In mid March, the World Economic Forum — the group whose annual conference in Davos, Switzerland draws international attention — named its fresh group of “Young Global Leaders” for 2015. Among the 187 young leaders listed as some of the people championing change across the world, there were 17 from sub-Sahara Africa.
In this slideshow we list the African nominees that made it to this year’s list.
Ally Angula – Nambia
Ally Angula co-founded Leap Investments, an integrated group of companies involved in the growing of fresh produce, garment manufacturing and retail, in Namibia and South Africa. She also recently launched Namibia’s first commercial clothing brand, My Republik, which is proudly manufactured in the country. Ally is an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellow.
Thembalihle Phillip Baloyi – South Africa
Thembalihle Phillip Baloyi founded Discovery Insure, a South African motor insurance company launched in 2011. Before working on the Discovery Insure concept, Baloyi had a few other roles within the Discovery Group for nearly a decade. He worked in the Discovery Health, Vitality, Life and Corporate Services within the same company.
Saadatou Mallam Barmou – Niger
Saadatou Mallam Barmou worked for International Committee of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent before becoming special adviser on humanitarian and social affairs to the prime minister of Niger.
Moustapha Ben Barka – Mali
Moustapha Ben Barka is one of Mali’s emerging political leaders. He was recently named Deputy Secretary General in the Office of the President of the Republic of Mali. Before that Barka served in the Government of Mali as Deputy Minister of Economy and Finance where he was in charge of investment and promotion of the private sector. He also served as Minister of Industry and Investment Promotion.
Farai Gundan – Zimbabwe
Farai Gundan is a Zimbabwean-born writer, presenter and serial entrepreneur based in the US. She writes for Forbes, tracking Africa’s industry captains, entrepreneurs and rising stars. She was named one of the magazine’s Top 30 Best Entrepreneurs in 2013 and is the General Manager for YEBO, a music channel that is part of the Afrotainment television channels.
Jack Kayonga – Rwanda
In May 2013, the government appointed Jack Kayonga as the new board chairman of Crystal Ventures, the investment arm of the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and the biggest local investment company valued at $500 million. Previously Kayonga served as the chief executive of the Rwanda Development Bank where he is credited with turning around the bank.
Betty Enyonam Kumahor – Ghana
Betty Enyonam Kumahor, the Ghana-based Managing Director of Africa for ThoughtWorks a software company and community. Kumahor has previously been a Global Advisory Technology Leader, a West Africa IT Advisory Leader, Executive Director for Ernst & Young and Managing Director for ThoughtWorks Pan-Africa. She is one of the leading African women campaigning for Women in Technology in Africa.
Edwin Macharia – Kenya
Edwin Macharia came to prominence in his role as Director of Agriculture with the Clinton Foundation where he led partnership-building and operations in agriculture for a $100 million initiative focused on effecting holistic development at the grassroot-levels. Currently a partner at Dalberg, based in Nairobi, Kenya, Macharia advises developing countries’ governments, international organizations, and corporations among others on a range of issues including strategy, operational optimization, and program execution.
Funeka Montjane – South Africa
Funeka Montjane, Chief Executive of Personal and Business Banking for Standard Bank in South Africa. A chartered accountant by qualification, Montjane grew up poor in KwaNdebele, Mpumalanga, selling mopane worms and chillies to supplement her family’s income. She was raised by two grandmothers, one a domestic worker who earned R100 ($11) a month in the 1980s, and a second who sold peanuts and soup. She was the first person in her family to go to university.
Cynthia Mosunmola Umoru – Nigeria
Cynthia Mosunmola Umoru is the founder of Abira Agribusiness Support Project and Honeysuckles PTL Ventures in Nigeria. Umoru has spent the last 10 years building her entrepreneurial career within agriculture. She started Honeysuckles straight out of college. The company runs its flagship retail outlet Farmshoppe in Ikeja, Lagos offering a wide range of farm produce, including poultry products, eggs, snails, catfish and vegetables. She works with young people to develop their entrepreneurial skills and engages schools, governments and businesses to realize opportunities in modern agriculture.
Sylvia Mulinge – Kenya
Sylvia Mulinge is the General Manager of the Enterprise Business Unit at Safaricom, Kenya’s largest communications services provider. She is the youngest director at one of the most profitable businesses in East and Central Africa.
Mokena Makeka – South Africa
Mokena Makeka, the Cape Town architect and Desmond Tutu Fellow whose studio, Makeka Design Lab, is noted for cutting-edge public designs that drive social and economic innovation. In his early career, Makeka was condemned to fighting the perception that he was only there because of the Black Economic Empowerment policy, the South African version of affirmative action. He is well known for his refurbishment of Cape Town railway station in time for the 2010 World Cup and his subsequent proposal for development of the area, branded as Cape Town Station 2030. Also worthy of mention is his participation in the Rock Girl Bench project, a grassroots project aimed at creating safe spaces for women in a country infamous for high rates of sexual violence.
Kennedy Odede – Kenya
Kennedy Odede spent his first 23 years in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. The first time he ever had extra money, two cents in 2004, he bought a football and started a football team, which became a league and evolved into Shining Hope for Communities, an anti-poverty organization founded and largely run by people living in Kibera.
Lorna Rutto – Kenya
Lorna Rutto, founder of Ecopost, whose vision is to transform Africa’s waste into wealth. Her Nairobi-based company recycles consumer plastic into a durable, easy-to-use and eco-friendly alternative to timber. She quit her job as a relationship officer at a local bank in 2009, and used all her savings to buy an old machine from an industrialist who was closing down.
Genevieve Sangudi – Tanzania
Genevieve Sangudi In 2011, Sangudi was picked as the managing director by the Carlyle Group, a US-based alternative asset managing firm, to run its $500 million Africa-focused fund. She had vast experience as a partner and founding managing director of the Nigerian operations of Emerging Capital Partners (ECP). Sangudi has an M.B.A from Columbia Business School and a B.A. in English and communication studies from Macalester College.
Landry Signe – Cameroon
Landry Signe, who was born in Douala, Cameroon, to a family living on less than $2 a day. He became a social entrepreneur, scholar and advocate for good governance and economic empowerment in Africa. He is a distinguished fellow at Stanford University’s Center on African Studies as well as founder and chief executive officer of the Global Network for Africa’s Prosperity.
Mamadou Toure – Senegal
Mamadou Toure is the founder and Chairman of Africa 2.0, an initiative-driven advocacy group that brings together emerging leaders representing African countries and the diaspora, who share a common vision of the continent’s future. In 3 years of existence Africa 2.0 has already grown into an organization with a global footprint in 26 countries and rallied some of the most influential continental and global leaders.