Image caption: Yale Young African Scholars, Yale faculty and students, Education Matters and Higherlife team, Zimbabwe, 2017. YYAS participants are secondary students (ages 14-18) from across the African continent who have leadership potential, show high academic achievement and are interested in pursuing post-secondary education overseas. For more information:

Challenge: Africa’s youth are 75% of the continent’s population.

__Opportunities: countless!

Thanks to innovation and technology, “education” as we once knew it is changing, creating countless opportunities for students, teachers and entrepreneurs, in Africa and beyond. This is one of my great passions as many of you know.

Over the past 22 years, my wife and I through our Higherlife Foundation have supported the education of about 250,000 learners and have helped another 4,897 to attend university in Africa, the US and UK (1,704 have graduated, 3,193 currently enrolled). In the process, we have partnered with academic institutions, tech innovators, international organisation’s and education experts across the world. I’ll be writing more about this in coming weeks.

Now for our second town hall in 2018, I’m excited to announce the topic is “The Power of Partnership: Strengthening Education.” It will be held on 13 March at the University of Ghana in Accra, and co-hosted by Yale University, the Higherlife Foundation and Kwese Inc. If you are able to attend in person, that is great. Please RSVP at this link as seating is limited: and don’t forget your ticket. We will also be broadcasting the Town Hall on Facebook Live.

Our town hall discussion will be chaired by Prof Ebenezer Owusu (Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana), in conversation with me, Peter Salovey (President of Yale University), Dr Patrick Awuah (President of Ashesi University), and Elizabeth Elango-Bintliff (CEO of Junior Achievement Africa).

We’ll discuss many education issues on Tuesday, but today let me share just one example of the power of partnership: the Yale Young African Scholars (YYAS), a program my wife and I began to support about three year ago.

The idea all got started about five years ago, when several (entrepreneurial) African students at Yale designed a seven-day program to assist African secondary school students thinking of going to study overseas, to overcome challenges they themselves had faced as teenagers trying to get accepted into US universities, such as how to complete the application forms, understand admissions requirements, and apply for financial aid.

Yale first piloted this “pre-university prep program” in Ghana and Ethiopia in 2014. Now what started out as an entrepreneurial “student project” is celebrating its fifth year!

If you’d like to read some first-person stories written by a few scholars who attended YYAS in Zimbabwe last year go to: Here’s just one of the comments that made me smile:

“I wasn’t really thrilled spending a week with people I didn’t know especially from other countries; it was definitely going to be the worst 7 days of my summer holidays. . . little did I know that the next few seconds were going to change my life and the way I viewed Africa.”

So who are the key education partners working together to support this initiative which is offered to students free of charge?

Yale University (The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, Dr Ian Shapiro its director, plus faculty and students who develop curricula, teach and share their own experiences with the students).

Higherlife Foundation.

# University admissions departments who send representatives to the seven-day sessions.

# Local partner organizations: Ahaspora Young Professionals (Ghana), Imbuto Foundation (Rwanda), and Education Matters (Zimbabwe) over the years have each hosted two-day educators’ conferences for local teachers, advisors and headmasters to help equip them to support students, and also assist with on-going mentorship.

Now at Tuesday’s town hall we’ll discuss education partnerships such as YYAS, as well as others in medicine, agriculture, technology and more. If you’re interested, please share your questions below and we’ll do our best to address a few during the discussion.

Remember, this FB platform is also an education partnership. I really value and learn from your comments here. Many of you are a great inspiration to me, and also inspire greatness in each other. That is what the best partnerships are all about.



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About Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet, a diversified global telecommunications group with operations and investments in over 15 countries. His business interests also include renewable energy, financial services, media and hospitality. Masiyiwa serves on a number of international boards, including Unilever, Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Advisory Board, the Africa Progress Panel, the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy, Morehouse College, Hilton Foundation's Humanitarian Prize Jury and the Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council. He is one of the founders, with Sir Richard Branson, of the global think tank, the Carbon War Room, and a founding member of the Global Business Coalition on Education. Masiyiwa took over the Chairmanship of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) from Kofi Annan. He is also Chair of the Micronutrient Initiative, a global organization focused on ending child hunger and improving nutrition. In 2012, Masiyiwa was invited by President Obama to address leaders at the Camp David G-8 Summit on how to increase food production and end hunger in parts of Africa. In 2014, Masiyiwa was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. As a philanthropist, he is a member of the Giving Pledge, and his contributions to education, health and development have been widely recognized. Masiyiwa and his wife finance the Higher Life Foundation, which provides scholarships to over 42,000 African orphans. In 2015, he was the recipient of the International Rescue Committee’s Freedom Award and was presented with a UN Foundation Global Leadership Award for the work of the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust, which he chairs and helped establish to fund the deployment of African healthcare workers to combat the outbreak in West Africa.

8 thoughts on “Challenge: Africa’s youth are 75% of the continent’s population.

  1. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 1.

    “Having never flown alone, nor been immersed in such a diverse mixture of cultures and personalities, YYAS rightfully claims its position as one of the most unique, enriching opportunities I’ve had the fortune to be a part of, and it definitely justifies the tedious application process I had to endure.” (comment from YYAS 2017 participant).

    If you are going to be successful beyond your immediate local community, it is important for you to embrace diversity, and learn to study and work with people who are different from you. You must learn to work with people from other races, from other religions, from other countries, and from the other genders. The network of YYAS alumni from across Africa by the end of the year will exceed 1,000!

  2. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 2.

    Seven Yale undergraduate and graduate (social entrepreneurial) students led the initial development of the Yale Young African Scholars program:

    Yaa Oparebea Ampofo, Yale College ’16, Environmental Studies (Ghana)

    Helinna Ayalew, Grad ’14, Masters in African Studies (Ethiopia)

    Elizabeth Babalola, Forestry and Environmental Studies ’14, Masters in Environmental Management (Nigeria)

    Ameze Belo-Osagie, Yale College ’16, Political Science (Ghana/Nigeria)

    Eno Inyangete, Yale College ’16, Economics (Tanzania)

    Stephen Akwei, Maclean Yale College ’15, Chemical Engineering (Ghana)

    Nicola Soekoe, Yale College ’16, Ethics, Politics and Economics (South Africa)

    In fact, Econet has hired two full-time employees who studied at Yale, including one who helped develop YYAS. Remember I told you that one thing I spend a lot of time on is finding great talent! You can see these social entrepreneurs studied a wide range of subjects, but in common, they identified a human need…

  3. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 3.

    I can tell you that for my own teenagers, some of those US university applications were a big production. Gathering all the required information, writing essays, taking standardized entrance exams, etc. It doesn’t happen overnight. It took them weeks, sometimes months to get it all compiled. One great thing I haven’t mentioned yet is that YYAS also helps provide mentorship through this process.

  4. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Afterthought 4.

    If you’re supporting projects of any kind, it’s important to keep track of the impact of the money you give, in part via the numbers. Here’s just a quick snapshot of YYAS’ investment in Africa’s future so far:

    # 810 students (attending school from 38 African countries) have taken part in YYAS’ seven-day programs so far (in Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda and Zimbabwe) so far.

    # Last year’s class included students from 213 secondary schools in 33 African countries across the continent!

    # 116 students from 2014 and 2015 programs have gone on to attend university in the USA or elsewhere (the rest including students from 2016 and 2017 are applying for entry this year or will in subsequent years).

    # In July-August this year, another 300 students will take part in the YYAS program!

  5. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    In my last post, I reported on one of our exciting businesses I had not talked about on this platform before, called Distributed Power Africa (DPA Africa). They build solar power systems. In that post I shared an article from their work in Kenya.
    Today they announced that they are going to invest $250m in Zimbabwe, which is part of a multi billion dollar investment drive in solar energy covering several other countries.
    Don’t ask me about your own country just yet.

    The Zimbabwe investment is going to create over 5000 new jobs over the next two years.
    If you want to know more about them visit their website:

    One day I will talk about renewable energy, and it’s exciting prospects.
    This business was also a little cub, selling solar lanterns! ..Remember those Solarway lanterns? We are still in the business of solar, but we are getting bigger!

    # Dream Big, Start small with a great #Product, get the right #People, invest in and build #Processes:

  6. Strive Masiyiwa Post author

    Veelyzee writes,

    Dr Strive, I love entrepreneurship with all my heart but to earn a living, I think teaching is way to go in order to accommodate my needs, and I’ll focus in entrepreneurship whilst still having teaching career on the other side……It’s just that I’m confused of which road to take,just completed my matric ..

    I’m in Lesotho.. Please help

    My reply,
    You are not yet ready for a life as an entrepreneur. If you can continue with studies rather focus on that and use it to get a good professional qualification, this can then launch you into entrepreneurship.
    An entrepreneur who has a professional skill, has a better chance of success than someone who does not.

  7. Strive Masiyiwa Post author


    What a Wonderful World
    Louis Armstrong
    I see trees of green, red roses too
    I see them bloom for me and you
    And I think to myself what a wonderful world
    I see skies of blue and clouds of white
    The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
    And I think to myself what a wonderful world
    The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
    Are also on the faces of people going by
    I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
    They’re really saying I love you
    I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
    They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know
    And I think to myself what a wonderful world
    Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world

  8. color switch

    The article you shared here is awesome. I really like and appreciate your work. The points you mentioned in this article are very helpful. I must try to follow these points and also share the other points.


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