During an advocacy ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa, the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD (www.NEPAD.org) gave awards to five distinguished African Youth Champions for their contribution to Africa’s progress towards the goals of Agenda 2063. On this occasion, five young Africans who won ‘#TheAfricaWeWant Youth Essay Contest’ were also announced.
Much discussion and interaction between AUDA-NEPAD, African media, development partners and communication stakeholders has brought out the need to collaborate on advocacy and awareness of Agenda 2063 through #TheAfricaWeWant campaign.
To this end, several initiatives have been embarked on by the AUDA-NEPAD Communications team, including the launch of the Agenda 2063 Media Network in April 2018; the identification of young ‘champions’ who represent the ethos of #TheAfricaWeWant to create awareness of Agenda 2063 in their respective spheres of influence; as well as the Youth Essay Contest held in the first quarter of this year, in order to step up momentum with regards to coverage and awareness of the continent’s for transformation.
On this special occasion, winners of the essay contest on #TheAfricaWeWant were awarded with prizes sponsored by the AUDA-NEPAD and Old Mutual South Africa. In first place was David Nyabenda from Burundi and the second prize winner was Mwanje Charles from Uganda. The third prize went to Fanto Foday from Sierra Leone, who was followed in fourth place by Bakani Mark Ncube from Zimbabwe. The fifth prize went to Grace Nakomolwa from Tanzania.
The winners were chosen by a panel of six judges, headed by the AUDA-NEPAD Goodwill Ambassador for TB and Nutrition, Yvonne Chaka Chaka. The winning essays were selected based on innovative ideas, creativity, originality and applicability of proposed solutions to the continent’s challenges.
Five youth champions were also recognised for their entrepreneurial actions, resilience and activities. They are:
- Angele Messa, an award-winning Education Technology Entrepreneur and founder of Kamer Big Bang (EduClick). Kamer Big Bang specialises in alternative education solutions for those who cannot access formal learning.
- Silas Adekunle, a technology entrepreneur known for creating the world’s first intelligent gaming robot. At the age of 26, Silas is part of Forbes’ latest 30 Under 30 list for European Technology.
- Mogau Seshoene, founder of The Lazy Makoti, a business she started after leaving the corporate world to focus on her love for food. She not only offers cooking lessons, but aims to preserve South African cuisine and its heritage.
- Ndeu Stefan Naukushu, CEO of Africa Productivity Specialists, an operations and productivity improvement company that harnesses tech of the 4IR. He implements solutions that use enabling tech of AI, big data, blockchain and mobile apps.
- Edzai Conilias Zvobwo, Edzai Conilias Zvobwo, founder of the MathsGenius Leadership Institute believes that Africa has the capacity to solve its issues given the rich philosophical and cultural diversity on the continent. He is convinced that Africa’s people need to be trained to become prolific problem solvers and that subjects like mathematics and coding can be used as vehicles to achieve social and economic upliftment of Africans.
At the ceremony, AUDA-NEPAD’s CEO, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, declared, “The Youth Champions are crucial in making #TheAfricaWeWant a reality. Promoting youth entrepreneurship is key for economic growth and inclusive societies, being mindful that the majority of youths live in rural areas. Agenda 2063 is a way of achieving inclusive growth, by allowing us to get closer to the citizens of Africa.”