Berta Tobia. Entrepreneur and opinion leader

She is convinced that the circumstances of many African countries, the “underdevelopment” to which they have been subjected for decades, have generated a unique creativity and responsiveness among their peoples. She hoped that young people would not be disappointed and would be able to drive the economic changes that Africa needed to take over the countries that belonged to them too.

With a calm and moderate but energetic tone, Bertha Tobias can express constructive criticism while she congratulates herself on the progress she has made. She conveys so much confidence in herself, and in the ability of young people to resolve any vicissitudes, that limits, temporary difficulties or impediments take second place.

 “I needed to leave Namibia to become the person I am. I attended high school in China [United World College, in Chagshu] and there I understood the role that young people have in guiding the evolution of a country, especially in terms of innovation and technology. It was a tough experience, but I met people who were dedicated to solving problems in their countries,” she explained in mid-2023 in an interview on the internal channel of Claremont McKenna College (Los Angeles, USA), where she won a scholarship to complete her studies in international relations and leadership.

The spontaneity with which entrepreneurship stands out in Namibia, her native country, placing it on the same level as any other, not to mention that there are parameters – access to electricity, the latest generation mobile phones or the existence of roads – which can become important obstacles in the entrepreneurial development of an idea, makes Tobias stand out for her public interventions.

Since 2016 she has been ambassador of #BeFree, a movement created by Monica Geingos – entrepreneur and First Lady of Namibia since 2015 – under the aegis of the One Economy Foundation so that young Namibians can take control of their legitimate space in the decision-making process, raise their voices and have the opportunity to develop their own ideas.

Tobias’ eloquence and debating skills began in her sorority school, where she became president of the student government, a body created to listen to student voices. Years later, she advised the United Nations Population Fund on women’s leadership development programs, and in 2020 she was one of the leaders of the #ShutItAlldown movement [which emerged after the murder of a 22-year-old woman in Namibia that sparked widespread protests calling for an end to violence against women in the country].

Described as “unstoppable”, last summer she secured funding to make a TV program about entrepreneurship which was broadcast on the main TV channel in her country. “There are 2.5 million people in Namibia and it’s easy to learn about the big fish, their journey and the impact they have had on society. I have combined my three passions, entrepreneurship, television and media with one goal: to show the diversity of fields in which entrepreneurs work in both formal and informal markets,” she explained after securing additional funding to record new episodes of the Spotlight program. (Carla Fibla García-Sala) – (illustration: Tina Ramos Ekongo)