My name is Nwamaka Ogbonna, a research analyst with an avid interest in development issues in Africa. Against this backdrop, it was with a high sense of pride and accomplishment that I received the news of being accepted into the Future Leaders Connect Programme.
Here is my story:
From the over 4000 applications received in Nigeria, 12 of us were invited to the heat event in Abuja where we made a 5-minute pitch of our policy vision to the panel of judges and an audience. I spoke on the need for industrialisation given the drastic fall in oil and other commodity prices. With this pitch, I was voted the audience choice and joined 5 other talented young people to represent Nigeria in the UK.
During the course of the programme, we had the chance to visit BBC to learn more about their operations and Lambeth Palace, the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury where we learnt a lot about their work on peace and reconciliation.
Another major highlight was the visit to No. 10 Downing Street, the Headquarters of the UK government; it was particularly significant for me as I grew up seeing the famous ‘No. 10’ door on TV whenever important global decisions were made. There, we were received by Mark Field MP (Minister of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office) to whom we presented all our policy recommendations on the various issue topics.
Beyond all the fanfare of meeting famous people and visiting important places, the Future Leaders Connect Programme was one of the highlights of my personal and career trajectory. It has enabled me to think deeply and extensively about the issues I claim to care about and the impact I intend to make in the world. It has fuelled my passion to continue blogging (ogbonnanwamaka.com) and contributing to topical debates and conversations on politics, economics and policy. While I shall continue my current efforts to support Africa’s industrialisation through my job, I feel much more empowered and convinced about my long-term ambitions to significantly develop and implement successful industrial policies within Nigeria and across Africa. #KnowMoreDoMore
Nwamaka was a beneficiary of the Future Leaders Connect Programme where exceptional individuals from around the world join a long-term network of emerging policy leaders. For more details on the Future Leaders Connect Programme and how you can get involved, click here.