The 2021 20 Young African Persons of the Year list celebrates 20 outstanding young individuals on the continent who have excelled in their diverse fields for the year and are role models to other young persons. 

20 Young African Persons of the Year, initiative of Young Global Leaders Network, organizers of Young African Leaders Summit 2021, is an international youth leadership development organization with active presence in Africa.

The Young Global Leaders Network is a youth leadership development organization, and a registered company in the UK, Ghana, South Sudan, Sierra Leone and operates in 12 other African countries.

Young Global Leaders Network is a registered company in the United Kingdom with registration number 13377961, Ghana (Registration number CG072582020), registered as an NGO in South Sudan (REG. NO 3765) and Sierra Leone with Registration number WC0007557/170.

This is a network of young social and business entrepreneurs, young politicians, young diplomats, young business leaders, innovators, educators, policy makers, young professionals, future leaders and talented young men and women changing the world with their talents.

The network seeks to be the world’s leading organization that trains, mentors, and prepares young leaders for diplomacy, politics, business leadership and entrepreneurship.

The committee responsible for this initiative set for themselves criteria and received nominations from members and management of the organization as well as the public. Nominees were scrutinized and the below list made it to the final 20.


Dr. John Aggrey (Ghana)

John Aggrey is a versatile multi-sectoral personality with experiences in the fields of Business Development, Communications, Diplomacy, Consultancy, SDGs Advocacy and Project Management. John is the Founder & CEO of HIRED Consult, Vice President of HIRED Project USA, Vice President and Director of Engagement for The Global Socio-Economic and Financial Evolution Network (GSFEN).

He is contributing his quota through social advocacy to promote Mental Health awareness, Food Systems, Peace and Security, Climate Change, and Inclusive Youth participation in democratic good governance.

On volunteer works, he has served as UNDP Ocean Action and UNDP Bangkok Hub Online Volunteer, Official Volunteer for International Human Rights Commission and a member of youth-led Constituencies and organizations including Friends for Leadership, MGCY, Children and Youth Major Group to UN Environment, YOUNGO, YALI and World Youth Alliance. John is an African Young Leadership Fellow 2018, Africa Change Maker Fellow 2018, an accredited UN Climate Change Teacher, a YALI RLC Alumni (Cohort 11 Online 2020), and a Climate Reality Leader 2020 Alumni.

He was selected as one of the Official Children and Youth Major Group to UN Environment representatives to the 150th UNEA Committee of Permanent Representatives and the University of Oxford’s 3-day NbS Dialogue sessions. . Presently, John is the Operations Facilitation, Communication Team Lead for Children and Youth Major Group to UN Environment Programme (UNEP). John was a Judge at the Pan African Hackathon 2020 and a Response Mentor during the Global Hackathon 2020. He is also a member of UNEP at 50 Youth Taskforce.

John holds an Executive mini MBA in Leadership and Management, a BSc in Agriculture, and over 120 Certifications to his portfolio. The motivation of John is the passion and drive to be part of a growing community; a Change Agent for Social Sustainable Development Goals for improved livelihoods and service to Humanity.

John Aggrey is a MOGi Global Leadership School Outstanding Leadership Honor award 2019, UN World Environment Day Hero 2019 award recipient, Opportunities Hub 100 Most Influential Young People 2020, Humanitarian Awards Global 2021 nominee, 2021 International Youth Forum Eurasia Global video competition winner and recently 40 under 40  award winner for Consultancy and Professional Service category 2021. 

In simple terms, John is a Social Intrapreneur!

Damilola is the Head of PR for Africa at Binance. She began her career working on MTV Shuga – a 360 campaign fusing TV, digital media and mobile elements to educate young people on HIV, sexual violence etc. Since then Damilola has worked as an editor-in-chief and producer for local and global media publications such as CNN, Konbini, Zikoko etc. She is also the co-founder of Wine & Whine – an online community, women’s event and social enterprise for Nigerian women where she tackles issues ranging from sexual violence to financial literacy. Damilola has a BSc in Financial Economics and an MSc in International Finance and Economic Development from the University of Kent, Canterbury. In recognition of her work, Damilola was listed as one of the ‘100 Most Inspiring Women In Nigeria in 2018’ by Leading Ladies Africa and is a 2019 honouree of OkayAfrica’s ‘Okay 100 Women.

Damilalo Odufuwa (Nigeria)

Saran Kaba Jones(liberia)


Saran Kaba Jones is a clean water advocate and social entrepreneur from Liberia. She is the founder of FACE Africa, an organization working to strengthen water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure and services in rural communities across sub-Saharan Africa. 

Industry: Health/Business Leadership

Saran Kaba Jones is passionate about improving the living conditions of the local communities ravaged by war in the Sub Saharan region. Through her U.S.-based non-profit organization, FACE AFRICA, Saran has a project to supply clean water to remote communities in Liberia.

The organization aims to construct over 200 wells in local districts, thus improving the community’s health and well-being. The civil war in Liberia left most places dilapidated and wrecked, but Saran is passionate about revamping that.

Member of the National Assembly of Namibia

Deputy Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Republic of Namibia

Emma Inamutila Theofelus, born on the 28th of March 1996, is a Namibian politician. She was appointed Namibia’s Deputy Minister of Information, Communication and Technology in March 2020, as part of Hage Geingob’s second-term cabinet.

Honourable Emma Inamutila Theofelus is a young, 24-year-old Namibian born in Windhoek, Namibia and is currently a Member of Parliament and the Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in the Republic of Namibia.

Before her appointment, Honourable Emma was always policy adjacent and was a Youth Activist around issues of gender, children’s rights, sustainable development and youth unemployment. She served as the Deputy Speaker of the Youth Parliament of the Republic of Namibia and the Junior Mayor of the City of Windhoek amongst other roles.

Emma holds an LLB Honours Degree from the University of Namibia, a diploma in Business Management from Amity University and a diploma in Afrikan Feminism and Gender Studies from the University of South Africa.

In her new role, Emma plans to better communicate the activities and programs of the Government of the Republic of Namibia and assist in preparing the Namibian nation for the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Emma Theofelus (Namibia)

Zoneziwoh Mbondgulo-Wondieh (Cameroon)

Zoneziwoh is an award-winning feminist humanitarian storyteller with over 10 years of experience in gender and digital activism, movement building, policy advocacy and youth leadership. She is the Executive Director at Women for A Change in Cameroon where she designs, directs and executes programs for the advancement of women’s rights, leadership and empowerment. Her advocacy involves creating spaces for women and girls to engage with policy and decision-makers at the highest levels including the UN Commission on the Status of Women. It also involves translating and raising awareness on national and international women’s rights frameworks including the Maputo Protocol and the Beijing Platform for Action.

Chike Ukaegbu is a Nigerian American businessman, educator and entrepreneur. He is the chief executive officer of Startup52.

Chike Ukaegbu is a Nigerian American businessman, educator and entrepreneur. He is the chief executive officer of Startup52. At 35, Chike became the youngest person in Africa to officially run for the Seat of the President, as the 2019 youngest presidential candidate in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and its largest economy.

Chike became a Colin Powell Leadership Fellow on public policy at 20. He focused his three-year research on youth disconnection, the phenomenon of youth who are out of school and not working. Furthermore, as a Colin Powell fellow, Chike helped develop a third wave of democratization and led a student team that helped archive ex-UN Secretary-General, the late Kofi Annan’s papers, among other research areas.

By 35, Chike became Nigeria and Africa’s youngest ever presidential candidate. He was also inducted into the UN MIPAD’s Hall of Fame at 35 as its first and only Global Young Leader. Chike was also named one of the Most Influential Young Nigerians by Avance Media.

Chike Ukaegbu (Nigeria) Chike Ukaegbu

Akosua Agyepong (Ghana)

Akosua Adubea Agyepong graduated from the University of Ghana with first-class honours in Family and Consumer Science in 2018. After her first degree, she leveraged her four years of experience in the areas of population, development and sexual and reproductive health and rights to spearhead direct community outreach design and implementation at the United Nations Population Fund in Ghana. In her 12 months of working with the agency, she helped secure $100,000 for improving reproductive health and information access for young people. She is currently a student at Peking University under the prestigious Yenching Academy program, where she is pursuing a Master of Laws in China Studies (Politics and International Relations). Akosua has advocated for gender and reproductive health-related issues on various national and international platforms including the G7 Summit and the UN General Assembly.

Kamissa Camara is currently Director of External Affairs and Africa Policy at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change and Senior Visiting Expert for the Sahel at the United States Institute of Peace. 

Until August 2020, she was Minister, Chief of Staff to the President of Mali, after holding the positions of Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Minister of Digital Economy and Planning of Mali.

An expert in African politics with a focus on the Sahel and West Africa, she is the founder of the Sahel Strategy Forum (SSF), a platform that aims to enlighten public opinion on the complexities of governance in the Sahel region, making various voices heard from the ground to the United States.

Born and raised in France by Malian parents, Kamissa Camara studied in France, before going on to pursue an international politics career in the United States.

For years, African politics, democracy, security and good governance were the essence of her work, reflections and publications. Kamissa Camara helped the West understand African politics by building political and intellectual bridges between sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and the United States. Her great contribution helped to enrich the foreign policy of Western countries with African accents.

She regularly participated as a guest speaker on panels at the U.S. Congress, American, French and African think tanks and universities. She was also a regular guest on TV and radio programs, which include but are not limited to CNN, Aljazeera, BBC Africa (radio and TV programs), Voice of America (French and English TV), I24News, France24, TV5, TRT World, RFI, etc.

Kamissa Camara holds a Master’s degree in International Development Economics from Pierre Mendès France University (Grenoble, France) and a B.A. in English and German applied to International Relations from Denis Diderot University (Paris, France). She also obtained a certificate of studies at the School of International Studies & Politics (HEI – HEP) of Paris.

Kamissa Camara (Mali)

Anthony Dzamefe (Ghana)

Anthony Dzamefe, the founder of TimepieceGH and Caveman Watches, went from hawking replica watches on the streets of Accra to building his own brand of timepieces.

After experiencing life in the corporate sector for some time, Anthony identified that he needed more freedom to test his creativity and abilities, so he resigned to embark on his entrepreneurial journey.

He identified his passion for wristwatches after a lot of trials and struggles. He sold watches on the streets of Ghana before he finally realized he could also make a brand of his own.

He started From being a human signage at the airport for a hotel. Resigned and started hawking wristwatches. Ventured into building my own global standard wristwatch brand, Caveman Watches.

Jeph Acheampong is the co-founder of Blossom Academy, where he drives the business strategy of the company. Being at the forefront of innovation and talent development, Blossom Academy is working to close the Africa tech skills gap through data science boot camps and dedicated careers support.
Prior to co-founding Blossom, Jeph was a founding member of Esusu Financial, a leading financial technology company providing data solutions for low-to-middle income consumers. As a Princeton in Africa fellow, he helped high-growth startups across Kenya gather live customer insights from mobile survey conversations. He also worked on Wall Street, where he helped multinationals use their data to achieve a competitive advantage.
Jeph holds an Economics degree from New York University. He is an Expo Live Global Innovator, a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, and was named a Future of Ghana Pioneer.

Jeph Boatey Acheampong (Ghana)

Fatoumata Ba (Senegal)


Fatoumata Ba is a Tech Entrepreneur and a VC Investor, Founder and Executive Chair of Janngo and Managing Partner of Janngo Capital. Janngo builds, grows and invests in pan-African ‘tech for good’ champions with proven business models and inclusive social impact.

Barclay Paul is a serial entrepreneur from Kenya who is constantly coming up with ideas and acting on them as he sees fit. Coming from a community ravaged by war and election violence, Paul has seen a multitude of issues that need resolving in his community, but the one that he is focused on currently is sanitary towels for women.

This venture is called Safi Pads and is aimed at providing inexpensive, reusable, washable sanitary towels for women. He saw that the prices on these towels were simply too expensive for families strapped for cash resources so he and his team developed a product that could help thousands of women, while still turning a profit. His reusable sanitary towels save a large percentage of families’ budgets and make the lives of many customers more enjoyable in the process.

Shortly after the Prize, Barclay Paul received $18,000 in additional funding from Higher Circle Silicon Valley, as well as a trip to Palo Alto, California.

Barclay Paul Okari (Kenya)

Kelvin Doe (Sierra Leone)

Khabane Lame (born 9 March 2000) is a Senegalese-born TikToker based in Chivasso, Italy. He rose to fame in 2021 after his TikTok videos, in which he silently mocks overly complicated life hack videos, went viral. As of 28 October 2021, Lame is the second most-followed TikToker.

Khabane Lame (born 9 March 2000) is a Senegalese-born TikToker based in Chivasso, Italy. He rose to fame in 2021 after his TikTok videos, in which he silently mocks overly complicated life hack videos, went viral. As of 28 October 2021, Lame is the second most-followed TikToker.

Khaby Lame (Senegal)

Gwendolyn Myers (Liberia)

Founder, Messengers of Peace: Liberia, 

The Peace Messenger! TIME Magazine-2019 Top Eight Young Reformers Across the Globe Shaping the World. #YoungMediator

Rising from the ashes of Liberia’s protracted civil war, Gwendolyn Myers believes that women and young people can play a key role in promoting peace in Liberia. As founder and Executive Director of Messengers of Peace Inc. (MOP), Gwendolyn is currently encouraging and motivating young minds in volunteering for peace and development in Liberia. Gwendolyn and her army of over 1,000 volunteers were very active in the 2017 Liberia General elections, organizing young people to eschew violence and promote youth participation in a peaceful manner in the elections through generating peaceful messages and disseminating them through radio jingles, spot messages and street dramas.

Due to her zealous Activism for Peace, she was recognized and appointed to serve as Liberia’s Ambassador to ‘World Peace is Possible Foundation’ in the Netherlands and the United States. Gwendolyn is one whose determination has occasioned  impact in her country Liberia, her efforts in peace-building are highly recognised

CEO, Healthlane (YC W20)

Alain Nteff, the co-founder of Gifted Mom in 2014, studied computer science at the Ecole Polytechnique in Yaoundé (University of Yaoundé I). In 2014, he won the Mastercard Foundation Premier Social Entrepreneur Award, and also received the Anzisha Grand Prize (USD 25,000). This prize is awarded every year to 12 young African entrepreneurs who are offered a one-week workshop on the African Leadership Academy (ALA) campus in South Africa. In 2015, he was the youngest participant at the World Economic Forum (WEF) as a Global Shaper and was subsequently invited to London by Queen Elizabeth among 60 young entrepreneurs from the Commonwealth. He received the Queen’s Young Leaders Award. In 2017, he won a prize in the Health category of the Digital Africa competition launched by AFD.

Alain Nteff (Cameroon)

Ilwad Elman (Somali: Ilwaad Elman) is a Somali-Canadian social activist. She works at the Elman Peace and Human Rights Center in Mogadishu alongside her mother Fartuun Adan, the NGO’s founder. She was voted the African Young Personality (Female) of the Year during the 2016 Africa Youth Awards.

Ilwad Elman was born in Mogadishu, Somalia to a peace activist, Elman Ali Ahmad and social activist, Fartuun Adan. Ilwad works with her mum as the Director of Programs and Development at the Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre, an organisation with a core objective for promoting Peace, Gender Justice, Civilian Protection and Countering Violent Extremism in Somalia, the Horn and East Africa. The organisation’s work has encouraged changes in government policies.

Ilwad Elman also co-runs ‘Sister Somalia’, a subsidiary of the Elman Peace Centre. This was Somalia’s first program for assisting victims of Gender-Based Violence. Sister Somalia provides counselling, health and housing support for women in need through workshops – creating and implementing projects that provide opportunities for both young and old.

Ilwad is a CVE advocate of ‘Extremely Together’ Initiative founded by the Kofi Annan Foundation which aims to counter violent extremism through inspiring and empowering youths globally. Ilwad chairs the Child Protection Working group and the Mogadishu Gender-Based Violence Case Management Group. She is also a serving ‘One Young World’ Ambassador to Somalia and a Barack Obama Young African Leaders Fellow. In March 2018, she was appointed by the United Nations into the Secretary General’s Peacebuilding Fund Advisory Group.

Ilwad Elman (Somalia)

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji (Nigeria)

Iyinoluwa Samuel Aboyeji (born March 28, 1991) is a Nigerian entrepreneur. He is a co-founder of Andela and was the former managing director of Flutterwave. Aboyeji was cited as one of the Top 100 most influential Africans by New African magazine in 2019

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji co-founded two successful startups in Africa before launching Flutterwave in 2017. With $15.7 million in funding, the payments company is empowering Pan-African merchants to execute business on a global scale, processing $1.2 billion in transactions so far. Aboyeji’s previous startup Andela, gained attention when the venture received $24 million in funding from Mark Zuckerberg.

Afua Osei is an entrepreneur, investor and public speaker who co-founded She Leads Africa, a media company for millennial African women. 

Afua Osei is a Partnerships Strategist helping digital entrepreneurs build the skills, systems and confidence to work with the corporate clients of their dreams. 

As a Co-Founder of She Leads Africa, Afua built a digital lifestyle platform for millennial multicultural women reaching more than 800,000 women across 100+ countries. In addition to building a thriving community, Afua secured internationall partnerships with brands like Facebook, Google, Unilever, Nestle, Samsung, Estee Lauder, Visa and L’Oreal to design culturally relevant and data-driven engagement campaigns. In December 2016, the company rang the Closing Bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

Afua has been recognized by Forbes as one of the 20 youngest power women in Africa (2014), Quartz Africa 30 innovators of 2017 and received the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy Rising Star Award (2020).

She has recently been appointed as a Member of the Board of Trustees of her alma mater Allegheny College and a Board Member of Imara Roose, a mentorship program for students at her old high school Eleanor Roosevelt High School.

Hailing from Prince George’s County, Maryland, Afua served as a strategy consultant at McKinsey & Company and graduated with a Master of Business Administration and Master of Public Policy from the University of Chicago, studied international management at the London School of Economics, and graduated cum laude from Allegheny College.

She is a rebellious daughter, annoying sister, favourite aunty, meme sending friend and competitive mango eater.

Afua Osei (Ghana)