Johannesburg’s leading digital innovation hub, Tshimologong Precinct, has announced that its CEO, Lesley Williams, has been selected as a member of the inaugural class of the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa programme.
Williams is ecstatic to be nominated as a future African leader within the Obama Foundation and looks forward to showcasing what has already been established: “Through Tshimologong Precinct and other initiatives, South Africa has made impressive progress to not only improve our country, but to build much needed skills. I am excited to form part of this working group and committed to help make Africa better for all.”
Over the course of 2017, President Obama met with emerging leaders from nearly every corner of the globe to better understand how the Obama Foundation can support their work. In an effort to support and develop the next generation of leaders in Africa, Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa was formed. It is a year-long initiative to inspire, empower, and connect 200 emerging leaders from across Africa to take on the biggest challenges in their communities, countries, and continent.
Williams was appointed as part of the Obama Foundation’s commitment to grow its global network of innovative and ethical change makers who seek to drive transformation in their communities. This program will provide emerging African leaders from a range of backgrounds with the skills they need to create change. Through plenary sessions, problem-solving workshops, technical trainings, and leadership development, this working group will aim to find ways to create and solve African-specific issues.
Williams says that the Group will kick off with a five-day workshop convening in Johannesburg. The convening will also include a town hall meeting with President Obama where he will learn about their experiences and the work Africa is doing.
“We are overjoyed at the news. It is even more exciting as at the same time, while in Johannesburg, President Obama will deliver the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture. In honor of the 100th anniversary of Madiba’s birth, the lecture’s theme will be “Renewing the Mandela Legacy and Promoting Active Citizenship in a Changing World.”
Williams hopes that this appointment will enable her to continue making Tshimologong Precinct a place of new beginnings for all: “We have made such progress and have so much to offer the Foundation, we are very motivated to grow and develop the precinct into a globally recognised hub of digital innovation.”
About Wits University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct
Setswana for “new beginnings”, Tshimologong is Johannesburg’s newest high-tech address in the vibrant inner-city district of Braamfontein, where the incubation of start-ups, the commercialisation of research and the development of high-level digital skills for students, working professionals and unemployed youths takes place. The Precinct was launched in September 2016 with support from major companies including Microsoft, Cisco, Datacentrix, Telkom, ACSA and MMI. Gauteng Province through its Department of E-Government and the City of Johannesburg have also provided significant support. The Precinct also houses the prestigious IBM Research’s Lab Africa – one of only 12 such facilities in the world.