Hi, I'm Akinyi
Me in short:
By upbringing, I’m a globalist. By training, I’m a political scientist. These days, I am (mostly) a strategist and social impact leader driving high-impact social innovation as well as global communications and policy programs in tech and financial services.
I've worked with rural farmers across West Africa, counseled start-ups on policy and communications, and advised multinationals on supply chain management and sustainability. What unites these diverse experiences is my commitment to driving the bright future of emerging markets, home to 85% of the global population. I'm an expert in shaping narratives, setting the agenda, and mobilising communities through strategic partnerships, with a key focus on Africa.
As a recovering academic, I seek to understand how dynamics of globalization shape the behavior of individuals, communities and corporations in emerging markets.
I currently work at a London-based fintech company. Outside of work, I’m Esther Ocloo Fellow at Botho Emerging Markets Group, where I research economic development in the Global South, as well as an advisor to CDC-backed initiative TheBoardroom Africa, which is accelerating women’s representation on boards and investment committees across the continent. From 2015 - 2016, I was a Princeton in Africa Fellow. I hold a BA from Yale University and an MSc from the London School Economics.
I write and speak regularly about business, culture, and politics in Africa as well as on diversity and gender. In the past, I've written and blogged for think tanks like the World Economic Forum and the Center for American Progress as well as media outlets such as NPR, Quartz, Slate, Forbes Middle East, Real Clear Politics, Roads and Kingdoms, Harvard Africa Policy Journal, Fields Magazine, and more.
I'm also a contributor at OkayAfrica, the largest digital platform for contemporary African culture and politics, and was a founding team member and Executive Editor at Ayiba Magazine, where I highlighted the creativity of Africa and its diaspora through innovation, technology and design.
The fun stuff:
👩🏾🍳 On weekends, you'll find me in the kitchen, at the farmer's market, or exploring a new restaurant.
On this site, you’ll also find my food blog, Jikoni (Kiswahili for "kitchen"), my love letter to the foods and flavors of Africa and its diaspora.
Growing up, food in my home was a vibrant pan-African fusion with unique combinations like supakanja (okra stew) and ugali (an East African maize-based side dish similar to polenta). Over time, my pan-African outlook extended from the kitchen to the classroom to the workplace. Jikoni is part celebration of Africa's history and cuisine, part exercise in cultural anthropology as I sleuth through the origins of many of these dishes. I'm an amateur chef, so there will be a lot of trial and error, but hopefully a lot of learning and a great deal of fun.