Business

Pro-poor business model earns flamboyant Tanzanian CEO TPSF CEOs Excellence Award 2021

The model has uplifted and impacted thousands of marginalised people

TUESDAY December 14, 2021

PHOTOS | COURTESY

By Adam Ihucha,

The Tranquility News Correspondent, Tanzania

Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) has recognised the flamboyant Chief Executive Officer of Zara Tours, Ms Zainab Ansell, for running the most impactful tourism business model in the East African natural resource-rich country.

“We hereby recognise Zainab Ansell for your efforts in the field of business and the impact you have made to the business community, particularly in fostering private sector development in Tanzania,” write the award organisers.

Ms Ansell was awarded during the Tanzania-High Level Business and Investment Forum 2021 held at the University of Dar Es Salaam to recognise her innovation and sustainable business model that has uplifted and impacted thousands of marginalised community members.

Tanzania’s Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Majaliwa, presented the prestigious award to Ms Ansell amid fanfares from hundreds of business leaders who gathered to deliberate on various business issues over the weekend.

The Tanzania Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Majaliwa, congratulates Ms Zainab Ansell, the Executive Officer of Zara Tours, shortly after she received an award recently.

“Ms Ansell, the CEO of Zara Tours, has received a recognition award from Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa for showing tenacity, experience, positive impact, and influence in running her tourism business,” the Women Mean Business, a pilot programme funded by IFC (World Bank Group) and executed by Project Clear LTD on behalf of TPSF posted on its official twitter.

This is a second prestigious award in a row offered to Ms Ansell this year, the first recognised her as the best female CEO who performed well among her peers in the corporate world amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

In her remarks, Ms Ansell said: “Only by putting purpose at the heart of actions and considering the needs of our people, customers, partners, communities and our planet; organisations can create genuine and long-term value.”

In recent years, corporate CEOs have been subjected to unpredictable changes that have encouraged industries to change and develop the way they work. Subsequently, the changes have motivated business leaders to focus their aims on surviving and thriving in new and uncertain economic conditions.

The TPSF CEOs Excellence Awards 2021 seeks to celebrate the hard work undertaken by Chief Executive Officers operating within many industries throughout the country.

ABOUT: Zainab Ansell

Ms Zainab Ansell or Mama Zara as she is fondly known by her staff and the tourism fraternity has steered ZARA Tours both through challenging times and seasons of plenty. Undeterred by the pandemic, she has adapted her business and embraced change to stay ahead and rightfully so earned the coveted award as a leading female entrepreneur in a business landscape where men are the majority. ZARA TOURS has managed to scoop several awards and recognition as a major player in the Tanzanian tourism sector. Mama ZARA is also actively engaged in women empowerment through her charity projects and partnerships. She has rightfully emerged as a beacon of hope, a sphere of positive influence and a role model for many Tanzanian ladies. Her motto “just bring it on” sounds simple but powerful and keeps her going. She is an established team player attending all meetings where her staff and business are concerned.


Ms Ansell is credited to have innovated an apt model of transferring tourists’ dollars to hundreds of poor communities through job creation, education, health and fight against climate change effects within the country.

Ms Ansell, who doubles as the founder and CEO of Tanzania-based Zara International Travel Agency (ZITA), is single handedly struggling to address historical injustice compounded by oppression and exploitation towards women in Northern Tanzania’s Maasai pastoralist community.

She has developed a special window for helping underprivileged Maasai women in her bid to liberate them from poverty — courtesy of harmful shackles of their traditional norms — by financially empowering them to buy raw materials for making beads and crafts and selling them to tourists.

Through her women’s development centre, hundreds of Maasai women benefit from the tourism sector, as it gives them an opportunity for showcasing and selling beads and carvings along the routes to Tanzania’s most popular tourist sites.

This initiative has grown to become a strong pillar for the women at large and this particular host community.

The Chief Executive Officer of Zara Tours, Ms Zainab Ansell, has recently been awarded by the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation for her innovative and sustainable business model.

Zara Tanzania Adventures Alias Zara Tours is a local company, which Ms Ansell founded and established in 1986 in Moshi, Tanzania, provides high quality travel and tour services in East Africa. Zara has over 30-year experience in the region’s Travel and Tourism industry.

Today, Zara has evolved into Tanzania’s largest Kilimanjaro outfitter and one of the largest safari operators in East Africa. It is a one-stop shop offering experiences and accommodation in Tanzania’s tourism hotspots.

In 2009, the company launched Zara Charity, giving back to marginalised communities in Tanzania and making its footprint in the global movement for sustainable tourism development.

Zara Charity supports marginalised communities in Tanzania’s tourism host communities, addressing healthcare, education, unemployment, women and children’s plights.

It has been widely recognised for its efforts in promoting sustainable tourism development in Africa, making Ms Angel become a multi-award winner.

A cross section of women Tanzania Private Sector Foundation recently recognised for their outstanding contributions to the sector in the country.

She received over 13 local and international awards, including the World Travel Market (WTM) Humanitarian Award, the Business Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2012), the iconic Tourism for The Future Awards (2015) and the African Travel top 100 Women.

Ms Zainab has been recognised and awarded for being the Most Influential Woman in Business and Government by CEO Global for her achievements in East Africa’s Tourism and Leisure Sector in 2018/2019 during the CEO GLOBAL Pan-African Awards. Tanzania National Parks has also recognised Zara Tours as the country’s best Tour Operator in 2019.

Zara has impacted thousands of lives in Tanzania, directly employing 1,410 people on both permanent and seasonal basis, sustaining thousands of families in a country with a relatively high unemployment rate.Ω

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