Nominees cling to hope as Forty Under 40 Africa Awards event draws nigh

This coveted award honors highly innovative, proactive, and influential minds who, through their efforts in their areas of profession and community service, are pushing Africa ahead, turning it to a continent of opportunities and fulfillment.

Ms. Maryben Omollo, a Kenyan entrepreneur and Founder, Greeneseal Cleaners, after scooping the Forty Under 40 Africa Award in Ghana on March 26, 2022. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Ms. Maryben Omollo, a Kenyan entrepreneur and Founder, Greeneseal Cleaners, after scooping the Forty Under 40 Africa Award in Ghana on March 26, 2022. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Established in 2022 for Africa as a result of extended wings from the Forty Under 40 Ghana, which is now turning seven years old, the Forty Under 40 Africa Awards is an appreciation scheme for young people aged below forty who are making impact in diverse spheres in the continent.

It identifies, honors, and celebrates a cross-section of Africa’s most vibrant and influential minds with accomplishments in a vast range of industries. 

It celebrates committed individuals in business growth, professional excellence, and community service who have scaled professional ranks while still young.

To grace the Award’s Second Edition happening this year, Xodus Communications Limited-Ghana, the organizers of the awards, shortlisted a whopping 126 nominees, handpicked from 24 African countries, for the coveted prize. Kenya has 27 nominees for the award.

The event is reserved for March 25, 2023, at The Leonardo Hotel in Sandton City, South Africa, which is Africa’s tallest building. It will be hosted by the Black-White Attorneys –South Africa and Turfloop City –South Africa.

Speaking to The Scholar Media Africa in an exclusive interview, Mr. Richard Abbey Jnr, the Founder and Events Director of the Forty Under 40 Africa Awards scheme, noted that vibrancy has been evident in professional quarters in Africa, and many young Africans are giving their best professionally, thus deserve being awarded.

Mr. Richard Abbey and Mr. Elijah Nyaanga, the Founder and CEO of Scholar Media Africa. Mr. Nyaanga is also Kenya's representative to the Turkey-Africa Trade and Investment Council. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Mr. Richard Abbey (Left, from Ghana), Founder and Events Director Xodus Communications, which runs the Forty Under 40 Africa Awards, and Mr. Elijah Nyaanga (from Kenya), Founder and CEO of Scholar Media Group Africa (SMEGA), during a familiarization meeting in Nairobi on January 18, 2023, when Mr. Abbey toured Kenya to meet this year’s Kenyan nominees. PHOTO/Courtesy.

The Scholar Media Group Africa is a Kenyan-based media house registered in Kenya in 2017.

It amplifies Africa’s success stories from diverse quarters such as Health, Education, Agribusiness, Climate Change, Gender Empowerment, and Technology, among other evergreen narratives, all in a positive approach. Apart from running its news website, the company is also the publisher of The Scholar magazine, a bi-weekly publication, and The Scholar News Digest, a bi-weekly newsletter.

This year, in view of the positive and life-changing stories the media company has published over the years, its Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Elijah Nyaanga, a seasoned journalist and transformational leader, was nominated in two of the Forty Under 40 Africa categories: Media (Digital and Social) and Journalism (Radio/TV/Newspaper).

Mr. Nyaanga is also Kenya’s representative to the Turkey-Africa Trade and Investment Council (TATIC).

Nomination and judging

The nominees are citizens of any of Africa’s 55 countries, living within the continent or in the diaspora, and aged 40 or below at the time of the event. 

A third party nominates the person for the award, yet the number of nominations does not matter or advantage those with more nominations.

To be considered a nominee, one must be an Entrepreneur, Shareholder, Founder, or Co-Founder of a company.

A Jury and an Awarding Board supervise the Award.

Mr. Kris Senanu (L), the Managing Director of Telkom Kenya, the head of Jury and representative of Eastern Africa, with Mr. Richard Abbey, the Founder and Events Director, Xodus Communications, which runs the Forty under 40 Africa Awards. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Mr. Kris Senanu (L), the Managing Director of Telkom Kenya and the head of Jury and representative of Eastern Africa, with Mr. Richard Abbey. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Kris Senanu, the Managing Director of Telkom Kenya (representing Eastern Africa), is the head of the jury.

Rotimi Olawale, Executive Director of Youth Hub Africa, is the representative of Western Africa, while Ruth Mawia, Chief Executive Officer of Koola Waters, represents Eastern Africa.

Ashley Mupfawa, the Creative Director of Goodwall Changemakers, represents the Southern Africa region, while Erick Inghatt Matsanza, Founder of Spice Without Borders, represents Eastern Africa, as Farouk Khailann, the Chief Executive Officer of Premium Africa Holdings represents the people of Western Africa and Nemfor Alfred, the CEO of FIAFA Cameroun, represents Central Africa. 

The judging process involves a thorough sieving of nominees against a backdrop of different levels of professionalism, leadership, influence and community impact, past awards, and academic qualifications, among others. 

The winners are announced at the culmination of the event.

Continental representation

This year’s nominees were drawn from all corners of the continent, with countries like South Africa, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Cameroon, South Sudan, Morocco, Benin, Mauritius, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Algeria, Botswana, Tunisia, Eswatini, Lesotho, The Gambia, among others, being represented.

Achievements hitherto

“Last year, we awarded about 50 winners from different categories, and to us, it made a significant impact. 

Kenyan nominees for the 2023 Forty Under 40 Africa edition pose for a photo with Mr. Abbey in Nairobi during his recent tour to Kenya. The awarding ceremony will be on March 25, 2023 at The Leonardo Hotel, South Africa. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Kenyan nominees for the 2023 Forty Under 40 Africa edition pose for a photo with Mr. Abbey in Nairobi during his recent tour to Kenya. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Most of the awardees received further endorsements from their home countries, others did trustable Public Relations campaigns, and others received funding for their organizations after showcasing what they offer,” Mr. Abbey told The Scholar.

He added that from the awards, some nominees and winners got promotions in their home countries and companies, and others added their client base, a reason why more people should work hard to snatch the awards in different categories of their profession.

“We are impressed with the pace at which women are rising on the continent. In 2023 the nominee ratio of women to men is 58, which is about 46% as against 68 men representing 54%,” the Founder appreciated in a recent press release. 


Mr. Abbey says that the whole process makes the continent feel what the awardees really are and appreciate their efforts.

“With nearly half of the continent participating, it means that the awardees get the endorsement of the better part of the continent.

There is also an intrinsic value of the trophy; even though there is no financial token attached, it’s a sign that the continent trusts and endorses you as competent in that category,” he explained.

Ms. Maryben Omollo is a Kenyan multi-award winner who, among other awards, scooped a Forty Under 40 Award under the Women Empowerment category in the 2022 Awards Edition in Ghana. 

Mr. Abbey with one of the nominees from Rwanda when he visited the country recently to meet and connect with the nominees ahead of the awarding ceremony. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Mr. Abbey, with one of the nominees from Rwanda when he visited the country recently to meet and connect with the nominees ahead of the awarding ceremony in two months’ time. PHOTO/Courtesy.

“It has its benefits if you know how to position yourself for and utilize the award,” she told The Scholar

Reminiscing its benefits, the entrepreneur and mental health advocate explains, “I am now an international speaker and I’ve traveled to different award ceremonies to deliver speeches. It’s more of self-investment and investing in yourself; it is easy but also hard and painful, but it’s worth it in the end.” 

Sosthen Simiyu is the Executive Director of Youth Governance in Action, based in Kenya, and also the Forty Under 40 Africa Kenyan nominees co-ordinator.

“This is a new dawn and this award has given the youths space to showcase themselves and rise to higher levels. Being a nominee is a win in itself,” he says, urging the African youths to continue working hard.

He says that the award has changed the lives of many, opening more doors for the winners to travel around the continent and also expand in their businesses and careers.

It is equally a competitive avenue for networking and indoctrinating young African minds into the entrepreneurial and professional quarters, encouraging continental inter-trading engagements, partnerships, and enthusiasm, according to the Founder, Mr. Abbey.


“One of the major challenges is that at times, some people want to hide their information and are unwilling to make enough entries,” he says.

While this makes it hard for the steering team to determine their eligibility for the awards, Mr. Abbey urges them that “…this is a credible organization with a compliance certification,” reiterating their keen eye on the nominees’ information and data privacy.

Section of Kenyan nominees during a meeting with Mr. Abbey. PHOTO/ Courtesy.
Section of Kenyan nominees during a meeting with Mr. Abbey. PHOTO/Courtesy.

“So far it has not become the best ever, but there are young Africans who have been doing well,” he said.

He also says that, at times, the nominees’ data might be misleading, causing confusion on which category they belong. The re-categorization process done thereafter to cater for them proves time-consuming.

Future plans

Currently, the event sees the nominees have a tour and familiarization with the host country’s areas of interest before culminating with the award ceremony.

“We will tour Cape Town and Johannesburg, visit several tourist sites, and then finalize with the event on March 25, 2023.

While striving to make the awards better and more competitive, Edition Three of the Awards will be open for submissions in October 2023, with the awards ceremony happening in 2024.

To those who crave making it to the next nomination list, “There’s no magic to the list. As a leader, know people and actively engage them to get the votes, which account for 20%. Be productive, proactive, and stand out. There is no way you will sit there and wait to get to the list. The jury is seeking outstanding people,” Simiyu advises.

Mr. Abbey with Kenyan nominees after meeting them in Nairobi recently. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Mr. Abbey with Kenyan nominees after meeting them in Nairobi recently. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Forty Under 40 Africa Categories and Nominees 2023

Agriculture and Agro Processing

Femi Ilesanmi Eniola (Osky Integrated Nigeria Limited) Nigeria

Wangari Kuria (farmer on fire ltd) Kenya

Abdallah Nyakisilia (Jubaili Agrotec ltd) Tanzania


Sandiswa Mgolozeli (Epitomely Interior Doctors) South Africa

Authorship and Creative Writing

Masindi Netshakhuma (Renof Productions) South Africa

Mago Hasfa Taylor (Book Drive – Read to Learn Foundation) Uganda

Sindiswa Sowambi, South Africa

Banking and finance

Hany Omar Soliman (PayTabs) Egypt

Alhaji Salamu Amadu (Afro Arab Microfinance) Ghana

Collins Kathuli (Kyanda Africa) Kenya

Kwanele Boltina (Riley Auctions Africa) South Africa

Beauty and Lifestyle

Kennedy Katebalirwe (Hairbyzziwa Company Limited) Uganda

Lungile Mhlongo (Numa medical aesthetics) South Africa

Community Development

Annita Neshiri (Girl Talk Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe

Kaboneka Paul Charles (Palm Foundation) Uganda

Mercy Adongo (Miss Eco Tourism Uganda) Uganda

Kenneth Anetor (A New Thing International Foundation) Nigeria

Edwin Taka (Sawa Youth Watch) Uganda

Frieda Manana (Phanda Zansi Modelling Agency FM) South Africa

Tejan Kamara (Goodwill Humanitarian Foundation) Sierra Leone

Amusa Tajudeen Lasisi (Adeoye Power & Digital Solutions) Nigeria

Tadzie Madzima (IGNITE Youth Organisation) Zimbabwe

Timothy Opobo (AfriChild Centre) Uganda

Paula Moira Omphile Otukile- (Mulher Forte African Literature) Botswana

Michael Mbulelo Ncube-(Global Girl Child Foundation) Zimbabwe

Consultancy & Professional Services

Muhumuza Brian (Bryan Morel Publications) Uganda

Gilbert Atuto Angana (Accent Leadership Group Ltd) Kenya

Naike Andrew Moshi (Women in Management Africa (WIMA) Tanzania

Robert Belle (Smip Consultancy) Kenya

Damaris Kemunto Nyabuti (Dharkemmy Corporate Communications Limited) Kenya

Joseph Opeyemi Owolabi (Rubicola Consulting) Nigeria


Sebastian Odunga (Kepler Rwanda) Kenya

Asanda Sigigaba (LEAP Science and Maths School) South Africa

James Malope (LEAP Science and Maths School) South Africa

Linda Atieno Odhiambo (Lindtech College) Kenya

Esther Mumbua Muinde (Kenya Connect) Kenya

Energy/Oil and Gas

Atong Amos (Tripple A Services & Petroleum Limited) South Sudan

Environmental & Climate Sustainability

Lalita Devi Purbhoo Junggee (Eco Hustle Co Ltd) Mauritius

Alasana Kassama (ABK Enterprise) Gambia

Samuel Gedamu Tesfa-Mariam (Green Solutions Africa) Ethiopia

Joan Ahono Musumba (Little Big Talents) Kenya

Lesley Bopape (Lesedi Lehumo Investments Pty Ltd) South Africa


Kubasu Monette Janet (Jumon agency Kenya) Kenya

Lilian Madyara (Style Consultants) Zimbabwe

Craig Chimtengo (Mr Rocca London) Zimbabwe

Abbasi Kaijuka (Kai’s Divo Collection) Uganda

Kyomuhendo Shamim (Sham cares foundation) Uganda

Toumiat Lakhdar-Oran Fashion Week-Algeria

Family Business

Dr. Jesca Mhoja Nkwabi (KOM Group of Companies) Tanzania

Governance and Government Agencies

Tando Luyaba (Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) South Africa

Sosthen Eugine Simiyu (Youth Governance in Action) Kenya

Yershen Pillay (Chemical Industries Education & Training Authorities of South Africa (CHIETA) South Africa

Antony Samba Buluma (Kenya Young Parliamentarians Association) Kenya

Fabrice Vavemi (Popular Action Party, Lena Bilingual Academy, Lena Holdings) Cameroon

Isaac Kigozi (Office of The President on Diaspora Affairs) Uganda

Rabiu Onaolapo Olowo (Lagos State Government) Nigeria

Benson Ochiel Ngiela (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) Kenya

Yvonne Mothibi (Madibeng Local Municipality) South Africa

Anthonia Opeyemi Alebiosu (Federal Inland Revenue Service) Nigeria

Dr. Lilian Kerubo (DIfABA) Kenya

Health and Wellness

Sarah Mulindwa (Sarah Mulindwa) Uganda

Dr. Steve Mutiso (Aga Khan University Hospital) Uganda

Nicodimus Tinashe Mucherera (Pharm Drive) Zimbabwe

Jeremy Naidoo (Jehu Industries (Pty) Ltd) South Africa

Sebabatso Tsaoane (Black Woman Arise Women’s Health Foundation) South Africa

Human Resource and Development

Vumile Msweli (Hesed Consulting) South Africa

Andisa Liba (Float Pay and Pan African Chamber of Commerce) South Africa

Priscilla Wellington Asante (Customer Service Africa) Ghana


Kofi Anim-Danso (Location Accra) Ghana

Vusani Matsebula (LetsGoZanzibar) Eswatini

Journalism (Radio / TV / Newspaper)

Jeremiah FisayoBambi (Africanews, Euronews) Nigeria

Elijah Nyakundi Nyaanga (Scholar Media Group Africa Ltd) Kenya

Nyasha Michelle (BBC) Zimbabwe

Tafadzwa Zimoyo-BraveHearts Zimbabwe


Nabiry Juma Jumanne (Sheria Kiganjani Company Limited) Tanzania

Inemesit Dike (The Legal Concierge) Nigeria

Logistics and Supplies

Antonio Shabir Wadee (King of Africa Logistics) South Africa


Richmond Kwame Frimpong (Dawa Industrial Zone) Ghana

Michelle Janine Austin (Keegor group of companies) South Africa

Media (Digital and Social)

Élodie Ramsamy (Mediatiz Ltd) Mauritius

Allegro Dinkwanyane (Orgella Group) South Africa

Olawunmi Akalusi (RíséApp Nigeria Ltd) Nigeria

Tiwalola Olanubi (DottsMediaHouse Limited) Nigeria

Elijah Nyakundi Nyaanga (Scholar Media Group Africa Ltd) Kenya

Ashley Nyasha Muremba (Womens Voice Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe

Music & Entertainment

Gilmore Qhawe Khumalo (Paper Bag Africa) Zimbabwe

Musa Umaru (Great Moses Music Academy) Nigeria

Marketing & Communications

Kevin Kumbirai Mwenye (Kevin Mwenye Media and PR) Zimbabwe

Printing / Press and Publishing

Phanuel Matase Ramabu (PMR Media and Advertising) South Africa

Philanthropy and Charity

Humphrey Nabimanya (Reach A Hand Uganda) Uganda

Charles Tumwebaze (Together Alive Health Initiative) Uganda

Dr. Mathew Godwin Mario (Myles Leadership University) Benin

Dr Fola David (Foladavid Care Foundation) Nigeria

Zainab Ikaz Kassim (Child Aid & Sponsorship Awareness Foundation) Nigeria

Lindile Nontobeko Ngwenya (Refugees Children’s Project) South Africa

Tinevimbo Terry-Anne Matambanadzo (As I Am Foundation) Zimbabwe

Velveeta Viban (I’m Human Organization) Cameroon

Rachel Wanyoike (Solidaridad Eastern and Central Africa Expertise Centre) Cameroon

Nhyira Bayeh (Amanda foundation) Ghana

Theresa Farai Nyava (Sanitary Aid Zimbabwe Trust) Zimbabwe

Blessing Olugbuyi (Caritas Development and Health Initiative) Nigeria

Lucy Pearl Khofi (Women’ Health Ekklesia & Imfundo Enhle Education Trust) South Africa

Oluwatimileyin Edwin (CrimsonBow Sickle Cell Initiative) Nigeria

Real Estate Development / Construction

Samson Blaque (Garnet Bricks Global Investment Limited) Nigeria

Thembisa Winston Kunene (Libertalia Group) South Africa

Science, Technology and Innovation

Aymen Gatri (Teligencia) Tunisia

Deogratius Mosha (Mainstream Media Limited) Tanzania

Dr Nchafatso G Obonyo (Critical Care Research Group)- The University of Queensland and Kenya Medical Association) Kenya


Amine Zariat (Tibu Africa) Morocco

Mmabatho Langa (Mmabatho Langa physiotherapy) South Africa

Mukansanga Salima Rhadia – Rwanda

Dr Koketjo Tsebe (Unisa) South Africa

Social enterprise

Catherine Kakolo Mongella (Earth Guardians) Tanzania

Jamila Mayanja (Smart Girls Uganda) Uganda

Isaac Macharia Mwangi (Voluntours Adventures and Anyoraa Camp Maasai Mara) Kenya

Linda Chepkwony (RiftValley Organics Africa) Kenya

Oluwole A. Olusola (African Future Leaders initiative) Nigeria

Chika Ibobo (Junior Chamber International) Nigeria

Nana Adjoa Sifa Amponsah (Guzakuza) Ghana

Theatre and Arts

Joy Mwangi- (Ada Animation) Kenya

Olu Adebamowo (Osacomms Solutions) Nigeria

Stephen Shenboyejo (Steve the Director) Nigeria

Gladman Madawaenda (Mwana waGidza) Zimbabwe

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Hassana Ameley Sampah (Overflow Production) Ghana

Telecom and Mobile / Software Development

Norchen Mezni (E-Tafakna)- Tunisia

Arnold Chiimambo (Zodsat) – Zimbabwe

Mamush Yisihak Wana (Joy4laborers) Ethiopia

YOU CAN ALSO READ: Mineral resources, Africa’s nexus to self-reliance

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Mr. Makau holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics, Media & Communication from Moi University, Kenya. He is a Columnist and Editor with Scholar Media Africa, with a keen interest in Education, Health, Climate Change, and Literature. His contact:


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