from GIFT NDOLWANE in Johannesburg , South Africa & Russell Adadevoh in Accra
ACCRA – FROM a ridiculed schoolgirl to the apex of Ghana’s tourism industry and putting her country on the global map, Rosalin Abigail Kyere-Nartey’s rise over the past decade has been meteoric and is the stuff legendary rags-to-riches scripts are founded on.
Her life reads like the plot of a fairytale movie, with a narrative which has defied so many obstacles stacked against her.
The “rags to riches” cliché is often overused but in Kyere-Nartey’s life, it is most apt.
Born into a patriarchy society, she faced a lot of ridiculing from people in her neighborhood, especially her peers for being unable to read and write even as late as at the age of 15.
“Many regarded me as a very dumb and dull girl. They said so many unpalatable things to me…….and about me. They called me names for not being as bright as other teenagers,” recalled Kyere-Nartey.
Some 14 years later, as humble as she has ever been since her modest upbringing as a village girl, she is overcoming challenges to motivate and inspire others.
Today at the age of 29, she is at the summit of the corporate world, running her own business enterprise and being Chief Executive Officer of Rosak Consult.
In no mean feat in a country of over 27 million people, she is hailed as one of the top 100 Most Outstanding Women Entrepreneurs in Ghana today, ranked among the new millionaires in Cedis (local currency).
At the helm of a successful company, she rubs shoulders with prominent businessmen and has received recognition for her professionalism worldwide.
The phenomenal ascension has not been plain sailing.
Kyere-Nartey remembers a point in a low point her life she nearly gave in to people‘s perceptions.
Had she done that, it would have been a win for the naysayers and a loss to a generation so need of inspiration.
‘I had hit the bottom due to their (doubters’) words,” said Kyere-Nartey.
“Those swords of words really pierced me from bone to marrow. I became timid, shy, and almost gave up on going to school. I couldn’t stand the pressure from home and school anymore.”
She attributes her success to a God who sent her a guardian angel who gave her strength to dispel all the discouragement meted out to her by others.
“I mustered courage to pick up from where I left off in my education and things gradually took off,” she said.
Her strength of character has seen her ascend some of the most prominent podiums in the world.
Among these are the World Economic Forum in Davos last year as well as being the youngest and only African in the Strong Universal Network (SUN) Programme.
That was historic but Kyere-Nartey is focused on the present and future.
So strong in her conviction as global shaper her vision is to see the tourism industry creating awareness for lots of young Africans to see the career opportunities in the sector.
Through her company, Rosak Consult, her vision is to promote and use tourism and hospitality to contribute to the socio-economic development of Ghana and Africa.
She reckoned the lack of tourism and hospitality skills in the African workforce has become a major barrier in advancing the industry in Africa.
“Currently, the hospitality sector faces a major skills gap in business management and operations and customer service. The overall low education and skills of local industry workers, as well as language and cultural barriers are impeding the growth of tourism in Africa” argued Kyere-Nartey.
Her mission is to dispel perception that the only career options in tourism industry are just being a waiter in restaurant or a tour guide.
“There is more to tourism than that”, she said.
Her dream is to see tourism reaching its potential as one of the largest and fastest growing sectors of the world’s economy.
According to Kyere-Nartey, tourism has the potential to create 3,8 million direct and indirect jobs for the rest of Africa in the next five-ten years.
However she alluded the continent faced major challenge of connectivity.
In addition, she argued there was over priced hotels on the continent, which made it difficult to travel and experience the continent.
Acquiring visa is another headache.
Nonetheless, Kyere-Nartey ever welcomes the opportunity to travel.
“Traveling to me is fun and exciting when you do it without stress. I have gone through some of the worst moments travelling within Africa compared to traveling within Europe.”
She said to become competitive worldwide, African governments must think of collaborations on regional level with clear goals and involving the private sector to work together in enhancing the growth of the industry.
“Tourism is the industry that will not work unless public sector and the private sector work together.”
Staying true to her humble upbringing, Kyere-Nartey noted tourism for some people was still associated with good life, leisure, beautiful settings.
‘It is about bringing income and bringing hope and excitement to people. It is a real income generator for a country with great and natural assets which is what we have in Africa.”
– CAJ News