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2021 Fellows

Drake hosted a cohort of 25 young professionals from across Sub-Saharan African for a virtual Leadership in Business Institute, June 21-July 30.

Although the 2021 virtual format inevitably produced some new challenges for Fellows and the program team, it also created unique opportunities for connection and collaboration. Learn more about The Leader Digital Magazine, where Fellow Ben Jammaine Ncube profiled members of the Drake Institute cohort.

Meet the Fellows

David Abiyah


Abiyah David is an innovative social entrepreneur and leader focused on promoting economic development of youth and women in Burundi through innovation support, mentorship, and investment relationship support. Currently, he is the chief executive officer of BujaHub, an information technology company that offers educational programs for start-ups. Abiyah is pursuing a master's degree in Project Management from the International University of Equator and holds a bachelor's degree in Social Work and Community Development from Hope Africa University. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Abiyah intends to promote successful innovation and entrepreneurship in Burundi and beyond.

Veronica Agana


Veronica Agana is a low-cost healthcare access innovator with 14 years' experience in waste management, human resources management, customer relations management, and community mobilization. Currently, Veronica is a co-founder and product lead at Soso Care, a micro health insurance start-up that allows customers to pay their insurance premiums in recyclables. Previously, she founded WastePlus Environmental Services, where she focused on solid waste management. She also worked as a human resources executive in the telecommunications and business process outsourcing sectors, and as a customer relations officer with MTN Nigeria. Veronica volunteers with Voluntary Service Overseas and the Speak for Life Cancer Prevention Initiative. An Alumna of Bayero University Kano and Ahmadu Bello University, Veronica holds a master's degree in Human Resources Management. Veronica is committed to ensuring that all Nigerians have access to quality healthcare irrespective of their financial capability by linking recyclables to health insurance. Her goal is to ensure that no Nigerian is denied access to healthcare due to a lack of funds. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Veronica plans to create a green currency that will allow Nigerians to access products and services through their recycled waste.

Read Veronica's Profile in The Leader Digital Magazine >> The Leader Issue 44

Oumar Ba


Oumar Ba is a human-centered design specialist and the founder and head of development at Co-designer Center, a start-up in Senegal that specializes in entrepreneurship training as well as product and service development through co-designing. Oumar has eight years of experience in strategic design as a business designer and community developer, as well as a professional background in graphic design and digital communications. Oumar founded Permaculture Design, an organization that aims to provide practical training in permaculture design and leadership skills in schools. He has facilitated several workshops for local environmental organizations and cocreated activities and tools for their communities. In addition, he produces podcasts at Guestu Podcast. Oumar pursued African Studies at the University of Dakar, with a focus on linguistics, literature, and postcolonial history. He also holds a master's degree in Sustainable Development and Agriculture. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Oumar will continue to broaden his reach in human-centered design and environmental preservation in Senegal.

Raquel Biebeda Olupitan

Equatorial Guinea

Raquel Biebeda Olupitan is executive assistant to the regional vice president of Marathon Equatorial Guinea Production. Raquel holds a higher diploma in Administration and Finance. Her passion for social and entrepreneurial growth for youth inspired her to open a beauty studio that gives young people the opportunity to learn a handicraft in the beauty industry. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Raquel plans to open a vocational training school for the fashion and beauty business, with a focus on promoting youth entrepreneurship.

Read Raquel's Profile in The Leader Digital Magazine >> The Leader Issue 42

Feliciano Carlos


Feliciano Barnabe Carlos has been involved in agribusiness and the trade sector in his community since 2015, contributing to gradual progress in those sectors despite many challenges. He was born in Huambo Province in Angola, and studied accounting and auditing at José Eduardo dos Santos University in Huambo. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Feliciano plans to use the skills and new contacts he has gained to continue his work in his community. 

Mhlangeni Chiiko


Mhlangeni Chiiko is an economist and social entrepreneur who believes business can transform low-income communities. Mhlangeni works at the Zambian Ministry of Finance, and is co-founder and business developer of start-ups that improve maternal and neonatal mortality rates and enhance agriculture finance for smallholder farmers. Mhlangeni leverages digital payments technology to enhance economic growth and financial inclusion of underserved communities. He participated in the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) at the University of South Africa School of Business and was among the Top 100 Young Leaders in Southern Africa at the YALI Alumni Conference. Mhlangeni graduated from the Copperbelt University and from the #FinTech4U accelerator program executed by the United Nations Capital Development Fund and BongoHive. He was first runner-up at the MTN MoMo Hackathon 2020 and the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Entrepreneurship Fund. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Mhlangeni wants to help empower the next generation of African youth to take ownership of their nations' economy, which he believes will lead to job creation, curb rural-urban migration, and promote economic cooperation among nations. Youth empowerment also can alleviate the scourge of poverty and unleash the continent's potential to lead the world into the next century.

Alassane Diagne


Alassane Diagne is a young manager who began his career in accounting and the development of production and export projects for African fishery and agricultural products. Having always been committed to Senegal's development, Alassane has worked closely with other youth to invest in agriculture, breeding, and digital communication enterprises. Through these efforts, he created Baye Ganar, the first platform of distribution of poultry products, and Alien Teranga, a digital communication start-up that designed the web application Walapi. Since 2016, Alassane has put all his personal projects on standby to serve as a project coordinator with the association Empire des enfants, improving the quality of care for vulnerable children. He holds a degree in Audit and Management Control. Upon completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, he hopes to apply his new skills to develop income-generating activities for his association, thus enabling it to become more autonomous and less dependent on donations and subsidies.

Ahmat Djamaladine


Ahmat Mahamat Djamaladine is a nutritionist from Chad with four years of experience. He is responsible for nutrition services in Doba, Chad, and is in charge of a nutrition project for Urgence Contre la Faim, a humanitarian organization that works to fight hunger and malnutrition in Chad. He was previously responsible for school feeding and was manager of community nutrition for SOS Sahel. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Ahmat plans to develop a nutrition education program for all Chadian schools. He aims to create a center for manufacturing enriched farina to combat child malnutrition. He also hopes to invent an application that analyzes nutrients in local foods that can be produced and exported. He hopes that use of this application can help ease the management of metabolic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and gout.

Dr. Yohanis Riek Gok

South Sudan

Yohanis Riek is a trained and practicing medical doctor with more than 15 years' experience in senior management in South Sudan's public and private sectors. Currently, Yohanis is group chief executive officer at Yo Group Holdings, where he focuses on business development, portfolio management, team training and development, accountability oversight, fiduciary and governance affairs, and resource mobilization. Yohanis has founded three social enterprises and a non-profit organization. He holds a double-major bachelor's degree in Medicine and Surgery and a postgraduate diploma in Public Administration from the University of Juba. Yohanis is committed to improving lives in South Sudan and the region by improving access to affordable medical care, books, and learning resources and by revitalizing people's livelihoods, increasing literacy levels and incomes, building peaceful societies, and helping communities share ideas and best practices. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Yohanis plans to contribute to the business development, practices, and policies of South Sudan and the region; to enhance access to resources for start-up enterprises; and to manage and scale up his companies using the skills and experiences he acquired during the Fellowship.

Stephie Melina Kabre

Burkina Faso

Stephie Melina Kabre has six years of experience in community development and gender-based approaches. She is currently a humanitarian supply chain officer at the World Food Programme in Burkina Faso. She is also the founder of MyRedLwili, a social enterprise that promotes sustainable menstrual hygiene management techniques, and general coordinator of Youth Up Burkina Faso, a youth-led social initiative for quality education. She has collaborated with the Asian Sisterhood Network on a women's empowerment project for women living in Myanmar's internally displaced persons' camps. There, she witnessed the effects of menstruation on vulnerable women who do not have proper menstrual protection. With MyRedLwili, Stephie promotes sustainable and empowering techniques for the sexual and reproductive health landscape in Burkina Faso and Africa. Stephie holds a master's degree in Global NGO Studies from Chonnam National University in Gwangju, South Korea. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Stephie plans to scale up MyRedLwili by opening feminine shops and by designing sexual and reproductive health centers in Burkina Faso's major cities. She also plans to continue training vulnerable girls to make reusable pads.

Famata Kamara


Famata M. Kamara is a health professional with more than six years of experience in the medical field. Famata is the founder and chief executive officer of the WULeemen Community Saving and Loan Association, an organization that empowers local women by providing no-interest start-up loans. Famata also works in the production and supply of medical uniforms and accessories through FMK enterprise, which she founded as a sustainability arm for her organization. In 2014, Famata was heavily involved with the fight against the Ebola crisis in Liberia, through Heart to Heart International. Famata holds a master's degree in Public Health and a bachelor's degree in Professional Nursing. She has also earned a professional certificate in Entrepreneurial Management and Leadership. Famata is passionate about women's empowerment and is focused on reducing the rate of gender-based violence and vulnerability in her community. Her vision is to inspire more women to be independent and productive and to become successful business owners. Famata hopes to use the skills and knowledge gained in the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders to establish nutritional centers in all health facilities in Liberia.

Mathew Kipchumba


Mathew Kipchumba has more than five years of experience in project management and business development. Mathew is the co-founder and project team leader at the Women Development Center (WODEC), where he is currently focused on a project to develop affordable, high-quality, reusable sanitary pads for adolescent schoolgirls in North Rift, Kenya. Mathew holds a master's degree in International Business Administration from ADA University in Baku, Azerbaijan, and a bachelor's degree in Business Information Technology from Mount Kenya University in Nairobi, Kenya. He currently pursuing a postgraduate diploma in Technical Education with a Math and Computer option from Kenya Technical Training College. Mathew is committed to helping adolescent girls improve their academic performance, which suffers if they cannot attend school during their periods. Through WODEC's partnership with schools in North Rift, he also mentors and motivates learners to reach greater heights and educates them on life skills and sexual and reproductive health. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Mathew hopes to use the knowledge, skills, and networking opportunities he obtains to advance WODEC's work in North Rift.

Asonele Kotu

South Africa

Asonele Rachel Kotu has more than 10 years of experience as a public relations and marketing professional. She has worked with various clients, including community development organizations, charities, an international software-as-a-service/cloud-based solutions company, and a global solar technology company. She is also the founder of FemConnect, a start-up that creates digital solutions for period poverty and access to feminine hygiene and family planning services. Out of 50 tech start-ups, FemConnect won the 2019 Apps for Africa competition. Asonele served as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) YouthLead Ambassador for South Africa in 2020 and as the YouthLead Ambassador adviser to the 2021 Global Changemakers in the USAID and Making Cents International initiative. An Alumna of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs, Asonele is passionate about empowering women by improving access to sexual and reproductive health services. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Asonele plans to reach more than one million girls by integrating FemConnect's technology with government and private clinics in order to launch a family planning telemedicine service accessible to all citizens. She wants to use technology to ease access to women?s health services and empower women, leaving no one behind.

Besa Kyanamina


Besa Kyanamina has 11 years of experience in broadcast media and public relations. She is the proprietor and executive director at Solwezi Radio in northwestern Zambia. She is also a managing partner at Megacom Zambia Limited, a human resource, media, and brand management company. She founded the Women Community Response Project after her work as a media professional triggered a need to become a change activist for young girls and women in her community. She also volunteers at the retirement home in her community. She holds a diploma in Journalism and Public Relations and recently completed her bachelor's degree in Mass Communication and Public Relations. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, she wants to use her new skills and network to grow her businesses and to contribute positively to Zambia's economy by creating employment and business opportunities for young men and women.

Shermuker Makain Jr.


Shermuker Jeffrey Makain Jr. holds a bachelor's degree in Commerce from the University of Cape Coast. He worked with international non-governmental organizations for over five years before starting his own manual drilling company in Liberia. His company currently uses EMAS technology to provide safe and clean drinking water for poor Liberian citizens who are willing to offer labor to drill their own boreholes and make hand pumps in their homes or public places. Shermuker and his team have used the EMAS method to drill 18 boreholes in three months, supporting climate change sensitivity and adaptation strategies in southeast Liberia. The team transported borehole materials to the hardest-to-reach farms of Liberia through off-road conditions. After the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Shermuker will continue training youth in how to make their own drilling stems and hand pumps as a source of livelihood, thus reducing the unemployment rate in Liberia. 

Terence Mathe


Terence Thamsanqa Mathe has more than five years of experience in the accounting and audit profession, in particular with banking and finance, and more than seven years of experience in the waste management and energy sector in Zimbabwe. He is co-founder and director of Southern Incineration Services, Zimbabwe's largest provider of biomedical waste and energy solutions. Terence is also the treasurer of his local Rotaract chapter. He holds a bachelor's degree in Accounting (with honors) from Africa University and has completed the Articles of Clerkship with KPMG. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Terence plans to continue pursuing his goals and hopes eventually to see a clean Africa.

Read Terence's Profile in The Leader Digital Magazine >> The Leader Issue 6

Gail Motloung

South Africa

Gail Motloung is a transformational speaker and author. She is the managing director at House of Yadah Publications and has written several books, including Believe You Can, Born for a Greater Purpose Journal, and Daddy, I'm Yours. She is also the founder of the Girl with a Purpose Foundation, a South African non-profit organization that empowers, equips, and inspires young women, and runs a casting agency for young upcoming actors and filmmakers. Gail holds a degree in Theology and a diploma in Entrepreneurship from the Vaal University of Technology. A recipient of a 2016 Esther Woman In The Kingdom Award, a 2019 True Shine Award, a 2020 Women of Stature Award, and a 2020 Extraordinary Women Award, Gail was also a Tammy Taylor Mrs. South Africa semifinalist in 2018. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, she plans to fulfill her life's motto: If you can see the invisible, you can do the impossible.

Read Gail's Profile in The Leader Digital Magazine >> The Leader Issue 45

Talesindano Nangolo


Twelyeta Vistolina Talesindano Nangolo has more than four years of experience in leadership roles and volunteer work in local communities, mostly through charitable organizations. Currently, she is vice president of the Rotary Club of Walvis Bay, which devotes its efforts mainly to community engagement, particularly with youth. Twelyeta is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. She is passionate about early childhood development and wants to encourage high school students to pursue science. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, she plans to publish children's books in Namibian native languages that represent local culture and narratives. Through these works, she intends to contribute to improved literacy in children and thus to cognitive development.

Read Talesindano's Profile in The Leader Digital Magazine >> The Leader Issue 40

Ben Jammaine Ncube


Ben Jammaine Ncube has more than five years of experience in business management. Ben is currently the chief executive officer of Men's Health Clinic Zimbabwe, a medical institution that provides healthcare services for men. He is driven by the need to achieve health equity in Zimbabwe through high-quality and affordable men's health services. He is the 2020 winner of the Gian Marco Moratti Award for the best business innovation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. Ben holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Global Master of Business Administration in Impact Entrepreneurship. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Ben plans to expand healthcare access for men across Africa and to influence subsequent policy changes through research and community involvement. 

During the 2021 Fellowship, Ben created The Leader Digital Magazine as a way to network virtually with the cohort of Fellows in his home country of Zimbabwe and the Drake Institute cohort. Learn more >>

Eric Nsoh


Eric Nsoh has more than three years of experience in teaching and research and two years of experience in auditing. He is an audit senior with Diligence Consult, an external audit firm that provides audit, assurance, and business consulting services. He also enjoys volunteering with local teachers and students to assist them in identifying suitable techniques for collecting and analyzing data. Eric is passionate about ensuring transparent and accountable use of financial resources and has assisted businesses in designing effective internal controls that prevent the misuse of funds and that ensure corporations comply with agreements, standards, and regulations. Eric is a chartered accountant and an associate with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ghana, and holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Eric plans to advance his career in accounting and auditing to effectively fight corruption and promote the growth of small and emerging businesses.

Read Eric's Profile in The Leader Digital Magazine >> The Leader Issue 41

Oluwatosin Olaseinde


Oluwatosin Mary Olaseinde is a finance and investment expert with more than 12 years of experience in her field. She is committed to spreading financial literacy to millennials. Oluwatosin is the founder of MoneyAfrica, an organization aimed at democratizing access to financial literacy across Africa in simplified form. She is also passionate about reintegrating out-of-school children into the education system. Oluwatosin holds a bachelor's degree (with honors) in Accounting and Finance. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, she plans to reach more Africans and build systems that significantly improve financial literacy for all.

Phebean Swill

Sierra Leone

Phebean Swill has more than 12 years experience as a development communicator. She has worked as a broadcast journalist, social entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and actor to draw attention to social issues and trigger positive action. She has been recognized as a youth ambassador, one of the 50 Most Influential Women of 2020, one of the 100 Most Influential Young Sierra Leoneans of 2019, and the Most Outstanding Female Television Presenter of 2017, and has received awards for her leadership and influence in drawing attention to issues of women and youth empowerment, civic rights, and civic responsibilities. Phebean believes that entrepreneurship can lead to job creation and development in Africa. Her production company, Swill Edutainment Empire SL Ltd., produces documentaries, films, and The Phebe Swill Platform, a widely watched lifestyle show on national television and YouTube. She also founded the Phebe Swill Foundation, which offers regular mentoring and coaching activities in the form of public lectures, career sessions, and school tours. On completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, Phebean plans to continue combining her interpersonal communication skills and problem-solving abilities to empower youth and commercial sex workers with the skills and knowledge to become entrepreneurs.

Read Phebean's Profile in The Leader Digital Magazine >> The Leader Issue 43

Zola Vida


Zola Vida is an entrepreneur, writer, and book publisher in Angola. He is the founder and chief executive officer of Editora Azul, a publishing company whose publications include the literature magazine Letras de Ouro (Golden Letters). Letras de Ouro publishes works by writers, young and old, from Angola and other Portuguese-speaking countries. In 2014, Zola received the Germano Machado International Literature Prize in Brazil. He trains children and teenagers who wish to become successful writers. Zola is also engaged in some other business areas, such as agriculture, transportation, and technology. To prevent and reduce the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Zola, through Editora Azul, joined efforts with the Amigos do Futuro Association to produce and distribute almost 10,000 masks for free to people in poorer communities. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, he plans to use his new knowledge and skills to continue inspiring others to write and share their stories.

Ocassin Walumbu

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Ocassin Walumbu is the general manager of the Bayovu Hotel and the financial manager for L.U.K.S.A.R.L. Ocassin also owns a small company that offers a range of services, creating jobs for young people who lack educational opportunities. He is a graduate of the University of Namibia and the former treasurer of the Congolese Student's Association in Namibia. Upon completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, he plans to apply his new skills and network to enhance the impact of his current initiatives.

Melat Yosef


Melat Yosef Dejene is a social entrepreneur based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She is the founder of VitaBite Nutrition, a social venture that is engaged in nutrition education and food processing. Melat is also passionate about social business and inclusive economy, and is a founding member and partnership manager of Social Enterprise Ethiopia. Her areas of interest include food security, food processing, and social businesses. Melat holds an M.A. in Marketing Management from St. Mary's University and a B.A. in Public Administration Addis Ababa University. After completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, she hopes to apply her improved business skills, expanded networks with fellow Africans, and knowledge of U.S. food security perspectives to enhance the impact of her work.

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