Eleven young enterprising Africans, among them two Nigerians, who have been named Young Global Leaders (YGL) by the World Economic Forum (WEF) for 2021, are to benefit from the Aliko Dangote Fellowship endowed to support African Young Global Leaders.
The beneficiaries are among 112 persons under 40 years of age, selected as Young Global Leaders by WEF, from across 56 countries. The two Nigerians, Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong, founder, 54gene and Obi Ozor, founder of Kobo360, joined the ranks of past Nigerian winners, Ambassador Debo Adesina, former Editor-in Chief of the Guardian Newspapers and current Nigerian Ambassador to Togo, and Mr. Simon Kolawole, CEO of Cable Newspapers Limited. While announcing the winners, the WEF confirmed that the African YGLs would benefit from the Aliko Dangote Fellowship, made possible by the Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF).
Till date, 73 Young Leaders from Africa have benefitted from the fellowship. The aim of the fellowship is to increase the quality and quantity of young African leaders by supporting the engagement of African YGLs in the community, such as those from small enterprises or the non-business sector.
The fellowship, WEF added, supports YGLs from Africa to participate in global YGL and Forum events. The YGL award, according to WEF, “is to recognise and create a platform for a dynamic community of exceptional people with the vi-sion, courage, and influence to drive positive change in the world. “We are excited to welcome 112 Young Global Leaders for the Class of 2021. From a gender justice and human rights activist to a multi-award winning artist and advocate for indigenous literacy, to a celebrated leader from the world’s youngest country as well as leaders from business, civil society, healthcare and government.” Giving a breakdown analysis of the winners, the WEF said among the 56 countries represented in the award, eleven leaders hail from Africa and their work brings the promise of a brighter outlook at a difficult time.
“They join a group of Nobel Prize recipients, Pulitzer winners, Heads of state and chief executive officers committed to improving the state of the world,” it noted. Chief Executive of Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF), Zouera Youssoufou, congratulated Ene-Obong and Ozor for this accomplishment and urged them to continue raising the Nigerian and African flags. She said ADF was pleased to have worked with 54gene and Kobo360 at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, when CACOVID partnered various organisations for collaborative efforts to complement the government’s intervention to fight the pandemic. “We are very pleased to see Dr. Abasi Ene-Obong and Obi Ozor recognised in this way given the remarkable work they and their young team have been able to accomplish recently and especially in this past year. “54Gene and Kobo360, have been integral part of the national rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic displaying exemplary professionalism, efficiency, dedication, and patriotism. Truly inspirational and further proof that Nigerian and African youth are capable of anything given the right opportunities,” Zouera enthused. Many of the past winners have gone ahead to prove their leadership and enterprising ability in their various fields of endeavour to justify the essence of the award and the genuineness of their nomination. A past recipient, Ambassador Debo Adesina, said: “I am delighted to have two more Nigerians on the Young Global Leaders list of the World Economic Forum. “This is a great honour and I trust that my compatriots appreciate the responsibility this laurel carries as well as the duties that come with it. Of course, it is a recognition that challenges them to be better at whatever they do, given the illustrious cast of honourees before them.