Bilha Ndirangu, the then CEO for Nairobi-based Africa’s Talking has left the firm to join African Leadership Academy as CEO, becoming ALA’s 3rd CEO and the first Kenyan and first woman to head the academy, succeeding the institution’s co-founder, Chris Bradford.
Bilha was the CEO of Africa’s Talking (AT), a Pan-Africa mobile technology company that supports software developers to bring their business ideas to life and build them into sustainable ventures, where she had worked for 7 years and oversaw an incredible growth of the company from a workforce of about 8 to over 100 employees and grew its presence in over 20 African markets.
“We are honored to see her step into the CEO’s role at ALA and we know that she will lead the academy to new heights and strengthen our track record of pan-African impact” said Fred Swaniker, ALA co-founder, pointing out that Bilha was the exact type of leader that the academy needed.
Bilha has also worked as the Senior Project Manager of Dalberg Global Development where she conceptualized and saw the initial implementation of Equity Foundation’s Wings to Fly Scholarship project that has up to date supported more than 26,000 needy and bright Kenyan children to access secondary and university education.
Bilha was a senior project manager at Dalberg Global Development advisors in its Nairobi office where she advised varied clients including national governments, multilaterals, foundations and private sector companies. Her projects spanned multiple sectors ranging from technology, agriculture and energy. As the first employee of the Dalberg Nairobi office, she also helped grow the office from one consultant to a team of forty consultants advising clients across Africa.
After Dalberg, Bilhawas accepted in the Endeavor Network; a network that supports and mentors entrepreneurs who have demonstrated a potential for rapid scale and expansion of their business and saw the transformation of Africa’s Talking after its Series A financing round led by IFC in mid 2018.
The ALA Board of Trustees Chair, Khumo Shongwe, said “Bilha’s experience in building a pan-African company and working with senior leaders across the continent has uniquely prepared her to lead the African Leadership Academy.
Upon her appointment, Bilha said that Africa presents a lot of opportunities and has great untapped potential encapsulated in her richest resource; her youth. She went on to add that no nation will be able to thrive in the future without technology and so now is the right time to raise the right leaders and global shapers who will secure Africa’s place at the table.
Her appointment on June 15 came following a rigorous exercise that identified Bilha as a talented individual who embodies the academy’s values of integrity, curiosity and excellence to take that CEO role and hails as a role model for ALA students.
“This was one of the most rigorous recruitment processes I have ever seen in my career. She exemplifies all the attributes that the ALA CEO in this day and age requires; youthfulness, business acumen, laser vision and pan-African corporate leadership experience ,” remarked Brian Waweru, an Alumni representative in the academy’s Board of Trustees who sat in the search team.