10 Africans make the 2019 Class of Young Global Leaders

This year’s list features two Nigerians — Adebola Williams and Tolu Oni.

The 2019 Class of Young Global Leaders features 10 people from African nations including two from Nigeria

Every year, the World Economic Forum’s foundation — Young Global Leaders — selects remarkable people from all over the world.

These people have to be outstanding change makers under 40. As WEF puts it, they have to be “individuals who reflect global diversity, innovate to promote public interest, and value authentic exchanges towards public-private cooperation.”

The new class for 2019 has just been announced and it features 127 Young Global Leaders. This includes the most decorated Olympian female swimmer of all time, a female scientist revolutionizing batteries, and the managing director of supermarket chain that wants to ban plastic packaging.

It also has 10 people from African countries. Two from Nigeria, the rest are from Sierra Leone, Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mali and Senegal.

Meet the 10 Africans from the 127-Class of Young Global Leaders for 2019:

Adebola Williams

He is the chief executive officer and co-founder of RED, which owns Red Media Africa, StateCraft, the Future Awards Africa, and YNaija.com. Williams also co-founded one of Nigeria’s civic participation groups called EnoughisEnough (EiE).

As the founder of political communications agency StateCraft Inc, he worked on the campaign that got Nierian president Goodluck Jonathan elected in 2011. He did the same thing for Jonathan’s rival, current President Muhammadu Buhari and Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo in 2016.

Tolu Oni

Oni has a bachelor’s degree in international health at the University College London. She completed her medical training in 2004. She did her Public Health Medical Specialty training (Fellow of the College of Public Health Medicine) in South Africa.

She went back to London in 2012 to earn her Doctoral research degree from the Imperial College. Oni got elected to the South African Young Academy of Science in 2013. The next year, she got elected to the 2014 Young Physicians Leadership Programme. She is the Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

Bogolo Joy Kenewendo

Kenewendo is the youngest Botswana’s minister. She got elected as the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry two years after she was appointed a member of parliament.

Kenewendo holds an MSc in international economics from the University of Sussex, United Kingdom. She is also the founder of Molaya Kgosi, a women leadership and mentorship programme. It was inspired by the young African women leaders’ forum hosted by Michelle Obama in 2011.

Kirsty Coventry

Coventry is the most decorated Olympian female swimmer of all time. She has also held five world records. She won a gold, silver and bronze medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

Four years later, she won a gold and three silvers at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. She is a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Zimbabwe’s Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation.

Kamissa Camara

She is Mali’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. She is the first woman to become the minister of forieng affairs in Mali. Prior to becoming a minister, she was a diplomatic adviser to President Keita.

Camara holds a master’s degree in international economics and development from Université Pierre Mendès, France. She also has a bachelor’s degree in applied foreign languages, specializing in international relations, from Université Denis Diderot in Paris.

David Moinina Sengeh

Sengeh is the first-ever chief innovation officer in Sierra Leone. Before this, he was a research scientist at IBM Research Africa, Nairobi. He got his PhD at the MIT Media Lab.

He is the president and co-founder of the international NGO Global Minimum (GMin). It was one of three winners out of 1,000 nominees for the Rockefeller Foundation Next Century Innovators Awards in 2013.

Wanuri Kahiu

She is the co-founder and Film Director of AFROBUBBLEGUM, a media collective dedicated to supporting African art. It is located in Kenya. She is also a producer, and author.

Her movies have received a lot of nominations and awards. The extensive list includes the awards for Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Picture at the Africa Movie Academy Awards in 2009 for her dramatic feature film From a Whisper.

Aminata Kane Ndiaye

She is the chief executive officer of Orange Sierra Leone. Before this appointment, she was the chief marketing officer for Orange Money in Senegal.

Ndiaye was a strategy consultant with McKinsey & Company in France and Africa from 2009 to 2011. She also interned at Goldman Sachs in London, BNP Paribas in Geneva and at the French Business Confederation (MEDEF) in Paris. She has an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. She is also an MIT Legatum fellow.

Anta Ngom Bathily

She is the Managing Director of Groupe SEDIMA, a group that focuses on poultry farming, agro-business, milling and real estate. She was named as Young CEO of the year by Jeûne Afrique in 2017.

Umra Omar

She is the founder of Safari Doctors in Kenya. She holds a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and psychology from Oberlin in 2006. She holds a master’s degree and had a brief career in Washington, D.C. before going back to Kenya.

Her initiative, Safari Doctors, provides free basic (and potentially life-saving) medical services to over 1,000 people per year. Omar got selected as a CNN Hero in 2016 and the UN Person of the Year in 2017.

Members of this year’s class will take part in a five-year programme focused on looking for ways to advance their groundbreaking work.

“We look to these leaders to take forward the challenge of improving the state of the world. In offering opportunities and experiences to transform their understanding of the possibilities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we are investing in them to drive a future where we all can flourish,” said Mariah Levin, Head of the Forum of Young Global Leaders at the World Economic Forum.


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