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Personality of the Month

Bogolo Joy Kenewendo is our personality for the month of May

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At 31-years-old, she became the youngest minister in Botswana. Bogolo Joy Kenewendo, who is an economist as well as a politician was born and bred in Motopi village in the Boteti area of Botswana. She currently serves as the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, in the Cabinet of Botswana.

However, her accession to parliament and cabinet at such a young age is not the only reason why she should be everyone’s career goals – Kenewendo, is more highly qualified than many of her older counterparts on the continent and her accession was on merit – something that also sets her apart.

Kenewendo made this statement after her appointment; “My path has kept changing as my life changes and as I see new opportunities, but the consistent undertone is my desire to impact development through policy in one office or the other. I am passionate about youth and women empowerment. There is so much more we can accomplish by ensuring that we invest in these resources. There is also a need for economic development, especially through private sector growth.” “I now get to serve my country and look forward to being a voice for many more young people out there,” she added.

Although it might seem like the young dynamo burst onto the political stage from nowhere, her journey has included admirable work through Molaya Kgosi, a women leadership and mentorship programme. Kenewendo was one of the founders of this programme following her encounter with the US First Lady Michelle Obama during her Young African Leaders Initiative (Yali) experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bogolo Kenewendo has so many achievements under her belt, and it is clear that her country will benefit from many more to come.

If you think you’re too young to lead… think again.
Ask yourself this question; what will it cost me to make a difference in my community/country?

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Africa’s Leading Women – Funke Opeke

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Meet our personality for this month – Funke Opeke from Nigeria. She is an electrical engineer, founder of Main Street Technologies and Chief Executive Officer of Main One Cable Company, a communications services company based in Lagos State, south-western Nigeria.

Her company – MainOne is West Africa’s leading communications services and network solutions provider.

The company, built West Africa’s first privately owned, open access 7,000-kilometer undersea high capacity cable submarine – stretching from Portugal to South Africa with landings along the route in Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria.

Funke Opeke is recognized as the woman powering broadband in West Africa.

In 2005, after moving back to Nigeria to take on the role of Chief Technology Officer of MTN Nigeria, Funke Opeke noticed the low internet connectivity in Nigeria and decided to do something about it. In 2008, she started MainOne.

The idea of running a 7,000-kilometer undersea high capacity cable submarine from Portugal to Lagos, Nigeria seemed unachievable, too ambitious and may be utterly ridiculous but Funke Opeke had a vision and she was willing to give her all to make it happen.

The value we seek to add is the only true path to greater success. This much, and more, we can say about Funke Opeke, whose desire to add value to her home country birthed Africa’s biggest cable company.

Funke Opeke’s achievements are a source of inspiration to many.

After pledging all her savings, facing more challenges of raising capital for the start-up cable business, carrying out in-depth foundational works, feasibility studies, business plans, and technical plans, Main One Cable Company become more tangible.

One of the things that kept her going in the midst of challenges was her determination to keep moving forward with the idea. There was no going back for her. So she became relentless in engaging more persons who could help fill the financing needs that the company needed. Often times, Funke came across persons who doubted the success of such a business in Nigeria but she didn’t let that stop her. She was never bothered about the glaring truth that she was a woman in a business path that was dominated by men. She kept her focus and ran with her dreams.

Today, Main One cable has succeeded in signing over 100 customers across Africa.

Funke Opeke believes that if everyone can think about how they can utilize the opportunities and the assets that they have to generate value then they would be successful in any business.

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January Personality of the month

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Our personality for this month is Otto Orondaam and he is the founder of Slum2School Africa.

His initiative was founded in 2012 during his national youth service as an intervention to advocate for and improve access/quality of education for disadvantaged children in slums and remote communities.

Otto Orondaam is a young African born and raised in Nigeria. He has a bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the University of Port Harcourt and holds an executive masters in project management from CUPE UK and a certificate in Social Change, Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship from the United Nations University for Peace, Costa Rica.

Otto’s passion to improve the state of his country and continent made him volunteer and work for several Non-Profits organizations and International Development Agencies in Nigeria and within African countries since the age of 16.

Otto Orondaam’s contributions to the social sector have fetched several recognitions for him and since inception Otto has worked with over 3000 young volunteers from over 25 countries to provide scholarships for over 600 children from various slums and several thousand have benefited from several other health and psycho-social support programs. He also led campaigns to renovate dilapidated schools in remote communities and equip slum schools with more facilities like computer room, library, and health center.

“We shouldn’t live our life just to earn a living, we should live our lives to make an impact. Everyone has a gift and with that gift, you can transform the society and make the lives of millions of people better.” – Otto Orondaam

What are you doing for your community?

(Video Source: Ndani.tv)

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November Personality of the Month – Ifeoma Fafunwa

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Our personality of this month is Ifeoma Fafunwa – Founder and chief creative director of iOpenEye, a Nigerian production company driving social change through performance art.

Born and raised in Lagos, Ifeoma Fafunwa’s craft is inspired by the city of Lagos and most of her work debuts in Lagos but also has an international appeal. Her creativity has been expressed across a range of different media including advertising, architecture, interior design, film and of course, theatre.

Ifeoma Fanfunwa left the shores of Nigeria when she was 16 and coming back was the catalyst she needed to take up the banner for her country, which she describes as her “biggest love and heartache.” “When I came back I was very fascinated by choices, decisions, limitations and how the country was affected by the way women see themselves in society.” She said in an interview.

Ever since her return back to Nigeria, she has been involved in the creative industry from directing The Vagina Monologues to founding her company iOpenEye Limited, which has gone on to create workshops and produce her signature play, “Hear Word”.

One key interest to Ifeoma was to ask Nigerian women these questions after the release of her play Hear Word!; “Where is your focus? Do you not care about your children? Do you not care that the country is on the right track? Stop whining and moaning and get to work, this country needs everybody.”

Ifeoma believes that women are the nurturers of society around the globe. She once said in an interview; “The story of women is so important because women, right now, are what we have not tried for Nigeria. Women are what we need in terms of their involvement. Unfortunately, women are not effective, they are not engaged in the proper things. What if we put our resources into empowering those women to nation building?” asks Ifeoma Fafunwa

In 2014, her own production HEAR WORD! hit the stage in Lagos Nigeria. The play has been performed for thousands around the world and to a wide variety of audiences. This epic production describes life from the grassroots up. it talks about the small things every day that we take for granted.

Ifeoma Fanfunwa is empowering women Nigeria and most especially Africa through theatre arts. She has joined the league of inspiring African women into taking action and doing remarkable work to improve the health and well-being of Africans. It is important that we bring women to the forefront of leadership and decision making in order to improve the state of our country, says Ifeoma.

 

 

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Motivating Africa Personality of the month

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You are not too young to make a change in your community, city, country or continent at large.

Zommi Kungne Vanessa, a young lady from Cameroon is definitely a change agent. She identified a problem in her community and she found a solution to it.

Born into a family of six, Vanessa developed a keen interest in social entrepreneurship from her teenage years. She has the vision to affect a lot of lives through entrepreneurship.

She found an opportunity to bring her vision into reality when her mother was diagnosed with diabetes, a chronic disease that had earlier taken her grandparents. Vanessa carried out a research on how she could help her mother. Her research led to her discovery of the Moringa plant which has numerous qualities. The plant has more than 40 antioxidants and can solve more than 50 diseases including diabetes.

At a very tender age of 17, Zommi Vanessa started making her own tea made from moringa and went ahead to establish Afya Tea made from moringa. The tea is quite popular in the Buea region of Cameroon and is gradually spreading to other parts of Cameroon, Africa and the world at large. Vanessa is also empowering local farmers in Cameroon by teaching them how to plant moringa. She also gives them the seeds so that they can plant it and make money.

Afya tea is aimed at addressing diabetes, a chronic disease drastically reducing the Cameroonian population. Moringa tea is a natural solution with the ability to increase the energy in the body as well as reduce the sugar level in the body. Vanessa’s vision is to see her community, nation and continent healthy through her Moringa tea.

Vanessa is currently a graduate student at Villanova University where she studies for an award of an M.S degree in Chemical engineering by Fall 2017.

Vanessa’s tea has gotten a lot of media attention as well proposed investment from global organisations.

Zommi Vanessa is the first woman from Cameroon to be selected as an Anzisha Fellow. Her work has been featured on CNN, ThisisAfrica, Media 256 and Forbes.

In May 2016, she was named amongst Forbes Africa 30 under 30 most promising African entrepreneurs

In the same year, she was chosen as a Forbes under 30 summit scholar.

Her interests are in sustainable consulting, life cycle assessment, marketing, business development, manufacturing operations and brewery operations.

 

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Motivating Africa Personality of the month

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Strive Masiyiwa can be described with these two words: vision and determination. He first came into limelight when he fought a landmark constitutional legal battle in Zimbabwe for 5 years. His determination during this battle led to the removal of the monopoly of the state in telecommunications.

His visionary quality led to the establishment of Econet Wireless Group, a telecommunications company. The decision to establish Econet has indeed brought him greatness as he is currently the richest man in Zimbabwe. Econet Zimbabwe is no doubt the largest mobile phone network in Zimbabwe with 9 million subscribers. Econet is in fact a global telecommunications group with operations and investments in over 15 countries in Africa, Europe, USA, Latin America and Asia-Pacific. With activities like mobile cellular telephony, fixed networks, enterprise networks, fibre optic cables and satellite services, Econet currently has a net worth of over $600 million. Econet also provides payment solutions to various banks across Africa.

Masiyawa is a dedicated philanthropist and co-founder of Higher Life Foundation which he established with his wife, Tsitsi. The foundation provides scholarships and meals to orphans in Zimbabwe sponsoring over 30,000 children in public schools.

Another quality that has made Strive Masiyawa stand out is his ability to diversify. Apart from Econet, he engages in other business in Africa’s leading sectors ranging from financial services, insurance, renewable energy, bottling for Coca-Cola, hotel and safari lodges.

Masiyawa is a respected business leader and is a popular face in major international gatherings and publications such as the Economist, Newsweek, CNN, Barron’s of New York, the Financial Times and The World Economic Forum.

He is also an award winner as he has bagged various awards for his excellence in business. In 1999, he was named by the Junior Chamber International (Jaycees) as one of the ‘Ten Most Outstanding Young Persons of the World.’

In 2003, he was selected as one of the ’15 Global Influentials of the year’ in a CNN/Time magazine poll.

In 2014 Fortune Magazine named Masiyiwa one of the 50 most influential business leaders in the world.

In 2015 Forbes Magazine named Masiyiwa in the 10 Most Powerful Men in Africa list for 2015.

In 2017 Fortune Magazine named Strive Masiyiwa number 33 in the World’s Greatest Leaders list for 2017.

During the Ebola outbreak in Africa, Masiyawa was among the African business leaders that helped mobilise resources to tackle the dreaded disease. Alongside other African leaders, he was able to set up the first ever Pan African fund raising campaign known as Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Fund. The fund raised millions of dollars which enabled the AU to deploy the largest known contingency of African health workers to combat the spread of Ebola in Africa.

Strive Masiyawa has also been on several international boards. He is also an active partner in numerous initiatives aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and social development in Africa. He is in fact currently on the boards of the Nelson Mandela Advisory Committee and Endeavor SA. Masiyawa is also an active participant in promoting the awareness of the AIDS in Africa.

In addition, Masiyawa is a member of the Africa Progress, a group of 10 distinguished individuals advocating for equitable and sustainable development in Africa.

 

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