Africa’s top six social entrepreneurs of the year announced

Six social entrepreneurs were today named by the Schwab Foundation as Africa Social Entrepreneurs of the Year at the World Economic Forum on Africa currently taking place in Abuja, Nigeria.

Social entrepreneurs are those with innovative solutions to society’s most pressing problems. Thus, social entrepreneurship is a vital foundation block for any system that seeks to uproot social problems anywhere, and in places like Africa it is indispensable.

The following have been selected as this year’s Africa Social Entrepreneurs of the Year.

1. Patrick Awuah, Ashesi University, Ghana

Ashesi is a private, non-profit liberal arts college that addresses the need for ethical leadership and innovative thinking. Its curriculum combines a liberal arts core with practical majors in management information systems, computer science and business, with a focus on leadership development and community service.

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

Sproxil’s Mobile Product Authentication solution enables customers to verify that a pharmaceutical product is genuine by using a scratch card which reveals a one-time code on the product. The company has set up Africa’s first national, mobile-based anti-counterfeit service, and has already sold more than 250m anti-counterfeit labels.

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

Using radio programmes, discussions and festivals, the IOPA facilitates transformation and diversification of the Maasai’s economic system through social business, social entrepreneurship and innovation. The institute also teaches the Massai veterinary services and techniques and carries out livestock vaccination campaigns.

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

This chain of nursery and private schools delivers high quality education for an average of US$6 a month. Teachers are able to give classes to thousands of pupils using data-enabled tablets, and the company operates 300 academies in Kenya, educating about 100,000 pupils.

5. Gbenga Sesan, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), Nigeria

PIN aims to connect underserved young Nigerians with ICT-enabled opportunities to improve their livelihoods. It offers income-generating ICT training and social media consultancy to organisations, working with PIN graduates as implementing partners.

6. Allen Wilcox, VillageReach, Mozambique

Through collaboration with governments, organisations and communities, VillageReach aims to increase access to quality healthcare. It does this by strengthening health service delivery, enhancing ICT systems and engaging the private sector.