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bird TenX: 10 African children making a global impact

AFRICAN children are not waiting for ‘the future’ to come to them, they are changing their world, now. bird story agency has compiled a list of ten African children changemakers whose innovations and initiatives have influenced the world.

AFRICA stands out as the continent with the youngest population globally. In 2023, about 40 percent of its inhabitants were aged 15 years or younger. According to UN estimates, the number of Africans aged 17 and below reached approximately 650 million in 2021.

These statistics underscore the huge human resource opportunity in the continent that can be leveraged to increase productivity and accelerate the continent’s economic growth.

With the continent readying to celebrate the ‘Day of the African Child’ on June 16, bird story agency highlights ten African children or children groups that have not only made a global impact through their innovations and initiatives but have also showcased the immense potential they hold in catalysing change globally.

Guled Adan Abdi – Somalia: The 21-year-old civil engineer first made headlines back in 2016 when, at the age of 13 he was recognised for his remarkable talent in creating plastic toys from discarded objects, even motorizing them. With support, he was able to develop high-quality electronic toys and has since pursued a civil engineering degree at Jazeera University in Somalia.

William Kamkwamba – Malawi: Harnessing the Wind. At 14, Kamkwamba used scrap metal, rubber, and wood to develop a windmill that generated electricity. This innovation not only powered his home but also pumped water, saving his family and the entire community from a severe drought. His remarkable story and unique abilities inspired the 2019 Netflix film “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.” Now 37, Kamkwamba is a celebrated inventor, author, and speaker.

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Ace-Liam Nana Sam Ankrah – Ghana: At just 17 months old (one year and five months), Ankrah has earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest-ever male artist. His inaugural solo exhibition, “The Soundout Premium Exhibition,” debuted in December 2023 at the Museum of Science and Technology in Accra, Ghana. The exhibition featured 10 paintings, of which nine were sold.

Ellyanne Wanjiku – Kenya: At just 13 years old, Wanjiku led a team of 17 children from around the world, forming a ‘Children’s Committee’ that organized the Global Children Climate Summit, one of the buildup events to the inaugural Africa Climate Summit held in Nairobi in 2023. As a climate action advocate, Wanjiku has since been responsible for the planting of millions of trees in Kenya.

Masaka Kids Africana – Uganda: Renowned for their electrifying dance moves, this group, primarily consisting of orphaned children, has captivated audiences worldwide with performances on some of the biggest stages. Most recently, a group of 10 delivered a jaw-dropping performance in Spain at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís before the Barcelona vs. Valencia match on April 29. Their popular YouTube channel boasts a substantial following of over 3 million subscribers.

Rayan Ait Tahar – Morocco: At just 12 years old, this cybersecurity prodigy possesses exceptional skills in computer systems. According to Morocco World News, he has a remarkable portfolio that includes uncovering vulnerabilities in the computer systems of major corporations, which he has proudly demonstrated in global competitions. He is one of the finalists in the prestigious “President’s Cup Cybersecurity Competition,” an event held every five years and run by the American Cybersecurity Institute (CISA).

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Adaeze Onuigbo – Nigeria: The 16-year-old is one of the fast-rising cadre of children actors reaping from Nigeria’s multi-billion dollar film industry, Nollywood. An early starter in acting having been featured in ‘Emotional Baby’ when she was just five, Onuigbo has won multiple awards including the SRTV Media Award for the Most Famous Kid Actor in 2010. She is also a practising model and dancer.

Keerthana Kishor Nair – South Africa: At the International Festival of Engineering, Science and Technology in Tunisia from 22 to 28 March, the South African youngster, a Grade 12 learner at Bryanston High School in Sandton, came home smiling with gold after finishing in the top 10 category. Nair’s project seeks to create a fast (real-time) and cost-effective innovation that not only detects Pulmonary TB but also generates instantaneous results, which makes it more efficient than traditional TB detection methods.

Erica Armah-Bra Bulu Tandoh -Ghana: Popular as Dj Switch, is one of the youngest and most successful entertainers in Ghana. Apart from deejaying, the 16-year-old is also a poet, dancer, motivational speaker and actress whose story has been highlighted extensively, especially after she deejayed for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Goalkeepers summit on the sidelines of the 2018 UN General Assembly. She is the Executive Director and founder of DJ Switch Foundation, which advocates for quality education, good health and gender equality in Ghana and beyond.

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Trey Nyoni – Zimbabwe: The 16-year-old (he turns 17 in June) UK-born Zimbabwean made history in February during an FA match against Southampton when he played his first game for Liverpool FC’s senior team becoming the English premier league club’s youngest-ever player in the FA and third-youngest player in any competition.

By BONFACE ORUCHO, BIRD STORY AGENCY

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