David Moinina Sengeh
Nana Kofi Acquah

David Moinina Sengeh has earned his place on this list several times over.

He first made a name for himself at MIT, where he used cutting-edge technology to improve the fit and feel of prosthetic limbs—an urgent need in the aftermath of the civil war in his home country of Sierra Leone. After that came his stint as a researcher at IBM, combatting algorithmic bias long before AI was the front-page issue it is today.

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Now, David is the chief minister of Sierra Leone, where he’s worked to revolutionize his country’s education system to promote what he calls “radical inclusion.” His signature achievement so far is ending a ban on pregnant girls attending school. David is not yet 40, and I have no doubt he has several more careers ahead of him. The breadth of his intellect makes it hard to predict what he’ll do next—but what is clear about David is that empathy is his essence.

French Gates is founder of Pivotal Ventures and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

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