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Game Changer

GAME CHANGER: Africa Has The Youngest Youth Population In The World. See What JA Africa’s CEO Is Doing About It

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Africa has a weighty situation with its growing youth populations. In an article published this year by World Atlas, 28 of 30 countries with the youngest populations in the world are in Africa. About 70% of Africa’s population is under the age of 30, presenting the continent with a great opportunity as well as a major challenge on how to tap into this asset. Up to 10 million young people enter into a weak labor market in the continent annually, and few of those will find jobs. Africa’s education systems have not typically caught pace with the needs of the workplace so there is a big mismatch between what employers are looking for and what potential employees have to offer.

Where Does The African Diaspora Fit In All This? 

This is a question that has nagged me for some time. As I pondered the gravity of this question, I turned to Junior Achievement (JA) Africa for insight.

JA Africa is an organization whose mission is to economically empower Africa’s youth by bridging the gap between classroom education and the world of work. JA programs focus on financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship and provide experiential learning opportunities for young people to prepare for their professional lives in the 21st century. Working in 14 countries, JA Africa reaches over 230,000 students annually, building skills and access to opportunity and employment.

They work with schools, technical/vocational centers and other partners. They enhance the traditional academic, vocational or technical training for both in school and out of school youth. Through their programs students learn the importance of self-confidence and self-efficacy,  how to create resumes, how to interview for jobs and how to behave once they get a job. The students also learn how to start a business, how to open a bank account, how to create and manage a budget and how to write a check. They learn all those things that you need to know as an adult but are seldom taught at school.

Interview With Elizabeth Elango Bintliff – JA Africa’s CEO

I felt there was something to be learned from the successes and challenges JA has experienced in their efforts to prepare Africa’s invaluable human resource for the future. As a result, I reached out to Elizabeth Elango Bintliff to learn more.

Junior Achievement Africa CEO Elizabeth Elango Bintliff

Elizabeth is the President and CEO of JA Africa for over 2 years now. She is a development professional with 17 years of experience working in developing countries and emerging economies. Formerly the vice-president of Africa Programs at Heifer International, Elizabeth managed a multi-million dollar portfolio in 12 sub-Saharan African countries. Elizabeth is committed to development, especially for people in Africa, where she believes that giving three things – choices, voices and opportunities – are key to changing the trajectory of development on the continent.

Born and raised in Cameroon, Bintliff earned a Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs from Kennesaw State University in Georgia, and has a Masters in African Studies from Yale University. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Zanzibar. Bintliff was recently awarded the Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth Distinguished Alumni Award for Exceptional Humanitarian and Service Achievement by her alma mater, Kennesaw State University.

What Are JA’s Most Effective And Successful Programs?

Elizabeth Elango Bintliff: All our programs are tailored to the specific needs of our students and the contexts in which they live. However, the JA Company Program® has been the most successful and is the most well-known and widely used program. The Company Program teaches students how to start and run their own businesses, developing and marketing a product or service with the guidance of a local business volunteer/mentor.

JA Students

At the beginning of the school year students form a company, elect or select management, come up with a name and business idea. They capitalize the business by selling shares to classmates, parents and teachers then they run the business throughout the school year, while being mentored and coached by business professionals from the community. The value added here is that it gives young people an alternative perspective on earning a livelihood. Students learn concepts like raising capital, shareholder management, product quality control, design, human resource management and so on.

At the end of the school year students from different schools compete at the national competition for prizes and then the national winners go on to compete at the Africa-wide Company of the Year competition for the title of Company of the Year. It is a great knowledge and confidence builder for students, many of whom leave their countries for the first time to attend this event. It is amazing to see them stand up on a big stage as company CEO or CFO and pitch their businesses to very intimidating judges. We believe this is exactly the kind of muscle our youth need to be building in Africa…the ability to compete on the global stage.

What Types Of Challenges Has JA Encountered?

Elizabeth Elango Bintliff: Even though our impact can be felt on the continent there is still a lot that needs to be done. There is still a knowledge and awareness gap. The skills gap in Africa is a persistent program. A big challenge is the agency of parents in the decision-making process of their children about their future careers. Parents also need to change their mindset on jobs and work readiness. There is still this sense that being a lawyer or a doctor is the ultimate goal, even when it is out of synch with the aspirations or capacities of the child.

Parents need to change their perspective on financial literacy. Money is still a taboo subject in many circles. There is still a sense that entrepreneurship is too risky a path to take and young people are often discouraged from it. We navigate these challenges through telling stories. We’ve been telling a lot of stories of our alumni lately. African kids need role models. This is something I say often to successful Africans: tell your story. It is exactly what someone behind you needs to keep walking. Its like walking in the forest, you feel better when you know that someone has beaten the path already and you can just walk in their footsteps.

When we speak to our young students and we ask who their heroes are they often cite Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet. While those are all great men their stories and their origins are so far removed from the average African kid. I want kids to look just around them to find their heroes. I want them to know the stories of Aliko Dangote and Strive Masiyiwa or Folorunsho Alakija.

How Does JAMeasure Success?

Elizabeth Bintliff with JA Students

Elizabeth Elango Bintliff: We measure our success in part by looking at the numbers of classes served, number of students reached and number of volunteers. Last year we worked with over 230,000 students. The size of the challenge we are tackling is enormous so scale is important. But our measurement of success is not just about numbers, it is also about depth. Before any programs begin we measure where students are through surveys. For example, in an entrepreneurship program we will ask them what they know about entrepreneurship, what their attitudes are toward it, if they know any entrepreneurs, etc.

During the program, local staff in the countries where we operate work with facilitators, monitoring program delivery, troubleshooting problems and sharing learning to improve program quality. From time to time we have workshops to discuss the successes and challenges, how learning from prior years were applied, what improvements were achieved as a result, and what new lessons would be built into future programs.  

At the end of the program we ask ourselves and the students again: what are the impacts of the program on participating students? To what extent does program implementation vary from country to country and what are the success factors? In all, JA seeks to capture what the tangible benefits of the programs are and to what extent do they help create centers of social change through economic education and growth. Our theory of change is that when young people educated in entrepreneurship, more small businesses will be established and economic prosperity ensues from that.  

Ultimately, the measure of success is in the stories of our alumni; when we hear from them about what JA meant to their lives and their success we know we are doing something right. We get great satisfaction from that. The lowest common denominator of our work is people…that is where success matters most.

What Are Some Moments That Make It All Worth It?

JA Student

Elizabeth Elango Bintliff: One of my favorite JA stories is from the slums of Kibera, Kenya where JA supports an after-school soccer academy for girls. These teenage girls produce and sell a magazine they named “Shedders.” Their aim was to shed some light and raise awareness of issues within Kibera from the perspective of young women, highlighting both the joys and challenges of life in a slum. They write the stories and manage all components of the magazine, then sell it for a profit. Half of the profit goes to support the school where all staff are volunteers and half goes to fund the girls who go on to attend university.

I also love the story of Rudo Mazhandu. Rudo has a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering; but in spite of this, like many young Zimbabweans, she faced the reality of unemployment upon completing her studies. She tried to be employed in the public sector as a secondary school teacher; but the remuneration coupled with the under-utilization of her skills made her quit the job in less than a year. In December 2014, Rudo decided to start a green bar soap-making enterprise. Junior Achievement Zimbabwe (JAZ)’s entrepreneurship course was a turning point in Rudo’s business. She received training on customer care, marketing, record keeping. Today, her revenue has almost doubled and she employees up to seven casual workers.

Another inspiring story is of Daniel Antwi in Ghana. Daniel says often that the best decision he made in high school was to join the Junior Achievement Club. He was the marketing executive. As a team they floated shares for students to buy with their pocket money. They marketed the idea in classrooms, dining halls and notice boards, then used the revenue to buy real shares in a real company. As a social entrepreneur today Daniel says his skills in public speaking, business acumen, marketing and relating to people all came from his association with JA. Daniel co-founded the People Initiative Foundation to nurture and mentor the talents and ideas of young people who are positively changing Africa.

What Is JA’s Life Force?

Elizabeth Elango Bintliff: As with most non-profits we depend on donor funding to do our work. We count among our donors large corporations and foundations or private individuals making small gifts. Our donors are the backbone of our operations. For us, it is an honor to be brokers of trust between these entities and the change they want to see happen in the work. We are grateful to companies like FedEx, Citi Foundation, Prudential Insurance and others that have supported our programs. We value gifts in cash as much as we value gifts in kind.

Volunteerism is central to JA’s model as we mostly use volunteers to deliver our programs in and out of the classroom. Volunteer support ranges from sponsoring programs to providing coaching, mentoring and offering expert advice on any upcoming issues. We also partner with companies to co-create programs that create shared value. Anyone interested in being a part of our work can visit our website at www.ja-africa.org.

How Can The African Diaspora Participate?

Elizabeth Elango Bintliff: The African diaspora has a big role to play in our work. Going back to the idea of mentorship and coaching, this is a big part of the success of young people. Successful professionals can empower young Africans by engaging them in activities that enable them to change their futures and the economic trajectory of the continent. They could do so by sponsoring programs, by donating, by volunteering and by leveraging their networks to deliver impact. At JA Africa we believe that Africans who has attained a certain level of success have the responsibility to reach back and pull a young person along on their journey.

Editor’s Note

One thing is for sure. Africa’s next chapter is being defined as we speak and the outcome will be shaped by the investments each African on the continent and in the diaspora makes today. It is my hope that this interview with Elizabeth Elango Bintliff presents each of us with one more way in which we can participate in shaping Africa’s next chapter.

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10 Things Nipsey Hussle Did To Help Transform His Community

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Nipsey Hussle

Eritrean-American, Ermias Asghedom aka Nipsey Hussle was shot multiple times on the 31st of March in front of a strip mall he was developing. However, the motive is still unknown. The sudden demise of the 33-year old rapper and father of two threw LA community and his fans around the globe into mourning. But, his death also turned the focus on his community transformation works. Hussle was an entrepreneur and an activist but many did not realize up until his death. Fans are now calling for a continuation of his legacy. Below are ten ways Hussle was positively transforming his community.

#1 – Gun violence

Gun violence is a great problem in Los Angeles. However, Hussle was already working with the LA police department to find a solution to this menace. In fact, Steve Soboroff, the LA Police Commissioner revealed Hussle had scheduled a meeting with the LAPD to discuss gun violence on 1st of April. Sadly, he didn’t live to see that day.

In an interview in 2018, Nipsey Hussle described his experience living within a neighborhood terrorized by gun violence.

“It was like living in a war zone, where people die on these blocks and everybody is a little bit immune to it. I guess they call it post-traumatic stress, when you have people that have been at war for such a long time. I think L.A. suffers from that because it’s not normal yet we embrace it like it is after a while.”

#2 – Encouraging young students to learn

Hussle gave South LA’s 59th Elementary School money to get a new pair of shoes for every student. Hussle understood that education is the greatest gift that you can give any child. However, not every child understands the importance of education because of their limited experience and logic reasoning. Notwithstanding, incentives like a pair of shoes is what will keep some children longing for school.

#3 – Education Infrastructure

Nipsey Hussle partnered with Puma to renovate playgrounds and basketball courts in 59th Street Elementary School. In a 2018 interview with The Los Angeles Times Hussle explained his motivation for investing in educational infrastructure. He said,

“I remember being young and really having the best intentions and not being met on my efforts. You’re, like, ‘I’m going to really lock into my goals and my passion and my talents’ but you see no industry support. You see no structures or infrastructure built and you get a little frustrated.”

#4 – Music

The lyrics of Nipsey Hussle’s songs were mostly laden with his gang experiences. He didn’t gloat over these experiences. Rather, he paints a gory picture of how life was paper thin as a way of discouraging others from strolling that path. His lyrics were relatable among street hustlers and this made him a local hero. The lyrics to one of his songs in his album ‘Victory Lap’ was, “Damn right, I like the life I built / I’m from west side, 60 … I might got killed / Standin’ so tall, they think I might got stilts/ Legendary baller, like Mike, like Wilt.”

#5 – The Marathon Clothing


The Marathon Clothing is one of Nipsey Hussle’s investment in his neighborhood. It has now become a symbol of empowerment and commitment to a neighborhood famous for its violent penchants. It was in the same shop he sold 1,000 mixtapes at $100 each. People thought he was crazy until Jay-Z bought $10,000 worth of copies. This really helped him to launch his career. It was also in front of this store that his life was senselessly ended from gunshot wounds.

The flagship store had an overwhelming influx of orders after Hussle died. They closed their doors this week. However, their e-commerce site remains functional. They put out the following message on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

Thank you 🏁

A post shared by The Marathon Clothing (@themarathonclothing) on

#6 – Jobs

Nipsey Hussle’s investments and entrepreneurship drive in his community also gave him the opportunity to become an employer. Within hours after his death, an elderly man was in a video praising the rapper for giving him a job. This might appear to be a lone case. However, several others are also direct beneficiaries of Hussle’s persistence to build wealth.

#7 – Vector90

Vector90 is a 4,700 square foot shared working space with a kitchen, hot desk, private conference rooms, and several other amenities. Nipsey Hussle was part of the building of Vector90 in Crenshaw District. The shared working space connects young talents in impoverished communities with Silicon Valley opportunities. With as little as $20 you get a day pass that gives you access to all the amenities except the conference room. However, students and locals get huge discounts to use the space. Vector90 gives a diverse group of people the opportunity to meet, network, and collaborate.

#8 – Real Estate

Nipsey Hussle invested millions of dollars on a strip mall property on Crenshaw Boulevard and Slauson Avenue in a bid to bring jobs and black-owned businesses to South LA. Hussle and his business partner, Dave Gross were working on an initiative, ‘Our Opportunity’. Hussle told Forbes in February 2019 he wants to work with black community leaders across all the U.S. cities to create real estate hub and small businesses to benefit the black community.

#9 – Destination Crenshaw

Destination Crenshaw

Destination Crenshaw Initiative

Hussle was working hard to revamp the image of his neighborhood. Consequently, he was part of the Destination Crenshaw, an initiative with a 1.3-mile open-air museum for the exhibition of rotating and permanent art design reveling black culture and history. Furthermore, the project on Crenshaw Boulevard was to promote cultural experiences.

#10 – “Dropping the Rope”

Nipsey Hussle was not only a rapper, or an Entrepreneur. He was a man determined to improve the situation of the community that he grew up in.

In what is perhaps his first on-camera interview, at the Russell Simmons’ Get Your Money Right summit in 2006, hip-hop journalist Davey D asked Hussle

“How come you not blingin’ and having all kind of crazy diamonds and all that?” To which Hussle replied, “I’d rather invest in some real estate”.
“So you trying to get land?” Davey D asked. “Exactly, homie, a real asset to take care of my people,” Hussle said matter-of-factly.

He had stayed focused in his short life, on a simple mission which he shared with Foxla in an interview that was published November 2018.

“We playing the long game. We don’t want the money to stop when we go. When we can’t work no more. We want it to outlive us, we want it to be generational,” Hussle said to FOX 11 reporter Leah Uk.

“I call it ‘dropping the rope’. You’ve got to drop a rope. Everybody got to climb up, but you gotta drop the rope.”

'I call it ‘dropping the rope’. You’ve got to drop a rope. Everybody got to climb up, but you gotta drop the rope.' - Nipsey Hussle Click To Tweet

His legacy was founded on this idea of pulling the community up by the bootstraps. He was determined to transform his community for the better and he put his money where his heart was.

EDITOR’S NOTE

When I first heard of Nipsey Hussle’s passing, I had no idea who he was. Then the news persisted and I started learning about the guy and I could not help but admire a man who was determined to ‘drop the rope’ and pull up his community. It is my hope that we are all inspired to drop the rope so others can climb whenever and wherever the opportunity arises. May his legacy live on in all of us who have been inspired by a young man gone too soon.

— Belle Niba, Editorial Director

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Game Changer

Nigerian Makes History At NASA

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Wendy Okolo

Every now and then a genius emerges from Africa and stuns the world. This time it is Wendy Okolo making history as the first black woman to bag a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at NASA. However, this is not the first time Wendy Okolo is making history.

At the age of 26 back in 2015, Wendy Okolo became the first black woman to bag a doctorate degree in aerospace engineering. She obtained both her BSc and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Arlington. During her undergraduate days, she was a member of the African Student Society at the University of Texas at Arlington. While in the university, Wendy Okolo also served as the president of the society of women engineers.

Wendy Okolo’s Family And Career

Nigerian Wendy Okolo

Wendy Okolo is one of the six children of a family whose origin goes back to southeastern Nigeria. She regards her sisters Phyllis and Jennifer as her heroes. According to Wendy, they used their day-to-day experiences to teach her biology and other sciences.

Her first stint with NASA’s Orion spacecraft was during her undergraduate days as an intern with Lockheed Martin. As a graduate student from 2010 to 2012, she worked as a summer researcher at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). At this time she was part of the Control Design and Analysis Branch. During this period Wendy Okolo said she had to fight imposter’s syndrome. She felt she was not good enough to work with such an elite team.

I was like I am sure these guys are so smart, what am I going to bring in.

Her first impact on the team was fixing a system error code. According to her, “that fixed the imposter syndrome for a while”. Today, Wendy Okolo works at Ames Research Center as an aerospace engineer. This is one of the major research center belonging to NASA in California’s Silicon Valley.

Black Engineer Of The Year Award 2019

In February 2019, Wendy Okolo won the “Most Promising Engineer” at the BEYA Global Competitiveness Conference Award. The award from the U.S. government is a recognition for her contributions in aerospace engineering. Today, Wendy Okolo uses her position to inspire young girls to pursue a career in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). She shared the award on her Twitter handle with the caption, “#beya #beya2019 @BlackEngineer thank you for the honor!”

Currently, in NASA’s Ames Research Center Okolo works in the Intelligence Systems Division as a special emphasis programs manager. Okolo’s other major achievements include predicting GPS faults in drones. Wendy Okolo, through STMD-ECI project, is also working on improving spacecraft’s maneuverability during entry, descent, and landing. The STMD-ECI project is worth $2.5 million dollars.

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Game Changer

Top 10 Current African Heads of State

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Africa battles hunger, poverty, lack of basic infrastructure, corruption, and a host of other challenges. Of all these problems, corruption seems to be the most endemic that is sapping the life out of the continent. Many believe corruption and lack of sincerity of the leaders is the bane of Africa. However, there are few African leaders that are redefining leadership in Africa. These leaders are taking steps towards transforming the condition of their people for the better.

From economic policies to fighting corruption to infrastructural development, these leaders are matching words with action. The top 10 current African Heads of State are ranked based on Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG), Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI), safety and rule of law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity, and human development. Since corruption is considered the bane of Africa, ranking emphasis will be on Transparency International CPI.

Paul Kagame (Rwanda)

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda

President Paul Kagame gets the number one spot on our list of Top 10 Current African Heads of State. Rwanda does not have the lowest corruption rating in Africa, however, in just under two decades of Kagame’s leadership, a country that was divided and poor is now growing at a rate comparable to emerging economies like China.

Before assuming office as the president, Paul Kagame was the commander of the rebel forces that ended the 1994 genocide. 6 years later, Kagame was sworn in as President to a country that was as divided as ever with mounting challenges. In addition to poverty, revenge killings were going on unchecked and corruption was rampant. Rwanda had lost its way and needed direction. Kagame prioritized two main objectives – one was to unify his country and the second was to pull his country out of poverty. He invested time in understanding how other emerging economies such as China, Thailand, and Singapore had transformed their economies. Based on what he learned, he put together a government development plan for Rwanda called Vision 2020 with a goal to transform Rwanda into a robust middle-class economy by 2020. The Vision 2020 serves as a roadmap with 44 clear measurable objectives tracked by the government and private consultancy firms.

Rwanda now has a CPI score of 56% which places the country 48/180 as compared to other countries in the world. Similarly, IMF/ADB estimates that her economy will grow by 7.8% by 2019/2020. Safety and rule of law, as well as human development, has increased tremendously since the genocide to 64.2% and 69.9% respectively in 2017. Additionally, Rwanda has an IIAG good governance score of 64.3% which places them at 8th on the continent. President Paul Kagame gets the number one spot on our list of Top 10 Current African Heads of State for his efforts in transforming Rwanda’s trajectory in less than two decades – restoring peace and fostering economic and infrastructural growth.

Danny Faure (Seychelles)

Seychelles has the best CPI score in Africa (66%) which makes them the least corrupt country in Africa. This score ranks Seychelles 28 out of 180 countries in the world. Seychelles President Faure came into power on October 16, 2016. Before then he served as the country’s vice president between 2010 and 2016. Seychelles has an overall governance score of 73.2. This ranks the country 2nd in Africa. Safety and rule of law and human development stands at 74.8% and 83.8% respectively. There is also high participation and respect of human rights in Seychelles (70.5%). Investors and job seekers will also meet a high sustainable economic opportunity (63.5%).

Mokgweetsi Masisi (Botswana)

President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana

Botswana defies all the negative indices peculiar to many African countries. The BBC described Botswana as the most stable country in Africa. Before becoming the nation’s 5th president on April 1, 2018, President Mokgweetsi served as the education minister. Botswana has the second least corrupt public sector in Africa with a score of 61% on CPI. Compared to other countries in the world, Botswana ranks 34/180. This is not only the second best in Africa but also trumps prominent Asian and South American countries. In terms of security and rule of law and human development, Botswana scores 79.6% and 72.5% respectively. This is also one of the highest scores on the continent. Respect for human rights is also high (63.3%). According to the IIAG, Botswana has an overall governance score of 68.5%. Botswana’s economy has remained fairly stable. The nation has also moved away from the mono-diamond economy to explore other sectors including tourism.

Hage Geingob (Namibia)

President Hage Geingob of Namibia

There are only three African countries that score above 50 on CPI and Namibia is the third. Namibia has a score of 53% which ranks it 52/180 on global transparency index. It also ranks 4th out of 54 on IIAG’s governance index.

Prior to becoming the president on March 21, 2015, President Hage Gottfried Geingob served as the country’s first Prime Minister from 1990 to 2002. Geingob has virtually been on the corridors of power since 1990 and his experience is evident in Namibia’s high safety and rule of law and human development rating of 77.1% and 63%b respectively. Namibia is also one of the top-ranked African countries in terms of human rights (74.9%).

Macky Sall (Senegal)

President Macky Sall of Senegal

Senegal has a CPI score of 45/100 and ranks 67/180. Macky Sall has displayed a transformational leadership since coming into office in April 2012. Based on IMF projection, Senegal shows all the signs that it will become the sixth fastest growing economy in Africa before Q4, 2019, pegging its economic growth rate at 6.7%. President Sall has also raised Senegal’s safety and rule of law to 67.1% while human rights and human development are pegged at 67.8% and 59.5% respectively. Senegal now has an overall governance score of 63.3% and ranks 10th in Africa based on IIAG.

Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa)

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa

Since the end of apartheid on April 27th, 1994, South Africa has become a model for other Africa countries in many spheres. On February 2018, Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn into office after his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, was indicted for corruption. However, South Africa has a CPI score of 43% which ranks the nation 73/180. Upon assuming office, Ramaphosa pledged to prioritize land reforms and economy. South Africa’s economy remains the second largest after Nigeria’s economy. The country also has an impressive safety and rule of law score if 66.7% which is close behind Senegal. South Africa has the second highest human rights score after Namibia (74.4%). The country’s sustainable economic opportunity and human development are 65.1 and 65.6 respectively. It is ranked 7th in Africa for good governance by IIAG.

Beji Caid Essebsi (Tunisia)

President Beji Caid Essebsi of Tunisia

President Essebsi is a product of Tunisia’s December 21, 2014 revolution. Since his swearing into power on 31st December 2014, President Essebsi has taken bold steps to restore the people’s lost government confidence. In terms of public sector transparency, Tunisia scores 43% occupying position 73/180 in the world. Tunisia is generally safe (62.0%). The country also has a high human rights participation score of 67.3% and human development of 65.4%. In overall governance, Tunisia occupies the 9th position in Africa with a score of 63.5% by IIAG. With a more stable society, Tunisia’s tourism sector has grown tremendously. However, a recent increase in taxes has brought protests back to the streets.

Saadeddine Othmani (Morocco)

President Saadeddine Othmani of Morocco

Moroccan Prime Minister Saadeddine Othmani was appointed a prime minister in April 2017. In collaboration with King Mohammed VI and parliament, Morocco has become a reference point for a classic example of good leadership—particularly in Northern Africa. Like South Africa and Tunisia, Morocco has a CPI score of 43% and shares the same position with the other two countries. However, Morocco ranks lower in safety and rule of law and human development (61.9% and 61.6% respectively) compared to the other two countries. But Morocco has better sustainable economic opportunities than the other two (68.3%). According to reports, Morocco retains a place as one of the biggest economies on the continent with FDI hitting 36.75% in November 2018. Sadly, Morocco still has one of the worst human rights participation in Africa (41.8%). In spite of that, it claimed IIAG’s 15th spot out of 54 countries in Africa for good governance.

Nana Akufo-Addo (Ghana)

President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana

The only reason Nana Akufo-Addo is not among the top three on the list of top 10 current African Heads of State is that Ghana is still struggling with a corrupt public system. Ghana scores 41% on CPI and ranks 78/180. After coming into power in January 2017, President Akufo-Addo left no one in doubt that he is taking leadership in Ghana to the next frontier. Today, key good governance statistics tilt in his favor. Take, for instance, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in conjunction with the African Development Bank (ADB) is projecting a growth rate of 7.6% in 2019/2020. In terms of overall governance, Ghana is 6th in Africa with an overall score of 68.1% by IIAG. Ghana scores high in safety and rule of law (70.7%), human rights participation (73.0%) and human development (69.9%).

Roch Marc Christian Kabore (Burkina Faso)

President Roch Marc Christian Kabore of Burkina Faso

Like many of the Top 10 African Heads of State, President Kabore was courting absolute power before becoming president. Kabore served as the country’s Prime Minister between 1994 and 1996. The banker also served as the president of the country’s National Assembly between 2002 and 2012. Since becoming the president in 2015, Kabore has made sweeping changes. Burkina Faso now has a CPI score of 41% and occupies position 78 out of 180 countries. Burkina Faso enjoys good safety and rule of law (59.1%) as well as human development (54.8%). However, Burkinabe has to face the reality of below average sustainable economic opportunity (49.6%). As far as IIAG governance ranking goes, the country ranked 16th out of 54.

Final Thoughts

Like every other continent in the world, Africa has myriads of challenges. However, these courageous African leaders are taking bold steps to address them. Obviously, the list of top 10 current African Heads of State can change drastically if the focus key indicator changes. However, which other African leader do you think deserves to be on the list? Let us know your reasons in the comment box below.

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