Simi Nwogugu Wins 2023 Africa Education Medal

Simi Nwogugu Wins 2023 Africa Education Medal

The CEO of Junior Achievement (JA) Africa, Simi Nwogugu of Nigeria, has been named the recipient of the 2018 Africa Education Medal, which was established last year by T4 Education, HP, and Microsoft.


The Africa Education Medal was established to honor the pioneers who are reshaping African education for the better. According to Unesco data, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates of educational exclusion worldwide. Between the ages of 6 and 11, more than one-fifth of children are not in school, with girls experiencing particular disadvantage.

However, in the decades prior to the pandemic, Africa made significant advancements in increasing enrollment thanks to tireless international efforts. The Africa Education Medal aims to encourage others to follow in their footsteps and bring about long-lasting change in African education by honoring the stories of those who work tirelessly to build on these essential advancements.

Simi Nwogugu is the CEO of JA Africa, a branch of the nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize JA Worldwide, one of the biggest youth-serving NGOs in the world that helps young people get ready for the future of work. While employed by Goldman Sachs in New York City, she first met JA. She left her lucrative job at the age of 24 to bring JA to Nigeria, where it now reaches more than 100,000 young people yearly, after being inspired by the organization. She later went on to oversee JA’s operations throughout the continent.


The fact that 37% of the workforce and 60% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa are under the age of 25 emphasizes the critical importance of Nwogugu’s work. 25% of the world’s youth will reside in Africa by 2025. Her organization helps young people develop their entrepreneurial ideas, improve their work readiness skills, manage their money, and secure better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities by providing hands-on, blended learning in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship.

Nwogugu has been overseeing JA’s initiatives in a variety of capacities for the past 25 years as it set out on a mission to assist young people in developing and managing their wealth, creating jobs for their communities, and applying entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace and developing the skills that will secure their financial future. Her love of innovation and strategy inspired the creation of a number of significant initiatives that guarantee young Africans have the aptitude and outlook for success.

She is an ardent supporter of girls’ education, and one of her innovative projects is the Leadership, Empowerment Achievement & Development (LEAD) Camp for Girls, which has motivated and inspired more than 1,200 young girls to become high-achieving women leaders in society.

Another project she has supported is the Venture in Management Programme (ViMP), which aims to empower young people by teaching them how to manage various aspects of a business, how to make critical business decisions, and how to develop general management and social responsibility skills.

Graduates of the program have gone on to found some of Nigeria’s top companies and to lead some of the continent’s most significant non-profit organizations. In addition, she developed digital and after-school youth programs that allowed her organization to reach underserved communities in Nigeria’s north, even during the Boko Haram crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic.

She led JA Nigeria, which had an impact on the lives of over one million Nigerians in 5,000 schools, before she was named CEO of JA Africa in 2020. Iyin Aboyeji, the creator of the unicorns Andela and Flutterwave, is one of the many JA graduates who have gone on to create jobs and work in social entrepreneurship. She said, “JA gave me my first taste of entrepreneurship when I participated in the company program in secondary school. Simi deserves my gratitude for bringing this program to Nigeria.

Nwogugu also holds the position of President of the Harvard Business School Alumni Association of Nigeria (HBSAN)’s governing board. He has received numerous honors from the university, including the Bert King Award for Social Impact from the Harvard Business School African-American Association.