Twelve women and men from Africa are part of a cohort of 100 of the world’s most up-and-coming artists, business leaders, social entrepreneurs, tech pioneers, thinkers and policy-makers – all aged under 40 – who have been recognized by the World Economic Forum as this year’s Young Global Leaders.
They include a tech entrepreneur whose mobile app has helped over 100,000 smallholder farmers in Africa, an advocate for disabled people’s rights in Nigeria, and one of Africa’s top scientists.
They will join an established community – the Forum of Young Global Leaders – which is made up of leaders from all walks of life, every region of the world and stakeholder group in society who operate as a force for good to overcome barriers that stand in the way of progress.
Current and alumni YGLs head governments and Fortune 500 companies, have won Nobel Prizes and Academy Awards, and have become UN Goodwill Ambassadors and Social Entrepreneurs. The new YGLs will be asked to work with one another over the next five years to resolve some of the world’s toughest challenges.
54 per cent of the YGL Class of 2017 are women, and the majority of the cohort are from emerging economies. Taken together, they represent the very best of their generation and advancing new models of sustainable social innovation.
“We’ve asked these young leaders to join the YGL community because of their ground-breaking work, creative approaches to problems and ability to build bridges across cultures and between business, government and civil society. These leaders highlight the potential for innovation to correct the shortcomings in our economies and societies,” said John Dutton, Head of the Forum of Young Global Leaders at the World Economic Forum.
The Class of 2017 includes:
· Jamila Abass: Founded M-Farm, which empowers Kenya’s smallholder farmers with price transparency and market access
· Lois Auta: An advocate for disabled people’s rights in Nigeria, she heads Cedar Seed Foundation, which is active in community work in education and democratic empowerment
· Abdourahmane Cisse: Budget Minister of Cote d’Ivoire and the youngest minister in its government
· Mouhamed Moustapha Fall: One of Africa’s top scientists and winner of the prestigious Humboldt Fellowship; he is Chair of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Senegal
· Chido Govera: Founder and Director of The Future of Hope Foundation, she was orphaned age seven and escaped a life of poverty in rural Zimbabwe; now an activist, she teaches mushroom cultivation and travels the world to help others change their lives
· Neema Kaseje: Paediatric surgeon with Médecins Sans Frontières dedicated to providing universal access to healthcare and safe and timely surgery for children in the most vulnerable areas in the world
· Naisula Lesuuda: The youngest woman in Kenya’s parliament and a leading advocate of women’s rights in the region
· Marie Lora-Mungai: Media entrepreneur who co-founded Restless Global, a global studio focused on the development, financing, production and distribution of African content within and outside Africa, and Buni.tv, the leading African video-on-demand service
· Jesse Moore: Founder of M-Kopa, a pay-as-you-go energy provider for off-grid customers; it has connected hundreds of thousands of homes in East Africa to solar power
· Rapelang Rabana: Tech entrepreneur who runs Rekindle Learning, an education company that uses innovative digital and online tools to enhance learning
· Aarti Takoordeen: Chief Financial Officer of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange
African YGLs have the chance to benefit from the Dangote Fellowship, created in collaboration with Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Dangote Group. The aim is to increase the quality and quantity of young African leaders across the continent by supporting the engagement of African YGLs in the community, such as those from small enterprises or the non-business sector. The Fellowship helps YGLs from Africa attend YGL and Forum events.