Young Africans make the cut in WEF’s global leaders list

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The World Economic Forum announced today the leaders under 40 who are shaping the future of industry and society.

Seventeen African Young Global Leaders (YGLs) made it to the 2015 list, and have a chance to benefit from the Dangote Fellowship, created in collaboration with Aliko Dangote, President and chief executive officer of the Dangote Group.

(READ MORE: WEF recognises 16 African companies as global economic leaders)

The fellowship aims to increase the quality and quantity of young African leaders across the continent by supporting their engagement in the community, such as those from small enterprises.

“A third of the new class of YGLs come from Asia and about half come from emerging economies,” read the statement from the World Economic Forum.

“The list of YGLs has a strong representation from women leaders and is split 50-50 between business and non-profit sectors such as academia, arts and culture, civil society, policy and government, media and social entrepreneurs.”

Current and former YGLs include 11 heads of state and government, 10 heads of Fortune 500 companies, 15 UN Goodwill Ambassadors, six Guinness World Record holders, four Oscar winners, three Olympic gold medallists, two Nobel Prize winners and an astronaut.

“The YGLs include the world’s most pioneering, next-generation leaders who have developed in their journey to produce positive, tangible impacts in their countries, industries and societies,” said John Dutton, director and head of the Young Global Leaders Community at the World Economic Forum.

“The class of 2015, together with the community over the past 10 years, shows how the future of business and public leadership is becoming more geographically diverse, more varied in its expertise, more gender-equal, and is challenging established ways to get things done.”

(WATCH VIDEO: The importance of networking at WEF for Young Global Leaders)

The class of 2015 includes 23 people from East Asia, 17 from Greater China, 39 from Europe, 13 from Latin America, 16 from the Middle East and North Africa, 44 from North America, 18 from South Asia and 17 from sub-Saharan Africa.

This year’s African YGLs include: 


– Landry Signé (Social Entrepreneur) – Stanford fellow and co-founder and CEO of Glabal Network for Africa’s Prospertiy, a non-profit focused on fostering technological social innovation

– Mamadou Toure (Business) – MD of GE Africa, leading the firm’s Capital Markets, Sales and Project Finance team across Sub-Saharan Africa 


– Betty Enyonam Kumahor (Business) – Managing Director of Africa for Thoughtworks, a global software development firm


– Edwin Macharia (Business) – Partner at Dalberg, a strategic advisory firm, and former Director of Agriculture at the Clinton Foundation

– Kennedy Odede (social entrepreneur) – grew up in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum, to establish a soccer team, which became a league and evolved to become Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) which in 2009 built the Kibera School for Girls, the slums first tuition-free school for girls 

– Lorna Rutto (social entrepreneur) – Founder, Ecopost, a Nairobi-based company, Ecopost, converts consumer plastic into durable, easy to use and environmentally friendly plastic lumber, an eco-friendly alternative to timber

– Sylvie Mulinge (Business) – General Manager, Enterprise Business Unit, Safaricom Limited – as the youngest Director at the most profitable business in East and Central of Africa, she has a front row seat in driving the business agenda in the region.


– Moustapha Ben Barka (politics) – From September 2013, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Economy and Finance, Mali, responsible for the promotion of investments and private initiatives. Barka  has been with Minister of Industry and Promotion of Investments, Mali since April 2014. 


– Ally Angula (business) – co-Founder and MD of Leap Investments Namibia, a diversified business with interests in farming and fashion


– Saadatou Mallam Barmou (politics) – Humanitarian affairs adviser to the President – previously has worked for ICRC in Mali, Niger and other countries and advised the UN. Was named Woman Leader of the Year in Niger in 2012. 


– Cynthia Mosunmola Umoru (business) – Founder and Chief Implementation Officer, Honeysuckle PTL Ventures, an investment business focused on production, packaging and delivery of food


– Jack Kayonga (business) – Executive Chairman, Crystal Ventures. Former CEO of Rwanda Development Bank now running an investment vehicle valued at 500 million US dollars 

South Africa

– Funeka Montjane (business) – Chief Executive, Personal and Business Banking, Standard Bank South Africa

– Mokena Makeka (Arts & Culture) – Cape Town-based Founder, Owner, Creative Director and Managing Director, Makeka Design Lab – a multi-disciplinary design practice responsible among other projects for designing Cape Town’s new main transit station.

– Thembalihle Phillip Baloyi (business) – Founder and executive director, Discovery Insure, an innovative motor insurance business 


– Genevieve Sangudi (Business), Managing director, Head of West Africa, Carlyle Group 


– Farai Gundan (Media) – US-based writer for Forbes (U.S.A) , Forbes Africa & Forbes Woman