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The World Economic Forum on Africa meeting has become an event for top political, business, community leaders to congregate around the African development agenda. It is normally hosted in Cape Town in the second quarter of the year. This year 2016, Kigali plays host for the first time as Rwanda seeks to welcome some of the important African stakeholders.
Around the Fourth Industrial Revolution theme being driven by the World Economic Forum, the theme for WEFAfrica 2016 is “Connecting Africa's Resources through Digital Transformation”. This 26th edition of the meetings takes place at Camp Kigali from May 11-13.
In light of this theme, the Global Shapers Community of the World Economic Forum, which is mostly made up of millennials, is pushing an #internet4all campaign. The campaign is to bring top-of-the-mind awareness around the provision of fast, affordable, current and terrific internet all around Africa to drive the continent’s transformation. Various Global Shapers, including Ghanaians, have contributed to this campaign, which has already reached millions of people on social media.
3 Ghanaians from the Global Shapers Community in Ghana, Ato Ulzen-Appiah (Accra Hub), Jorge Appiah (Kumasi Hub), and Abdul-Latif Issahaku (Tamale Hub) will be part of 50 Global Shapers attending the World Economic Forum on Africa. Ato, Jorge and Abdul were chosen after the receipt of many high-quality applications and an extremely rigorous selection process.
They join 47 other Global Shapers from various African hubs. They are 3 young trailblazers in their respective fields with local impact and global appeal.
Professionally, they are neck deep in initiatives which are driving digital transformation in Ghana.
Ato Ulzen-Appiah is a member of the Global Shapers Accra Hub. He's the director at the GhanaThink Foundation which mobilizes and organizes talent for the primary benefit of Ghana.
He has led GhanaThink’s Barcamp Ghana program (which targets 18-35 year olds) to impact over 8000 youth, building a network of changemakers, doers and entrepreneurs in Ghana and beyond. He co-founded the creation of the Junior Camp Ghana program, providing value to high school students in Ghana primarily through career guidance and mentoring, as well as internships.
Within GhanaThink as well, he co-founded the Ghana Volunteer Program, which through the National Volunteer Day, has seen thousands volunteer their skills, time, resources and effort in making Ghana better.
Ato studied at MIT and Stanford in civil engineering and management disciplines, using those world-class experiences to shape his work, relations and growth. While working at Google as a program manager building sustainable tech communities in Africa, he led the creation and activity of several technology groups. Some of the people he engaged online before, during and after his time at Google, are currently Global Shapers. He worked at Rancard Solutions as product manager building new revenue services off its platform. He co-founded Museke.com -an African music website and blogs at mightyafrican.blogspot.com.
Ato Ulzen-Appiah is looking forward to engaging with Global Shapers like him from all over Africa. After attending the World Economic Forum on Africa in 2013 and the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos in 2015, he expects to learn from, share and network with people who are committed to making Africa the best it can be. “I’m excited to visit Rwanda for the first time to experience some of the great stories I’ve heard about it and build a stronger network in Rwanda”.
Abdul-Latif Issahaku is the founding curator of the Global Shapers Tamale Hub. He is a passionate marketing executive leading brands to drive products and services innovation. He is fascinated about innovations in the technology space and has consistently launched and applied mobile technology solutions that address everyday problems. Since 2006, Abdul-Latif has worked for two multinational telecom companies; the Chinese giant Huawei Technologies as well as MTN, Africa’s leading telecom operator. In 2013, he launched the MTN Apps Challenge which provides opportunity for Ghanaian youth to use technology to solve the litany of problems in Ghana. Some 100 young software developers have taken part in the annual competition. Abdul-Latif studied at two prestigious universities in Africa and Europe – Ashesi University in Ghana and Nyenrode Business University in The Netherlands where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Master’s in Business Administration respectively. He took courses at Kellogg School of Management in the USA, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore in India as well as the European Commission in Brussels. He has interacted with corporate leaders in Europe and the United States from companies such as Microsoft, CISCO, IBM, Vodafone, Bavaria Breweries, Sogeti, and TNT. Abdul-Latif is described as an inspiring young leader and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community. Abdul-Latif’s expectations for AF16: "To engage African business and political leaders on the urgent need to speed up with the requisite actions and interventions to bridge the digital divide between Africa and the rest of the world. Additionally, to explore with fellow emerging leaders ways to connect effectively and catalyze this change". On his expectations for #AF16, Jorge Appiah said: “To connect and dialogue with key decision makers; policy makers, politicians and businessmen, coming from Africa and other part of the world about issues regarding readiness of Africans to partake in the digital economy and the forthcoming 4th industrial revolution”.
Jorge Appiah is the current curator of the Global Shapers Kumasi Hub. He is driven by passion for development and empowerment of youth as a techpreneur and innovator, Jorge is creating platforms to help promote local innovations tackling critical challenges in our communities and also to promote youth entrepreneurship. Jorge believes in local innovations and manufacturing as a way forward for developing Africa. He is the Co-founder/CEO of Kumasi Hive; a multi-space innovation place providing affordable spaces including co-working spaces, Makerspace, Training space and event space to support start-ups and the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Kumasi, the first of its kind. Kumasi Hive also happens to be the only tech hub in the country that provide technical, business and financial support to hardware innovations and startups in addition to the mainstream software and social startups.
Jorge is also the founder/Executive director of Creativity Group (Cg), an interdisciplinary community of student innovators, makers, entrepreneurs and changemakers who are using innovation and technology as a tool, to solve problems in our communities and in Ghana for social interventions and sustainable development. Creativity Group currently have 5 chapters across the major universities in Ghana with over 600 memberships. Cg provide supporting platforms for students who seeks to turn their ideas into prototypes, then assist them further with business development and financial literacy training to help them create business around their skills and innovation.
Other Ghanaians attending the Forum include Enyo Kumahor of Cobalt Partners (a Young Global Leader), Farida Bedwei of Logiciel (a Young Global Leader), Jacob Kholi (Partner of The Abraaj Group), Michael Wilson (Managing Partner of Migson Ghana), Sebastian Ashong-Katai (of Ecobank Transnational) and Kingsley Yeboah Amoako (President of African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET)).
The World Economic Forum on Africa will be co-chaired by Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina (President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dominic Barton (Global Managing Director of McKinsey & Company), Tony O. Elumelu (Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation), Graça Machel (Founder of Foundation for Community Development (FDC)) and Tarek Sultan Al Essa (CEO of Agility).
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