The French-African Foundation has announced the names of 30 Young Leaders selected from over 2,000 candidates, on the sidelines of the Europe-Africa Forum in Marseille, organised by La Tribune, on Tuesday 16th of May.
This year, more than 2,000 young professionals from 53 African countries and France applied for the annual French-African Foundation's Young Leaders programme, which aims to shine a light on outstanding individuals who are bridging the gap between the two regions.
After several selection stages and hundreds of auditions conducted by an independent jury, 30 young leaders were selected for their commitment to boosting Africa-France relations.
The class of men and women brought together young people between 28 to 40 years old, hailing from 14 different countries and working in 9 different sectors: art and culture, media, industries and diversified groups, government and international organisations, NGOs and civil society, consulting and finance, start-up and digital, sciences, law.
The jury was composed of the following personalities:
● Mathieu Peller, Deputy CEO, Meridiam
● Louise Rials, Legal Director Africa, Danone
● Samaila Zubairu, CEO and President Président, Africa Finance Corporation
● Marc Wabi, West Africa Director, Deloitte
● Ismael Cisse, CEO, Sirius Capital
● Marwan Ben Yahmed, Director of the publication, Jeune Afrique
● Aminata Kane, Managing Director, Orange Money Afrique
● Franck Kacou, Managing Director, Universal Music Africa
List of the 30 winners
In the category Art and Culture:
● Chioma OGBONNA, Singer, artivist, composer, Nigeria
● Anthony KOKA, Fiction Programme Advisor (TV Series), Canal+ International,Democratic Republic of Congo
In the category Law:
● Vanessa TCHOUBIA, Regulatory Affairs Specialist, L’Oréal, France
● Laurence ELONG MBASSI, Founder Lem&Co, Cameroon
In the category Finance and Consulting:
● Fanta CONDE, Managing Director, CrossBoundary, Republic of Guinea
● Nelly KAMBIWA, Global Head of Corporate Responsibility and Development, Sopra Banking, Cameroon
● Ndeye Fatou TOURE, Director, PwC, Senegal
● Kadija SANGHO KEITA, Regional Finance Director for West Africa, Société Générale, Mali/France
● Moussa DABO, Senior Partner, Africa Finance Corporation, Republic of Guinea
● Axel RACOWSKI, Vice President, Advice to Governments, Rothschild & Co, France
● Quentin MULET-MARQUIS, Group Financial Investment Director, Barclays, France
In the category Government and International Organisation:
● Oria VANDE WEGUE, Spokesperson & Director of Communications, Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, Rwanda
● Randa ADECHOUBOU, Senior Partnership Manager, World Bank, Benin
● Philippe WATRIN, Investment Director, Rwanda Social Security Board, Rwanda
● Ouanilo MEDEGAN, Director of the National Cyber Security Agency of Benin - EpitechBénin Director, Benin
In the category Industries and Diversified Groups:
● Yanis ARNOPOULOS, General Manager Duval Arno Distribution / DGA Arno Group, Cameroon
● Naomi Dick Kaba, Director of Impact Partnerships, Bayer, Côte d'Ivoire
● Amine DABCHY, Policy Officer to the CEO Cabinet, OCP, Morocco
● Maimouna DRAME DOLO, Administrative and Financial Director West Africa, AfricaGlobal Logistics, Mali
● Houda BOUKARI, Purchasing Director, Unilever, Côte d'Ivoire
In the category Sciences:
● Maha DAHAWI, PhD in Genetics, Director of the African Research Programme, UNESCO, Sudan
In the category Media:
● Chika ODUAH, Journalist, Vice News, Nigeria
● Alexandre BOUDET, Africa Director, Thomson Broadcast, France
● Ayoub Guezzoul, Commercial Director, Jeune Afrique, Morocco
In the category NGO/ Civil society:
● Justus TSHIKONA, Peacebuilding and Rule of Law Specialist - National Coordinatorfor the implementation of Resolution 2250 UNSC, Democratic Republic of Congo
In the category Start-up & Digital:
● Maguelone BIAU, Managing Director and co-founder Twende App, France
● Morad ATTIK, Co-founder of the Evolukid programme and founder of theKesk'IA programme, Algeria
● Mathias LEOPOLDIE, CEO, Julaya, France
"The 30 Young Leaders innovate daily in their activities and redraw the contours of thelink between France and Africa by helping it flourish in all areas. Taking into account the environmental, social, political and economic challenges shared by the two shores of the Mediterranean, the foundation is counting on these young people to help provide solutions, embody the relationship and develop it further. As a link between Africa and France, Marseille is the ideal city to launch this new class!" - quote from Nachouat Meghouar, CEO of the French African Foundation.
Quotes from three Young Leaders:
"Today, thanks to digital innovation, women have the opportunity to emancipate themselves and develop new skills, whether they are in Los Angeles or in a remote region of Cameroon. This desire for equality but also for economic and social justice allows us to find common and sustainable solutions. This is what I wish to promote for France, Cameroon and the African continent," Nelly Kambiwa, Cameroonian, CSR Director Sopra Banking.
"The future of cinema and audiovisual creation is in Africa! The African continent is full of talent and unique stories. Within the CANAL+ Group, I am very proud to support pan-African producers, actors, scriptwriters, directors and technicians in the creation of their television series. Ambitious dramas, shot in the four corners of the continent, are thus offered, under the CANAL+ Original label, to millions of viewers in Africa, in France and throughout the world. What a pleasure to participate in the promotion of African cultural excellence!" Anthony Koka, Franco-Congolese, Fiction Programme Advisor at CANAL+International
"I am Franco-Algerian and I want to be a solution for my two countries Algeria and France in their diplomatic relations. I think it is time to look forward and to draw a common future for our children. And I hope to help future generations by giving millions of French and African children a glimpse of the challenges of digital technology and more particularly of artificial intelligence through the projects we are carrying out with the start-up Evolukid, which I created seven years ago. These are powerful tools for imagining the world and also for meeting the technical needs of many public and private players." Morad Attik, co-founder of the start-up Evolukid and founder of the Kesk'AI programme
From war-torn Khartoum, Maha Dahawi, a doctoral student in genetics and Young Leader 2023, spoke out to express her support for the Sudanese people who are suffering from the war and the abuses carried out by the militias. In a poignant testimony, she called for hope in order to rebuild her divided country with her peers and shared her joy at joining the Young Leaders programme. Find Maha's testimony here.
Double French and Rwandan patronage
After Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo in 2019 and Senegal’s President Macky Sall in 2021, this year's French-African Foundation Young Leaders programme is under the dual patronage of Rwandan President Paul Kagame and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Rwanda Development Board Director General, Clare Akamanzi welcomed the new promotion to Rwanda; a privileged destination for tourism and international investments thanks to the gains in stability under the leadership of President Paul Kagame.
Watch the video here. The 30 Young Leaders selected will meet for a fortnight (one week in France in October and one week in Rwanda in the autumn of the same year), where they will meet the Heads of State of the host countries and personalities from the political, cultural, sports, economic, etc, spheres. The programme is supported by public and private partners such as the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, the French Development Agency, Meridiam, Rothschild & Co, Concerto...
About the French-African Foundation: The French-African Foundation works to create generations of leaders committed to building constructive links between Africa and France. Its mission is to promote and embody Franco-African dialogue at the highest level in various fields: socio-economic, political and diplomatic, cultural and media. To find out more, visit the Foundation's website: https://www.french-african.org/
Olga Marysa Akinoa