Made in Africa: A Conversation with Bright Simons

“That was also a very interesting lesson, because eventually, that will be the way we managed to make the most difference, not by convincing people about the goodness of our mission alone, or trying to shame them into doing good, we found out that ultimately strategic alliances, where people see the enlightened self-interest was almost always a more effective tool, which is where my activism was then balanced by my entrepreneurship. And this continuing dance went on.” — Bright Simons

In this episode of Made in Africa, Sarika Bansal talks with  Bright Simons, President of mPedigree, a social enterprise working on three continents to secure communities from the harmful effects of counterfeiting. They pioneered a technology that lets one send a text message from a pharmacy where you are buying medicines and learn immediately if it is an authentic medication. mPedigree is bringing this same idea to other sectors, such as agriculture, cosmetics, and the automotive industry

In addition to being an entrepreneur, Simons has strong activist roots and is a leading thinker in Ghana. He serves as the honorary Vice President at IMANI, a leading think tank, where he talks and writes about political accountability, anti-corruption, and civil liberty projects.

Simons has received a large number of accolades. He is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Councils, an inaugural TED Fellow, an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellow, to name a few. He spends a considerable amount of energy working to build and sustain networks of solution seekers around the world, united by common values.

In the conversation, they talk about how Simons brings two competing sides of himself together: his activist brain, through which he sees injustices in society, and his entrepreneurial side, which wants to find solutions. He has been finding ways to bring a bit more justice and security to the world since he was in high school when he fought the government on raising school fees.

Made in Africa is Driving Change’s conversation series with African visionaries whose work impacts the public good. We are interested in learning how leaders across the continent got to where they are today. The inflection points along their journeys, their inspirations, how they pushed through moments of self-doubt, and how they came out the other side.

We hope you are as inspired by these podcasts as we are. If you are, please subscribe here, or wherever you get your podcasts (Amazon Music, Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher), and please rate us and write a review so others can find their inspiration.

Sarika Bansal

Sarika Bansal is an editor and storytelling consultant. She was the founder and editor-in-chief of BRIGHT Magazine, an award-winning digital magazine that told fresh, solutions-oriented stories about social change. Prior to that, she incubated two social impact publications at Medium, developed curriculum and tools for journalists at the Solutions Journalism Network, and served as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company. Her byline has appeared in the New York Times, Al Jazeera America, Guardian, VICE, Forbes, FastCompany, and other publications. She holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard College and a Masters in Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). She lives in a cottage in a forest in Nairobi, Kenya with her husband, daughter, and elderly German shepherd.

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