Elsie Sia Kanza has held the position of Tanzania’s ambassador to the United States since being sworn in August of 2021. She was appointed by Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan and is one of few women to have held the position.
While Ambassador Kanza is still young, she has already had a very long and impressive career. Forbes even named her as one of Africa’s 50 most powerful women in 2020.
From 1997 to 2006, Kanza held various positions in Tanzania’s Ministry of Finance and Central Bank. Then, she worked as a personal assistant to President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete from 2006 to 2011 and was responsible for Economic Affairs. After this, Elsie Kanza worked in the World Economic Forum and became the Head of Africa, a position that she held until being appointed as Tanzania’s Ambassador to the United States.
As the World Economic Forum’s Head of Africa, Kanza was engaged in changing the perception and narrative of the African economy. Globally, many people have a very limited scope or understanding of the African economy. However, Kanza and many of the continent’s other leaders encourage a deeper understanding of its nuances and complexities.
“Together with my colleagues at the Embassy, our main agenda is to strengthen further the existing relationship as well as to promote the Tanzania – US comprehensive and cooperative partnership to grow stronger and faster through existing mechanisms,” explains Ambassador Kanza in a message on the embassy website.
The United States and Tanzania have had diplomatic relationships with one another since 1961. The U.S. is Tanzania’s largest bilateral donor.
As ambassador to the United States, Kanza has worked with US diplomats as well as Tanzanian President Hassan’s administration to supply covid-19 vaccine doses to the people of Tanzania. The United States government has donated over 4.5 million doses of the COVID-19 to Tanzania, where just over 5 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.
Elsie S. Kanza was born and raised in Kenya by Tanzanian Parents. She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Business Administration from United States International University – Africa as well as a master’s in Finance from the University of Strathclyde, UK. Also, and a master’s in Development Economics, Center for Development Economics, Williams College, USA.