What makes Jacqueline Ngo Mpii a Global Shaker?
Jacqueline Ngo Mpii is the founder of Little Africa, a bustling cultural agency and tour company in Paris. The organisation hosts walking and culinary tours around the city, with a particular focus on the buzzy and diverse neighbourhoods typically ignored by the millions of tourists that visit the French capital each year.
Through this work, and her popular profiles on Instagram, Ngo Mpii has become a delightful champion for Paris’ rich afro-descendent culture and history — introducing a new generation to the beauty and solidarity of the vast array of communities living together in the city.
“For the past five years, I have devoted myself to changing the narrative of what it means to be a person of African descent in [one of the] most visited cities in the world, Paris,” Ngo Mpii says in one video. She uses the opportunity to outline a new walking tour through ‘la Goutte d’Or’, also known as ‘Little Africa’ — a working-class neighbourhood adjacent to Montmartre hill and Sacré-Coeur.
“This neighbourhood has suffered from a bad reputation for decades, the displacement of its commerce and residents without benefitting from the huge tourism traffic Paris receives.
“I decided to use my tourism background and entrepreneurial skill to start making a difference where I could. And you know what — this is what happened,” she says in the video, as reams of positive reviews for the tour pop up on screen. “This neighbourhood is so much more than what it is portrayed as. It’s a small and beautiful village that I wanted to open up to the world.”
As set out in a story in Vogue, Ngo Mpii moved from Cameroon to Paris in 1998, when she was ten years old. Studies in tourism taught her how a passion for highlighting the work of the afro-descendent community in the city — a love of afrobeat, reggaeton and afro-house — could be turned into a useful tool.
Thus Little Africa was born. Initially a place to showcase businesses and events by Afro-descendent people in the city, it soon developed into a more formal guide. The agency recently released the guide’s second version: a mix of trips, places in which to eat, dance, drink or look at art, as presented through the eyes of local artists.
“I wrote the guide so that both Parisians and tourists could appreciate the cosmopolitan dimension of the city,” Ngo Mpii tells Vogue. “It aims to provide practical resources for tourism professionals, cultural event organisers to connect diverse sectors.”
Alongside the walking tours, Little Africa offers a ‘Taste of Africa in Paris’ experience, in which the customers tour around another district in Paris to taste “puff pastry, hibiscus juice, samosas, fried plantain, and plantain chips” in a mix of Reunionese cuisine and Afro-Caribbean soul food.
Little Africa has over 50,000 followers across its various social media accounts, and Ngo Mpii is clear that the initiative has always had an inherently social mission. As she tells Vogue, the idea was to “change the narratives of African immigration by sharing stories that connect the diasporas to each other,” without ignoring the social challenges.
“We see African immigration as something that brings benefit, something fundamentally positive that should be taken advantage of to create opportunities for the actors implicated,” she says.
Before Little Africa, Ngo Mpii worked at a range of travel companies, including The Walt Disney Company in Orlando; Tui Travel as Entertainment Manager in Luxury Hotels; and Partnerships Manager for Wonderbox, the leisure and travel gift box.
She holds a degree in Tourism and Company Management from Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers.Tags: France, Little Africa, Paris, Responsible Tourism, Sustainable Travel, tourism