Made in Africa: A Conversation with Yawa Hansen-Quao

“The minds and the hearts of Africans, particularly young Africans, have just so many great ideas and just need, you know, to unlock new opportunities or need investment to move to the next level.” – Yawa Hansen-Quao, Executive Director, Emerging Public Leaders

Welcome to Made in Africa, our 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.

In this new episode, Sarika Bansal speaks with Yawa Hanson-Quao. Hansen-Quao is the Executive Director of Emerging Public Leaders, which seeks to build a pan-African network of young leaders in public service. She is also a serving member of the Board of Directors at Ashesi University College, as well as the founder of the Leading Ladies’ Network, which supports female entrepreneurs in Ghana.

Hansen-Quao has also served for three years on the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community, has worked as a leadership consultant to UN Women, and in 2016 was awarded an Eisenhower Fellowship in honor of her pioneering work nurturing emerging women leaders.

Hansen-Quao talks with Bansal about her journey, both professional and personal, and how her experiences have helped the vision she has for African governance and leadership. She and her family were forced to flee Ghana when she was a child in the early 1980s, and she grew up in Togo as well as in the United States. She returned to Ghana as a teenager and decided to take a bet on a new university, so she could be part of Ghana’s future.

We hope you enjoy the conversation!

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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