Cameroon's Richest Woman Kate Fotso: 5 Things to Know
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Cameroon’s Richest Woman Kate Fotso: 5 Things to Know

Kate Kanyi-Tometi Fotso, the richest woman in Cameroon according to Forbes Africa, has shattered the glass ceiling in a world where wealth and business leadership are often male-dominated. Having revolutionized Cameroon’s cocoa industry through her company, Telcar Cocoa LTD, Fotso rose from a humble beginning to becoming a force to be reckoned with in the business world.

Having been involved in the cocoa industry for more than 20 years and has been called the “iron lady of the cocoa sector, Kate Fotso was married to the late André Fotso, who founded the TAF Investment Group and was the head of the Cameroonian Employers’ Association until his death in 2016. Her husband’s legacy lives on through her astute management of the capital and investments she inherited from him. 

She holds a seat on the board of directors for the autonomous port of Kribi, as appointed by Cameroonian President Paul Biya who is a shareholder in Ecobank Cameroun. Let’s talk about some things Fotso that are worthy of note.

Fotso founded the largest cocoa exporter in Cameroon

Kate Fotso, founder of Telcar Cocoa Ltd, commands a significant share of Cameroon’s cocoa exports, making the company the largest cocoa exporter in Cameroon, a cornerstone of the nation’s economy. However, despite a slight dip in market share from 36.09% to 35.8% in 2022-2023, Telcar remains the country’s largest cocoa exporter.

In a strategic pivot, the firm recently acquired assets of Ndongo Essomba, a major trader in Cameroon’s most cocoa-rich region. Affiliated with U.S.-based Cargill, Telcar Cocoa’s acquisition aims to consolidate its market dominance. The full impact of this move remains to be seen.

She has an Enormous Fortune Valued at $252 Million

Kate Fotso is not just any entrepreneur, she is the epitome of financial success in Cameroon. According to Forbes Africa, her fortune is valued at approximately $252 million, or about FCfa 150 billion. This staggering wealth makes her the richest woman in Cameroon and places her among the top 30 largest fortunes in francophone sub-Saharan Africa.

Fotso controls over 30% of the country’s cocoa exports

Under Kate Fotso’s leadership, Telcar Cocoa LTD has become the premier exporter of cocoa from Cameroon, controlling over 30% of the country’s cocoa exports. During the 2015-2016 period alone, Telcar exported roughly 48,000 tons of cocoa. The company also serves as a trader for the American firm Cargill, underlining its international reach and importance in the sector.

She contributed to the cocoa sector through Coop Academy and Cargill Cocoa Promise

Among her significant contributions to Cameroon’s cocoa sector is the Coop Academy, launched in March 2016. This groundbreaking initiative aims to train 908 delegates from 227 cocoa producer cooperatives over a three-year period, helping transform these organizations into viable, sustainable, and profitable companies. In addition, under the “Cargill Cocoa Promise” in Cameroon, Fotso has helped train around 21,000 cocoa producers in good practices between 2011 and 2015. Of these producers, 8,000 have received certifications.

She advocates for women in business through mentorship

Being a successful female entrepreneur, Kate Fotso is committed to breaking the glass ceiling that limits the potential of women in the business world. Through mentorship programs, talks, and advocacy, she encourages young girls and women to take up entrepreneurial roles. Her efforts are geared towards creating an environment where women can thrive in business, challenging the traditional norms and stereotypes that have held women back for so long.

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