellent public relations quickly earned her an elected position as Board Member of Uganda Manufacturers Association. She excelled at both positions, attracting the attention of the president of Uganda who appointed her the very first female Executive Director of Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) in 1999.
The position was assumed at a time when the country was still recovering from long war years, and analysts highly doubted her qualifications, experience and ability to shoulder or advance an entire National private investments sector from a rather moribund state. She swiftly proved them wrong.
Within the first two years of her management, she successfully stirred the UIA out of stagnation to becoming one of the most thriving corporations in Uganda. Her efforts completely transformed the face of Uganda from a country predominantly known for poverty and war into a leading investment destination. In 2001, thanks to her hard work, the UIA was awarded the prestigious Corporate Location Prize for the best Investment Promotional Agency in Africa and the Middle East.
By 2007, she had attracted a staggering Shs30t to Uganda in Foreign Direct Investments. This was a remarkable growth from $200m (500bn) in 2000, a year after her appointment. Also, following the numerous investment she attracted to the country, job projections grew from 48098 to 55,690 jobs in a timeline of one year.
By the time she volunteered to retire in 2011, Uganda was affirmed to be Africa’s seventh fastest growing economy, a position the country lost almost promptly after Dr. Maggie’s retirement. Nevertheless, she left behind plentiful achievements on which the country still thrives and prides in.
Almost 10 years after her retirement, Dr. Maggie kigozi’s name is still closely allied with the UIA. It is almost impossible to talk about the Uganda investment sector without talking about Dr. Maggie. Her excellent leadership skills, hard work and resourcefulness did not only win big for the UIA, but Uganda’s investment sector and economy.
Currently, Dr. Maggie Kigozi is a consultant for the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). She is also the Executive Director of the Uganda Investment Authority Women Entrepreneurs Network which works to empower women entrepreneurs in Uganda.
Categorically, Dr. Maggie’s achievements remind us of why the corporate world should strongly consider integrating and appointing more women in executive positions:they have the skills, enlightened perspectives as well as structural and cultural difference to drive effective solutions.