Inspiration: Bogolo Joy Kenewendo

Economist and politician Bogolo Joy Kenewendo is at the top of her game. Her latest appointment to the Botswana Cabinet seat by Botswana’s current President Mokgweetsi Masisi as the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry is being celebrated at home and abroad particularly because, at 31, she is the youngest minister ever recorded in Botswana’s history.

She was first nominated to the Parliament of Botswana in 2016 as a presidential nominee by former President Ian Khama. She served as a Specially Elected Member of Parliament.

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Kenewendo’s success did not come overnight. She has a track record of achievements.

Kenewendo was born and raised in Botswana and she has been climbing the ladder of success ever since. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from the University of Botswana. She graduated from the University of Botswana in 2009. Two years later, she studied at Xpert Academy in preparation for her Practitioner exam in project management.

She obtained her Project Management Certification in 2011.

In 2012, Kenewendo was awarded a Chevening Scholarship, which sent her off to the United Kingdom where she obtained her Master of Science Degree in International Economics from the University of Sussex.

Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to her career, Kenewendo’s youth has no bearing on her expertise. Bogolo is no amateur in this Industry and others. From 2009, (after her College Graduation), she worked as an Economist and Consultant. That same year, she was selected along with a partner as Botswana’s Youth Representatives to the 64th United Nations General Assembly session, and she joined Imani Development as a Research Assistant in September. She was responsible for desk research, key informant interviews and data analysis.

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From May – December 2010, she was the Expert on Industry Policy Research and Analysis at UNIDO and she was instrumental in creating the 2011 Industrial Development Policy for 2011.

In December 2010, she served as a Research Assistant working with Health and Development Africa.

The following year, she attended Michelle Obama’s Young African Women Leaders’ forum where she met Michelle Obama in person and found the inspiration to found the Women Leadership and Mentorship Program, Molaya Kgosi (an arm of Botswana Youth for United Nations) with a friend.

In 2012, Junior Chamber International (JCI) Botswana honored her with the Ten Outstanding Young Persons’ award. Four years later, she was awarded with both the Botswana Change Makers Award in business and leadership and the Formidable Woman award.

Kenewendo also joined the writing field that year as a columnist responsible for writing a bi-weekly column on economic issues for The WeekendPost, which led her to becoming an economist and consultant for Econsult Botswana.

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In October 2015, she acquired an Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Fellowship which took her to Ghana where she served as a Trade Economist in the Ghanaian Ministry of Trade and Industry. She made an impact in their Economic Sector. In 2016, she took part in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office International Leaders Program.

According to Bogolo, her greatest source of inspiration is her mother. She draws strength from her strength. She watched how her mother turned her pain into strength from recovering from several strokes to surviving the loss of a child, amongst other things.

When she isn’t working, Kenewendo spends her time travelling, meditating and reading.

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