Abai Schulze urges us to see and capture the economic potential of the continent of Africa through its entrepreneurs. Africa cannot be “saved” through charity. But we can partner with, inspire, co-create and liberate the beautiful patchwork of human creativity and ambition across the great continent. She shares her own inspiring journey of establishing a high-end lifestyle and fashion brand, ZAAF in Ethiopia. Abai Schulze is the Founder and Creative Director of ZAAF.
Her life journey has taken her from an orphanage in Addis Ababa to the United States, all over the world, and back to Ethiopia. She is part of a new wave of creative entrepreneurs who are redefining “brand Ethiopia” with her company, ZAAF, which produces premium leather goods and accessories all handcrafted by highly skilled artisans in Ethiopia. ZAAF was conceived with the goal of creating new economic opportunities by leveraging local resources, and its creativity has been widely recognized, ranging from appearing on runways at New York Fashion Week, to being featured in international high fashion magazines. Abai Schulze was the recipient of the 2014 UNESCO Tremplin Prize for Entrepreneurship. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at