Building Human Capital in Africa: The Future of a Generation #InvestInPeople

"How may Africa's human capital be best harnessed?"

Young people are the drivers of Africa’s economy and future. With eleven million youth expected to enter Africa’s labor market every year for the next decade, now is the time for urgent action to build and nurture the region’s immense human capital.

This discussion focuses on the future of Africa’s youth through the lens... view more


Part 1: Hafez Ghanem, Vice President, Africa Region at The World Bank, puts a spotlight on world's most youthful continent, Africa, which has 43% of its population that is younger than 15-years-old. He underscores that continent's brainpower depends on these youngsters' brainpower, creativity, energy and hard work. He also announces the launch of the ambitious Human Capital Plan for Africa


Part 2: His Majesty King Letsie III of Lesotho in the keynote address stresses why investments in human capital are essential for long term, sustainable economic growth, and urged everyone to step up to the mark.


Part 3: Voices of youth are highlighted through #Blog4Dev’s winner Sandrine Bwiza speaking on behalf of the 10 winners from 43 African countries, focusing on closing the digital divide. Sudanese spoken-word poet Emi Mahmoud moves the audience to tears with her poetry inspired by her life experience with conflict and violence.


Part 4: Panel Discussion - 1: Policymakers from four African countries exchange their own country experiences on how to better invest in girls through health and education, reinforce promises with resources, and use technology to help build a workforce for the future.


Part 5: Panel Discussion - 2: Policymakers from four African countries exchange their own country experiences on how to better invest in girls through health and education, reinforce promises with resources, and use technology to help build a workforce for the future.


Part 6: Panel Discussion - 3: Policymakers from four African countries exchange their own country experiences on how to better invest in girls through health and education, reinforce promises with resources, and use technology to help build a workforce for the future.


Part 7: Global Citizen shared a highly successful campaign to improve access to sanitary products for girls in South Africa and highlighted Global Citizen Youth Prize Winner Wawira Njiru’s work to ensure that children can access nutritious food in school.  And 11-year old DJ Switch through a passionate closing video appearance called on the continent to invest in people.

About the Presenters

His Majesty King Letsie III

King of the Kingdom of Lesotho

His Majesty is a constitutional monarch and serves as the Head of State of the Kingdom of Lesotho. Apart from performing representational duties, His Majesty is a symbol of national unity and stability. In January 2014, His Majesty King Letsie III, was appointed by the Assembly of African Heads of State to be the African Nutrition Champion for a two year period. The term of His Majesty with the African Union was extended in 2016 to 2019. In addition, His Majesty was appointed in December 2016 to be the Special Ambassador for Nutrition of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations. With his extensive knowledge, experience and dedication to public service, King Letsie III has committed to firmly place Nutrition and Food Security on the continental and global agenda and encourages increased investments to ensure that malnutrition issues are fully addressed and eliminated. In August 2018, His Majesty was appointed by the World Bank to be a Champion for the Human Capital Project of the Bank. Upon assuming the responsibility, His Majesty joined a group of eminent persons that serve in the same capacity.

Paula Ingabire

Minister of ICT, Rwanda

Ms. Paula Ingabire is a Rwandan technology enthusiast and politician, who currently serves as the Minister of ICT and Innovation of Rwanda. Before her current appointment, she was Head of the Kigali Innovation City initiative and the former Head of ICT at the Rwanda Development Board. She is part of Girls in ICT Rwanda and has also been at the helm of Transform Africa, a platform that brings together innovators and policy makers across Africa to shape Africa’s digital transformation agenda. She was a Systems Design & Management Fellow at MIT.

Dalitso Kabambe

Governor for the Reserve Bank of Malawi

As Governor of the Reserve Bank, Dr. Kabambe is responsible for providing strategic direction and leadership, in line with the principles dictated with the role of a central bank. His prime focus is on the design and execution of the objectives outlined by the monetary policies; strengthen the exchange rate stability and advocate for the soundness and development of the financial system, which in the end will ensure economic growth. He undertakes and oversees all Central Bank communications with the public to ensure that these are in alignment with the Bank’s primary goals and objectives.

Aïchatou Boulama Kané

Minister of Planning, Niger

Aïchatou Kané has served as Minister of Planning of Niger since 2016, before which she was Minister of Foreign Affairs, from 2015-16. Prior to her ministerial posts, Ms. Kané served in several leadership positions in the Nigerien government, including chief of staff to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, a senior official in the Ministry of Interior, Governor of Niamey, and Secretary of State for Planning. Ms. Kané has long championed women’s rights and economic empowerment, and Nigerien Women’s Day stems from a march she led to protest low representation of women in the National Conference. Ms. Kané holds an economics degree from the University of Rennes in France and a graduate degree from the Sorbonne.

Julie Gathoni Sumira Gichuru


Ms. Julie Gichuru is an entrepreneur and media personality with investments across media, ICT, retail and entertainment sectors. She is a Fellow of the Africa Leadership Initiative EA and hosts the pan African television show Africa Leadership Dialogues. Ms. Gichuru’s career in the media over the past 18 years has seen her work across the fields of broadcast, print and digital media, pioneering an impressive number of celebrated shows.

Emtithal Mahmoud

Spoken-word poet and UNHCR Goodwill ambassador

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador and World Champion Poet, Emtithal (Emi) Mahmoud continuously advocates for the cause of refugees and disadvantaged communities the world over through her poetry and incredible experience. Named one of BBC's 100 Most Inspirational Women, Emi co-founded an international Sickle Cell research initiative at age 19 and has since worked with President Obama, the Dalai Lama, the UNHCR, the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Google Zeitgeist, The Institute for Inclusive Security, Gates Grand Challenges, The Hilton Foundation, The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and more. A TED Speaker, award-wining slam poet, and author, Emi has repeatedly moved audiences to tears—and to their feet— at the UN General Assembly, The World Economic Forum in Davos, Forbes 30 Under 30, and countless other high-level events. Her first book Sisters' Entrance was released in May of 2018. That same year, she walked 1000km (620miles) in 30 days cross Sudan, mobilizing thousands of people along the way. In 2017, she hosted the first fully inclusive civilian peace talks in Darfur before starting the One Girl Walk. Emi uses grass-roots activism to organize, motivate, and mobilize thousands toward change across the world. From her landmark civilian peace talks, to multiple field missions with the UN Refugee Agency and more, Emi has become an expert on catalyzing change. She graduated from Yale in 2016 serving as the Class Day poet and speaker.

Ruth Kagia

Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the President of Kenya

Mrs. Ruth Kagia is currently Deputy Chief of Staff (Policy & Strategy) in the Executive Office of the President. She rejoined Government in 2014 as Senior Advisor, to the President. Prior to this Mrs. Kagia worked at the World Bank for some 20 years (1990-2013) during which she held various positions including as World Bank Country Director for Southern Africa (South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho as well as Mauritius and Madagascar). Before this, Mrs. Kagia was the World Bank Global Director for Education (2002- 2008). Before joining the World Bank Mrs. Kagia worked with the Kenya Government in teaching, management and research. Mrs. Kagia holds degrees from the University of Nairobi and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In addition, she holds several professional development qualifications including the Executive Development Program from Harvard University and a Certificate of Education Measurement from Princeton.

Hafez Ghanem

Vice President, Africa

Hafez Ghanem, an Egyptian and French national, is the Vice President of the World Bank for Africa since July 1, 2018. A development expert with over 30 years of experience, Dr. Ghanem leads an active regional portfolio consisting of over 600 projects totaling more than $71 billion. Under his leadership, the World Bank supports inclusive growth and poverty reduction by financing projects that boost human capital, support private sector development, raise agricultural productivity, improve access to infrastructure, build resilience to climate change, and promote regional integration. Intensifying assistance for fragile and conflict-affected states, promoting gender equality, and providing economic opportunities for youth are core to his vision for the Africa Region.

DJ Switch (Erica Armah-Bra Bulu Tandoh)

Musician, Poet, Dancer, Motivational Speaker, Actress

Erica Armah-Bra Bulu Tandoh, 11, also known as DJ Switch from Ghana, made a name for herself after spinning for just two years. Ms. Tandoh chose the name DJ Switch because she wants to “switch up people's happiness." She is also a poet, dancer, motivational speaker and actress. In addition, she is the Executive Director and founder of DJ Switch Foundation, which advocates for quality education, good health and gender equality, as detailed in the SDGs. She aspires to become a gynecologist. She has been featured on the BBC, CNN, and FRANCE24. She deejayed for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Goalkeepers summit on the sidelines of the 2018 UN General Assembly, joining a lineup that included French president Emmanuel Macron.

Wawira Njiru

Founder of Food 4 Education

Wawira Njiru is the founder of Food for Education an organisation that is feeding Africa’s future by creating a sustainable model of efficiently providing locally sourced, high quality, nutritious meals to millions of African children in public primary schools. She is a Stanford d school alumni, the youngest recipient of the University of South Australia’s alumni award 2017, a 2018 Rainer Arnhold Fellow, a recipient of the Builders of Africa Award 2018 and one of 2018’s Top 40 under 40 women in Kenya. She is also the first recipient of the Global Citizen Youth Leadership Prize 2018 presented by Cisco.