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Freeman Osonuga: To Space and Beyond

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Freeman Osonuga wired

31-year old Nigerian Doctor, Freeman Osonuga, has 927 followers on Twitter. That number is minuscule compared to 44,700 who follow fellow countryman, and former NBA star, Hakeem Olajuwon. That could change quickly. A man of many hats, Osonuga may have a larger global impact than the basketball player when all is said and done. In 2014, TIME Magazine pegged him as a “Person of the Year” with other Ebola fighters, joining the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Pope Francis in an elite club of world changers. What will he do for an encore? Freeman Osonuga may become Spaceman Osonuga, exchanging his Ebola suit for a spacesuit as part of his mission to save the world.

Born the youngest of six children, Freeman grew up in Ogun State, an impoverished area of Nigeria that was once a part of the short-lived Republic of Biafra. He lost his father in his youth, and his mother struggled to send him and his siblings to public schools. At the Olabisi Onabanjo University, he studied medicine and surgery. Osonuga started an NGO as an undergraduate student called Heal the World Foundation Nigeria. The foundation’s objectives are to care for children with disabilities, orphans, and the less-privileged. So far, they’ve helped over 550 children with disabilities and orphans in Nigeria: a good start for a man who strives to save the world.

One of Ten Outstanding Young People in Nigeria

Freeman OsonugaIn his writings, Osonuga has stated that the Heal the World Foundation Nigeria aspires to be the leading organization working with global organizations to guarantee that poverty in Africa is eradicated and becomes an informative display in a museum where it belongs. His work with the group has garnered attention locally and internationally. In 2013, he was named by Junior Chambers International (JCI) Nigeria as one of ten outstanding young persons in Nigeria and was selected by MTN Group Ltd (South Africa) to be one of their 23 delegates to 2013 One Young World Summit in Johannesburg. One Young World is the preeminent global forum for young leaders aged 18-30. It brings together the most promising young leaders from around the world, empowering them to make lasting connections and develop solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues.

The Kruger Cowne Rising Star programme selected Osonuga as a One Young World Ambassador for the One Young World Summit 2014 in Dublin. Outstanding members of the public and Ambassadors, aged 18-35, were invited to nominate themselves to go on a once in a lifetime trip. Young people from 90 nations cast their vote in Kroger Crowne and One Young World’s global search for an icon of the future to catapult onto the international stage and into space – upon the XCOR Lynx® Spacecraft. Freeman Osonuga put himself in a position to be that icon.

The Meritorious Service Award from President Bai Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone for Osoguna

Soon after the Summit, Osonuga embarked on the most dangerous journey of his short life; he volunteered to battle the Ebola virus at its peak in West Africa for six months with 835 African Union Ebola responders. Over 28,000 people have contracted the virus, and over 11,000 have died during the epidemic, including 230 medical care workers battling it. Freeman worked with a medical team in Magbenteh Ebola Treatment Unit, a 100-bed facility, in northern Sierra Leone. Fortunately, he did not contract the Ebola virus while treating the disease. In his walk through this valley of the shadow of death, he gave hope and comfort to fellow Africans fighting the disease, both those afflicted and the medical team. The Magbenteh Unit had a 65% survival rate with patients and a zero percent infection rate among the medical staff. For his efforts, Osoguna received the Meritorious Service Award from President Bai Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leone as well as the recognition by TIME magazine.

Life has not slowed down for the Nigerian doctor. He is a WIRED 2015 Innovation Fellow and recently spoke at their 2015 event with 11 other featured speakers. He has also been named an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society. On October 2, 2015, he was shortlisted as one of three finalists for the space trip sponsored by Kruger Cowne, One Young World, and Xcor Space Expeditions. Freeman will deliver a keynote speech to thousands of delegates and a panel of global business trailblazers at the One Young World Summit in Bangkok in November. After the three finalists give their speeches on topics of their choice, a winner will be announced. If selected, Freeman Osonuga may make history as the first black African to venture into space.

The trip will last about one hour and will blast off in 2016. G-Force training is scheduled for the trip, in the Netherlands, to prepare passengers for their travel outside of the Earth’s atmosphere. Osonuga told Quartz Africa that the overall objective of the project is not just going to space; it is to raise global conversations on issues that affect all inhabitants of Earth such as climate change, global peace, and poverty. Godspeed, Freeman Osonuga!

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Lubna Olayan, a Modern Arab Business Leader

Comments (0) Featured, Leaders, Middle East

Lubna-Olayan

by Sheldon Mayer, Managing Editor

Lubna Olayan appears in “Most Powerful Women” lists every year, featured by Forbes, Fortune, and Bloomberg as a model of modern international business leadership. She was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2010 by her alma mater Cornell University. After her renowned father and founder of OFC summoned her to head the Middle Eastern sector of his OFC conglomerate, Lubna Olayan raised the standards, and quietly began modernizing work flow practices, undaunted by her singularity as the only woman in a conservative, heavily male-dominated Arabic business-scape. Notably she now continues a trend to fill roles in her companies with women who are “deserving” of positions in business and engineering, in what she describes as a unique meritocracy for Middle Eastern businesses. Her meritocracy sweeps across vast borders of business and finance, and as a holding company it is uniquely diverse.

Although Olayan Financing Company is reserved in comments about their revenue and profit, assets are currently estimated to range from seven to ten billion dollars. With the leadership of Lubna Olayan the company expanded into real estate, manufacturing, and partnerships in international brands such as Nabisco and Burger King. Lubna, her brother, and two sisters sit on the board of directors of this global enterprise, each sibling taking a role as leader of a particular geographic area within the global scope.

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From the Bottom(ish) Up: Aliko Dangote, Africa’s Richest Man

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Aliko Dangote is Africa’s richest man. Valued at $17.4billion, this Nigerian magnate is the 67th richest billionaire in the world, one of an elite circle of fabulously wealthy individuals who have made their fortunes in the poorest region of the world. Thirty years ago, Dangote received a loan from his uncle, which he used to break into commodity trading. In the intervening decades, 54-year-old Dangote has managed to build a multinational trading empire.

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Bernard Dunn – the new President of Boeing Middle East

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Bernard Dunn

On May 20, 2015 The Boeing Company named Bernard Dunn the new president of Middle East Division. He succeeded Jeff Johnson who moved to the US in March 2015 to become a vice president of business development at Boeing Military Aircraft.

Dunn is now in charge for fulfilment of Boeing’s strategy towards Middle East and the company’s business development in Middle East region. He is responsible for GR, partnership development, expanding Boeing presence and improving company relationships with customers and shareholders. He will cooperate with the President of Boeing Saudi Arabia Ahmed Jazzaar.

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Dambisa Moyo – Macroeconomist, Author and International Affairs Expert

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Dambisa Moyo

As an internationally renowned economist and author, Dambisa Moyo has analyzed the many aspect of macroeconomics and global current affairs, with focus on developing economies, market trends and finance, earning herself a position as one of the most respected people of our generation. 

Ms. Moyo was born on September 15, 1969 in Lusaka, Zambia, but spent a fair portion of her childhood in the United States while her father completed a postgraduate degree, after which they returned to Zambia. Her father ended up with a career in an academic setting as well as public administration and her mother, with a career as chairwoman at a bank. The success of Dambisa’s parents had set her up with opportunity for her future education and career. She began a chemistry degree at the University of Zambia, however, chose to complete it back in the United States. This was done at American University in Washington, D.C., followed by a Master’s degree in business administration. She went on to obtain a second Master’s degree in public administration from Harvard, as well as a Ph.D. in economics from Oxford, with her thesis on savings- “Why Is It That Some Countries Save and Others Not?” Her interest and expertise lie in a number of fields which include, but certainly are not limited to, business strategy, economic modeling, foreign direct investment, unemployment, commodity supply, currency wars, public markets, U.S. fiscal policies, oil and trade.

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Building the Foundation of Trust from Below: Amine Mazouzi’s New Position as CEO of Sonatrach

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SONATRACH

Amine Mazouzi is one of those lucky individuals for whom changes in large Algerian companies are most beneficial. Mazouzi has recently been named CEO of Sonatrach, Algeria’s state-owned oil and gas company, which operates more than 10,000 gas stations across Algeria and produces 90% of the country’s hydrocarbons. Mazouzi’s new position does not, however, come without complications.

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Mohammed Dewji : Visionary and Leader

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Mohammed Dewji

As Billionaire Businessman and Political Philanthropist, Mohammed Dewji, Shows Us Hard Work Does Pay, and He Pays it Forward.

Mohammed Dewji is considered to be one of the most successful and accomplished people in Africa today. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Mohammed Enterprises Tanzania Limited Group (METL), a company started by his father, which has an extremely diversified presence in Tanzanian industries. Mr. Dewji owns 75% of the group and has a current net worth of $1.25 billion, according to Forbes. His passion for politics has landed him a seat in local government, which he uses to implement his vision and ideas for a better Tanzania. This position, along with his financial success has allowed him to build a foundation for philanthropic action in the areas of education, health and clean water.
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Twitter Presence and Influence of African Leaders

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Aliko-Dangote-Biographie

“Twitter has proven to be a revolutionary social network even in politics. It is an extraordinary channel of diplomacy and of communication.” – Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Over the past eight years, the Twittersphere has expanded to incorporate mass amounts of people from all facets of the political spectrum, all over the world. A recent study under the name of Twiplomacy has amalgamated data from Twitter to categorically display political participation within the social platform. This initiative was put forth by an American agency called Burson-Marsteller, who has gathered data from the 669 Twitter accounts of government members, including world leaders, heads of states, foreign ministers, as well as public institutions in 166 countries. They used 60 variables, including the number of mutual peer connections, number of followers, number of retweets, appearance on Twitter lists, tweets per day, percentage of @replies, and the year world leaders signed up to Twitter.

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Tidjane Deme Demands Internet Investment

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tidjane-deme

In 2009, Google opened an office in Dakar, the capital of West-African Francophone country Senegal. By 2015, much of West Africa is on the Internet thanks to an increase in infrastructure development, particularly with cell phones, and the work of one man: Tidjane Deme. Deme is a 40-year-old Senegalese Internet technician educated in France, and man who has played a huge part in the Africa’s Internet explosion.

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Oil industry leader Igho Sonami promotes social and economic influence

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igho-sanomi

Igho Sonami is one of Africa’s most socially and economically influential people today whose success is seen on an international scale. Having transformed the dynamic of the oil and power world, he has become a major success in his own right, and continues to diversify the landscape of the oil and power industries, while playing an integral role in the social and economic development of Western Africa.
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