Junior Achievement (JA) Africa has announced the appointment of Ade Ayeyemi, Group Chief Executive Officer of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), the parent company of the Ecobank Group, to its Board of Directors.
An astute and experienced banking and financial expert, Ayeyemi will be joining 16 accomplished professionals on the JA Africa Board. Fifteen of JA Africa Board members are independent directors who have elected to serve pro bono. Their leadership, governance and oversight functions advances JA’s mission of shaping the future of work for Africa’s youth.
“I am delighted to welcome Ade Ayeyemi to our esteemed board,” said JA Africa Board Chair, Charles Olumuyiwa Moyela. “Ayeyemi is a world-class professional and an accomplished business leader. He brings invaluable expertise and solid knowledge of Africa’s economic development issues to the JA Africa board.”
“At a time like this, his experience, leadership and counsel will help shape JA’s strategic partnerships across sub-Sahara Africa as the organization hones the productive potential of Africa’s youth,” Moyela further remarked.
As the world grapples with the social and economic aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, Africa’s youth are the worst hit due to the widespread closure of schools, rising unemployment and inequality, and poor health infrastructure. A recent report by the International Labour Organization, “Youth and Covid-19: impacts on jobs, education, rights and mental well-being,” has said the Covid-19 crisis is having a devastating impact on the education and training of young people.
According to the report, 70% of young persons who study or combine study with work have been adversely affected by the 2020 global health crisis. It highlights large ‘digital divides’ between regions, with youth living in lower-income countries, who have less access to the internet, a lack of equipment and often a lack of space at home.
JA Africa’s approach to mitigating these challenges is a hybrid formula of combining in-person and virtual program execution models; JA country teams in 15 African countries have also successfully pivoted some of their programs onto digital platforms, including its signature Company of the Year program.
“We are extremely fortunate to have Mr. Ayeyemi join the JA Africa board at this time because Ecobank’s network across 36 African countries as well as Mr. Ayeyemi’s heartfelt desire to contribute to the growth and well-being of Africa’s youth will be significant drivers towards achieving our goal of rapid expansion across the continent to prepare millions of young Africans for future success,” said Simi Nwogugu, CEO of JA Africa. “I am also grateful for the opportunity to be personally mentored by one of Africa’s most experienced business leaders who has lived and worked in several countries across the continent.”
As Group CEO and Executive Director of ETI since 2015, Ayeyemi oversees the operations of Ecobank subsidiaries in 36 African countries. He previously served as CEO of Citi Group’s sub-Saharan Africa division. He has a bachelor’s degree (First Class Honours) in accounting from the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, and a Master of Science in Financial Management from the University of London. He is also an alumnus of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Programme.
Currently, JA Africa engages over 250,000 African youth each year through programs that build their skills and knowledge in entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy.