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Oxford University Pan-Africa Conference: Building Capacity for a New Generation

Building Capacity for a New Generation: The Case for Youth Leadership in Africa

As a new generation of African leaders emerges, and the continent moves well into the 21st century, the full spectrum of social, political, and economic issues facing Africa requires new and invigorated ways of thinking about leadership and youth.

These themes, among others, were explored in the 2012 Oxford University Pan-Africa Conference. Click on the speakers below to see the speeches they gave and the discussions they were involved in.


Vera Songwe

Vera Songwe is the World Bank Country Director for The Gambia, Senegal, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, and Mauritania. She joined the Bank in 1998 as a young professional in the East Asia and Pacific Region. She has worked on a diverse set of countries and regions including Cambodia, Morocco, Tunisia, Malaysia, Mongolia, and the Philippines before her most recent assignment as advisor to Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Sanusi Lamido Aminu Sanusi

Sanusi Lamido Aminu Sanusi was named Forbes Africa Person of the Year for 2011 and was listed by TIME Magazine the same year as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Having been appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria in June 2009, he has been conferred with the Commander of the Order of the Niger by the President of Nigeria and named the "Global Central Bank Governor for 2010" by The Banker magazine. An internationally respected banker, his writing has been published in numerous journals and books, and he is noted for his role in the development of risk management in Nigeria's banking sector.

He Liehui

He Liehui is currently the managing director of Touchroad International Holdings Group, a company born out of his first African business dating back to 2000. Touchroad, named one of the Top Ten Chinese Enterprises in Africa, is a truly multinational company, owning mining, factory, and subsidiary companies across Africa and having business relations in Asia, as well as Europe and the US. One of He's grand ambitions is creating a business platform for both Africans and Chinese, and he has already begun working toward this goal with the Invest in Africa Summit and the Touchroad Diamond Innovation Park Africa Center. And beside having received the great honor of "Chieftain" by the Nigerian government, Mr Liehui received an award for the "Ten Chinese Who Have Deeply Moved the African People."

Arthur G. O. Mutambara

Arthur G. O. Mutambara is the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Zimbabwe. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in 1991, and has been a leader in the Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe. He has held numerous academic and business positions, including having been an Associate Professor in the Aeronautics and Astronautics Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), CEO of Technology and Business Institute (ATBI), a director at Standard Bank, and a Management Consultant with McKinsey & Company Inc. Mutambara was a student leader at both the University of Zimbabwe and the University of Oxford where amongst other things he was president of the Oxford University Africa Society in 1992.

Matthew Kukah

Matthew Kukah is the author of the critically acclaimed work, Religion and Politics in Northern Nigeria since Independence (Spectrum, 1994), and most recently of Democracy and Civil Society in Nigeria (Spectrum, 2002). Having served on Nigeria's Presidential Truth Commission into Past Human Rights Violations, he is the Catholic Archbishop of Sokoto Diocese in Nigeria and a former Secretary-General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria. He has been a Senior Fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford University, and is a regular commentator on social and political issues in Nigeria.

Gbenga Sesan

Gbenga Sesan is the Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, which links Nigerian youth to ICT-enabled opportunities. He has been honoured with numerous leadership awards, including: the 2011 Cordes Fellowship, the 2011 Nigerian Leadership Institute Fellowship, the 2010 Santa Clara University GSBI Fellowship, 2010 Crans Montana Forum of New Leaders for Tomorrow Fellowship award, 2010 Our Common Future Fellowship award, and the 2009 OAU Distinguished Alumni award. His book, In My Own Words, was published by Imprimata in September 2009.

Patrick G. Awuah Jr.

Patrick G. Awuah Jnr was nominated as a 2007 Global Leader by the World Economic Forum; and in recognition of his service to Ghana, was awarded Membership of the Order of the Volta by President J.A. Kufuor the same year. The recipient of numerous other awards - including the 2009 Microsoft Alumni Foundation "Integral Fellow" award and the Aspen Institute John P. McNulty Prize for creative, effective and lasting leadership - he is the Founder and President of Ashesi University College, a private, not-for-profit institution that has quickly gained a reputation for innovation and quality education in Ghana.

Tebogo Lefifi

Tebogo Lefifi is the head of the China office for The Stellenbosch University's Centre For Chinese Studies, and is a founding member and executive chairperson of Young African Professionals and Students in China, a non-profit organization that provides a networking and information-sharing platform for African graduates and professionals. Nominated by the Ambassador of the South African Embassy in China to serve on the Board of the South Africa-China Business Association, she is fast becoming a key China-Africa specialist.

Mbong Madelle Kangha

Mbong Madelle Kangha was selected in 2011 to attend the Clinton Global Initiative University for her project Young Entrepreneurs which she hopes to launch by the end 2012. Madelle is behind the blog Youths for Change, a platform which engages youth with issues facing Africa in particular and the world at large. She was also chosen as one of 96 young Africans that formed the inaugural class at the African Leadership Academy in after emerging as the top female performer at the Cameroonian GCE Ordinary Level Examinations in 2006. In her final year at LSE, Madelle continues to combine her studies with projects that seek to transform the world in innovative ways.

Mary Harper

Mary Harper is the Africa Editor at the BBC World Service. She has reported on Africa for the past twenty years including from Sudan, Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Algeria. She has a special interest in Somalia, reporting frequently from the country, covering conflict, piracy, Islamism and other subjects. She is the author of Getting Somalia Wrong? Faith, War and Hope in a Shattered State, and has written for several publications including The Economist, Granta, The Guardian, The Times and The Washington Post. She has spoken on Somalia, piracy, the international media, migration and other subjects at conferences, workshops and other events, organised by, amongst others, Oxford University, University College London, Medecins Sans Frontieres and the United Nations.

Kingwa Kamencu

Kingwa Kamencu is an award winning Kenyan writer and author of To Grasp at a Star. As a 2009 Rhodes Scholar, she pursued an MSc in African Studies at the University of Oxford. Having served as former President of the Oxford University Africa Society, she is currently running to become Kenya's first female president.

Hadeel Ibrahim

Hadeel Ibrahim is the founding Executive Director of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which was established in 2006 to support great African leadership. The Foundation is a leading voice on good governance in Africa and publishes the annual Mo Ibrahim Index, providing a comprehensive ranking of African countries according to governance quality. She is a member of the board at Carter Center UK, Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice, Refugees International , the Institute of African Leadership for Sustainable Development (UONGOZI Institute) in Tanzania, and Femmes Africa Solidarite (FAS).


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