Africa is never short of visionaries who have, time after time, managed to lift the continent from the yokes of poverty and despair and inspired millions with their courage, innovation, talents, skills and exploits.
In 2016, when the last such a list was released, Kenyan entrepreneur and bitcoin pioneer Joe Kariuki emerged top in a list dominated with some of the biggest names in politics, arts, entertainment and activism across Africa.
Joe Kariuki was able to beat out stiff competition from notable names including President John Pombe Magufuli, Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Billionaire Aliko Dangote and South African political firebrand Julius Malema to emerge as the Number One visionary across Africa.
This year, a list of nominees has also been released to the public and Joe Kariuki has once again been included as one of the only few Kenyans to make the cut.
This year, just like in 2016, Activist Boniface Mwangi has also been included in the list of nominees. Mwangi is renown for his fearless activism, Twitter exploits, politics and long-running efforts to keep the Government in check and fight for the rights of the common mwananchi.
Also in the nominees list is Royal Media Services Chairman and founder SK Macharia whose numerous TV and radio stations have continued to dominated the media world in Kenya and whose journalists have won huge global journalism awards each year.
Judith Owigar, co-founder of Akirachix is another Kenyan, and the only female, to feature in the star-studded list of nominees. Owigar’s company AkiraChix is a non profit whose vision is to nurture generations of women who use technology to develop innovations and solutions for Africa while giving women technology and entrepreneurial skills to serve and lead their communities.
The fourth Kenyan to be nominated is Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi whose bank is synonymous with growth, empowerment and financial development across Kenya and East Africa at large.
And once again, Joe Kariuki, the winner of the 2016 contest, has returned to retain the title that he proudly won some years ago.
Joe has been nominated based on his efforts to boost literacy, inculcate a culture of financial discipline in young Kenyans, fight corruption and raise a generation of upright financial managers.
Under his initiative One Child Coin, Joe Kariuki has been traversing the Country, visiting endless primary schools as he seeks to teach young minds the art of financial fidelity and also, award schools with a huge kitty for participation.
“I became tired of the recklessness in our financial institutions. Tired of the corruption and poor management of public funds that has permeated our society and decided to use my energy, time and money to teach young minds the power of financial discipline and to raise a generation that hates corruption, ” Joe Kariuki says.
In his trips to primary schools across the Country, Joe Kariuki has been distributing various goodies to poor but bright students – and topping it up with a Ksh. 10,000 cash gift to each school.
The goody bags comes equipped with exercise books, stationery, novels, text books, other learning material and some snacks too.
So far, Joe and his team have travelled to over 100 schools in their target to reach at least 1,000 Kenyan schools.
Some of the schools include Ramadhan Primary School in Isiolo, Ikhlas Academy, St. Kizito Primary School, Kambi Garba Primary School, Kimumu Primary, Ainabtich Primary, Township Primary and Thika Road Primary School.
“We are now moving towards the Rift Valley counties and Western Counties in our quest to better the lives of children and raise a sustainable generation.” Nara Kariuki, the One Coin Child Chairperson, says.
“In addition to awarding the schools with a KSh. 10,000 token, we will also award the top three schools that perform best in our various academic programs with Ksh. 1 Million each, that will be by the end of the first term,” Joe added.
This year, Joe joins a list of huge names that include Uganda’s Bobi Wine, Tanzania’s Mohamed Dewji, Angolan President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, South African singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka and comic girl Elsa Majimbo.
May the best man – or woman – win.