High-flying lawyer turned entrepreneur

Founder of Java Foods

Country: Zambia

Sector: Food Processing

Monica Musonda is founder and Chief Executive Officer of Java Foods, a food processing company based in Zambia. Monica's vision is to revolutionize the eating habits of the youth market by offering them affordable and nutritious food options made from local products. Monica is a dual-qualified English solicitor and Zambian advocate with over 15 years of experience in legal practice and corporate management, including being corporate counsel at the International Finance Corporation and for Aliko Dangote of Dangote Industries Limited.

Monica currently serves on the Boards of the Central Bank of Zambia and Dangote Industries Zambia Limited, and is Chairperson of Kwacha Pension Trust Fund, Zambia's largest single employer pension fund. She is a 2013 Young Global Leader (World Economic Forum) and Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow. Forbes Magazine and Africa Investor named her as one of the leading Young Power Women in Business in Africa in 2013 and 2014 respectively.


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Monica's Startup Story 

The journey from advocate to entrepreneur has been an incredible one for Monica Musonda, who today is winning recognition around the world for her innovation and her leadership in Zambia and beyond.

Monica Musonda’s path to becoming an entrepreneur has been an interesting one. Born in Zambia, her education and training took her into a highly promising career as an international lawyer - she is a dual qualified English solicitor and Zambian advocate with over fifteen years post qualification experience. Her career took her into senior positions both in private practice (with Clifford Chance & Edward Nathan) and working as in house counsel at the International Finance Corporation in Washington DC. Her most recent corporate position, at Dangote Industries (Lagos, Nigeria) where she served as Director Legal and Corporate Affairs, was to be a key turning point.  Monica was the project lead responsible for the Dangote Group’s $500m investment into Zambia to build the country’s largest cement plant, due to be completed in 2014.

Read more about Monica's startup story →

Monica Musonda and her company Java Foods are a real inspiration, because they are testimony to the power of perseverance, tenacity, confidence in a great business idea, and a desire to build a powerful brand that can make a difference in the marketplace. Africa needs more women entrepreneurs like Monica to set an inspirational example of what can be achieved through sheer determination, self belief and leveraging the best advice and networks to achieve end goals. --- Melanie Hawken, LoA founder & editor-in-chief

Monica founded Java Foods to provide affordable nutrition to the southern African market. Her company seeks to revolutionize the eating habits of the youth market by offering them affordable and nutritious food options made from local products.

Monica on what she learned working for Africa's wealthiest entrepreneur, Aliko Dangote....

"Working with a visionary is always hard work. He never stopped working, which meant we never stopped working. On the flip side, he emphasized the importance of maintaining humility and focus, being driven and working hard and not being afraid to take calculated risks. His motto is 'nothing is impossible'. And he was right."

"Our goal is for eeZee to become East and Southern Africa’s leading quick meal option in the next five years."


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Awards & Accolades

Monica's recent awards and honours include:

  • 2014 - Monica is named to the Choiseul Institute of France’s ‘Africa’s 100 Most Promising Young Business Leaders Under the Age of 40’ List
  • 2013 - Monica is nominated Young Global Leader of 2013 by the World Economic Forum
  • 2013 - Monica is nominated by the African Leadership Institute to become an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow
  • 2013 - Monica is named as one of the 20 Young Power Women in Africa by Forbes