Leading the Continent’s Digital Transformation, Championing the Disabled, and Empowering Rural Women: Meet this Year’s African Change-makers

Published
11 Mar 2020
2020
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Aylin Elci, Public Engagement, +41 75 404 10 95, aylin.elci@weforum.org

  • From revamping health systems to investigating corruption, the 115 individuals announced by the World Economic Forum represent the power of the under 40s to change our world.
  • Among the 52 countries represented are 11 individuals hailing from Africa. They join the Forum of Young Global Leaders, whose members have gone on to become Nobel Prize recipients, UN Goodwill Ambassadors and chief executive officers of Fortune 500 Companies.
  • The class of 2020 also includes Megan Rapinoe, the co-captain of the US women’s football team, JR, a world-renowned street artist, Golriz Gharhaman, New Zealand’s first refugee parliamentarian, Sanna Marin, Finland’s youngest prime minister, and Chew Shou Zi, the president of Xiaomi’s international business.
  • Discover the new YGL Class on wef.ch/ygl20 and #YGL20

Geneva, Switzerland, 11 March 2020 – This year’s 115 most promising artists, activists, academics, executives and political leaders under the age of 40 today join the World Economic Forum’s community of Young Global Leaders. They are pushing boundaries, achieving firsts, innovating and breaking traditional rules to improve the world.

The Forum of Young Global Leaders was founded in 2004 by Klaus Schwab, Founder and Chairman of the World Economic Forum, to create a world where leaders take responsibility for a sustainable future, while meeting increasingly complex and interrelated challenges. Today, the Forum counts 1,300 members and alumni, representing more than 115 countries. Notable members include Yao Chen, actress, Amal Clooney, lawyer, Hilary Cottam, author, Wanuri Kahiu, Filmmaker, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, President of Costa Rica, Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba, and Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia.

YGLs are active in today’s most exciting and dynamic fields and work with a focus on impact. In the past year, they have collaborated together to accelerate refugee entrepreneurship to unlock local talent and inject an estimated GDP of $56 million from Kenya’s Kakuma camp into the global economy. They have worked to solve waste management challenges by focusing on improving treatment capacity in Indian plants, and more broadly, they have equipped young generations with the tools to effectively influence politics and policy.

This year, over half the new members are women, and nearly half of Young Global Leaders are from emerging economies. They represent a diverse group with an ability to enhance understanding and promote action.

Members of the new class will take part in a five-year programme that includes executive education courses, group expeditions and opportunities to collaborate and test ideas with a trusted network of peers. This will also be an opportunity for them to identify ways in which their ground-breaking work can advance new models of innovation and make a difference in their communities.

African YGLs will benefit from the Dangote Fellowship, made possible by the Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF). The aim of the fellowship 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.

“By championing these promising and accomplished leaders we hope to create positive ripple effects that benefit entire communities. In response to a startling decline in trust in leadership over the past decade, these Young Global Leaders inspire the world through their dynamism, passion and integrity,” said Mariah Levin, Head of the Forum of Young Global Leaders at the World Economic Forum.

Civil Society

Yetnebersh Nigussie, Ethiopian Lawyers with Disabilities Association, President and Co-Founder

Education

Faraja Nyalandu, Shule Direct, Founder and Executive Director

Food and Beverage

Shani Senbetta, Kidame Mart, Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Governmental

Paula Ingabire, Minister of Information Communication Technology and Innovation of Rwanda

Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Government of Ghana, Minister of Information

Health and Healthcare

Chinny Ogunro, Africa Health Holdings, Managing Director

Fredros Okumu, Ifakara Health Institute, IHI, Director of Science

Information Technology

Aurélie Adam Soule, Government of the Republic of Benin Minister of Digital Economy and Communications

Tunde Kehinde, Lidya Founder

Media Entertainment and Information

Larry Madowo, BBC World News Africa Business Editor

Mayur Patel, Kwesé iflix, Chief Executive Officer

Notes to Editors

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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.
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