5 Successful African Entrepreneurs: 5 Failure Stories

Every successful entrepreneur has experienced setbacks at some point in their business career. For most, it is an essential part of ‘growth’ in a competitive business environment. I sent an email to a handful of entrepreneurs, asking them to share their business failures, what they learned and how they built on them.

Here is what they wrote:

Charles Kofi FEKPE

Charles Kofi FEKPE

Charles Kofi Fekpe, Founder of CFekpe Consulting. UK/Ghana

My Biggest mistake since setting up CFekpe Consulting Limited was not to have been ready for ALL opportunities and to have underestimated them when they came. I had just registered my company then and had begin looking for assignments to take on. I met a friend who asked me to send him a proposal together for him to show his director of training the following day. I didn’t have one but also thought I wait till the following day. After all, he was my friend right? Well, Wrong. That was in 2004 and I missed what would have been my first biggest deal. I have learnt my lessons. (1) I have asked myself all the “WHAT IF” questions that could come up if an opportunity should arise today, and I have all the core answers. Success, I have found, is having the answers to questions that are not even yet asked. Its about getting there first and waiting for others arrive (2) I treat everyone as a full business client – opportunities I have learnt, don’t come in special clothing or packages. So, even when my 3-year Old daughter told me she’d like to talk business with me, I immediately arranged lunch with her. The only proposal she put on the table however was that she wanted a bicycle for her birthday.


Dr. Yemisi Akinbobola

Dr. Yemisi Akinbobola

Dr. Yemisi Akinbobola, Founder, IQ4News.

When I first launched IQ4News officially as a news website in 2011 [it has been a personal blog for four years prior], I was so excited to have received funding to follow my dreams.

I developed what must be the longest business plan ever – 87 pages – detailing my strategies.

For the first few months I focused on creating content for the website and emailing our media kit to every possible potential advertiser I could think of. No one replied, but traffic was good reaching 40,000 in the first 3 months. I kept at it, whilst doing other part-time work on the side – I had bills to pay. I made my first advertising sale 6 months later.

While I won’t describe IQ4News 1.0 as an epic failure, because it wasn’t, I was nowhere near prepared to run a business as I felt I was, at the time – I was focused on being journalist and news editor that I forgot to be publisher. Looking back at Yemisi of 2011, I both smile and cringe – I still remember running after one of our coaches at the incubator to find out why he wasn’t as excited about the website design as I thought he would be; “how will you make money” he asked. The answer then was so simple “sell geo-targeted advertising” I said confidently. He smiled and walked away leaving me puzzled.

Three years on, as we are about to launch IQ4News 2.0, and I finally understand his smile – I found out the hard way that selling advertising is not a sustainable business model for a news website, and even if it had been, I had set strategies and targets that were unrealistic and that I did not follow. I just had a dream and ran after it full throttle, forgetting the developmental steps I had planned.


Eric Mutta, Photo: Sameer Kamalli

Eric Mutta, Photo: Sameer Kamalli

Eric Muta, Founder and CEO, Problem Solved Ltd. Tanzania

I had a full-time job as a software engineer and created a small computer program that helped speed up processing of forms related to importation of goods at the Dar-es-salaam port. Within one month of use at that company, revenues jumped up by $300,000 and I thought I could quit my job and sell the program to make the same amount of money for myself and be rich in no time! My mistake was not realising that the only reason the company could generate $300,000 in one month was because it already had a name, an office, hundreds of employees and thousands of customers. It had the fuel and my program was just a match that lit a big fire. With a new company that had no customers, no history and no employees, I struggled to get anyone to buy the program and 18 months later I ran out of money and was forced to get a job. Lesson learned: code is not a product, and a product is not a company. To get from code to product to company to profit, you need to have all the supporting infrastructure in terms of an office, employees and customers. That takes time to build and you need to have enough capital to survive until it is all in place.


 Njeri Rionge

Njeri Rionge

Njeri Rionge, Co- founder of Wanachi Online, Kenya

To be successful as an entrepreneur you must have a clear vision, and driving forward to achieve that vision requires 100% of your involvement. As an entrepreneur, as a business owner, a business coach and mentor, at networking events and social events over the years I’ve often found myself talking to colleagues and peers about the benefits that might be achieved if successful entrepreneurs and business leaders could share their experiences with new and growing start-ups.

How positive it would be if upcoming business leaders could learn from our mistakes, and get practical advice from a wealth of accumulated knowledge aggregated under one roof. So why not put together an annual summit to make a positive contribution to the growth of Kenyan businesses, and bring together business leaders to talk about a range of subjects that would give practical help and advice to start-ups and SMEs wanting to scale up their businesses in Nairobi?

The Ignite Summit: Scaling Your Business Upwards was a good idea, and interest was (and remains) high both from delegates, speakers and potential sponsors, but the time required to organise an event of this scale as an addition to my ‘day job’ was something I greatly underestimated. I was not able to give it 100% of my involvement. What I learnt from staging the first Ignite Summit in 2012, was that all that research, preparation, enthusiasm and positivity will take you so far, but if you spread yourself too thin, you will eventually come unstuck.


Frank Boateng

Frank Boateng

Frank Boateng, Country Director  EQUIPXP, LC and Co- Founder of Darko Fresh. Ghana
There are hundreds of mistakes but I believe that is the only way to gain hands on experience! I remember during our water project construction and planning we did not factored potential regulatory delay and boom! We had to go back to do additional testing, product name change and re-submission.

This caused us money, as we had to re-do all our branding efforts again and has to pay staff for three months before production started. Lessons are that entrepreneurs must be innovative and creative in thinking during project planning. They must not discount anything during project planning stage.

How to Harness Development Potential in Northern Ghana through Entrepreneurship and Innovation.






Barcamp Tamale 2014 is a free networking forum bringing people together for a day of discussion, demos and dialogue on Tamale, Ghana and beyond. It will take place on August 23, 2014 in Tamale. The theme for this year is Harnessing the development potential in Northern Ghana through entrepreneurship and innovation.This Barcamp hopes to assemble stakeholders to network, build a supportive enterprising community and partner to build together.

The GhanaThink Foundation has successfully organized 31 BarCamps in Ghana as part of its Barcamp Ghana program since 2008. BarCamp Tamale 2014 will be a showcase of entrepreneurs and innovators in the Northern region. Discussions will center on developing various business and industry sectors in Tamale and the Northern region. It will be an event for many people who live and are interested in Tamale to learn, share and network with.

The Barcamp will feature multiple user-generated breakout sessions about business, social entrepreneurship, technology and development, alongside topics relevant to the Northern Region and beyond. There will be a speed mentoring session where mentors will give insights and answers to questions from attendees. Confirmed resource personnel include Rabi Salifu (ProNet), Naana Fatima Mohammed (FarmCare), Chris Anieze (Development News Africa), Abdul Washeed (Northern Scope), Masahoud Cudjoe (Writer & Social Media) Rashida Aduni Ganiyu & Hikmatu Babaa Dua (MILEAD Fellows), Shani Mahama (Driinic), Senyo Kpelly (SEKAF Ghana), etc

Register/RSVP at the BarCamp Tamale eventbrite website (barcamptamale14.eventbrite.com) or text “Barcamp Tamale [name] [email address] to 1945 through any mobile network.. You may also contact the BarCamp Tamale team through the eventbrite page for sponsorship opportunities. If you are interested in organizing a breakout session, let us know, especially if you have special needs.

BarCamp Tamale 2014 is sponsored by GhanaThink Foundation, Google, mPedigree, Nandimobile, etc. Our media partners are Spy Ghana, Northern Scope. Join us to move the Northern Region and Ghana forward.

Stay tuned via our social media. Twitter | Facebook | Google+


15 Steps To Moderating a Twitter Chat

Jemila -  Twitter chat moderator expert reading through her tweets.

Jemila – Twitter chat moderator expert reading through her tweets.



Tweet Chats (Twitter Chats) are real time/live conversations held on issues of interest. They are opportunities to engage and converse with other Twitter users on relatable topics. Of course, they are held on Twitter!  Here are 15 things to consider when moderating a Twitter Chat:

  1. Purpose of the chat: Ask yourself what you want to achieve with the chat and what you want participants to learn from the chat.
  2. Develop and create engaging questions or topic: The main topic for the chat/debate should sound interesting for people to join the chat. Ask “How” and “Why” questions and not “Can” questions. The former allows for more contribution from participants while the latter restricts people to either agree or disagree with the topic. In the case of Twitter debates, “Can” questions are employed, but are typically followed up with “Why” for further elaboration by participants.
  3. Read widely about the topic: As a moderator of the Twitter chat/debate, you should have a good grasp on the issues in order to guide the conversation. Read widely on the topic to be discussed, focusing especially on the questions that will steer the conversation. That said, you don’t have to be an expert on the topic – instead, include one or two experts on the panel and direct complex questions to them for further insight. Do not leave any major stone unturned. Some participants are experts in the topic so you need to prepare well.
  4. Create a simple, but catchy hashtag: A tweet is composed of 140 characters. A long hashtag will limit how much can be said per tweet. Make sure the hashtag reflects the topic and is easy to remember. Do not use a long hashtag, remember your participants have only 140 characters to use.  Create a hashtag that speaks about the topic and can easily attract the attention of non-participants
  5. Time zones: Choose your time very well. Pay attention to the time zone of your audience and availability of guests (if any). State the time clearly when promoting the chat.
  6. Promote the chat! Tweet at potential participants: Use the Twitter search feature to search for the hashtag and the topic you are about to discuss. Identify and send tweet invites to specific Twitter handles regarding the upcoming chat. Send out periodic reminders about the chat – a day or two before the chat – state the topic, hashtag, time and guests (if any). Reach out to organisations and networks with an interest in the topic and request that they share with their members. A day or two to the chat day Let people know and understand what it’s all about – Promote the chat days before and consistently remind people about it.




During the Twitter Chat

  1. Start on time: Start at the stated time. Welcome all (don’t forget to mention them, that’s some rapport building), make room for selected participants to introduce themselves and introduce guests (if any) to the audience. Let your audience know if you are running late and use the opportunity to find out who is tuning in and where from.
  2. Ask the first question: Do not ask the main question now, tweet the sub-question as your first question. Example, if the main question is “How can we create jobs?” the first question should be “Why are there not enough jobs in the market?” The idea is to get people more engaged before the main topic so you can make good use of the time and discuss the topic broadly.
  3. Tweet at participants: When asking questions, mention participants’ Twitter handles. It makes them feel part of the conversation and not left out. See if everyone is tweeting and then tweet at the silent tweeps. Monitor both the event hashtag and the account you are tweeting from to ensure you don’t miss anyone.
  4. Don’t just ask questions, Interact!: Allow people to share their thoughts on each question you ask before tweeting the next question. Engage with the audience, join in the conversation. If you are tweeting from your personal account, share your own thoughts. If you are tweeting from an organizational/company account, tweet about overlaps or linkages from that perspective. Let the conversation flow, quote and retweet participants. You can allow people to comment for about 5-10mins before you ask the next question.
  5. Be in control: You are the moderator so be in charge of the conversation. Some participants are likely to divert the discussion. You will need to direct the conversation so such participants don’t distract others. You can do this by tweeting at specific handles and asking them if they agree with a particular tweet by another participant.
  6. Reiterate and Ask follow-up questions: Read the discussion and look out for some questions that can be generated from the tweets from participants. Where necessary, recap key points to ensure everyone is on the same page. It also helps in clarifying submissions.
  7. Retweet as much as possible: Use the search feature on Twitter or Twitter fall to track the participants using the hashtag so you can retweet them, which is a sign that you are reading their tweets. That said, don’t be repetitive with the retweets – be mindful of the 100 tweets per hour/1000 tweets per day limit. Twitter jail looms. Have a backup account for takeover if necessary.
  8. Manage time: As moderator, it is your duty to manage time and ensure that the key aim(s) of the chat are achieved in the allocated time. It’s easy to get carried away, especially with an interactive chat. Close on time and keep participants in high expectation for the next Twitter chat.
  9. Express gratitude to participants, guests and event organisers: Leave on a high note. Say thank you to all who made the chat possible and interesting!

Post Chat

Document the chat: You can use storify to document the chat or submit it to Global Voices Online for publication. Share the storify article with your audience for those who missed the    chat.

Evaluate the conversation: Assess the whole conversation to find out if the right message was communicated or if the intended purpose for holding the chat was achieved.


This post was written by :

Cecil Kwamena Ato Dadzie (@GhanabaKwamena), social media strategist, blogger and Youth Development Advocate.

Kofi Yeboah (@Kofiemeritus), social media strategist, blogger and Communications Officer for Clean Team Ghana - an organisation that provides innovative and portable toilet facilities to the urban .

Thank you to our editor Jemila Abdulai (@JAbdulai)  - Founder of Circumspect.



Two Young Ghanaian Social Entrepreneurs Receive International Award

Originally posted on Alfred Godwin Adjabeng:

Winnifred Selby and Alfred Godwin Adjabeng

Winnifred Selby and Alfred Godwin Adjabeng

Mr. Alfred Godwin Adjabeng, Founder and Executive Director of Reach Out to Future Leaders Movement (ROFLM) and Ms. Win Selby, Co-founder of Ghana Bamboo Bikes represented Ghana at SETAfrica Fellowship and Innovation Award.

They are among 23 young social entrepreneurs who have been picked from 15 Anglophone African countries to undergo leadership training in running social ventures. They received Innovation award and financial support to scale up their projects for their contribution to social entrepreneurship in Africa.

View original 422 more words

10 Under 35 Changemakers in Nigeria You Need To Know

After my first visit to Kenya in June 2013, I was inspired to celebrate the young changemakers in that beautiful country. I then put together with the help of my team and social media friends a list of 10 Under 35 Changemakers in Kenya You Need To Know.

I was then queried by my Ghanaian friends to come up with a list young changemakers tackling major challenges in Ghana and providing employment as a result of their effort. My team and I then published the 10 Under 35 Changemakers You Need To Know In Ghana. 

I got in touch with Chioma Agwuegbo (@chiomachuka), one of Africa’s best bloggers and social media strategist, to put together a list of 10 Under 35 Changemakers in Nigeria You Need To Know. Below are the young Nigerians creating jobs and touching lives with their various businesses and social initiatives. This is not in any particular order, it is purely to celebrate the work and efforts of these young people and to inspire other young people across Africa, particularly in Nigeria.


Grace Ihejiamaizu

Grace Ihejiamaizu

Grace Ihejiamaizu, 23, is a Sociologist lecturer at the University of Calabar, Nigeria  and  a Social Entrepreneur and Global Changemaker with over five years of experience working in the nonprofit and youth development sector. In 2010, she started an afterschool youth development project called ‘Raising Young and Productive Entrepreneurs’ – RYPE Initiative, with the aim of educating, engaging and empowering young high school leavers to become leaders and entrepreneurs in their communities. RYPE’s impact has spanned across various communities in Nigeria, directly reaching more than 300 young people. Grace also founded iKapture Networks in 2013, a social enterprise strategically focused on providing educational and leadership services for students, school leavers and graduates.

Grace is also the founder and chief editor of Opportunity Desk, one of the largest online platforms for information on youth opportunities, scholarships, events, summits, etc. Opportunity Desk has over 100,000 visits monthly and has a growing social media platform for youth engagement.

Grace’s outstanding leadership skills has earned her multiple national and international awards and recognition including being named one of Google’s 12 Brightest Young Minds in 2011, and the recognition by the US State Department as the ‘International Exchange Alumni Member of the Month for September 2012’. She is the youngest to receive this award. The changemaker joined 59 other youths for the British Council Global Changemakers’ Summit in Brussels, Belgium 2012 and was one of 11 outstanding speakers at the TEDxYouth event at Bukoto, Uganda, same year. In 2013, she was one of the Honorees of the Future Awards Africa Young Person of the Year Prize and has been recognized by many other organizations in Africa for her work and achievements including the Under35CEO and Remarkable30 awards.


Japheth Omojuwa

Japheth Omojuwa

Japheth Omojuwa (@omojuwa), 30,a Nigerian blogger, socio-economic and political commentator, environmental consultant and social media expert. He is currently a lecturer (on Africa: Democratic prospects and challenges) at Free University of Berlin, and a consultant with the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Foundation and editor of the blog, Omojuwa.com which he began in 2009.

He has led panels organized by the World Economic Forum (WEF), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development(OECD), African Development Bank (AfDB), the Germany Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development BMZ, Heinrich Boell Stiftung amongst other local and international organisations. He is the creator of Naija Teenz, a platform of engagement and value orientation for Nigerian teenagers and the curator of Omojuwa, which has since become a tool of expression for many Nigerians.

He was one of the outspoken voices during the #OccupyNigeria revolution of 2011, along with other key activists and coalitions, like Eggheader Odewale, Tolu Ogunlesi, Abang Mercy and Enough is Enough Nigeria.  In 2012, YNaija named him one of the most influential young Nigerians under 35 in Business, Fashion, Media, Entertainment, Technology and Politics! with writer, Ifreke Inyang describing him in particular as “king of the click.” In July 2012, he was named ProMaCon Project Management Ambassador, to use the social media and other platforms to educate his fans and followers on the ideals of project management and its indispensability to national development. Omojuwa was ranked 29th on a list of the 100 Most Influential Black People on Digital/Social Media in April 2014 alongside Barack ObamaBeyonceOprah Winfrey amongst others.



Blossom Nnodim. Photo: Blossom Nnodim

Blossom Nnodim (@blcompere), 33, a Nigerian writer, entrepreneur and public servant. She is popular across major cities in Nigeria for her social media educative start-up known as #AdoptATweep,  Abuja’s and probably Nigeria’s foremost largest offline social media event, specifically targeted at the use of twitter for business, networking, marketing, Social Good and branding for creative folks.. 

Consequent upon graduation in 2005, she had a brief work stint with Guaranty Trust BankPort Harcourt, as a Customer Care officer.

Blossom Nnodim was awarded the prestigious International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) of the U.S Department of State as one of the Young African Leaders selected to monitor the U.S Elections in November 2012.  She was one of the speakers at TedX Abuja. Her pieces have appeared on Bella Naija. In July 2012, she and another leading Nigerian social media expert, Japheth J. Omojuwa , were named ProMaCon Project Management Ambassadors, to use the social media and other platforms to educate their fans and followers on the ideals of project management and its indispensability to national development.

Blossom has become a sought after public speaker with her message of Social Media for Social Good. She recently shared a stage with Nuhu Ribadu at “Project Mentor-Me”. In 2013, she was named alongside other A-class individuals as one of the top ten Nigerian celebrities to follow on Twitter. Notable in the list are Don Jazzy and P-Square. In 2014, Blossom got a surprise listing in a high powered listing of Social Media personalities. This is a list of the top 100 most influential black people on digital/social media. Notable in the list are Barack Obama and Beyonce Knowles.


Abasiama Idaresit

Abasiama Idaresit

Abasiama Idaresit (@Abasiama),34, a digital marketing expert and founder and CEO of Wild Fusion, one of Africa’s leading digital marketing agencies. Idaresit founded Wild Fusion in 2010 with no external funding, but with only $250 and with a bootstrapped budget, transforming the company into a $6 million (annual revenues) digital marketing firm offering Internet marketing and digital strategy solutions to some of the largest international corporations operating in in sub-Saharan Africa. Wild Fusion’s clients include Visa V -1.71%Vodafone VOD +1.1%, Samsung and Unilever UN +1.81% as well as several large Pan-African corporations. Wild Fusion, which is on track to make $10 million in revenues this year, also has operations in Kenya and Ghana. Wild Fusion was also Google’s first Adwords certified partner in West Africa. He is a graduate if the London school of Economics and Political Science.


Misan Rewane

Misan Rewane/LinkedIn

Misan Rewane, founder  and CEO of  WAVE Hospitality, an entrepreneurial solution that addresses education challenges in Africa, particularly vocational education that provides skills and jobs to the continent’s most disadvantaged. Misan previously worked at Monitor Group, Technoserve, Bridge International Academies, and The Center for Public Policy Alternatives.

After receiving a seed fund from from Havard she launched WAVE Hospitality Academy in August 2013 which was designed to focus on the training and placement of unemployed youths in the hospitality and retail industry. She has also co-founded IMPACT Initiative (a youth development non-profit), and Desigining Futures (an education incubator). Misan has received degrees from Stanford University and Harvard Business School.


Chude Jideonwo Photo: Google Images

Chude Jideonwo Photo: Google Images


Chude Jideonwo (@chude), 29, a Nigerian lawyer, award-winning journalist and media entrepreneur  and the co-founder of Red Media Africa, a leading marketing and corporate communication company that is subsidiary of the Red Media Group. Chude also founded EnoughisEnough Nigeria, one of the country’s foremost civic participation groups. He chairs the Public Relations & Communications Committee, and in that position has secured buy-in from national and international media including CNN, BBC, Radio France, Reuters, The Associated Press, amongst others. The organization was also a driver for Nigeria’s first ever youth-centred presidential debate in March 2011.

He is the youngest journalist ever to interview a sitting Nigerian president; securing an exclusive sit-down with Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in 2011. in May 2012, appointed the youngest member of the awards committee for the Ford Foundation Jubilee Transparency Award. Nigeria’s foremost daily, The Punch listed Chude alongside thirteen others, as one of the young people to watch in 2012. In February 2013, both Jideonwo and Williams were named in Forbes 30 Under 30: Africa’s Best Young Entrepreneurs.


Photo: Google Images

Ola Orekunr  Photo: Google Images

Dr. Ola Orekunrin (@naijaflyingdr), 26, a medical doctor, a trainee helicopter pilot and an entrepreneur  and founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria,  West Africa’s first air ambulance service which provides urgent air ambulances services to leading health institutions, insurance and private companies in Lagos Nigeria. Dr. Ola started studying Medicine at the University of York in England when she was 15 years and became a medical doctor at the age of 21. She started the new venture after her younger sister died of anaemia. Her sister was always in and out of hospitals and eventually died for lack of the availability of an air ambulance. But starting this venture was not easy. In 2013, she was named among the list of Young Global Leaders by World Economic Forum.  


Toyosi Akerele Photo: Google Images

Toyosi Akerele, Photo: Google Images

Toyosi Akerele (@toyosirise),  founder  and CEO of RISE Networks, a leading Social Enterprise with a deliberate interest in Technology and its relevance to Youth and Education Development across Africa. She was in June of 2011 described by Mrs. Michelle Obama, the First Lady of the United States of America, as one of her personal inspirations in a televised address to America as a prelude to her arrival in Africa for the Young African Women Leaders Forum of which Toyosi remains the only Nigerian member till date.

Her initiative, RISE Networks, has attracted hundreds of thousands of Young People in over 20 Nigerian States in the last 5years. An instinctive entrepreneur and consummate young professional, Toyosi’s leadership skills were recognised early in 2007 when she was selected as one of the 101 Young African Leaders by the African Business Leaders Forum of the Business in Africa Magazine.

An accomplished writer, author and public speaker, Toyosi is the author of  STRATE-TRICKS{strategies and tricks, the winning formula for emerging businesses} and other writings and interviews published in a wide variety of journals, newspapers and magazines, including the Nation, the Guardian, Forbes Magazine, Punch and This Day.

Toyosi is the recipient of numerous awards including recent recognition by Crans Montana Forum in Europe as a 2012 New Leader of Tomorrow, 2012 This Day Awards for Nigeria’s Women of Distinction, Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 of Success Digest Entrepreneurial Awards, The 2011 Excellence Awards of the School of Media and Communication – Pan African University, The 2008 Future Awards (Best Use of Advocacy Category) and the 2007 Nigerian Youth Leadership Awards jointly organised by Leap Africa, International Youth Foundation and NOKIA.  She also owns printmagicng.com – Nigeria’s first online Print Store that delivers 24hours Printing Service at low cost to Small Businesses via the Internet.Toyosi is also the founder of  passnownow.com – Nigeria’s prime Learning based social Community that employs contemporary solutions and innovation to teach, engage, entertain and empower Young people growing from Teenage into early adulthood.


Tunde Kehinde, Photo: Google Images

Tunde Kehinde, Photo: Google Images


Tunde Kehinde (@tunedaay), former co-founder of Jumia Nigeria, Rocket Internet’s largest online store in Africa where people can purchase and browse through a wide range of electronics, fashion, home appliances, kid’s items and more. He and his co-founder Raphael  took over reins of the ecommerce startup mid-2012 with a multimillion-dollar investment from Berlin-based Rocket Internet. Tunde is a trained business person from Harvard and currently reported to starting a new company called NewCo. NewCo is reported to be a logistics company.


Esther Agbarakwe, Photo: Google Images

Esther Agbarakwe, Photo: Google Images

Esther Agbarakwe (@EstherClimate), 29, a social entrepreneur and founder of the Nigerian Youth Climate Coalition and an international climate change campaigner with experience working on environmental sustainability, social and environmental policy analysis, biodiversity conservation, justice and reproductive health and rights. She currently works as a communication advisor for the Association for Reproductive and Family Health.  Esther is also the youngest chair and convener in the General Assembly of ActionAid Nigeria with the responsibility of driving ActionAid’s policies and programs in the country. Previously, she worked as an international advocacy fellow (population, health, environment and climate change) at Population Action International, Washington DC, USA. She has led several youth representations to major climate change and development conferences including Rio+20, Durban Conference and COP17. She has also worked on other projects with UN Commission on Sustainable Development, UNICEF and the Society for Family Health. Esther is one of the Youngers of the Elders+Youngers initiative involving notable leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Gro Harlem Brundtland. She is also a Commonwealth Youth Climate fellow, Atlas Corps international fellow and Dekeyser & Friends Foundation Academy awardee.


Special Feature


Gbenga Sesan

Gbenga Sesan

Gbenga Sesan, 36, founder and Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, a social enterprise that connects Nigerian youth with ICT-enabled opportunities and focuses on consulting, research, telecentre support, youth-led social technopreneurship and capacity building. In October 2001, he was appointed Nigeria’s first Information Technology Youth Ambassador.

Gbenga’s initiative has directly benefited over 7300 young people across Nigeria and beyond. He was recently listed among Schwab Foundation’s Social Entrepreneurs of The Year 2014

He is a  member of the United Nations Committee of eLeaders on Youth and ICT, he is a CyberStewards Program Fellow, Crans Montana Forum Fellow, Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow, Ashoka Fellow, Our Common Future Fellow and Cordes Fellow. ‘Gbenga serves as a member of the Presidential Committee on Roadmap for the Achievement of Accelerated Universal Broadband Infrastructure and Services Provision, was listed in 2012 by CNN as one of the 10 Leading African Tech Voices and by Ventures Africa as one of 40 African Legends Under 40.


Thank you to everyone who contributed to making up this list. Send me your comments or suggestions to this post through my email: emeritus2011@gmail.com or through the comment box below.