• From left, Olivia Kyomuhendo, Peris Mwangi, MasterCard Foundation Youth Learning Program Manager Steve Cumming, Eddy Matagala, Rafiatu Lawal and Eyram Adedze during a campus visit.

    From left, Olivia Kyomuhendo, Peris Mwangi, MasterCard Foundation Youth Learning Program Manager Steve Cumming, Eddy Matagala, Rafiatu Lawal and Eyram Adedze during a campus visit.

    Image: Sebastian Modak

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Young African leaders propose paths to prosperity for the continent

From left, Olivia Kyomuhendo, Peris Mwangi, MasterCard Foundation Youth Learning Program Manager Steve Cumming, Eddy Matagala, Rafiatu Lawal and Eyram Adedze during a campus visit.

Members of Youth Think Tank meet with Legatum Center staff and fellows at MIT.


The Legatum Center at MIT recently hosted five members of the MasterCard Foundation Youth Think Tank, which was founded to engage young people from Africa to bring insight into issues facing the continent. The young African leaders met with Legatum Center staff and fellows and voiced their ideas on new paths to inclusive growth and prosperity in a rapidly expanding part of the world.

At a roundtable forum discussion, Eyram Adedze, a 19-year-old African Leadership Academy graduate from Ghana, spoke about education and entrepreneurship.

Olivia Kyomuhendo, 22, a member of the Empowerment and Livelihood for Adolescents program in Uganda, described her views on the opportunities for youth employment, especially among young women.

Rafiatu Lawal, a 24-year-old teacher from Ghana, addressed the challenges of teaching a class of 75 students, where the dropout rate is high primarily due to issues such as teen pregnancy. In addition to her commitment to better quality education, Lawal is an avid blogger and believer in the power of social media.

Eddy Matagala, a 20-year-old social entrepreneur, youth advocate and motivational speaker from Uganda, shared his belief in the tremendous opportunities in Africa and the need to inspire his generation to believe in their power to solve the continent’s problems.

Peris Mwangi, 20, who is involved in the Secondary Education Scholarship Project with Equity Group Foundation in Kenya, voiced her support for numerous youth initiatives and shared her wish to bring conversations together using social media.

The MasterCard Foundation, a donor to the Legatum Center, is committed to accelerating youth employment in Africa through both discourse and action. With roughly 65 percent of the total population of Africa below the age of 35, the empowerment of young people such as the Youth Think Tank participants is essential for sustainable development. The Legatum Center at MIT is proud to be a part of this worldwide initiative by preparing MIT students to launch innovative and inclusive enterprises in low-income countries.


Topics: Accidents, Developing countries, Development, Entrepreneurship, Global, International development, Leadership, Legatum Center, Graduate, postdoctoral, Student life, Students, Undergraduate

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