Meet Africa’s Young Global Leaders Driving The Fourth Industrial Revolution

16 Mar 2016

Maxwell Hall, Public Engagement, Tel.: +41 (0)79 329 3500, Email:

· 12 men and women from Africa are among the 121 people, aged under 40, have been invited to join the Young Global Leaders (YGL) community of the World Economic Forum

· New YGLs are at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution: one of the most powerful women in financial technology in Africa; an entrepreneur whose non-profit that builds mobile health units; and a woman who is one of the most pioneering tech voices in African.

· The new class of YGLs show what the future of global leadership could be: more women, more leaders from emerging economies, more innovators from tech and the public sector.

· Find out what makes a YGL: see the Class of 2016 at

Geneva, Switzerland, 16 March 2016 – The World Economic Forum announced today 121 scientists, government leaders, future business leaders, social activists and artists, aged under 40, who are shaking up policy, society and the world around them.

Over half of the Young Global Leaders Class of 2016 are women and the majority are from emerging economies. Taken together, they represent the very best of this generation and, as public services worldwide face funding shortfalls, they emphasize the need for future leaders to be tech-savvy, civic-minded innovators.

The full list can be downloaded here

Of the 121, the majority have already agreed to join the Forum of Young Global Leaders (YGLs), a diverse community whose members work together on initiatives that benefit society. YGL efforts to date have led to initiatives and businesses aimed at tackling global water shortages, the working conditions of factories in poor countries, a waste-free world, poor health and education for schoolchildren and spinal injuries. A list of notable initiatives involving YGLs is available here.

Current and former YGLs head governments and Fortune 500 companies, win Nobel Prizes and Academy Awards, become UN Goodwill Ambassadors and Social Entrepreneurs. The new YGLs will be asked to work with one another over the next five years resolving some of the world’s toughest challenges.

“Technology is reshaping the way global economies work and how jobs are created. For young leaders, this encompasses the most promising innovations of our day but also the challenges of huge disruptions to labour markets, socio­economic and demographic changes, resource scarcity, global conflicts and slowing productivity. We want these young leaders to be part of the solution and to provide a community that helps them to break down silos, work across sectors, bridge cultures and have the skills get things done in private, public and civil society organizations,” said John Dutton, Head of the Young Global Leaders at the World Economic Forum.

The Class of 2016 includes:

· Christopher Ategeka (m), the founder of Rides for Lives, a Ugandan non-profit that builds mobile health units equipped with a doctor, lab and pharmacy. To date, it has served over 500,000 people. An entrepreneur since childhood, he lost both parents to HIV/AIDS when he was seven and supported his family by starting a neighbourhood waste-collection service.

· Abayomi Awobokun (m), who rose from cleaner to oil company CEO as head of Oando Downstream, Nigeria’s biggest indigenous oil-retailing major.

· Farida Bedwei (f), a Ghanaian software engineer and co-founder of Logiciel, who is considered to be one of the most powerful women in financial technology in Africa.

· Nima Elbagir (f), Senior International Correspondent for CNN who was named the Royal Television Society’s Specialist Journalist of the Year. She has been instrumental in CNN’s coverage of the refugee crisis, the rise of Islamic extremism and the missing schoolgirls from Chibok in 2014.

· Nima Elmi (f), a Somali-born lawyer and current adviser to Somaliland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as the country works to gain international recognition as an independent country.

· James Mworia (m), who rose from filing clerk to become CEO of the Kenya-based Centum Investment Company, one of East Africa’s largest publicly traded private equity firms.

· Victor Ochen (m), A childhood victim of war, he founded the African Youth Initiative Network to work for the healing of trauma and to promote youth leadership. He was nominated for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize.

· Ada Osakwe (f), founder of Agrolay Ventures, an investment firm targeting early-stage food and agribusiness companies that aim to boost Africa’s food production. She used to advise Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture.

· Juliana Rotich (f), a leading tech voice in Africa who works with $50 million venture capital fund Africa Technology Ventures and founded Ushahidi, a non-profit which has helped seed the fast-growing East African tech industry and offers crowdsourcing platforms that help communities track everything from violence to floods.

· Zukie Siyotula, (f) Executive Head: Oil and Gas, Thebe Investment Corporation

· Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq (m), Chief Executive Officer of the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria.

· Mary Vilakazi (f), Group Chief Financial Officer, MMI Holdings in South Africa.

Previous YGL nominees include: David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; Jack Ma, Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group, People’s Republic of China; Marissa Mayer, Chief Executive Officer, Yahoo, USA; Larry Page, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Google, USA; Claudia Sender Ramirez, Chief Executive Officer, TAM Linhas Aereas, Brazil; Matteo Renzi, Prime Minister of Italy; Ashish J. Thakkar, Founder and Managing Director, Mara Group, United Arab Emirates; 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.

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.

Notes to Editors

More information on the YGL Class of 2016 at

Meet the new YGLs on our blog: Agenda.

More information on the YGLs on our website, brochure and

Follow us on Twitter at

Follow us on Facebook at
Nominate a potential Young Global Leader through our website

All opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.