The ABB Education Fund is Nurturing Black Female Engineering Talent in South Africa

Khentsane Mgiba has always been in love with electricity. Something about it has intrigued her since childhood and it was an obvious choice when she had to decide what course to pursue in tertiary engineering. Before she could finish her studies however, she hit a brick wall: she could no longer afford to pay for her studies.

For most young black women it is sometimes surprising to find other women in the field. Just like Khentsane, the cost is often too high or they get discouraged in pursuing the field because it is a “man’s job.” Thankfully, the former was not a problem for much longer. The ABB Education Trust Fund for women in engineering helped finance her final year of studies. To ease the process, she moved closer to school to eliminate her commute time.

ABB is a global, multi-national company, and a pioneering leader in the digital space. By harnessing the untapped potential of the youth, they are not only facilitating the provision of on-trend services and solutions globally, but are also ensuring that women fill top management positions in their company.

Khentsane now works for the company as a Tender Quotation Specialist and has since been allocated a mentor to see her through the journey to registering with the Engineering Council of South Africa, and most importantly, to assist in paving her career in engineering. “I told myself I’m in the right place – this is the dream company,” she recalls of her inspiring journey to being a badass black female engineer.

Through their education initiatives, ABB is not only empowering the future female leaders of tomorrow, but is also reinventing the field of engineering in South Africa. It is empowering to believe in yourself and your dreams, but it is a completely whole new ball of motivation to have a company committed to backing up your dreams.

With each sip you take, can you even begin to imagine that the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) is a provider of comprehensive services for 600,000 small tea farmers which represents over 60% of the countries total tea production and 13% of the global tea supply? Me too. Its services span across the entire tea processing chain including, transportation, warehousing, processing, marketing, financing and agri-extension to better educate farmers and improve the farming process.

KTDA pays farmers at various stages pre and post final sale. Given the volume of farmers and money being moved on a frequent basis, KTDA needed to have efficient technologies in place to meet expectations, simplify the process and keep up with their growing business. The livelihood of these farmers depends on getting regularly paid for tea supplied – and in the past, this exchange had been a tedious and laborious challenge.

With its global reach, IT capabilities and expertise in working with a myriad of local banks and currencies, Citi developed a system that seamlessly enables KTDA to pay 600,000 farmers quickly, reliably and securely, with an audit trail that ensures transparency. Citi’s new Mass Pay module enables KTDA to pay farmers the same day the funds are received.

Since inception and the introduction of this new system, the farmers have been able to depend on reliable and secure payments for their crops. Not only are they able to better manage their lives, they’re able to support their families, secure their futures without the worry of late payments.

So, just as you enjoy the warmth of your favourite tea in the comfort of your home we can safely say that tea farmers in Kenya are warm and fuzzy inside too because: it’s not just a cup of tea.