Inspired by her former boss Aliko Dangote, Monica Musonda launched Zambia's first instant-noodle brand

Monica Musonda

Zambia's Monica Musonda, founder of Java Foods, is one of the businesspeople featured in HOW WE MADE IT IN AFRICA: THE BOOK (launching 15 October 2018), which tells the stories of 25 entrepreneurs who’ve built thriving businesses. Java Foods is the company behind the eeZee brand of instant noodles.

In a 2013 interview, published on our How we made it in Africa website, we asked Musonda what inspired her to venture into entrepreneurship, especially given that she had a successful career in the corporate world. Below was her response:

"I qualified as a lawyer in 1996 and went on to work as a corporate lawyer, working in private practice and in-house for 15 years. If you asked me five years ago where I would see myself today, I would most probably have said something like 'I will be a partner in a pan-African law firm'. That was my dream – having set up Edward Nathan’s Africa Practice in 2004, with the vision of expanding into the rest of Africa. But then I moved to Nigeria to work for Aliko Dangote in 2008 and everything changed for me. It opened my eyes to business, to the different opportunities that our continent offers and to a new thinking.

"What inspired me the most about Nigeria was the entrepreneurial spirit – the fact that so many young people are taking the leap and working for themselves. They are not afraid to risk everything for what they believe in. I had been going back and forth to Zambia and one thing I noticed was that the economy was still dominated by foreign companies despite the opening up of the market. So with the encouragement of my mentor and former boss [Dangote], I moved back to Zambia to set up Java Foods with the intention of taking advantage of the surplus wheat flour and processing it into instant noodles and pasta."

How we made it in Africa: The book tells the stories of 25 entrepreneurs who've built thriving businesses. The ebook launched on 15 October 2018.