The Country Director for WEConnect International in South Africa, Jean Chawapiwa, is a strategic communications expert with more than 25 years of corporate communications experience, more than 10 of which were spent in the African Mining sector serving as vice president communications and external affairs Africa for Rio Tinto, Barrick Gold and Placer Dome. Prior to this, she worked for seven years at senior management level in CSIR.
During this time, her corporate portfolios supported businesses in South Africa, Namibia, Guinea, Madagascar, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, DRC and Tanzania. As part of this, she also worked on various acquisitions and divestments on the continent. Born in Zimbabwe, raised and educated in the UK, Jean has lived an amazing life and worked in Africa for the last 20 years. She has, in the last two years, set up her own consulting company, partnering with other highly experienced Africans.
The team is focused on using their knowledge and expertise and passion for the continent to facilitate companies and investors to do business in Africa. Their work involves business facilitation and mediation; providing valuable insights into African countries; creating in-depth research and reports; understanding business legislation and changes; supporting investment; uncovering opportunities and challenges; creating powerful and profitable networks; training professionals; creating experts and enhancing skills and coaching future African leaders.
For more than 10 years, Jean has also represented Rio Tinto, Barrick Gold & Placer Dome at senior executive levels in the Chamber of Mines Executive Committee; Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA); World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa; Nepad Business Forum (NBF); African Union meetings; Mining Indaba and various other wide-ranging forums, conferences, government meetings and engagements on the continent,and internationally.
She is passionate about entrepreneurship in Africa, and coaching women and young professionals to play a growing role in Africa’s development; and, as part of this she continues to sit on the Board of Junior Achievement Africa (JA Africa).