Helen Hai

Helen Hai is the CEO of the Made in Africa Initiative and adviser to the governments of Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Senegal for investment promotion and industrialization. She is a senior adviser on South-South cooperation for the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and works closely with the U.K.’s Department for International Development (DFID), the World Bank, the Gates Foundation, the Tony Blair African Governance Initiative, and other multilateral players involved in development issues in Africa. She is also a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.

Hai is an experienced business executive and an expert in the field of development. For over two years, she worked in Ethiopia where she served as the Vice President and General Manager for overseas investment for the Huajian Company, one of China’s biggest shoemakers. The shoe factory she established in the capital, Addis Ababa, started production in January 2012 and, within two years, employed 3,500 workers. She has recently launched the Made in Africa Initiative with the aim of assisting African countries to capture the opportunity of inclusive and sustainable industrial development.

Hai was trained as an actuary in the United Kingdom and previously served as Vice President and Chief Actuary for Zurich Financial Services in China. She has an EMBA from INSEAD and Tsinghua University.

Last Updated: June 7, 2016

Industrialization in Africa: Ethiopia Wants to Become the New ‘Made in China’

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
There’s a pretty good chance that some of the clothes you’re wearing, the shoes on your feet, and even the device you’re using to read this were made in China. Even as its economy slows, China remains the world’s factory, churning out billions of...