The Mandela Rhodes Foundation Launches $80k Äänit Prize for Social Impact in Africa

CAPE TOWN, South Africa–(BUSINESS WIRE/AETOSWire)– Nelson Mandela’s official legacy organisation for leadership development has announced a new prize. The Äänit Prize will award up to $80 000 per year to projects and organisations that can deliver positive social impact in Africa. The prize will be open to alumni of the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship and the Rhodes Scholarship and is funded by Ezrah Charitable Trust, started by Rhodes Scholar and MRF donor David Cohen.

Professor Njabulo S. Ndebele, chairman of the board of The Mandela Rhodes Foundation said he is delighted about the prize. “Our vision for entrepreneurship in Africa stems from our mandate to address inequality and contribute to the achievement of true equality, and to the alleviation of poverty and suffering. We know that innovative and creative individuals can make a significant difference to the lives of people across the continent.” MRF CEO Judy Sikuza said, “We are very excited to announce the Äänit Prize as part of our focus on expanding the impact of our alumni. The prize will support both for-profit and non-profit initiatives with the potential to transform the lives of Africa’s most marginalised populations. We will be looking for potential for positive impact, ideas that are feasible, and teams capable of executing them.”

Graça Machel and Mo Ibrahim endorse the Äänit Prize

Some of Africa’s leading thinkers have lent their support in a video released Tuesday. Mrs Graça Machel, champion of women’s rights and founder of The Graça Machel Trust said “I am delighted to hear about the Äänit Prize. There are many talented young people in the Mandela Rhodes and Rhodes Scholar communities with brilliant ideas, who can make those ideas come to fruition with the right support.” Dr Mo Ibrahim, telecommunications titan and founder of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, said “Business must indeed be linked to society’s needs, instead of just being about profit regardless of whether the impact is positive or negative. That’s probably what Madiba would have told us to do.”

An esteemed jury of judges

A panel of judges with a depth of expertise will decide the winners. The judges are: Elliot Gerson, Executive Vice President of the Aspen Institute and US Secretary to the Rhodes Trust, Dr Rethabile Melamu, General Manager of the Green Economy Unit at the Innovation Hub (RSA), Sangu Delle, entrepreneur, investor and CEO of Africa Health Holdings, Ndidi Nuweli, co-founder and managing partner of Sahel Consulting and founder of LEAP Africa, social entrepreneur Salif Niang, and Kenyan asset management expert Muitheri Wahome.

Applications for the Äänit Prize will open on the 1st of July 2021.


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