Africa’s Best Social Entrepreneurs Honored at World Economic Forum

Sandra Appiah May 09, 2014



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Front Row: Winners of the 2014 Social Entrepreneurship Award (Swab Foundation)

Seven of Africa’s best social entrepreneurs were honored on Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Abuja, Nigeria.  The awards were presented by Managing Director of the WEF Philipp Rosler.

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“Social entrepreneurs are an integral community of the World Economic Forum and an increasingly sought-after one,” said David Aikman, managing director at the World Economic Forum and head of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

“A growing number of corporations see income inequality and environmental problems like climate change as fundamental threats to their long-term growth.

“Many governments are starting to rethink the way they deliver goods and services that improve social outcomes. I am confident this trend will only continue to grow in the future, and the forum is proud to be at the forefront of catalysing partnerships among these stakeholder groups for social and environmental change.”


Here are the winners of the 2014 Africa Social Entrepreneurs of the Year:


 1. Patrick Awuah, Ashesi University, Ghana


Ashesi was founded to address Africa’s biggest roadblocks to progress: the need for ethical leadership and innovative thinking. Ashesi University College is a secular, private, non-profit liberal arts college located in Ghana, West Africa. Ashesi aims to make a significant contribution to transform Africa by educating a new generation of ethical entrepreneurial leaders.

Ashesi’s unique curriculum combines a rigorous liberal arts core with practical high-impact majors in business, computer science, and MIS. It also has a four-year focus on leadership development and community service. To date, 100 percent of Ashesi’s graduates have found quality placement within a few months of graduating and more than 95 percent have stayed to work for progress in Africa.


2. Ashifi Gogo, Sproxil; Ghana, Nigeria, and India

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Sproxil has developed and trademarked a Mobile Product Authentication (MPA) solution that enables consumers to verify that the pharmaceutical product they are buying is genuine. Consumers use a scratch card, similar to those used to replenish cellular talk-time, to reveal a one-time-use code on pharmaceutical products. Sproxil has set up Africa’s first national, mobile-based anti-counterfeit service in Nigeria and has already sold more than 250 million anti-counterfeit labels.

3. Martin Kariongi Ole Sanago, Institute for Orkonerei Pastoralists Advancement (IOPA), Tanzania


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IOPA facilitates transformation and diversification of the economic system of the Maasai through social business, social entrepreneurship, and innovation. Using radio programmes, roundtable discussions, and festivals, the Institute prepares a fertile ground for self-examination and collective action. The Institute also teaches the Maasai veterinary services and techniques and sensitizes them to the use of both modern and traditional veterinary medicine, carrying out vaccination campaigns that have enabled pastoralists to use modern treatments and methods of livestock management, allowing animals to live healthier, longer, and more productive lives.


4. Jay Kimmelman and Shannon May, Bridge International Academies, Kenya


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Bridge International Academies is a chain of nursery and private schools in Africa delivering high-quality education for just $5 a month on average. The model of Bridge International Academies – centered on the academy-in-a-box solution and delivered through data-enabled tablets – enables thousands of teachers to deliver world-class lessons to children who had struggled simply to have a teacher show up at their previous schools. It has been just more than four years since its first academy opened. As of January 2014, Bridge operates 259 academies in Kenya, employing more than 3,000 people and educating approximately 80,000 pupils. By 2025, Bridge plans to be educating 10 million pupils in over a dozen countries.


5. Gbenga Sesan, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, Nigeria

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Paradigm Initiative Nigeria’s (PIN) vision is to connect underserved young Nigerians with ICT-enabled opportunities to improve their livelihoods. Solving unemployment and cyber-crime is at the heart of PIN’s strategy. Its model involves a two-pronged approach of capacity-building/ICT empowerment and ICT policy interventions. PIN offers income-generating ICT training and social media consultancy to private or non-profit organizations that need them, working with PIN’s graduates as implementing partners. Current partners include the Peery Foundation, Internews, Microsoft, and Google.


6. Allen Wilcox, Village Reach, Mozambique

Screen Shot 2014-05-09 at 11.13.46 AMVillageReach is a nonprofit social enterprise with a mission to save lives and improve health by increasing access to quality health care for the most-underserved communities. VillageReach develops, evaluates, and proves system innovations that improve health system performance. Through collaboration with governments, non-governmental organizations, and communities, VillageReach seeks to extend the reach of health systems in scalable and sustainable ways by strengthening health service delivery, enhancing information and communication technology systems, and engaging the private sector.


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Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: June 19, 2018


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