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Meet the 2021 Fellows

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Sandra Ajaja

Sandra Ajaja

Nigeria

Sandra Ajaja is a gender and development expert with more than five years of experience fostering gender equality in Sub-Saharan Africa. She is the founder of Fempower Africa, a social enterprise in Nigeria that promotes gender inclusion and diversity in technology. With volunteers from several African countries, Fempower Africa has provided 2,000 women with technology literacy skills and a financial education. Sandra is currently pursuing a master's degree in Gender and Development at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex through a Commonwealth Scholarship. Sandra was a Young Leader for Development at the European Commission's 2019 European Development Days. She is also a recipient of the Young African Leaders Award and the Diana Award. A global voice for gender equality, Sandra aims to scale her reach to more than 10 million women after completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

Bakary Coulibaly

Bakary Coulibaly

Mali

Bakary Coulibaly is a computer science instructor with more than 12 years' teaching experience. He has a bachelor's degree in German and English. Bakary founded the Computer Science Training Center of Safo (CFIS) to help people living in small towns outside Bamako, Mali, escape poverty by providing them with the skills necessary to pursue technology jobs that pay a living wage. In addition to teaching computer science, Bakary also offers English lessons. By bringing language and technology classes to small towns, CFIS helps local people increase their economic opportunities and potential. In a partnership between CFIS and the U.S. Embassy in Mali, the embassy has donated books to support the organization's effort to teach English. In its first year, CFIS trained more than 150 students, who earned certificates of achievement and learning. Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Bakary plans to pursue his dream to end computer illiteracy in his community and to provide access to computer science classes to rural communities.

Abubakarr Daoh

Abubakarr Daoh

Sierra Leone

Abubakarr Daoh has more than 10 years of experience as a professional accountant and is a nascent entrepreneur in Sierra Leone. Abubakarr is a central banker focused on banking supervision. He provides quality assurance in financial and regulatory reporting, assesses early warning signals, and works to ensure financial soundness and system stability. He is the founder of 360 Intelligence SL Ltd. and 360 Softcorp SL Ltd., which focus on business intelligence, digital marketing, software optimization and development, and media consulting. Abubakarr is also the founder of Heirs Africa and NEXTE, two non-profit organizations that provide mentorship, business incubation, and fundraising for charitable causes. Abubakarr is pursuing his Ph.D. in Accounting. He holds a Master of Business Administration, a certificate from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, and multiple academic certifications. Abubakarr is passionate about broadening, accelerating, and deepening Sierra Leone's technological footprint and financial inclusion. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Abubakarr hopes to establish a zero-commission investment and equity trading platform in which entrepreneurs can access capital and growth finance to make up for the lack of an active stock exchange in Sierra Leone.

Aminatou Diallo

Aminatou Diallo

Senegal

Aminatou Diallo has more than five years of experience in business management. She is currently the chief executive officer of MISO, a small business specializing in e-commerce (Waakili). She is also a co-founder of an online learning and job finder platform, Maadiba, that helps empower youth with technical skills needed in the labor market and provides mentorship programs through that platform. Aminatou holds a master's degree in Marketing and Business Intelligence and is passionate about entrepreneurship and youth empowerment. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Aminatou plans to apply her new skills and knowledge to develop her business.

Kundi Doe

Kundi Doe

Liberia

Kundi Venessa Doe is a policy analyst, servant leader, mentor, and social entrepreneur. Currently, Kundi works in the Revenue and Tax Policy Division of the Liberian Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, where she drafts policies, proposals, and regulations to improve and promote the Liberian economy. She also is responsible for reporting, monitoring, researching, and providing advice regarding Liberia's business income tax. In addition, Kundi is founder and chief executive officer of Sour Milk Liberia, a Liberian-style yogurt and social enterprise that helps address unemployment in Liberia while providing nutritious products for youth and adults. Kundi is passionate about education, public policy, financial management, and entrepreneurship. She is committed to inspiring young men and women in her community to reach their potential. Kundi holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management from Stella Maris Polytechnic University. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Kundi plans to improve the quality of her work and expand her business to create employment for 200 Liberians over the next decade.

Bereket Dubale

Bereket Dubale

Ethiopia

Bereket Amsalu Dubale is an investment professional with a particular interest in emerging markets and the development of the private sector in Ethiopia. Having worked at various levels of investment advisory and deal sourcing, he helps start-ups transform into mature entities. Bereket delivers value-driven solutions for start-ups and innovators who are looking for capital and strategic partners. Interested in promoting visibility in business, he makes actionable investment data easily accessible to stakeholders. Bereket is passionate about the growth of innovative financial technology solutions that can promote financial inclusion, through which individuals and businesses can access affordable and timely financial products and services. Bereket has a Master of Science in Finance from the University of London and a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Finance from Addis Ababa University. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, he plans to use his leadership skills and professional network to address pressing issues within Ethiopia's private sector.

Islam Elamin Elsheikh

Islam Elamin Elsheikh

Sudan

Islam Abdalla Elamin Elsheikh is a managing partner at Narbase Technologies, a software development house that has developed some of Sudan's most successful apps including Mishwar, Orooma.com, and S24. Narbase serves a wide range of clients including individuals, small businesses, and corporate clients in six countries. Currently, Narbase is developing Balsam, an online health platform that connects patients with service providers and provides tools for health professionals to better serve their patients. For the past few years, Islam has been active in the start-up and entrepreneurship community, mentoring events such as start-up Weekend, and giving lectures in Khartoum. Islam studied at the University of Khartoum and graduated from Petronas University of Technology with a major in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and a minor in Management. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, he intends to use the skills and networks he developed to further his work.

Ida Faal

Ida Faal

The Gambia

Ida Faal is a female entrepreneur and auto mechanic engineer. She is founder of ClockTVET Foundation, which advocates for technical vocational educational training in The Gambia. Ida is a successful auto mechanic and serves as a role model to young women who want to venture into a technical or vocational sector or into a male-dominated field. She is the representative and ambassador of the African Union International Centre for the Education of Girls and Women in The Gambia, a member of the National Society of Black Engineers and country coordinator of Women in Science and Engineering, the country representative of the African Economic Congress, and the country ambassador of Women in Tech. She studied auto mechanics engineering at SOS Hermann Gmeiner Vocational Training Centre. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Ida plans to continue helping and developing the skills of youth in her community.

Franck Fade

Franck Fade

Cote d'Ivoire

Franck Fade has more than 10 years of professional experience in information and communication technology and program management. Currently, Franck is a strategic program senior manager at Orange where he focuses on leading disruptive innovations in Côte d'Ivoire. Passionate about technology, he founded Ivoire Talents, a digital learning platform where students and professionals find diverse resources such as podcasts, courses, academic programs, and mentorship. Franck holds a master's degree in Telecommunications Engineering from the National Polytechnic Institute of Côte d'Ivoire. He is also certified as a Project Management Professional by the Project Management Institute and is vice president of marketing and communication for the organization's Côte d'Ivoire chapter. Franck is committed to developing an ecosystem for educational technology in his country and believes that the integration of digital technology in education helps develop the workforce. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Franck plans to scale up his platform to make it the Coursera or edX of Côte d'Ivoire and Africa.

Daniel Helena

Daniel Helena

Angola

Daniel Helena is the founder and directing manager of DH Consultoria, a business consulting firm specializing in accounting, taxation, economics, and financial viability studies. The firm is located in Soyo, Angola. Daniel realized that many of the city's existing small businesses were failing because they lacked accounting capabilities. He also noticed that the businesses were targeted by tax authorities because they were unable to verify their finances. To support the small business community in his town, Daniel started an accounting company that provides these services. Daniel has three interns under his apprenticeship. He believes that these individuals will be able to branch off and create similar companies to support the businesses that he cannot currently serve because of demand. Daniel believes that small and medium businesses contribute to the reduction of unemployment and poverty in Angola. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, he hopes to use his entrepreneurial skills to create job opportunities for Angola's young people.

Thando Hlophe

Thando Hlophe

South Africa

Thando Hlophe has nine years of experience in telecommunications and software engineering. Thando is the founder and owner of Kayise IT, which focuses on telecommunications and corporate virtual support. He is also vice president of Child Welfare Nelspruit. Thando is passionate about the emerging Fourth Industrial Revolution sectors, such as virtual reality, robotics, and quantum computing. He holds a diploma in Business Information and Technology from the University of Johannesburg. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Thando plans to provide capacity-building to youth in rural areas on information technology competency and infrastructure and new technology.

Hasna Houssein

Hasna Houssein

Djibouti

Hasna Omar Houssein has six years of experience as a resort manager and is an owner of Sable Blanc Tour Sarl, a travel agency. Hasna has been involved in the development of sustainable tourism from a young age. She has participated in ecotourism training in Cairo, Egypt, and in large international tourism fairs in Ethiopia, Paris, and Madrid. Hasna enjoys sharing her skills and showing people Djibouti. She believes that the tourism sector in Djibouti has the potential to develop thanks to the landscape, its unique site, and the fauna and flora. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Hasna intends to continue promoting the diversity and wealth of tourism in Djibouti, and she hopes to one day to see her Djibouti as a top must-see country.

Goitsemang Khutsafalo

Goitsemang Khutsafalo

Botswana

Goitsemang Jojo Khutsafalo is an entrepreneur, author, and radio personality. He is the founder and patron of the All Brilliant Minds Organization, a non-profit that supports the academic performance of youth in Botswana and other countries. Goitsemang is also the founder and chief executive officer of Launchit International, a business and entrepreneurship agency. He hosts The Youth Gear, a weekly program on RB2 FM, a state-owned urban radio station. In addition, he is the executive program manager of Project124 Entrepreneurship Development Program, an initiative that helps young entrepreneurs in the Southern African Development Community gain the business development and management skills that will enable them to improve their communities. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Entrepreneurs, he plans to continue pursuing his dream of building a globally competitive culture that breathes entrepreneurship into the continent of Africa.

Denis Kipkorir

Denis Kipkorir

Kenya

Denis Kimutai Kipkorir is a social entrepreneur, a financial economist, and a certified public accountant with eight years of experience in business management. He is co-founder of Supa Art Creations Limited, a corporate branding agency based in Nairobi, Kenya. As a business executive, he is in charge of steering the organization and developing new businesses. As a social entrepreneur, he is committed to providing solutions to rising youth unemployment through entrepreneurship training programs he has started. He mentors budding young entrepreneurs to help them acquire the skills they need to start sustainable business entities. Denis believes the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders will enhance his understanding of how social entrepreneurship is applied in the United States to solve social, cultural, and environmental issues. He envisages a country of job creators as opposed to job seekers, and he will work toward this goal after completing the Fellowship.

Festus Malakia

Festus Malakia

Namibia

Festus Malakia has more than nine years of experience in banking and finance, education, youth development, business development, and consulting. Currently, Festus is the executive director at the Unique Empowerment and Employment Initiative Foundation in Namibia, focusing on entrepreneurship education for youth and for informal sector entrepreneurs, who are mostly women. Festus is also the founder and chief executive officer of Central Commerce Group, a multidisciplinary social venture that promotes a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation and empowers communities with skills development and capacity-building. Festus holds a bachelor's degree in Human Resources Management and a certificate in Leadership and has won two business innovation awards at the national level. He is driven to create a self-sustaining generation of young people who create opportunities. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Festus plans to set up a business incubation center in Namibia that will transform unemployed youth into job creators and will transform informal sector entrepreneurs into high-growth, highly scalable entrepreneurs.

Edward Matiwane

Edward Matiwane

South Africa

Edward Matiwane is very passionate about business and entrepreneurship and focuses his work on business development and business intelligence. He currently manages a non-profit business development social enterprise that provides emerging entrepreneurs with basic entrepreneurial resources to start, manage, and grow a business. Edward also runs a local business incubation center in his hometown of Kimberley, South Africa, that supports local businesses through incubation. He holds a diploma in Occupational Health and Safety from Oxbridge Academy and a diploma in Public Management from Northern Cape Urban TVET College. Upon completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, he plans to apply his new skills and network to improve his incubation and social enterprise initiatives.

Abel Mekonnen

Abel Mekonnen

Ethiopia

Abel Amare Mekonnen is a software developer in Ethiopia. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Addis Ababa Institute of Technology, Abel and his friends founded Korenti Craft Technologies, a software development company in Ethiopia, whose offerings were originally limited to software products and services. Abel and his team have since created a financial system that automates payments for local businesses. In its first year of operation, the company gained more than 30 companies as customers. Abel is currently working on a health management platform, a centralized database system that simplifies transactions for medical health providers. With the help of partners, the system has been expanded and is set to also be used for data collection in the health services sector. Abel believes that technology should positively influence African lives. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Abel plans to scale up his company, increase its profitability, and learn more about social responsibility.

Sanelisiwe Mlilo

Sanelisiwe Mlilo

Zimbabwe

Sanelisiwe Emma Mlilo has more than five years of experience in advocacy work around conservation, legal regulation, and women's rights. She is a public prosecutor in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and runs a virtual assistance online business that focuses on solutions for administrative functions in small enterprises. Her interests include cultivating spaces to elevate women's voices, and she is a frequent contributor to poetry collectives, has hosted and organized a podcast called Verse Connoisseur, and has published a poetry anthology. Sanelisiwe holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of South Africa. The highlight of her career has been working with the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association to advocate for the rights of indigent women and girls. She is among 100 Zimbabwean women chosen to participate in the first cohort of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs, where she learned practical skills for creating a sustainable business. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Sanelisiwe hopes to apply the knowledge and skills obtained to help Zimbabwean women gain the necessary skills to develop sustainable businesses and to continue her work elevating women's voices.

Nonhlanhla Nyathi

Nonhlanhla Nyathi

Zimbabwe

Nonhlanhla Nyathi has more than seven years of experience as a tax adviser. Currently, Nonhlanhla is a tax assistant manager at EY, where she focuses on business and transaction taxes as well as business development and transformation. She is the founder of Entrepreneur's Tax Guide, an organization that educates taxpayers by providing simplified tax information. Nonhlanhla also lectures about corporate and international taxes at the professional and postgraduate levels. She serves as secretary of the Vabatsiri Club of Soroptimist International, a worldwide volunteer organization of women who work for peace and to improve the lives of women and girls in their communities. She is also an avid blogger. Nonhlanhla holds a bachelor's degree in Accounting from Nelson Mandela University and is an affiliate member of the Zimbabwe Institute of Tax Accountants, serving on the institute's Technical Committee for two years. Nonhlanhla is committed to helping start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) optimize their tax processes to support their corporate strategies and business goals. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Nonhlanhla plans to serve more clients at EY and influence the establishment of sound tax practices in the SME community.

Kwame Owusu Ansah

Kwame Owusu Ansah

Ghana

Kwame Owusu Ansah is a tech evangelist, web developer, and serial entrepreneur with more than nine years' experience in the Ghanaian tech industry, spanning web and mobile development and digital marketing services. Kwame is currently the general manager of Virdge Digital. Previously, he served as the tech and product innovations manager and tech show host at TV3 Ghana, where he developed systems that helped the digital subsidiary achieve over 200% growth in revenue. Kwame is also co-founder and chief operating officer of Wanadryve, a sponsored cloud storage and unlimited file transfer start-up; co-founder of Zami Reports, a news portal that highlights women's achievements and trains journalists in the Northern Region; and founder and president of Techstripped, a tech advocacy network raising Ghana's next generation of influential tech leaders. Kwame is passionate about using technology to drive positive change across the continent while giving youth opportunities to make an impact through skills training and mentorships. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Kwame plans to use the knowledge acquired to scale up his businesses across the African continent, enhance his business models, and form profitable partnerships with like-minded Fellows and tech leaders around the world.

Dielamo Oyeghe

Dielamo Oyeghe

Nigeria

Dielamo Oyeghe has more than four years of experience in entrepreneurship, advocacy, and volunteerism. Dielamo is the founder of Atlantic Flavour, a restaurant that uses giant African land snails to produce a variety of food products. He is committed to addressing job creation, poverty alleviation, and food security through his business. He is an advocate of good governance and speaks out for human rights for women, girls, and people with disabilities through Advocates for Collective Transformation. He has also volunteered as an agricultural extension service agent with the Federal Government of Nigeria's Social Investment Program. Dielamo is an alumnus of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, a grant awardee of the National Fadama Development Project, and an awardee of the Bank of Industry Youth Entrepreneurship Support Program. He holds a bachelor's degree in Geology. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Dielamo plans to hone his new skills to drive social change by engaging in community development projects and product exports.

Dehkonte Sawiea

Dehkonte Sawiea

Liberia

Dehkonte T. Sawiea has more than seven years of experience in accounting and tax advisory services in Liberia. He is the founder and managing director of Swell Accounting, an organization that provides accounting support and tax advice to businesses. Dehkonte holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with an Accounting specialty. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Dehkonte plans to use his new skills to continue to build his company.

Relebohile Sera

Relebohile Sera

Lesotho

Relebohile Sebongile Sera is a co-founder of Selibeng.com, Lesotho's go-to website for finding meaningful and exciting opportunities. She has four years of experience as content creator and manager of the site and firmly believes that every Mosotho should have equal access to opportunities. Relebohile holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting from the National University of Lesotho and is treasurer of Internet Society Lesotho. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Relebohile plans to use the skills and knowledge gained to create more avenues where young Basotho can find opportunities and nurture their existing talents.

Linda Shachinda

Linda Shachinda

Zambia

Linda Shachinda runs a digital marketing agency in Zambia, where she helps businesses connect with their clients. She also co-founded Lubono Finance, a mobile fintech app that helps small businesses, start-ups, and freelancers manage their financial and administrative tasks. In addition, Linda has recently ventured into commercial fish and vegetable farming. When she is not running her businesses, Linda volunteers with eSkills4Girls, a global initiative that seeks to reduce the gender digital divide by training women ages 15 to 25 from rural and peri-urban areas in basic computer coding. Many of these women have never used a computer before. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Linda hopes to continue her work as an advocate for empowering girls and women in Zambia.

Valentine Wafula

Valentine Wafula

Kenya

Valentine Masicha Wafula is the founder of MindSet Coders, an edtech organization based in Uganda that empowers and inspires young learners with 21st-century skills to thrive in the 4IR (Fourth Industrial Revolution) era. She is also the lead ambassador for Africa Code Week, an SAP initiative that seeks to equip every student with 21st-century skills through different plugged and unplugged coding activities that prepare children for the future of work. She works with both private and public stakeholders as well as associations to equip teachers with digital skills in a bid to drive them to embrace technology in the classroom. She is among the 2021 mentors in the New York School of Sciences' 1,000 Girls, 1,000 Futures program. On completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Valentine looks forward to expanding her professional network and using the knowledge she obtains to inspire more young girls, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to rise above their circumstances and use their creativity to help their communities.

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