Learn about the 2017 Fellows part of GSU and the Young African Leaders Initiative – Mandela Washington Fellowship
and why they have chosen to do the work they do now.


ali-ethiopiaEsmael Habtamu Ali
“In Ethiopia, the easily avoidable but neglected disease, trachoma (infectious painful blinding disease) is one of the leading causes of blindness. It is prevalent in marginalized communities where access to clean water, sanitation and health care are limited. Ethiopia carries the largest burden of trachoma worldwide: About 75 million people are at risk of infection, more than 138,000 are irreversibly blind, and another 700,000 are at immediate risk of painful irreversible blindness. This unnecessary suffering inspired me to work in community eye health. I graduated as ophthalmic officer in 2007. Between 2007 and 2010, successfully coordinated large collaborative research project on the management of the blinding stage of trachoma. In 2011, I won scholarship for MSc in Community Eye Health at LSHTM, UK and graduated with distinction and won the Gordon Johnson Prize for outstanding performance. I am currently at the final stage of my PhD at LSHTM.”
balde-guinea-bissauMamadu Baldé
Mudjataba Mamadu Baldé is graduated in economics and postgraduate degree in financial management. Over the last five years he took different positions, primarily responsible for training project entitled Youth Training in Chamber of Commerce and he was Technical Assistant at the same institution. Later assumed the permanent secretary post in a guarantee fund created by the government to support small and medium enterprises. After two years in this program he was invited to assume the chief technical adviser to the Ministry of Tourism and Handicrafts, and now he takes office in the Ministry of Economy and Finance as an assistant manager at General Direction of Budget. Since 2014 he is also the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Association of Young Entrepreneurs of Guinea-Bissau. He is Partner of two companies and a cooperative. He gives technical support and formation to Association of Women in Economic Activity in Guinea-Bissau.
blegbo-cote-divoireAicha Blegbo
“After a multidisciplinary working experience in various areas such as law, energy, education, gender and civil society, I now specialize on questions related to gender and women’s economic empowerment in Africa, with a special focus on women entrepreneurs in the continent. I choose this work cause I’m sure that gender equality is a human right and that development will not happen unless women are part of the solution. Indeed, enhancing African women’s economic potential is key for Africa’s development and poverty reduction.”
buthelezi-south-africaSilindile Buthelezi
“I am a law lecturer at the University of Cape Town (UCT). I have a passion for research and teaching. I love teaching and nurturing the minds of future lawyers of South Africa, and I also love contributing to the development of knowledge, law and ideas in my fields of interest (General Commercial Law, Banking and Finance Law, Insolvency Law and International Trade). I previously worked as a Law Researcher for the Judges at the Western Cape High Court. I am also an Admitted Attorney of the High Court of South Africa and completed my articles of clerkship at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, one of the largest corporate and commercial law firms in South Africa. I hold an LLB and an LLM in Business Law from the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN), and a second LLM in International Banking and Finance Law from the University College London (UCL).”
changawa-kenyaMaureen Changawa
“I have 5 years’ experience in project implementation and management, working initially as an M&E Assistant supporting project administration roles and monitoring and evaluation with a national NGO called ACT. Having accomplished my tasks well, I was promoted to head a women micro-finance based project in Kilifi county, where I was in charge of planning and formulating of project initiatives, budgeting, capacity building of field staff and partners, monitoring and evaluation, and reporting and learning. Currently, I work as a community relations officer at the government owned Geothermal Development Company implementing company initiatives within our host communities. This includes implementation of community projects, handling land matters, stakeholder management and community engagement through community meetings and barazas. I am also in charge of my department’s Balance Score Card, which entails formulation of strategic initiatives, tracking, monitoring and eventually scoring the department’s performance.”
feese-nigeriaMember Feese
“I studied Economics and International Development for my undergraduate degree and Poverty and Development for my master’s degree. I currently work in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Finance Division in Development Finance Department at the Central Bank of Nigeria. My tasks include monitoring and managing the Bank’s Entrepreneurship Development Centre’s (EDCs) and the Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme (YEDP) were training is organized for prospective or existing entrepreneurs to start or expand and effectively manage a business thereby creating jobs and ultimately grow the economy. I chose this line of work because I am passionate about empowering youth that create employment and actively contribute to the Nigerian economy. I wish to contribute to a Nigeria where economic growth is at its highest and poverty eliminated and the Development Finance Department gives me that opportunity. We manage various agricultural and infrastructure schemes that promote business creation and ultimately economic growth.”
gnalis-rafai-central-african-republicMarius Gnalis-Rafai
“After many internships, I have been a credit analyst in a commercial bank for three years before moving for another position in a public agency as Financial director. Despite the highest responsibilities and my pleasure at the contribution to promote habitat and housing, I left this position after one year for personal growth purposes and took the opportunity to work as Accounting officer at the National Program to Fight Malaria which is the CAR Global Fund project. When the malaria project ended, I decided to found my own business, MediaLink, an advertising and printing enterprise. Beside I am also working as independent financial consultant and part-time finances teacher. I had always dreamed of being my own boss so that I can freely focus on solving problems that really matter for me. Working as salaried employee has been an opportunity of getting experience, network and capital for my personal ventures.”
Usanda Gqwaru
“My career as an Economist started at Wits University (Feb 2006-May 2010), starting as Research Assistant then became a Junior Researcher and after six months promoted to a Researcher. At Wits University, my work centered around economic research, data analysis and research management. While working I was doing my Masters in Economics and I was offered a government bursary. After completing my Masters, I joined the Department of Trade and Industry and my work centered around economic research, data analysis and research management. Currently I’m working as a policy analyst and policy adviser at Gauteng Province Office of the Premier. My love for Economics started in High School in 2007. Economics deals with production, distribution, human choice or preferences, consumption and the utilization of scarce resources and I enjoyed these concepts in order to understand the world better and to contribute to make the world better.”
Idriss Kone
“I am a Statistician-Economist, graduated from ENSEA, one of the best school of statistics in Africa. I have working experience in various areas including financial inclusion, public finance management and education. Currently, I’m working at Ministry of Budget of Côte d’Ivoire, especially at Customs Department. My daily tasks consist in assessing impacts of Côte d’Ivoire trade agreements, monitoring and evaluating tariff reforms and customs procedures. I chose this position because it provides an opportunity to contribute to the designing of fiscal policies and tariff reforms in order to increase and optimize duties and taxes. By doing this job, I play an important role in the strengthening of economic growth and foreign trade through trade facilitation.”
lubeya-zambiaMwansa Lubeya
“I’m a Zambian-trained medical doctor with nine years of post-qualification work experience and currently in my final year of specialist training at the University of Zambia to become one of the very few women Obstetrician and Gynecologist’s in Zambia. I’m self-motivated, highly accountable, result oriented and hard working. The health needs for the Zambian women are enormous with few specialist Obstetrician & gynecologists to care for them. The suffering of our women from preventable disease conditions such as cancer of the cervix drives me to do more for them. Cervical cancer is the most common cancer seen at the only Zambian Cancer Disease Hospital in Lusaka, comprising approximately 35% of all cancers managed. Cancer of the cervix is preventable, yet it still claims a lot of lives. I’m very passionate about making a difference on that front and currently spearheading awareness campaigns, sensitization and screening in my community.”
mahase-lesothoMalehlohonolo Mahase
“I am accountant by profession, currently holding the position of the Chief Executive Officer, I have trained in audit firm and now work and head the regulator of the accounting profession in Lesotho. I chose this work because I have passion for accounting as a profession, I saw an opportunity in the field to help governments to improve the financial management policies through accounting. There is also an opportunity in ensuring that the business comply with international standards and good for enhance principles to attract investment, to grow the wealth of the country and to improve the health of the business in Lesotho. I saw an opportunity in the African region of corruption that is hampering the growth of the region and belief that if accounting work is delivered well with knowledgeable professional there will be accountability, transparency and good governance. this can be achieved by regulated accounting and auditing.”
makame-tanzaniaFatma Makame
“I attained my undergraduate degree in 2008 and post-graduate degree in 2014, my work experience is largely in medical health both as a service giver and trainer; I have been affiliated to Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center (KCMC) / Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College (KCMUCo) since my internship in 2009. I currently work as a radiologist, assistant lecturer and head of department: I lead and manage staff of various cadres; plan and implement departmental strategy; implement institution’s mission and vision; coordinate academic activities as well as pursue collaboration opportunities and manage the collaborative activities. I chose to be a radiologist because I wanted to provide answers to diagnostic questions; is this pneumonia? As a trainer: I want to mentor trainees to be motivated to seek knowledge and offer competent care. As a leader: I hope to be a positive influence; to develop strategies that’ll improve health delivery and employee welfare; develop sustainable finance management model.”
makara-lesothoTseliso Benedict Makara
“I have a diverse professional background ranging from being a business consultant, a Commercial Underwriter in an Insurance and currently I manage the monitoring of Procurement processes in the Government of Lesotho. The choice is fueled by the passion to Finance the social justice. This work helps me facilitate the efficiency of government processes hence saving money to be allocated for further commitments.”
mathies-jr-liberiaEdwin Mathies Jr.
“I am the founder and Executive Director of Educating Youth for Empowerment, a nonprofit organization founded in 2011 that is educating and empowering vulnerable youths between 15-29 years through education assistance and internship programs. I am passionate about youth education and development; consequently, I developed a vacation bridge program at my Alma-mater, African Methodist Episcopal University, that provides university orientation, academic preparation, individualized academic advisement, and community service projects experience to qualified incoming high school graduates. I currently work as an Analyst at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) where I monitor, assess and report on the performance, compliance and risk exposure of different units, which aid in effective decision making, and contribute to the Bank achieving its strategic objectives. My current work with CBL provides me the opportunity to make recommendations to programs that provides access to finance for small businesses and community development, including micro-finance initiatives.”
motseosi-botswanaKebonye Motseosi
“I am a medical doctor by profession. I work in the male medical ward at Scottish Livingstone Hospital. I am part of a team that handles the management of inpatients. I have always wanted to be a doctor, from probably the age of six when my dad bought me a doctor play set. It was always the answer to ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’ until I was grown and found out about a whole world of careers. I considered several career paths but none seemed to quite satisfy me. I wanted something I would be happy to do even if I was not paid to do it. Money is important because bills are not going to pay themselves but I wanted something I could look forward to doing every single day. Some say it’s a calling I think I was born to do this.”
mpango-malawiJoseph Mpango
“I am public sector official in the Department of International Cooperation. I have 3 years’ work experience as a Foreign Service Officer (FSO). Mainly, I handle matters of bilateral and multilateral economic and trade relations. Additionally, I am also a Desk Officer for Diaspora. In this portfolio, I am responsible for Malawi’s engagement with the diaspora. Before joining foreign service, I worked as a project officer at the center for legal assistance where I advocated and lobbied for the promotion and protection of rights of detainees.”
nchadze-cameroonLontum Nchadze
“I am Lontum Nchadze, Economist and Professional Statistician committed to ensuring sustainable and inclusive growth in Cameroon and other African countries. For the past 5 years, I have worked for the Cameroon Ministry of Finance as a statistical analyst. In this capacity, I collect, manage and analyze data to provide stake holders (policy makers, superiors, vote holders, academia and the general public) with information pertaining to the execution of the state budget. I chose this area of work because of the important role financial statistics plays in good governance, one of the important pillars of sustainable development. My work helps guide public finance management in the current fiscal year as well as support efforts to allocate resources and/or reform the public financial management regime. it also serves the public need for information and provide citizens with the tools needed to hold government accountable.”
ngubula-botswanaMoyombuya Ngubula
Moyo currently works in the International and Commercial Division in the International Trade Law Unit at the Attorney General Chambers in Botswana as State Counsel. In this capacity, she reviews and advises Government on bilateral and multilateral trade agreements and provides legal advice on trade issues and commercial transactions to various Government Ministries. She also drafts and negotiates commercial and International Agreements on behalf of the Government of Botswana. She also assists her superiors with intensive research prior to multilateral negotiations such as those under the ambit of SACU, SADC and the WTO. She has chosen this line of work because she realizes the importance of a multilateral trading system and the benefits it can yield for developing countries. She therefore wants to be part of Botswana’s legal minds ensuring that Governments enter into legally sound commercial transactions and liberalizes trade for the benefit of Botswana.
offiaeli-nigeriaIzuchukwu Michael Offiaeli
“With over 6 years of working in over fifty under-served communities around mutual priorities, my work as a Public Health and Nutrition Program Manager in resource poor settings has been on improving care for the most vulnerable, especially children and women (adolescent girls inclusive) through primary health care approaches. My commitment to this vocation is based on the strong evidence around the instrumental value of health and adequate nutrition, beyond the intrinsic values, to sustainable economic development. By reducing stunting rate among our children Under-5, and Iron-deficiency anemia among pregnant women for example, we would have reduced the chances of many of our children presenting with poor physical and cognitive development; and deaths from hemorrhage during child bearing, respectively. I am fulfilled, having led and worked with various teams in the face of strong resource constraints to achieve improved health and nutrition outcomes for our women and children.”
reynolds-south-africaHayley Anne Reynolds
“Soon after starting my career as an intern at the National Treasury, I was able to negotiate a transfer to a division where I truly discovered my passion – the economics side of tax policy. Since then, I have been continuously challenged and have grown as I have progressed from intern to economist, senior economist, and my current leadership role as Director: Business Taxes. I was recently seconded to the OECD for one year and actively involved in the G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always had a strong feeling inside me that I am meant to make a difference in my country. Working towards a better South Africa is what excites me; currently that involves contributing towards ensuring government can collect enough revenue to provide adequately for its citizens, without impacting negatively on important objectives such as equity.”
sene-senegalOmar Sene
“Since 2011, I’m working in the field of collection, analysis and dissemination of data. I participated to many census and survey collecting data on households, businesses, informal sector, etc. Currently, I work at the National Agency of Statistics and Demography (ANSD) as a Statistician-Economist Engineer. Specifically, I’m involved in a project which aim to update the way the national GDP is calculated. During my studies in high school and university, I was fascinated by mathematics. At a given moment, I wondered about how I could use mathematics to help my country’s development. I then followed the advice of a professor, who proposed me to participate to the entrance examination for African Statistical Schools. According to him, there was a lack of statistician in the country and there were many challenges in that field. I was one of the five Senegalese students accepted for a training of two years.”
sidibe-maliMariam Sidibe
“I have a bachelor’s degree in Management with a concentration in banking finance. I have been working with the Ministry of Finance and Economy for the last 6 years. I started at the ministry as a Finance Inspector in the Department of Taxation and have held that position since. My work consists of managing accounts and assisting taxpayers with their tax filing. Upon finishing school, I wanted to enter a field that would contribute to the development of my country. Having a background in finance and understanding the importance of taxes for the economic development of a country, I chose my current work to help taxpayers make their contributions and assist the government with the proper collection of taxes in Mali.”
siwale-zambiaTwivwe Siwale
“I am a Public Economist with five years’ experience working with the Zambia Revenue Authority, a public sector institution of strategic and fiscal importance. My current role as an Inspector of Taxes is to advice and audit small and medium sized firms to ensure that compliance with tax laws. I went into the field of Economics and particularly taxation because of its overwhelming potential as a tool to redress the challenges of poverty and income inequality by raising much needed revenue. I have strong interests in research related work and having recently co-authored an article on Artisanal and Small Scale mining in Zambia I would like to build on this experience and move into an applied research position. I believe that evidence based policy making is the most effective way of addressing many of Zambia’s challenges.”
traore-guineaMamadi Traore
“I have been working for six years in Guinea’s financial sector. Since 2011, I also have been teaching Statistics and Banking courses at three Universities and at the Professional Banking Training Center of Conakry. I started my career as an Internal Control Officer at the United Bank for Africa (UBA), before working for BICIGUI, a subsidiary of the BNP Paribas, one of the biggest French banks, in Guinea. I was in charge of economics and sectorial studies. However, after two years in the private sector, I realized my impact was really limited in extending financial services? access to small entrepreneurs to contribute to poverty reduction’s. To overcome this issue, I decided to join the Central Bank in 2013 as a Statistician Economist. Despite my salary being reduced by half, I could be more impactful at this position than the last one I had in the private sector.”
tungaraza-tanzaniaKheri Tungaraza
“I joined the government of Tanzania in 2010 immediately after completing a one year internship program at the General hospital. As a medical doctor, I worked at the primary health care facility. My role was to diagnose and treat AIDS patients. The treatment was comprehensive. In addition, I saw patients in the female ward and outpatient. The health facility served mainly the needy. Given my passion for provision of specialist health care for under-served populations, low income earners, women and young people, I pursued a Master’s degree in medicine upon whose completion I returned to my home country and spearheaded the establishment of a functional adult oncology unit at a government hospital. I chose this job because I feel I can contribute towards halting the increasing burden of cancer in Tanzania specifically cervical cancer, the leading cancer killer among women.”