Bogolo Joy Kenewendo, the Youngest Minister in Botswana

Bogolo Joy Kenewendo is an inspirational and trailblazing African Economist, ALU Expert In Residence, and former Botswana's Minister of Investment & Trade.

The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou

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On April 4 of 2018, Bogolo became Botswana's youngest Minister at 31. She was the chairperson of the parliamentary committee on defense, security & foreign affairs. The economist was also a member of the UN Secretary-General's high-level panel on Digital Cooperation chaired by Jack Ma, founder of China's largest e-commerce company Alibaba, and Bill Gate's wife, Melinda Gates.

In an interview with Investor's Mag, Bogolo's said that she always wanted to be involved in public policy. Thus, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics at the University of Botswana and a Master of Science in International Economics at the University of Sussex in England. She is also a Certified Project Manager.

After years of advocating for the inclusion of the youth and women in the decision-making, especially at the highest tables, she said yes when the call came. When she became a Minister at such a young age, many people refused to believe her. When asked about this, Bogolo laughed and assured that it was more a surprise because usually, Ministers are gentlemen, not ladies.

During the talk with Investor's Mag, she gave a special message to women and girls in Africa: "Rise. There's no better time for us to be owning our spaces, doing what we believe in, and shining." She also added, "there are positions of leadership that exist that we should take them up; we shouldn't shy away from speaking our voices. We should find a way to demand justice when it's necessary. Especially when it comes to the protection of women and children's rights."

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Bogolo says that we live in a women's era where we have an unprecedented number of women in leadership positions in innovation. According to her, it means that the world is becoming more open to women but at the same time becoming restrictive, so we need to find our spaces and go for them.

The leader is also well-known for her role as a Gender & Youth Activist. Bogolo has received numerous accolades, which include Botswana Change Makers Award in Business and Leadership (2016); Formidable Woman Award (2016); honored through the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office International Leaders Program (2016); and named one of Chevening's 35 Global Changemakers (2019).

Nowadays, Bogolo is the Founding Managing Director of Kenewendo Advisory (Pty) Ltd - a private economic and development consultancy company based in Botswana with experience in Sub-Saharan Africa and further afield.

Not only Bogolo became the youngest Minister of Botswana and the youngest female member of parliament in the country's history, but she also has taken big and small actions to advance women's rights.

What this fantastic African economist has taught the world is that we all deserve equal opportunities. A door open for a woman may be the opportunity to hold leadership positions and represent female leaders.

Finally, the activist is a G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council member, an initiative created by Prime Minister Trudeau during Canada's G7 presidency in 2018. There, she is part of discussions around gender equality, inclusiveness, issues around ending workplace harassment, and all forms of violence against women. There's no doubt that Bogolo's legacy is unbreakable.

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