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Speaker > Biography

Pamela WatsonPamela Watson

Managing Director, Strategy Safari Limited
Managing Director, Afrikoko Papers Limited
Australian Honorary Consul, Lagos, Nigeria

Pamela Watson, an Australian, has had a long engagement with Africa, both as a traveler and in business.  She has worked and travelled in over thirty countries of the continent including South Africa, and for the past eight years she has built two businesses in boisterous and exciting Nigeria. 

Her first independent six month journey down the Nile in 1981 was followed by numerous short journeys, and her quest for adventure reached its zenith in 1992, with an epic lone journey on a bicycle from Dakar, Senegal to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania through seventeen countries over eighteen months and covering 14,500km.  This Royal Geographical Society expedition resulted in her book “Esprit de Battuta” which documents her tale and experiences of the economic, political and social realities of west, central and east Africa, with attention to the important role of women.

Pamela’s profession as a strategy and change management consultant working with blue chip consulting firms like Boston Consulting Group, PWC and Gemini Consulting has lead to business encounters in Africa across three decades.  She witnessed the immediate post-Cold War opening of Africa in Madagascar in 1986, being a member of one of the first western consulting teams in that country ending its thirty years of isolation borne of its embrace of Marxism.  She was in South Africa following the end of Apartheid helping companies transform themselves to meet international competition, and consulted in Ghana, one of the few  pockets of stability and limited growth in a decade that saw most of Africa only share one dividend from democracy: political turmoil. As a member of the Shell Groups’ elite LEAP team, the global change management team reporting directly to the Chairman of Shell, Pamela worked with twenty two of their African subsidiaries instilling cross-functional team working and leadership development to get renewed results from previously neglected or stumbling operations.

Pamela’s third decade of encounters with Africa has seen her share Nigeria’s turbulent ride to growth and burgeoning economic prosperity.   She came to Nigeria at the end of 1999 shortly after Nigeria’s election of President Obasanjo and joined Accenture as Associate Director of Strategy.  She founded Strategy Safari in 2003, her firm specializing in strategy, change management and leadership development.  She has worked for both global and large local corporate in fields as broad as oil & gas, financial services, telecommunications and chemicals on competitive positioning, culture, complex change and leadership issues.  Simultaneously, Pamela, concerned at high levels of unemployment and a lack of small-scale enterprise, launched a small social enterprise, Afrikoko Papers, that is now known for recycling paper to create hand made paper and converting this to unique corporate stationery products.  Pamela is the Honorary Consul for Australia in Lagos and assists Australians and Australian enterprises setting up operations in Nigeria.

Pamela’s three decade ride with Africa has sometimes been as turbulent as the continent’s own travails.   However, she is culturally sensitized and has the perspective to provide unique, pragmatic, experience-based insights on how to share, harness and drive Africa’s next decade of prosperity and growth.













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