by Ayvaunn Penn
For all the young, black, talented individuals looking to leave their mark on society in 2013, there are thirteen young African business and economic leaders that you may want to pattern your success after. The crowning glory of their success is that they are all under the age of forty.
1.) Ladi Delano, Founder & CEO, Bakrie Delano Africa (BDA)
This Nigerian young man accomplished making his first million dollars selling alcoholic beverages during his residence in China. At the tender age of 22 in the year 2004, he started a business called Solidarnosc Asia which specialized in manufacturing a premium brand of Vodka called Solid XS. Delano did not stop there, however. He branched out his company to launch The Collection — a dining and entertainment venue — which is obviously a smart move for someone who owns an alcohol business.
2.) Clare Akamanzi, COO, Rwanda Development Board (RDB)
Here we have a brilliant young lady of Rwanda. The RDB is a government organization which facilitates faster economic growth and development within Rwanda. Akamanzi has been a member of this institution since it was birthed in 2008. When she was 33 years of age, she served as their Deputy Chief Executive Officer and then moved to managing their Business Operations and Services branch.
How did this young lady who grew up in Uganda where her parents had been taken as refugees during the genocide achieve this much success? Perhaps her Masters Degree in Trade and Investment Policy cum International Trade and Investment Lawyer was a good start.
3.) Ashish Thakkar, Co-Founder and CEO, Mara Group
Thakkar, a British-born Ugandan, co-founded Mara Group at the age of 29. This company is a Ugandan conglomerate offering services in hotels, renewable energy, finance, technology, and manufacturing. Numerous branches of business aside, it is also remarkable that Mara Group serves regularly in 17 African countries. With CEO Thakkar at the helm, this business has been able to clock about $100 million.
4.) Achumile “Ace” Majija, Group Lead for the Risk & Capital MI at Prudential Momentum Plc.
At the age of 28, Ace is the first African to serve on the Prudential Momentum Programme. This organization is an international leadership development program for the company Prudential Momentum Plc.. The latter company operates in international financial services, personal banking, insurance and pension products.
Also known as “young Obama from Africa,” this young man is a graduate of the Nelson Metropolitan University with a degree in economics and finance. In addition, he also has an MBA from the University of Leeds Business School in the UK.
5.) Eniola Mafe, African Program Manager at Vital Voices Global Partnership
Last but certainly not least, we have yet another young lady. We do not know her exact age, but we do know that she is at least under the age of 33. Because of her role as African Program Manager, Mafe was recently dubbed a “Convener” in the Diplomatic Courier’s Top 99 under 33 for the year 2012. Vital Voices Global Partnership is an international non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C.. They work alongside women leaders for the purpose of promoting women’s human rights, political participation, and economic empowerment. Mafe says that her role allows her to “bring people together in creative ways to address a pressing international issue or enhance the foreign policy community.”
As you set out to make your dreams come true in 2013, keep these young leaders in mind. The beauty of all of these young adults is not simply that they were able to reach great heights. A part of that beauty is knowing that, if they can achieve greatness, you can, too.
Ayvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer pursuing her graduate degrees in dramatic writing and acting. To peruse her poetry, prose, and services, click here. To have Ayvaunn Penn feature your original poetry on Your Black Poets, click here.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.