Culture The Beauty of Africa

8 African Leaders Who Stole the Show at Global Citizen NOW

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Avatar of Teresa Mwangi
Written by Teresa Mwangi

Global Citizen NOW summit recently held in New York wasn’t just about ending global poverty. It was a special moment for Africa to be heard on a global level and inspire the world in so many ways. The Big Apple hosted brilliant minds for days and the spotlight was on eight Africans who attended the summit.

What is the Global Citizenship NOW?

Global Citizenship NOW is a goal-oriented event pushing for impactful change in the world. It establishes a global agenda for immediate action and brings together the most brilliant minds, powerful decision-makers, and celebrity personalities. Their goal is to address the world’s most pressing issues of poverty and find solutions for each.

The two-day event whose first edition debuted in Melbourne, Australia in March marked a new era in global advocacy. New York – a major City in the world – hosted the second leg of the event. Top of the agenda was the fight against severe poverty which is why it brings together a mix of leaders from the public and private sectors, artists, and advocates.

Was Africa Represented at Global Citizen NOW in New York?

Eight African leaders and advocates stole the show at Sprigs Studios in New York City where the summit went down on May 1 and May 2nd.  Here they are.

1.      President Paul Kagame

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Rwandan President Paul Kagame. Photo/Paul Kagame

Rwandan President Paul Kagame tops the highlight of Global Citizen Now with his articulate address. He appeared virtually and propelled African unity and accountability. Kagame cited the two as the most important proponents of growth in Africa. Hosted by Areya Media CEO Isha Sesay, Kagame explained that he takes lessons from the 1994 Rwandan Genocide pitting the Tutsi against the Hutsi.

The absence of unity among the people from both tribes and a lack of accountability by leaders and other players from both tribes led to genocide. And as Rwanda commemorates this sad event in history under the Kwibuka 30 Initiative (‘Kwibuka’ is Rwandese for remembrance) Kagame feels Africa needs to get it right on accountability and unity.

In retrospect, political, social and economic divisions have only hindered Africa’s growth. Looking at Rwanda analytically, it has a promising future drawing lessons from its past mishaps.

2.      Berla Mundi

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Ghanaian Media personality Berla Mundi. Berla Mundi/Instagram

Berla Mundi represented Africa well. The Ghanaian media personality and activist astounded this year’s Global Citizen NOW participants with her chic appearance. She oozed wisdom in her panel discussing “How Consumers Can Drive Global Change.” Mundi shared ideas with Tim Mapes, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer of Delta Airlines, and Jennifer Pipa, Vice President of Disaster Programs at the Red Cross. While discussing matters of what consumers can do to impact change; she spoke with conviction about the resilience young African women yield.

3.      Lydia Charles Moyo

Lydia Charles Moyo is a Tanzanian businesswoman and advocate for women’s rights. She was awarded the 2024 Global Citizen Prize: Women & Girls in recognition of her work with Her Initiative. It’s a non-profit organization led by women, and her development of Panda Digital, the first Swahili e-learning platform.

She provides them with the resources they need to prosper in a digital age with the intention of empowering them.

4.      Olivier Ndoole Bahemuke

Olivier Ndoole Bahemuke is a Congolese lawyer and a staunch environmental conservation advocate that he was nicknamed the ‘Green Lawyer’. He won the 2024 Global Citizen Prize: Civic Space in recognition of his efforts as an environmental rights defender.

5.      Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi

Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi used the Global Citizen NOW platform to speak about the emerging challenges of environmental conservation. Botswana has teething issues in its push for environmental rights especially in its state as a landlocked country.

6.      Wangari Kuria

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Wangari Kuria is a Kenyan agricultural entrepreneur who doubles up as a women’s rights defender

Wangari Kuria is a Kenyan agricultural entrepreneur who doubles up as a women’s rights defender. She shared a seat on the panel with Gargee Ghosh from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and former Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. The trio talked about building a stronger world with agriculture being an enabler against poverty among communities.

7.      Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya

Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya is an anti-FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) and early marriage advocate. She runs Kakenya’s Dream, an organization sensitizing communities on the dangers of FGM and also empowers young girls from FGM-practicing communities.

8.      Osi Umenyiora

Osi Umenyiora, a British Nigerian is a double Super Bowl champion. The former defensive end for the NFL spoke about the unrealized potential in Africa as far as sports is concerned. Umenyiora talked about his work with the NFL and how he is creating opportunities for African athletes to discover their full potential.

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About the author

Avatar of Teresa Mwangi

Teresa Mwangi

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, loves travelling and telling stories about tour and travel in Africa by every angle.

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