Lelemba Phiri



Lelemba Phiri
Chief Marketing Officer of fintech startup Zoona

As part of the C-suite executive team and a shareholder at Zoona, Lelemba has been a key part of successfully growing the business from one operating market to three and scaling of their agent network that provides entrepreneurship opportunities to women and youth from poor communities. This has created over 5000 jobs across Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique and since inception, over $2bn has been transacted over their mobile payment platform.

In 2014, Zoona was chosen as one of the top 10 companies best suited to take girls out of poverty by the Nike Foundation and Unreasonable group and Lelemba was personally invited alongside Zoona’s CEO to participate in an accelerator program focusing on the Girl Effect – the notion that investing in women creates better sustainable communities. This is an honour that Lelemba took to heart and has since driven strategies that identify high potential young women from poor communities and give them an opportunity to become entrepreneurs. This has resulted in the transformation of the Zoona agent network from 70:30 in favour of males to 60:40 in favour of women and has improved both the business and community impact results.

In 2014, Lelemba was named one of Africa’s most influential women by CEO Magazine and in 2015 was awarded the Rising Star Award at Zambian Women of the Year Awards. In 2016 she was named a Cordes Fellow as one of the world’s top 50 most promising emerging social entrepreneurs and in 2017 was awarded as one of the most influential marketers in the world by the Global Marketing Congress.

Lelemba holds a Masters Degree in Development Finance with distinction from the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. She is a UK Certified Chartered Accountant (FCCA) and also holds a Bachelor of Science in Applied Accounting (Hon) from the Oxford Brookes University (UK). She has worked with private, public and government organizations for over 15 years with experience extending across South Africa, Zambia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Angola and other sub-Saharan countries.

Lelemba was the financial expert TV presenter for SABC 3’s lifestyle magazine show, The Power Within. She is the author of an e-book entitled ‘Financial Fitness in Five Workouts’. She has been featured in several media including CNBC Africa, the Oprah magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Destiny Magazine, the New York based Diaspora Voice Talk Show, Radio France, Zambia Daily Mail and South Africa FM.



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