by Ibrahim Faruk
The World Economic Forum, an independent international organization “committed to improving the state of the world by engaging
business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas” has honoured 199 young leaders from 70 countries for their professional accomplishments and commitment to society.
The Young Global Leaders (YGL) Class of 2013 is composed of honourees from all sectors of society, with 50 percent from business and 50 percent from arts and culture, academia, civil society, government, media and non-profits; 42 percent are women. The YGLs will join and co-create a community of insight and action that is committed to improving the state of the world.
21 young Africans made the prestigious list this year.
This year, six Nigerians were named in the list, and will now join their compatriots such as Simon Kolawole and Funmi Iyanda as members of the Young Global Leaders.
The YGL class of 2013 includes:
1. Ndubuisi Ekekwe, Founder and Chairman First Atlantic Semiconductors and Microelectronics
Ekekwe has authored four books and holds a U.S. patent. A regular contributor to Harvard Business Review, he founded First Atlantic Semiconductors & Microelectronics – West Africa’s leading embedded systems company with design services partnerships with Altera and Microchip. Dr. Ekekwe, an MBA graduate, was formerly a Banking Executive with Diamond Bank Lagos and has spoken in leading conferences on technology, entrepreneurship and Africa. He’s also the founder of African Institution of Technology (AFRIT), an institution he founded to bridge the gap between Africa and developed economies in the technology race.
2. Amy Jadesimi, Managing director LADOL.
Dr. Jadesimi received her first degree from Oxford University, where she earned a BA in Physiological Sciences. She then attended Oxford University Medical School, from where she graduated as a medical doctor (MD). After Oxford, Dr. Jadesimi joined Goldman Sachs International in London as part of the Investment Banking Division, specializing in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions. She then attended Stanford Business School, where she earned her MBA in Business Administration.
While at Stanford, Amy completed an internship with Brait Private Equity in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she worked as a transaction executive in Private Equity. After graduating from business school Amy moved to Nigeria where she set up a financial consultancy firm before joining the Management Team of LiLe as Managing Director.
3. Alex Okosi, Senior Vice-President and Managing Director Viacom International Media Networks Africa (formerly MTV Networks Africa).
Nigerian-born, US-educated media executive Alex Okosi is the senior vice president and Managing Director of MTV Networks Africa. He championed the MTV’s move to set up MTV Base in Africa in February 2005, at a period when many didn’t believe there was opportunity on the African continent. He has also spearheaded the launch of other localized Viacom brands in Africa encompassing Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. Okosi’s mission in Africa, has always been to develop content and experiences for audiences that not only entertains and showcases the best of African music and entertainment; but also serves to socially empower audiences in Africa and around the world.
Currently, he is responsible for managing the growth and development of the Viacom International Media Networks Africa business – a multichannel portfolio that reaches over 100 million viewers and includes MTV, MTV base, Nickelodeon, VH1, BET International and Comedy Central. Okosi is the creative force behind the MTV Africa Music Awards, a high-profile event that has helped talented African artists raise their international profile and status.
4. Ola Orekunrin, Founder The Flying Doctors
Doctor Ola Orekunrin is the founder of West Africa’s first emergency air ambulance service, The Flying Doctors. Raised in the United Kingdom by foster parents, Dr. Orekunrin became widely known for becoming England’s youngest doctor at age 21. In a tragic loss, one of her younger sisters died from a sickle cell anaemia crisis. Ola knew that her sister’s death could have been prevented if there had been adequate emergency care and an air ambulance, so setting out to reduce the numbers that die in the same manner, she started The Flying Doctors. Despite the enormous challenge of gathering both government and private support, overcoming rejections and raising funds, Ola has established a business of great social impact. She is the recipient of several awards and honours.
5. Cobhams Asuquo, Founder and CEO CAMP
Cobhams Emmanuel Asuquo is a Nigerian song writer/music producer per excellence who started his professional training as a lawyer,
but later branched into music full-time. Today, he is known for producing some of the finest artistes in Nigeria. Noteworthy among these artistes is the Nigerian soul-singing sensation, Asa, whose 2007 debut album became an international hit. In addition to producing the album, Cobhams wrote and co-wrote several of its hits songs.
In 2005, Cobhams signed on to Sony ATV London as a songwriter. Today, he is CEO/ Head of Productions of CAMP (Cobhams Asuquo Music Productions), an all-encompassing entertainment company that discovers, nurtures and exposes great talents. Cobhams has won multiple local and international awards for his creative and entrepreneurial contributions to the Nigerian music industry.
6. Tara Fela-Durotoye, Founder and Chief Executive Officer House of Tara International
Tara Fela-Durotoye is a leading Nigerian makeup artist and lawyer. A pioneer in the bridal makeup profession in Nigeria, and wife to prolific Business Strategist and Corporate Activator, Fela Durotoye. Tara launched the first bridal directory in 1999, set up international standard makeup studio, and established the first makeup school in Nigeria. She is the founder and current CEO of House of Tara International. In 2007, She was awarded the Africa SMME Award and the Entrepreneur award in South Africa.
Drawn from a pool of several thousand candidates, the 2013 YGLs were chosen by a committee, chaired by H.M. Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The selection was based on the proven track record of the individual, his or her leadership experience, ability to overcome adversity and commitment to society.
Becoming part of the YGL community is described by its members as a transformational experience. YGLs join as individuals, who are successful in their own field of expertise, but become part of a broader collective community that works to tackle a range of world issues.
“The Forum of Young Global Leaders provides a unique effort to engage the younger generation into the management of global affairs, working together and being integrated into the larger Forum community. The Young Global Leaders have an exceptional opportunity to improve the state of the world,” Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum.
The 2013 honourees will become part of the broader Forum of Young Global Leaders community that is currently composed of 756 outstanding individuals. The YGLs convene at an annual summit, which will be held this year in Yangon, Myanmar, on 2-5 June. The programme will include meetings with Myanmar government representatives, the business community and civil society, first-hand experience of working with, and learning from, local organizations and communities, along with workshops and cross-mentorship initiatives.
Eleven African YGLs from the non-business sector of the new class of 2013 will also have the opportunity to benefit from the Dangote fellowship, a programme created in collaboration with Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Group.
The fellowship aims to increase the engagement of non-business African YGLs, for whom the cost of travel and accommodation prohibits their full participation, in the YGL Community of the World Economic Forum.
Through this programme, it will be possible to fund YGLs from Africa to attend the Annual Meeting in Davos, the YGL Annual Summit and two regional meetings (one being the World Economic Forum on Africa). This is the second year that such an innovative collaboration has been established. The move is part of Mr Dangote’s philanthrophic activities, aiming to increase the quality and quantity of young African leaders across the continent.
More information about the Forum of Young Global Leaders available here