The African Leadership Institute is pleased to announce that once again, a set of really exceptional emerging African leaders has been selected for the prestigious Tutu Leadership Fellowship for 2020. We received more than 300 nominees of outstanding quality from 36 African countries, from which 21 of Africa’s highest-potential young leaders were selected to take part in the programme. Including the candidates nominated by our sponsoring organisations, the candidates represent 11 different African countries, ranging from 30 to 39 years of age, and span several industries. The selected candidates demonstrate the incredible wealth and breadth of leadership talent that exists in Africa’s youth, which bodes well for Africa’s future.
Due to the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in globally with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fellowship Programme has been deferred to 2021.
The biographies of the 2020 candidates follow:
- Seif Abou Zaid
- Olamide Aina
- Yasmin Amri-Sued
- Diaka Camara
- Maimouna Diakhaby
- Natalie Foti
- Eric Idiahi
- Kader Kaneye
- Teresa Mbagaya
- Yvonne Mburu PhD
- Dalumuzi Mhlanga
- Dana Mopulunga
- Vanessa Moungar
- Boniface Mwangi
- Simbai Myezwa
- Ladislao Ndong
- Mayur Patel PhD
- Josea Rono PhD
- Seni Sulyman
- Olubankole Wellington
- Aminata Wurie
Seif Abou Zaid is an education entrepreneur who focuses on creating educational experiences that build socially responsible citizens who value freedom and have high self-esteem, courage and a growth-mindset. He is the co-founder and CEO of ACT Microschools - a network of micro-schools that provides a globally competitive education with a focus on local identities. He is also a partner in Phoenix for Education Services, a company that builds and manages schools and learning spaces in collaboration with investors, philanthropists and entrepreneurs. He was also the co-founder and CEO of Mavericks International Schools, where he managed to grow the company to manage 3 schools within less than 2 years, serving more than 800 families. He was also the co-founder and CEO of Tahrir Academy providing mind-stimulating blended learning experiences for more than 300,000 Arab learners. Seif has an M.A. in Public Policy with a focus on education from the American University in Cairo.
Olamide Aina is an entrepreneur, technology operator and investor with considerable experience working in Africa’s largest economic market. His prior entrepreneurial experience spans several sectors including venture capital, technology, media, agriculture, infrastructure, publishing and real estate. He is the General Partner at Ventures Platform, an early stage African VC firm, where he has led investments in about 30 innovative-category-leading companies including payments company Paystack; connectivity company Tizeti; healthcare company MDaaS and the agric-tech company Thrive Agric. Ventures Platform is a fund that provides founder-friendly capital and support to early stage companies. Other ecosystem interventions, research and social impact initiatives are deployed through the Ventures Platform Foundation.
Olamide - who goes by the name Kola - is also the Chairman of the Board of Ventures Park – an artsy co-working space and innovation campus. Kola also founded the enterprise technology company Emerging Platforms Limited nine years ago, quickly growing it to become one of the leading technology service delivery companies. Kola is a leader in the African technology, startup and investing ecosystem, a TED speaker, and volunteers his time advising founders, and speaking at events. He serves on the Nigerian Presidential Committee for Job Creation and Youth Employment.
Yasmin Amri-Sued is the Rwandan Ambassador to South Korea. Prior to her posting to Korea, she spent four years in Dubai where she helped start the new diplomatic mission. She contributed to strengthening exchanges amongst people, organizations and government authorities and provided services to Rwandan citizens across the Northern emirates. She consistently bridged the gap between the private and public sectors and created opportunities for joint cooperation when needed.
Prior to her work within government, Yasmin served as a local consultant responsible for empowering local chambers of commerce across the Rwanda by creating programs to decentralise control to local decision-makers. A marketer at heart, Yasmin was head of marketing for Tigo Rwanda and was Founder and CEO of Dalila, a public relations agency that featured some of the largest brands in Rwanda. Throughout her 10+ years of work in the private sector, Yasmin’s unique traits were her incredible ability to bridge the gap between individuals from different socio-economic backgrounds as well as the urban/rural divide, while tailoring solutions to meet the needs of different stakeholders.
Diaka Camara is a journalist, activist, TV host and producer and content creator. She is the CEO of CBC Worldwide, a communications and production company based in Guinea. Born in Brussels and raised in Guinea, she went abroad to the United States to get her degree. In 2011, she returned to Guinea and founded CBC Worldwide with the aim of creating content that was made in Guinea, by Africans for Africans - and the rest of the world. She believes that Africans must tell their own stories in order to tell them authentically and truthfully.
Top10 was the first TV show she produced and which she still also hosts. To date, CBC has produced many TV shows and documentaries. One production was during the Ebola epidemic in 2014 titled 1 Saves 100. In 2018, she conceptualised and produced the first Guinean reality TV show, Le Mannequin. The show focuses on empowering women and promoting the fashion industry in Africa. She has been a BBC Africa news contributor and a communications consultant to the World Bank.
In 2017, she founded the Diaka Camara Foundation to promote education and raise the literacy rate in Guinea, with a focus on young Guinean girls.
Maimouna Diakhaby has a background in public policy, project management and communication. She is the Assistant to the Minister of Mines and Geology of Guinea and is responsible for developing a strategy to communicate reforms, actions and investment opportunities of the Ministry to stakeholders that include the public, mining companies, and prospective investors. As a gender-equality advocate, Maimouna is the founder and President of #PasSansElles (Not Without Her), a non-profit organization committed to the representation of women in key decision-making positions and protecting womens' and girls’ rights. #PasSansElles has had a political and structural impact in the public sector through its initiatives, by getting more women in high-level positions such as Secretary General, Chief of Staff, Advisors and Directors in all the Ministerial departments. Maimouna is also the founder and President of Entre-Prendre Ensemble, an NGO that promotes democracy and civics through education. Its flagship project is Citizen Apprentice. Maimouna is currently pursuing an Executive Master’s degree in Policy and Management of Development at SciencesPo Paris. She is a recipient of the prestigious Lead Campus Scholarship from the Agence Française de Development (AFD) to undertake a Business and Leadership certificate at École des Hautes Etudes Commercials (HEC Paris). She won the Guinean Female Leadership Award in 2018 and became a Mandela Washington Fellow in 2016.
Natalie Foti is a serial entrepreneur and agribusiness development practitioner. She is a co-founder and Director of Vitanektar Investments, a horticulture business and beverage manufacturing company in Zimbabwe. She led its establishment, working with medium and smallholder farmers in the tomato value-chain. She is also the founder and CEO of Banafor Pvt Ltd, a logistics, real estate and grain crops manufacturing company which also has interests in the poultry sector.
She is an agribusiness and development practitioner with more than 10 years’ experience in agriculture. Natalie’s interests include the economic and capacity empowerment of smallholder farmers, the deaf, women farmers and child education. She is currently studying for an MBA with Quantic School of Business and Technology USA. She has a Master’s Degree in International Development from Andrews University in the USA; a post graduate diploma in Project Management from PMI Zimbabwe; and a Bachelor’s degree in Agri-Business from Solusi University Zimbabwe.
Eric Idiahi is a financier and venture-builder of numerous African companies. He is Partner and co-founder of Verod Capital Management Limited, a $300 million Africa-focused private equity firm he co-founded in 2008. Verod Capital Management is active across various sectors and aims to generate economic value with sustainability for the communities in which it operates. At Verod, Eric has led several notable mergers, acquisitions and investments in the technology, financial services, education and pharmaceutical sectors.
He sits on the boards of several companies, including EMZOR Pharmaceutics Industries Limited; Greensprings Educational Services Limited; Rainbow Educational Services Limited; Central Securities Clearing Systems (CSCS) Limited; Eleva Group; Tangerine Life Insurance Limited; African Lifestyle Limited; and Lancaster University, Ghana. He has a BSc in Economics from the University of Houston and an MBA in Business Administration from Saïd Business School at Oxford.
Eric is also an avid art collector.
Kader Kaneye is an Associate Partner in Dalberg’s Dakar office. An experienced social entrepreneur and change leader, he is passionate about empowering youth and women and fostering community development through community involvement, entrepreneurship and start-up ventures. Kader has 15 years of experience in consulting for international development organizations, governments at the highest level, in banking, and in professional services in more than fifteen countries in Francophone Africa. He is a proponent of promoting corporate ethics through auditing. Prior to Dalberg, Kader founded the African Development University in his home country of Niger. ADU is the first non-profit liberal arts university in the Sahel Region, welcoming visiting faculty from Harvard, MIT, Oxford, Tsinghua and similar world class institutions. It seeks to identify the most talented young people of Africa, provide them with a world-class liberal arts education blended with African moral values; and prepare them to lead the development of their nations and become change-makers. He has an MPA from Harvard, an MBA from Bentley University in the USA, a Master’s in Accounting & Finance from Intec de Paris and he's a Certified Public Accountant. He is fluent in English and French.
Teresa Mbagaya is a Founding Principal at Imaginable Futures, an impact investment company that invests in education. It was spun out of the Omidyar Network. She is responsible for the strategic leadership, management and execution of the organisation's investment strategy in education in Africa. Previously, as the Education Lead for Microsoft in East and Southern Africa, she led regional teams in the deployment and implementation of learning solutions and innovations across 10 countries. As the Head of Econet Education, Teresa drove the development of Zimbabwe’s first digital education platform. Her background builds upon a proven career in the private and public sectors impacting millions through nation-wide initiatives centered on digital education transformation and youth skills development.
She has been listed in the 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs in Africa by Forbes; is a 2019 Obama Foundation Leader; is a nominee for the Future Awards Africa Young Person of the Year; and has been included in Kenya's Top 40 Under 40 Women; and in 2019’s Choiseul 200 as an African economic leader of tomorrow. Teresa has served on the 2018 advisory board of Village Capital Communities Africa; as an advisory member on the Global Education Platform; under the UN Special Envoy for Global Education; and as a member of the Technical Reference Group of the 2017 High Level Dialogue on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance in Africa.
Yvonne Mburu is an immunologist, and the founder and CEO of Nexakili, a growing network of African and African-diaspora health professionals and scientists, whose mission is to connect African experts across the globe, circulate scientific knowledge, and accelerate the availability of innovative medicine in Africa. Yvonne did her undergraduate studies in biology and chemistry in Canada, followed by a doctorate in immunology in the United States. She then won a prestigious postdoctoral grant from the Cancer Research Institute to pursue research on the immunotherapy of cancer at the Marie Curie Institute in Paris, France. Over time, her African roots and dynamic personality nudged her away from the safe harbors of the research laboratory and into entrepreneurship, with the goal of mobilizing the human and intellectual capital of the African diaspora to catalyze innovative research on the continent and contribute more effectively to achieving sustainable outcomes in science and medicine.
Yvonne is a Fellow of the Next Einstein Forum, a biennial recognition of Africa’s best young scientists and technologists. She has published numerous scientific articles, blogs and opinions contributing to shaping the health and scientific discourse on the continent. Since August 2017, she has sat on French President Emmanuel Macron’s Presidential Council for Africa. It is a consultative body through which she advises him on issues concerning health, science and innovation in Africa.A multi-lingual global citizen, Yvonne is an afro-optimist by nature, and has an unrelenting personal, professional and intellectual commitment to Africa’s emergence, growth and transformation of its global relations.
Dalumuzi Mhlanga is the Founder & CEO of Notto Inc., an Africa-focused credit-scoring fintech start-up that provides access to affordable residential mortgages. Prior to focusing on entrepreneurship full-time, he served as Group Chief of Staff at Econet, a pan-African telecommunications and technology company with investments and operations in 29 countries. In his role, Dalumuzi worked directly with the Founder and Chairman of Econet, and C-suite executives across its subsidiaries, providing group-wide strategic and operational support.
He previously managed a multi-million dollar impact investment portfolio of over 30 innovative education projects across 50 countries for the corporate Foundation of Vitol Group; taught leadership courses to Masters students at the Harvard Kennedy School while studying as an undergraduate; and founded a non-profit that has developed the leadership and entrepreneurship capability of thousands of young people in Bhutan, Eswatini, USA, UAE and Zimbabwe. He has an AB in Social Studies from Harvard; and an MSc in African Studies and an MBA from Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.
Dana Mopulunga is the Founder and Director of Bernika Health, a health-care solutions company that provides healthcare solutions to the private and public sector, which include medical consumables, e-health and mobile clinics. Dana also serves an executive of Bigradap Group Technologies, an Information and Communications Techology (ICT ) firm providing integrated data and Information Technology (IT) solutions in Africa, with a base in the DRC and South Africa. Her business interests extend to other sectors, such as agriculture, primarily agritech. She has a strong interest in promoting governance and sustainability in African businesses. Her preferred model is to develop private-public partnerships to bridge the resource gap. With her years of working in IT, Dana is an advocate for digitalization in Africa, which she argues is imperative for the growth and development of African economies. She is passionate about re-defining and empowering young women in business in Africa. Shaped by her origin in the Democratic Republic of Congo and her upbringing in South Africa, she has served and continues to serve on the board of charitable organizations. Dana is reading for her MPHIL in International Business from the Gordon Institute of Business Science at the University of Pretoria.
Vanessa Moungar is the Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society at the African Development Bank, where she leads the Bank’s strategy on gender equality, women’s empowerment and civil society engagement. A citizen of Chad and France, she sits on French President Emmanuel Macron’s Presidential Council for Africa.
Previously, as Senior Manager for Africa at the World Economic Forum (WEF) between 2013 and 2017, she led large-scale public-private collaboration efforts across multiple industries, from health and education to extractives, infrastructure, agriculture and energy. Earlier, she held various positions, including Director of Sales and Marketing at Terrafina, an American agri-business industry sector company. She started her career at AV Consulting in France, which she co-founded in 2004 to support small and medium enterprises in Africa and the Middle East.
She is a WEF Global Leadership Fellow and has her Master’s in Management from Harvard University.
Boniface Mwangi is an award-winning Kenyan photojournalist and human rights activist. He is the founder and leader of Ukweli Party, a political party bringing citizens together wanting to live in a Kenya where everyone is empowered to engage politically, to realize their full potential, to prosper economically and to thrive in a socially cohesive community. He continues to wage a spirited campaign against oppressive establishments. He was a staff photographer with The Standard, a leading Kenyan newspaper, for four years. He became the eye of Kenyans during the 2007/8 post-election violence and showed courage and compassion to capture thousands of images, some so gory they could not be published. His work appeared in leading publications worldwide from The New York Times to The Guardian, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Telegraph and The Boston Globe among others. In 2012, Boniface founded PAWA254, a hub for creatives in Kenya where journalists, artists and activists find innovative ways of achieving social change. He has twice won the CNN Multichoice Africa Photojournalist of the Year Award and is the youngest Prince Claus Laureate. New African Magazine named him one of the 100 Most Influential Africans of 2014 and 2016 and he is also a senior TED Fellow. Time magazine recognized him as a Next Generation Leader in 2015 and was selected as Kenya’s Top 40 under 40 men in 2016. He was named as a Top 100 Kenyans in 2019.
Simbai Myezwa is an Investment specialist at Investec Bank South Africa. He works as a co-portfolio manager in the credit investments business, tasked with investing the bank’s excess liquidity globally - in Africa, Europe & the USA. In his eight years of service to Investec, Simbai has been instrumental in the co-deployment of circa $2 billion USD, culminating in a diverse credit portfolio across several industries. He has also built strong institutional relationships with clients, managing to structure tailored investment products used by collective investment schemes in South Africa.
Simbai’s other burning passion is developing young and upcoming professionals working in the financial markets. He has been in charge of coordinating Investec’s Global Markets Treasury Internship function since 2017, using the opportunity to pay it forward. He also speaks at various graduate exposure events and continues to mentor colleagues and peers in a professional capacity. Beyond Investec, he actively assists with investment analysis and decision-making via a participating trust, co-investing in various industrial and mining assets, focused on sub-Saharan Africa. Simbai holds a BSc from the University of Witwatersrand and he has a BComm (Hons) in corporate finance and investment management. He is a CFA Charter holder and a Financial Risk Manager, certified by the Global Association of Risk Professionals.
Ladislao Ndong is a senior official of the government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, where he is the Director General of the Cabinet of the Minister of Finance, Economy and Planning. He has held this position since June 2019. As director, he is in charge of providing assistance and support to the Minister. Before his appointment as a director of the cabinet, Ladislao worked for several years as one of the economists hired by the ANGE 2020 - the Equatorial Guinea National Agency 2020 - to work closely with the then Secretary of State in charge of monitoring the national plan Equatorial Guinea Horizon 2020 in the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Public Investments. During that period as an analyst cabinet member, a key task he took on was the preparation of the Institutional Sub-Agenda of the Economic Recovery Agenda of Equatorial Guinea, which was presented and approved during the Third National Economic Conference in April 2019.
He has also been a representative of One Young World in Equatorial Guinea; and vice president of the Youth community of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers, in Malabo. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in International Economics and Trade from Wuhan University in China.
Mayur Patel is the Group Chief Operating Officer for Cassava Fintech, providing mobile wallet and payment solutions. He is an experienced leader and entrepreneur in Africa’s mobile technology and digital media sectors with a track record of building disruptive digital services. Previously, he was CEO of the award-winning mobile streaming company, Kwesé iflix, which pioneered pay-as-you watch live and on-demand video service on the continent. Mayur has been involved in investing in and scaling businesses across multiple markets. He was former Chief of Staff at diversified telecoms group, Econet, and VP for Strategy and Assessment for a US-based $2.5bn private foundation with investments in digital innovation and media.
Mayur is passionate about building inclusive and sustainable businesses and serves as an Advisory Board Member of NYU Stern’s Center for Business & Human Rights. He is co-founder of Africa’s largest go-to-market platform for plant-based protein products, Infinite Foods, and a Board member of a leading children’s edutainment company, Ubongo. His work has featured in the Lancet, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Mayur is a Rhodes Scholar and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader.
Josea Rono is a founding managing partner at E&K Consulting Firm, a pan-African advisory and investment firm providing turnkey solutions in the healthcare, finance, technology and energy sectors. He has advised on transactions worth more than $20 billion USD; developed strategies for businesses worth $160 million; and served as the UHC Advisor to the Health Minister in the Kenyan government. He has advised more than 100 organizations across 20 countries in Africa and Europe, including the World Bank; McKinsey & Company; and the UN. Josea is a global thought leader and speaker, most recently publishing on Devex and speaking at the Middle East and Africa Business Summit in Stockholm. His leadership acumen has been sought at the board level of several organizations, including a Merck Pharmaceuticals’ social enterprise; mPharma; and Living Goods. He has meritoriously won several awards including four Sullivan Scholarships (1999-2001), a Welcome Trust Fellowship (2009); two Karolinska Institute Grants (2012-13), and a Swedish Institute Management Program Fellowship (2018). Josea earned his PhD at 28. He is working on his first book on global healthcare business and Africa’s renaissance.
Seni Sulyman's purpose is to develop exemplary African businesses and leaders and create commercial bridges between Africa and the world. He is the Vice President of Global Operations at Andela, a venture-backed company that builds high-performing engineering teams with Africa’s most talented software engineers. Seni is responsible for Andela’s delivery operations across all African markets. Previously, he has held other roles at Andela where he was Director of Operations, and later, Country Director of Nigeria.
Before Andela, he built and operated a new business jet airline in Nigeria for the Bristow Group. His earlier career spans roles at Bain & Company, HP, and CardinalStone Partners. Seni serves on the Board of Directors of the Nigeria-based FATE Foundation and is also a member of the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Northwestern University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Olubankole Wellington is an accomplished musician, filmmaker, writer, speaker, businessman, politician and philanthropist. He’s the Chairman and CEO of Empire Mates Entertainment, leading the company from its early years as a record label to its present state as a media agency. While it was a record label, Olubankole oversaw record-breaking, culture-changing, history-defining music from the likes of WizKid, Skales, DJ XClusive and others. As an agency, its client portfolio has included major corporate brands such as Budweiser, Peak Milk, Access Bank, and talent brands such as Ebuka, Mike Edwards, Toolz and Adesua Etomi-Wellington and other social media influencers. He has starred in or co-executive-produced some of the most successful films in Nollywood history. Movies include The Wedding Party, Up North, and Sugar Rush. He was also the Co-CEO of one of the fastest growing Nigerian restaurant franchises, Sooyah Bistro.
With millions of followers on social media, he’s played a leading and ambassadorial role in several charitable and activist movements, including Enough is Enough, Teach 4 Nigeria, Back 2 School Adult Literacy Initiative, Pink Oak Cancer Trust Fund, EachOne.NG, his Banky Wellington Organization and many more. He also ran one of Nigeria’s most effective political campaigns, inspiring a generation of youth to get involved in rebuilding their nation.
Aminata Wurie is a qualified educator who is passionate about executive leadership development. Aminata is the CEO of Posterity Thinkers, and facilitates expansive visions, implementing workable solutions with the practical application of design and technology across a broad spectrum of functions and disciplines in diverse business and operating environments.
She was previously a Senior Development and Training Consultant with Vantage Venture. Prior to that, she has held positions within the United Nations World Food Programme. She has worked within the criminal justice system and Youth Offending Services, providing restorative justice and leading reparation orders in the United Kingdom. Aminata’s academic credential includes a Diploma in Training Trainers, an Honours in International Social Policy and Criminology, and a Masters in International Relations. In addition, she has completed the Executive Leadership programme with the Jack Welch Management Institute. She is adept at fostering connections across sectors, ideologies and generations.