A Google doodle has celebrated Ghanian microlending pioneer Esther Afua Ocloo on what would have been her 98th birthday.

After starting a business selling fruit juice and marmalade as a teenager and realising the financial difficulties poor women faced, Ms Ocloo helped found and operate a bank specifically designed to help women on low incomes.

In 1975 as a succeeding businesswoman, Ms Ocloo was invited to the first UN World Conference on Women.

Later that decade, she founded and became the chairman of the board of directors of Women’s World Banking, which expanded her earlier goal of helping women obtain the small loans needed to launch businesses. The not-for-profit organisation has since helped millions of women start and run businesses, helping boost prosperity in countless communities.

During a trip to the UK in the 1950s, Ms Ocloo began to develop recipes for commercial food canning. She was also the first black person to gain a cooking diploma from the Good Housekeeping Institute in London.

In the same decade she returned to Africa and set up the first food processing business in Ghana.

Ms Ocloo died of pneumonia in 2002 aged 82.

 

Source: Independent

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