Five Ghanaians have been named in Forbes 30 Under 30 2018 for Africa.
The list was compiled across the creative, technology and business industries.
Rapper Sarkodie made the list for Under 30 Creatives, while Fred Apaloo made the list for business.
Kofi Genfi, Nii Osae Osae Dade and Abraham Omani Quaye made the list for technology.
Sarkodie, 29, Ghana
Born Michael Owusu Addo, Sarkodie, started out as an underground rapper, which helped him meet with Duncan Williams, who helped launch his career.
He has been named one of the hottest hip hop MCs in Africa by both MTV and The Guardian. Sarkodie is a big advocate of Azonto, a dance style born out of Ghanaian traditional dance. In 2009, he released his debut album and first single, Baby,featuring Mugeez of R2Bees.
In 2012, his album Rapperholic earned him his first BET nomination. In 2013, he launched his clothing line Sark by Yas. He has also launched his record label, Sarkcess Music. In 2014, his single Mewu sold almost 4,000 copies on the first day of its release in Accra.
Fred Apaloo, 28, Ghana
Founder: Villa Grace
This hospitality management graduate moved back home after studying in the US to make a difference. For about two months, when he returned to Ghana, he cooked and nicely plated all his meals.
“The motive behind that was really to send photos to my friends in the US, to show them that Ghana wasn’t what they thought it was. A lot of them pitied me for choosing to move back,” he says.
Apaloo’s interest in creating awareness through social media grew when he realized the photos were attracting a positive reaction. He then started a brunch series called ‘Brunch Friends’. These were weekend brunch sessions at his house, where he cooked brunch for his closest friends and family and they discussed issues faced by the young. They encouraged him to expand these sessions. In 2015, he founded Villa Grace, a boutique dining company that hosts intimate pop-up brunches which have quickly become some of Accra’s most exclusive and unique dining experiences, selling out tables weeks in advance.
Kofi Genfi & Nii Osae Osae Dade, 24, Ghana
This duo founded CYST, a software innovation company that specializes in artificial intelligence to create technology solutions in 2013. CYST has a research arm called CYST Research Institute, which focuses on artificial intelligence-based research and development such as natural language processing. In partnership with the telecommunications companies, CYST has access to over 15 million subscribers through its platforms. They count MTN Ghana, Vodafone Ghana, AirtelTigo Ghana, Unity Link and Data Protection Commission among their affiliates. It means over 15 million subscribers through its platforms.
CYST’s flagship product, Mazzuma, is a mobile money payment system that utilizes distributed secure infrastructure and cryptocurrency to enable seamless payments. The Mazzuma token, referred to as MAZ, is a key payment medium in the Mazzuma ecosystem. Transactions made on the Mazzuma platform are instantaneous.
Abraham Omani Quaye, 28, Ghana
After completing his undergraduate degree in agricultural sciences, he decided to go into farming. During his search for land, he came across farmers who complained about their produce going to waste because of low fresh sales.
“To avoid this, they’ll have to sell their produce off cheaply to the middlemen to avoid getting nothing out of their hard work. I also discovered in Ghana, farmers suffer over 30% post-harvest losses which is really unfortunate,” he says.
Quaye was motivated to not just be a farmer but a digital farmer and help other farmers have access to a ready market, reduce post-harvest losses and increase their return on investments. He founded Farmart, an online farmers’ market that links farmers to households and businesses. When an order is placed on their website, they source fresh produce from farmers and deliver to the client. They deliver produce and groceries in Accra, Tema and Kasoa.
“When we started the business, we didn’t have enough bikes to make deliveries which made us lose some deliveries and we quickly partnered with logistics firms who now support us when there’s a spike in orders. We also faced lots of challenges with lack of some produce and we decided to start Farmart.”
It has won recognition such as the 2017 Pitch AgriHack Africa winner by Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation.