Bright SimonsBright Simons



Occupational Information

Job Title: President mPedigree

Professional History

Bright Simons, is the President of mPedigree [link], a social enterprise working on three continents in partnership with governments, several of the Fortune 500 companies and grassroots organizations to spread innovative technologies that secure communities from the harmful effects of counterfeiting, especially in such sensitive sectors like health, agriculture, cosmetics and automotive.

Bright has shaped mPedigree's relentless innovation cycle for more than a decade, helping steer the organization from a focus on authentication and supply chain technologies into the broader spaces of smart sensors, analytics, and intelligent decision support systems. His latest work on the application of "smart polymers" to health cold chain problems has been supported by the Harvard Innovation Labs, among others.

Bright's public-spirited work precedes and extends beyond mPedigree. For nearly two decades he has straddled public policy, social and civic activism and prolific "citizen journalism" in what he considers the "digital public square", writing for such influential outlets as the online edition of the Harvard Business Review, Quartz magazine, the BBC's Business Daily show, and The Huffington Post.

He is a frequent collaborator and participant in multi-¬‐disciplinary efforts that seek to collide silos and cut across lines of difference in the search for solutions. Recent commitments include membership in the inaugural Microsoft Africa Advisory Council, the Lancet Commission on the Future of Health in Africa, the Center for Global Development's Study Group on Technology, the World Economic Forum's Africa Strategy Group, the inaugural Ashoka Globalizer initiative, the Africa Population Health Research Center, Care International, and IC Publications, owner of the New African magazine.

As an early Director at IMANI, he has been instrumental in the organization's innovative use of rigorous research-¬‐generated evidence in high-¬‐stakes political accountability, anti-¬‐corruption, and civil liberty projects, thereby contributing to IMANI's continuous recognition as one of the world's most innovative think tanks and among Africa's top 5 institutions of its kind.

As a member of successive World Economic Forum Global Agenda and Future Councils, an inaugural TED Fellow, an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellow, and an Aspen Braddock Scholar and Global Leadership Network Fellow, he spends a considerable amount of energy working to build and sustain networks of solution seekers around the world, united by common values.

In the course of such activities, he is regularly consulted on innovation strategy by international organizations such as the World Bank, UNECA, USAID, the EU, and the Commonwealth.

Bright is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement award from the African Innovation Foundation and was named to a list of the 35 most impressive global technology visionaries under age 35 by the MIT's Tech Review in 2013.

He features quite regularly on similar lists. For example, Quartz magazine ranked him among their top 30 innovators in 2015 and both the Africa Report and New African magazines have listed him on their Most Influential Persons' lists in recent years. In 2016, he was announced as the CNBC All-¬‐Africa Business Leader of the Year in the innovation category.

In 2016, Fortune magazine named him on their 50 World Greatest Leaders list.




2010 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow

 Additional Tags: Entrepreneur, Public Policy, Social, Journalis, Technology, IT

Featured News

Jackie Chimhanzi
26 December 2021

Today, 26 December 2021, we lost our beloved Patron, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

But even as we mourn the passing of our dear Patron, we celebrate a life of service well lived and the values and ideals he espoused and bequeathed to us - ubuntu, servant leadership, integrity, humility, compassion and courage. We remember a man who was diminutive in stature but larger than life in his boldness, always speaking truth to power when the occasion demanded.

Norman Smit
29 November 2021

2017 Tutu Fellow Mimi Kalinda says that her company, Africa Communications Group, has been acquired by Marco.  The sale to Marco, which purchased a 51% stake, happened in November 2021.  Mimi is delighted with Marco’s investment in ACG, as it means the company she began can expand across other continents and make a bigger contribution to the growth of African economy.

She says ACG is the first African-owned, pan-African communications and strategic reputation management firm handling communication solutions for global clients across the entire continent. It is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, with additional offices in Abidjan in Ivory Coast and Nairobi, Kenya.  It also has long-standing partners in Kigali, Rwanda; Harare, Zimbabwe; and Lagos, Nigeria.  There are also additional affiliated offices in 40+ additional countries across the African continent.

Norman Smit
16 November 2021

In March 2020, the African Leadership Institute announced the Associates who had been selected for the 2020 Class of the Tutu Fellowship programme.  As has been the case with previous cohorts, the people selected were exceptional emerging African leaders. AFLI received more than 300 nominees of outstanding quality from 36 African countries, from which the cohort was selected. Before the class could begin, COVID intervened and the programme was deferred until conditions allowed for an in-person convening.

Since that initial announcement of the cohort was made, not all of the candidates were still able to participate in the programme. The names below represent the final cohort who begin the first workshop in the programme in South Africa next week.

Norman Smit
17 August 2021

Back on 22 May 2021, President Samia Suluhu Hassan appointed Elsie Kanza PhD as one of 22 ambassadors for Tanzania. Elsie is a 2008 Tutu Fellow.  On 17 August, she was posted to the Embassy in Washington, DC, as Tanzanian Ambassador. The US Embassy is considered a senior posting in diplomatic circles.  In May, President Hassan made the appointments, but did not at that time name the posts to which the appointees would be stationed. 

The appointments included senior government officials, members of the military, and government and cabinet advisors.  Prior to her appointment, Elsie's most recent position was as the Special Advisor to the President of the World Economic Forum.


Tutu Fellowship COVID-19 News

Tutu Fellows have been active in addressing the challenges Africa is facing due to the coronavirus pandemic.  We have a new section highlighting some of the work being done by the Fellowship.

About AFLI



The African Leadership Institute (AFLI) is unique among leadership initiatives in that it focuses on building the capacity and capability of visionary and strategic leadership across the continent. Developing exceptional leaders representing all spheres of society, the Institute’s flagship programme is the prestigious Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship. Offering a multifaceted learning experience and run in partnership with Oxford University, it is awarded annually to 20-25 carefully chosen candidates, nominated from across Africa. Alumni of the African Leadership Institute form a dynamic network of Fellows passionately committed to the continent’s transformation, bridging the divide between nations and ensuring that Africa is set centre-stage in global affairs.