Gisele Yitamben

Researcher, Cameroon

An economist by training, Gisele M. Yitamben is a dynamic leader and a senior international expert consultant well known on questions of entrepreneurship development, information and communication technology (ICT) and gender. She is the founder and President of the Association for the Support of Women Entrepreneurs, best known by its French acronym ASAFE, a non profit enterprise. She was also the Vice-President of the board of Diaspora Digital Initiative (UNIFEM).

An ardent defender of the rights of underprivileged persons, and notably women and youths, her actions have always been targeted towards ameliorating the welfare of those around her through searching for access to productive resources and technical services (alternative finance, training and high added value jobs, etc,) She initiated street football in Cameroon in 2004. Her team ranked number 6 out of 48 countries represented at the 2006 Homeless World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa.

Gisele actively contributed in the preparation of Africa for the World Women’s Summit in Beijing-China (1995) ; and presided over the Economic and Political Empowerment of Women panel, organized by the United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA). She continued to strive for the success of Beijing+5 in New York, USA.
Gisele Yitamben is an elected member of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Handicraft of Cameroon, where she is presiding over the Vocational Training Commission. She is also the Vice-President of the Vocational Training Commission of the African consultative chambers.

Gisele is a:
- Member of the Council of Private Higher Education Authority of Cameroon.
- Regularly invited as an expert to participate at the Inter-Ministerial Committee enlarged to the private sector, such as to the High National Authority to debate on socio –economic orientations.
- Member of the Reference Group for sustainable Development set up to provide expert guidance to UNESCO in orienting priorities and directions for the implementation of the Decade.
- Gisele Yitamben is a recipient of many world distinctions for her contributions in the field of ICTs and actions towards women’s equality. Among the prizes are:
~ 1994 Theresa Hoover Prize, for her contribution in advancing the status of women in Africa.
~ 1995 Prize of the Comité de l’ Excellence Africaine.
~ 2002 Prize for the Global Outstanding Social Entrepreneur by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship of Klaus Schwab, the Founder of the World Economic Forum or the Davos Summit.
~ Finalist for the 2002 world technology network in the category of social entrepreneur.
~ 2003 Digital Partners prize for Social Innovator.
~ Honorary member of the World Summit on Information Systems of Geneva (December 10 to 12 2003), in compensation for her influential role in ICTs in the world.
~ 2004 for creative support to women entrepreneurs by the Association des Femmes Chef d’entreprises de Suisse.2005 SMME Africa Award in the category of Non-governmental Organization
~ 2005 SMME Africa Award in the category of Non-governmental Organization


Global X interviews Giséle Yitamben, who launched the Association for Support to Women Entrepreneurs in Cameroon 21 years ago to help women through microfinance, vocational training programs and solar electrification.

Her advice: "What really characterizes a social entrepreneur is passion and love. It's a very passionate field! So you have to be prepared to balance you personal life and your job."

April 2008



Send an e-mail to Gisele or visit www.asafe.org

Go to Cameroon research project page...  









Grace is an initiative envisioned and funded by
the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), developed by Research For the Future (RFF) and managed by The GRACE Project Voluntary Association
Grace est une initiative initiée et financée parle Centre de recherches pour le développement international (CRDI), développée par Research For the Future,
et gérée par l'Association Volontaire Projet de GRACE .