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19 Young Global Leaders from Africa recognized by the World Economic Forum

Maxwell Hall, Senior Media Manager, Tel.: +41 (0)79 329 3500, E-mail: maxwell.hall59e1f5dfc55662f@a1539182c6d49c4f4weforum.org

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Geneva, Switzerland, 11 March 2014 – The World Economic Forum announced today the new members selected to join the Forum of Young Global Leaders. The 214 exceptional young individuals have been recognized for their achievements and contribution to society.

The Young Global Leaders (YGLs) come from diverse backgrounds and bring a range of expertise to the community from across the world. Over 50% of the new intake are women, half come from the private sector and half from the public sector, including academia, arts and culture, civil society, government, media and not-for-profit organizations.

“The YGL Community assembles the world’s most outstanding next-generation leaders who have a proven record of extraordinary achievement and helps them further develop in their leadership journey,” said David Aikman, Managing Director and Head of New Champions at the World Economic Forum.

“The community provides its members with a peer network that challenges them to not only do more, but to be more. Being part of the YGL Community is a transformational experience, where leaders turn their personal success into global significance and positive impact in their countries, industries and areas of expertise,” he said.

The YGL Class of 2014 includes 49 individuals from East Asia, 46 from Europe, 16 from Latin America and the Carribean, 18 from the Middle East and North Africa, 49 from North America, 17 from South Asia and 19 from sub-Saharan Africa.

From Africa, this year’s class includes: 

  • Bernice Dapaah, Ghana, Executive Director of the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative, a social enterprise which uses locally sourced bamboo and labour to make strong, simple, lightweight bicycles.
  • Michael Macharia, Kenya, Chief Executive Officer of Seven Seas Technologies, one of East Africa’s most reputable IT services firms, which he founded when he was 25.
  • Sara Menker, Kenya, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Gro Ventures, a data-driven advisory that is creating a network of farmers to report farming data, allowing banks to lend with less risk.
  • Danladi Verheijen, Nigeria, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Verod Capital Management, an investment management firm that specializes in funding projects in emerging markets, with a special focus on Nigeria.
  • Lerato Mbele, South Africa, presenter of Africa Business Report on BBC World News, whose interviews include Kofi Annan, F.W. de Klerk, Bill Gates, Goodluck Jonathan and Uhuru Kenyatta.
  • Marlon Parker, South Africa, Founder, Reconstructed Living Labs, a social entrepreneur who uses information communications technology (ICT) to empower communities.
  • Anton Du Plessis, South Africa, Managing Director, Institute for Security Studies, an expert on human security and international criminal justice who has worked in over 20 African countries.
  • Hanli Prinsloo, South Africa, filmmaker and ocean adventurer and 11 times South African free-diving record holder.
  • Charlize Theron, South Africa, Oscar-winning actress and Founder, Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project.
  • Angellah Jasmine Kairuki, Deputy Minister for Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Tanzania, who has special interests in women’s economic empowerment.
  • Luca Neghesti, Tanzania, Chief Executive Officer, Jefag Logistics, a serial entrepreneur who has set up and run several enterprises in the media, ICT and logistics industries.
  • Vincent W. Bagiire, Member of Parliament of Uganda, who is championing the use of ICT among farmers to boost yields and address persistent poverty in rural Uganda.

The full list of new YGLs can be downloaded here: http://widgets.weforum.org/ygl-2014

Thirteen African YGLs have the chance to benefit from the Dangote Fellowship, created in collaboration with Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive Officer, 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 World Economic Forum events and funds the organization of an YGL Africa Education Module.

The YGL Class of 2014 was drawn from a pool of over 2,000 candidates who were evaluated by Heidrick & Struggles and screened by a selection committee chaired by H.M. Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Candidates were evaluated according to specific criteria including their proven track record and commitment to society.

Previous YGLs include: Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Documentary Filmmaker, Pakistan; Marissa Mayer, Chief Executive Officer of Yahoo, USA; Osayi Alile Oruene, Executive Director, Fate Foundation, Nigeria; Larry Page, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Google, USA; Luis Guillermo Plata, Chief Executive Officer of the Cornerstone Group and former Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism, Columbia; Naoko Yamazaki, astronaut and mission specialist on the crew of STS-131 Discovery, Japan; and Zhou Xun, actress and Goodwill Ambassador, United Nations Development Programme, People’s Republic of China.

The YGL Community has more than 900 active members, representing every region of the world. The YGLs convene at an annual summit, held this year in Beijing and Tianjin, the People’s Republic of China, in September.

Find out what it means to be a part of the community with stories, profiles and quotes from YGLs in our brochure.

Notes to Editors

More information about the Forum of Young Global Leaders at http://www.younggloballeaders.org/ or http://wef.ch/yglbrochure.
Download the list of members of Class of 2014 at http://widgets.weforum.org/ygl-2014
Meet the new YGLs on the Forum:Blog
Download the list of active YGLs
Download the list of YGL initiatives
Find out what it means to be a YGL at www.younggloballeaders.org or watch the following video at http://wef.ch/yglvideo14
Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/YGLvoices
Follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/YoungGlobalLeaders
Nominate a potential Young Global Leader through our website


The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. It engages with business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is independent, impartial and not tied to any interests. It cooperates closely with all leading international organizations (www.weforum.org).