13 Young African Business Leaders You Should Know

It was American football coach, Vincent Lombardi that said, “Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” Today, there are many young Africans blazing trails across the continent and globally –  new breed, cosmopolitan Africans, shaping Africa’s future. Their social/business activities in one way or the other illuminates the potential that will shape the business and economic future of Africa.

Ventures Africa has identified 13 young Africans who have contributed to shaping the future of the continent and the world at large; through their activities and businesses, these global leaders, entrepreneurs, CEOs and intellectuals are young, talented and with proven genius in their distinctive fields.  To cap it all, they are all under 35 years! In no respective order, here are 13 Young African Business/Economic Leaders to look out for in 2013.

Ladi Delano, Founder & CEO, Bakrie Delano Africa (BDA)

Nigerian serial entrepreneur, Ladi Delano made his first millions selling liquor while living in China. In 2004, at age 22, he founded Solidarnosc Asia, a Chinese alcoholic beverage company that made Solid XS, a premium brand of Vodka. The company later expanded with the launching of a dining and entertainment venue, The Collection.

Solid XS went on to achieve about 70 percent market share in China and was distributed across over 33 cities in China, with revenue of over $22 million annually. After some time, with the global economic downturn, Solid XS was sold to a rival liquor company for about $20 million.

However before selling Solid XS, Delano had set up a real estate investment company focused on mainland China – called Delano Reid Group. The company went on to raise over $80 million for real estate investments in mainland China profiting from China’s real estate economic boom. Apart from the real estate company, Delano is also a founding partner in DRG CIN Energy and Global DRG Capital, providers of global energy solutions.

In December 2011, Delano shifted focus from the Asia economic boom to establish his latest venture, Bakrie Delano Africa (BDA), in Africa. This time, he partnered with Indonesia conglomerate, the Bakrie Group under a joint venture partnership. His company partnership with Bakrie Group was created to facilitate the expansion of the South East Asia’s conglomerate, in Africa. Through the joint venture, the Bakrie Group would invest about $1 billion over five years in Bakrie Delano Africa (BDA) in areas as diverse as mining, oil & gas and agriculture.

An entrepreneur true to his origin, Ladi believes “Nigeria is attractive to the Bakrie Group as an investment destination for several reasons. Firstly, it is experiencing excellent rates of economic growth, approximately 8 percent per year, which is forecast by a wide cross-section of respected economic commentators to continue over the medium to long term.” The young businessman is definitely one to watch in 2013.

Clare Akamanzi, Chief Operating Officer of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB)

Clare is the Chief Operating Officer of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), a Government institution in charge of accelerating economic growth and development in Rwanda. A foundation member of the board since its creation in 2008; 33 year-old Clare had worked as RDB’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer. Then, she was in charge of Business Operations and Services at RDB.

Clare grew up in Uganda where her parents had been taken as refugees during the genocide-attack in her home country –Rwanda. Today, she is one of the young Rwandans actively involved in the economic reformation of her country.

Her awareness to public service started at the age of 18 when she worked for Minister of Gender Inyumba at the Ingando- a solidarity camp.

The Masters Degree holder in Trade and Investment Policy cum International Trade and Investment Lawyer has a passion for business promotion. Before her stint at RDB, Clare served as Rwanda’s commercial diplomat in London and a trade negotiator for the Government of Rwanda at the World Trade Organisation at the age of 25. She was also the Deputy Director-General of the Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency (RIEPA) from 2006-2008.

The young business leader have also chaired the National Customer care campaign in her country and she is credited as the founder of Prosave, a 100 member savings cooperative that promotes a savings culture among Rwandans.

In 2012, Clare was the only Rwandan among the 192 global young leaders from 59 countries honoured for their outstanding leadership, professional accomplishments and commitment to society by the World Economic Forum…

Read More: ventures-africa.com

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