Georgia Trend 2021 40 Under 40

Honoring the state’s best and brightest under age 40 for the 25th year.
Georgia Trend October 2021 40 Under 40 p018

This year Georgia Trend is celebrating 25 years of honoring the state’s best and brightest with our 40 Under 40. And this year, like the others, the winners leave us awed and inspired.

As we continue to battle COVID-19 in the state, many in this group of young leaders are working to keep our economy afloat and our citizens healthy. These outstanding people come from every corner of Georgia and represent the nonprofit, healthcare and legal sectors, large corporations and startup entrepreneurial ventures. As important as their day jobs are, however, they also find time to volunteer and give back to strengthen and grow the communities around them.

This year’s 40 Under 40 were selected by the Georgia Trend staff from nominations provided by readers throughout the state who know them well. We’re proud to share their stories.

The profiles were written by Brian Lee, Michele Cohen Marill, Charlotte Norsworthy, Patty Rasmussen and Randy Southerland. – The Editors


Kimberly Barnes 39

CEO and Founder

Might Be Vegan

Atlanta

Kimberly Barnes was looking for a new challenge. As she became vegan in an effort to stave off diet-related preventable illnesses common in the South, she realized she’d found it. She created Might Be Vegan, which works with food brands to educate people around plant-based eating. She set up what she says is the world’s largest vegan tailgate at the 2019 Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, serving 1,500 people.

She also created Food Love, a unique plant-based hunger relief effort dedicated to getting fresh fruits and vegetables, among other items, delivered to the doorsteps of those experiencing food insecurity.

This included “hosting a 100% plant-based food event where we basically just gave food away,” she says. “And the reasoning was because we wanted to introduce people to plant-based eating.” – RS


Lattisha Bilbrew 35

Orthopedic Surgeon

Resurgens Orthopaedics

Stone Mountain

Lattisha Bilbrew was a young girl at her grandmother’s hospital bedside when she decided she was going to be a doctor someday. She didn’t like the tone of the doctors and nurses, and neither did her grandmother, who spit out her medicine after they left.

When people told Bilbrew her dreams weren’t realistic, she became more determined. She navigated a daunting 14-year journey through college, medical school and specialty training, becoming the first African-American woman to train as a fellow in hand and upper extremity surgery at the University of Florida.

Now an orthopedic surgeon, Bilbrew supports the community through annual back-to-school and toy drives, and her passion is mentoring others. She works with students from elementary to medical school. “The next step is to make sure other people can realize their dreams,” she says. – MCM


Amber Brantley 32

Assistant Solicitor General

Office of the Solicitor General

Augusta

As an assistant in the solicitor general’s office, Amber Brantley is a force for bringing justice to both victims and offenders.

“You can always make the recommendations you think will be better for that person, the community and the victims,” she says.

She is the prosecutor with the newly formed Domestic Violence Accountability Court in Richmond County. Since its formation, the court has reduced repetitive domestic violence offenses by providing enhanced offender supervision and accountability and offender conflict resolution alternatives.

The program has a 90% success rate, according to Brantley.

She is active in the community as regional vice president of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys. She has led efforts to meet community needs such as raising funds to purchase caps and gowns for graduating seniors. – RS


Alton “A.J.” Brooks Jr. 37

Assistant Vice President, Clinical Operations

Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center

Atlanta

A.J. Brooks originally planned to be a physician, but he found another way to drive quality care through healthcare administration.

He has managed over 80 surgery clinics across Wellstar Medical Group, one of the largest medical groups in the southeast. Most recently he took on running clinical operations for Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center.

He has also served the community through work with the Center for Family Resources, a nonprofit organization that supports families experiencing hardship.

“We take individuals who come from tough situations and set them up for success,” says Brooks.

He was 2020 chair of the Cobb County Chamber’s Young Professionals committee. This group organizes community initiatives including food drives. He works with the Health Career Academy to introduce students to careers in medicine, and he was a member of the LEAD Atlanta class of 2017. – RS


Bess Butler Brunson 28

401(k) Investment Advisor

The Fiduciary Group

Savannah

Bess Butler Brunson grew up going to the offices of The Fiduciary Group, an investment firm started by her grandfather more than 50 years ago. She always knew she would join the family business because she finds financial health just as important as physical and mental health.

“Saving and investing was always a conversation around the dinner table, and I love that feeling of giving clients the confidence they need to accomplish their financial goals,” she says.

Her grandmother inspired her community service at a young age, introducing her to the interpreter program at the Davenport House. Her service has expanded as she’s stepped up as co-president of the Historic Savannah Foundation’s 13th Colony, an organization of young professionals centered around historic preservation, as well as a number of other organizations. – CN


Ethan Calhoun 30

Assistant Director of Regional Planning

Northwest Georgia Regional Commission

Chatsworth

Ethan Calhoun’s favorite part of his job is helping small towns all over the state achieve their economic development and planning goals. At the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission, he is able to reach Georgia cities that have big goals but limited resources.

His work speaks to his commitment to helping communities thrive, as he serves as vice president for the Georgia Association of Zoning Administrators, as a member of the Whitfield County Historical Preservation Committee and as a site interpreter for the Chief Vann House State Historic Site, to name a few.

Serving communities as small as 75 people allows Calhoun to “really make a difference in the community that otherwise wouldn’t happen,” he says. He loves watching a community grow knowing that he had a small hand in that progress, he says. – CN


Kigwana Cherry 35

Construction Manager

NIKA Solutions

Co-founder

Pop-Up Augusta

Augusta

Tagged the “Secret Mayor of Augusta” by his friends, Kigwana Cherry is a Tuskegee University-educated construction engineer and a contractor with NIKA Solutions. He’s also an entrepreneur-creative, conceiving ideas like Pop-Up Augusta, exclusive themed entertainment experiences, in 2017.

“The idea is to share a meal, ignite conversation and inspire change,” Cherry says. “I had friends saying there was nothing to do in Augusta. I decided to create events to prove them wrong.”

The pop-ups shut down in 2020 but are gradually starting again. During the pandemic, Cherry discovered a talent for urban farming and teaching others to grow food. He also gave away more than 250 plants from his own backyard. A classically trained opera singer, Cherry is a staunch arts advocate and member of the Greater Augusta Black Chamber of Commerce. – PR


Kristoff Cohran 28

Founder and CEO

Mission 3E Inc.

Program Administrator

Georgia South Psychiatry Residency Program
Colquitt Regional Medical Center

Moultrie

A student who dropped out of public speaking class becomes a public speaker. A person uninterested in healthcare becomes a psychiatry residency program coordinator. A boy who lost his dad early in life becomes a father figure to many. That’s Kristoff Cohran, and the common motivator is his “strong passion for helping others and belief that my life’s purpose is to be a catalyst for a better, brighter tomorrow.”

Mission 3E, Cohran’s nonprofit, offers character and leadership development programming designed to engage, enlighten and empower young adults to elevate in school, career and life. That includes teaching financial literacy, promoting civic responsibility and community engagement.

“What’s most satisfying about my work is helping young adults create a life plan that is clear, concise and attainable,” Cohran says. “Our goal is to make this world a better place, one person at a time.” – BL


Charlotte Davis 29

Deputy Director of Governmental Relations

Georgia Municipal Association

Atlanta

Charlotte Davis spends her days lobbying in the state Capitol on behalf of more than 500 Georgia city governments and her nights volunteering as a track coach.

At the Georgia Municipal Association, Davis addresses the needs of local governing bodies, advocating for initiatives and bettering relationships between local and state interests. She serves on GMA’s Cares Committee, which helps disadvantaged youth in the state.

Her service extends outside of work, too. Davis coaches female athletes at Dunwoody High School and the Atlanta Track Club and she also mentors athletes at Berry College, where she was a track athlete. The overall goal, she says, is to help athletes plan for success.

“My passion is helping young women, particularly with athletic backgrounds, transition into a very successful career. Because that was me,” she says. – CN


Jason Dozier 38

Atlanta Director, Program Operations and Evaluation

Hire Heroes USA

Atlanta

Jason Dozier is using the skills and knowledge he acquired in the military to ease the transition of other veterans into civilian life with Hire Heroes USA. This included helping 12,000 vets and their spouses find jobs last year alone, he says.

After moving to Southwest Atlanta, he became “an advocate and community organizer in my community, working to help folks fight against displacement, and making sure that we had a seat at the table whenever development decisions were being made that impacted our community.”

To make that happen, he has worked with the Neighborhood Planning Unit and was vice president of the Mechanicsville Civic Association and the Turner Field Community Benefits Coalition.

A regular commuter, he advocated for the creation of two new bus routes in South Atlanta to make transit easier for residents. – RS


Daniel Farr 33

Senior ISV Manager

Salesforce

Chamblee

Daniel Farr spent most of his career in the automotive industry before deciding to make the jump to tech.

“I wanted to get into an industry whose principles were around innovation, because that meant that they were not hesitant to take chances and disrupt the status quo,” he says. “I wanted to get into an industry that I was able to bring my best self to work every day.”

This desire led him to Salesforce, where he rose swiftly to lead the Heroku Elements marketplace, a source for supporting app development. In 2021, he was responsible for Heroku’s $52 million in gross revenue.

He is also a leader in volunteer programs aimed at helping the homeless, co-founding the nonprofit Project H.E.L.P. ATL. It provides aid to those without shelter ranging from food to hygiene kits. The goal is creating partnerships that help homeless people transition from the street to self-sufficiency. – RS


Andy Gaines 39

General Manager

The Earl and Rachel Smith Strand Theatre

Marietta

The play’s the thing for Andy Gaines. The general manager of The Earl and Rachel Smith Strand Theatre in Marietta knows the arts can both inspire a community and fuel it economically.

“Helping The Strand succeed in those two areas is what is so endlessly satisfying about what I do,” he says. “Working here is like coming to play in a sandbox and make castles everyday – an absolute joy.”

The University of Georgia alum, who also studied the 2,000+ year-old art form of Sanskrit theatre in its Indian birthplace, takes that spirit of sharing and caring with him wherever he goes. Recognized as the Kiwanis Club of Marietta 2020 Kiwanian of the Year, Gaines heads the West Side Elementary K-Kids Club and serves on The Walker School’s Patrons of the Arts Board, the Marietta Arts Council and the Marietta Welcome Center’s Board of Directors. – BL


Kevin Gillespie 39

President and Chief Ideas Man

Red Beard Restaurants

Owner, Chef, Cookbook Author, Speaker

Atlanta

In 2009, Chef Kevin Gillespie achieved culinary success at Woodfire Grill

and fame on Bravo’s Top Chef. Since then, he’s started a company, opened four restaurants (Gunshow, Revival, Gamechanger and Cold Beer), and written several cookbooks. For natural introvert Gillespie, cooking is communication.

“I realized that I needed cooking, and to cook for strangers, in order to be able to play an active role in our society because my natural inclination is to be shut off from people,” he says.

Gillespie founded the Defend Southern Food Foundation in 2019 to ensure local farmers and producers would always have a market for their product. During the past 18 months, his foundation prepared and distributed approximately 500,000 meals to families through the Atlanta Public Schools. – PR


Hayden Hancock 38

Commercial Agent

Houston & Associates Insurance

Nashville

Leaders rise from adversity, and Hayden Hancock is living proof. During the onset of the pandemic, the chair of the Berrien County Chamber of Commerce board recognized that the county was not equipped to communicate vital information to residents and businesses. So he spearheaded the formation of a COVID-19 task force.

“Together we began a series of live weekly ‘press conferences’ to present a united and calming voice and quickly created a centralized website,” says Hancock, who also helped facilitate a three-county relief effort to distribute more than 5,000 food boxes to families.

Inspired to give to his community and powered by coffee, the energetic Hancock won the chamber’s 2020 Community Service Award. He also serves on several boards, including school, church, hospital and Rotary Club. – BL


Robert Hendrix 39

Licensed Professional Counselor
Owner

The C.O.O.L. Program

Union City

Robert Hendrix has dedicated his life to service since launching The C.O.O.L. Program, where he works with the Clayton County Public Schools to provide mental health support to students and their families.

Hendrix says that growing up in a low-income neighborhood without a father inspired him to give crucial guidance to young men with similar upbringing. When he’s not working in Clayton County, Hendrix mentors young Black men and women in the Metro Atlanta area. He sees it as his responsibility to show young people that they can achieve success.

“I see myself in these kids, and I understand that all you have to do is tell them that they can make it, give them the resources to make it and they will make it,” Hendrix says. – CN


Miranda Kyle 37

Arts and Culture Program Manager

Atlanta Beltline

Atlanta

A sculptor herself, Miranda Kyle understood the difficulties emerging sculptors have finding exhibition space.

“I’ve always been the type of person who thought, ‘if it doesn’t exist, let me make it exist,’” she says.

At the Atlanta BeltLine, Kyle oversees the South’s largest linear gallery space and temporary public art exhibit. Ensuring the collection reflects the communities is something she is passionate about.

“Art on the BeltLine is a temporary exhibition,” she says. “Feedback is incredibly important. Our shared public spaces do not belong to any one person, it’s supposed to be a shared vision.”

A member of the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Council, Kyle also works with advocacy groups like the South River Forest Coalition, working to preserve greenspace in Fulton and DeKalb counties, and the Stone Mountain Action Coalition, attempting to reclaim Stone Mountain Park from its legacy as a Confederate memorial. – PR


Jessica Lamb 36

Founder and Executive Director

Atlanta Redemption Ink

Atlanta

Jessica Lamb will never forget the first transformation she enabled. A young woman felt vulnerable and shamed by the branding a sex trafficker had placed on her neck. In 2017, a tattoo artist turned it into a beautiful purple flower with a butterfly – an opening to a new future.

Lamb, also a survivor, had her own coverup in 2016 and wanted to help others remove the markings of a former life. “I had a passion to see someone experience freedom the way I did,” she says.

Since then, Atlanta Redemption Ink has worked with tattoo shops around Georgia and nationally to remove or cover up tattoos from sex trafficking, gang symbols and marks from self-harm or addiction. More than 375 individuals have received the transformation. Atlanta Redemption Ink also provides trauma-informed counseling, life coaching and educational services. – MCM


John Lanier 35

Executive Director

Ray C. Anderson Foundation

Atlanta

John Lanier took the bar exam two weeks before his grandfather, businessman-environmentalist Ray C. Anderson, died, leaving most of his estate to the family foundation that bears his name and promotes environmental stewardship.

Lanier worked several years at Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan (now Eversheds Sutherland) before he was hired to run the foundation and advance his grandfather’s legacy.

The foundation funds research for ideas like sustainable highways and biomimicry (the practice of learning from and mimicking nature to solve human challenges) and in 2020 launched Drawdown Georgia, an initiative to decrease the state’s carbon footprint by at least 35% by 2030.

“If we can do that here, in a Southern state, and show climate change is not a political issue, then we can show what’s possible,” Lanier says.

Lanier served on the board of the Southface Institute for seven years, an organization working to build sustainable workplaces, homes and communities. – PR


Davia Lassiter 39

Lecturer

University and Technical College Systems of Georgia

Atlanta

Davia Lassiter has always seen herself a teacher.

This fall she left a high-level communications post at the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to become a faculty member at three Metro Atlanta colleges – University of West Georgia, Kennesaw State University and Atlanta Technical College.

“Teaching was always the end goal for me,” she says. “Throughout my career, I was able to teach in a different way, not necessarily in the classroom, but from doing public speaking. I traveled the country… to teach about marketing strategy.”

As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, she has worked on a wide range of service projects in the community. One of her greatest passions is students. She is a mentor to 4th and 5th grade students at Hickory Hills Elementary in Marietta. – RS


Tionya Lawrence 36

Family Nurse Practitioner

Athens Neighborhood Health Center

Athens

Tionya Lawrence wanted to give her patients more than basic care.

“As a nurse practitioner we have the authority to diagnose, evaluate, treat and prescribe medicine,” she says. “You want to prevent patients from ending up in the hospital. We fill the gap in primary care.”

She works in a neighborhood health center founded 50 years ago by four women in a small trailer that has since expanded to a main building and two other locations in Athens. She is also a Vot-ER fellow, a nonpartisan leadership development program for healthcare workers looking to increase voter participation by helping patients register to vote.

“I ask my patients, ‘Do you smoke or drink? Are you registered to vote?’” she says. “’We focus on your physical health your mental health – let’s take a look at your civic health and see how you’re doing.’” – PR


Constance Mack 38

Director

Global Transaction Services

Bank of America

Atlanta

Bank of America executive Constance Mack was attending an event for “Neighborhood Builders,” a bank- sponsored program supporting local nonprofits, when she met the president of Atlanta Technical College. Soon she was touring the school, observing its cutting-edge training and becoming a “builder” herself.

Today, she is board chair of the Atlanta Technical College Foundation. She helps raise money for gap funding to assist students who are in danger of dropping out for financial reasons. Meeting the students and hearing their stories has been inspiring, Mack says. “It’s a really amazing student body. I have never met a student that I wasn’t impressed with,” she says.

Mack also chairs the Women’s Employee Network for Bank of America in Atlanta, a mentoring opportunity. “We can see so many dynamic female leaders” at Bank of America, she says. “We want to keep that going.” – MCM


Brittany Marshall 35

Behavioral Scientist

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Atlanta

Brittany Marshall worked for 160 days without a day off to support CDC’s COVID-19 response, researching attitudes and behaviors around hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfection. It was exhausting, but also a passionate mission. “The pandemic definitely strengthened my commitment to public health,” she says.

Marshall also holds leadership roles with the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the Urban League of Greater Atlanta Young Professionals. She is the youngest person ever elected to the APHA executive board. In 2020 she was named outstanding member of the year for the national Urban League’s Southern region.

Today, Marshall is working on HIV prevention, continues on the APHA board and serves as president of her Urban League chapter. But if she’s needed, she says she’s ready to return to the pandemic response. – MCM


Juan Mejia 28

President and Founder

JCM Ventures

Senior Brokerage Partner

DTSpade

Atlanta

Juan Mejia devotes his life to his community, whether it’s through his work or volunteering, his donations or spending. He helps businesses and nonprofits grow by providing strategic advice through JCM Ventures, a consulting company, and as a commercial real estate broker with DTSpade. Recently, he secured space for two Latin American consulates.

The only child of a widowed mother, Mejia immigrated from Colombia. As a teenager, the Metro Atlanta nonprofit Ser Familia helped him cope with the loss of his father. Mejia has since volunteered for more than 15 years for the organization, which provides workshops, counseling, advocacy and other services.

He also supports the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Latino Community Fund, the Atlanta Ballet and the American Jewish Committee. “I always say that I am a product of community organizers,” he says. “They instilled in me the passion for giving back.” – MCM


Jenna Mobley 34

Education Director

Small Bites Adventure Club

Community Farmers Markets

Georgia Organics

Atlanta

Jenna Mobley initially ventured into the garden with her first-graders to teach them about George Washington Carver, the famous Black agricultural scientist and inventor. The children loved growing, cooking, and tasting radishes and snap peas – while they learned principles of science, math, social studies and language arts. (They wrote persuasive essays asking for radishes to be served in the cafeteria.)

“It’s been 12 years now, and I’m still pursuing what this might look like, to teach kids through food,” Mobley says.

Mobley won the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators in 2015, which opened up new opportunities. Now she trains teachers through food-related nonprofits, including Small Bites Adventure Club, Community Farmers Markets and Georgia Organics. And she’s still rooting for the radishes. “We never got the radishes in the school cafeteria, but we’re working on it,” she says. – MCM


Raveeta Addison Moore 38

Project Manager

TSYS/Global Payments

Columbus

Service has always been a passion for Raveeta Addison Moore. She began her career with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Chattahoochee Valley in Columbus.

“I’ve always had a love for serving the community,” says Moore, who now works as a project manager with TSYS/Global Payments, ensuring projects for credit card clients come in on time and under budget.

She continues to serve her community through work with the United Way, as a member of the United Way Women United Board.

Among her passions are the Ronald McDonald House, where she volunteers in honor of her late brother. She chairs the Character Breakfast fundraiser for the Junior League, has been active with the Urban League Young Professionals and is a member of the Leadership Georgia class of 2020-2021. – RS


Paul Nam 36

Associate General Counsel
Senior Director

InComm

Atlanta

When Paul Nam moved from New York to Atlanta to go to John Marshall Law School, he lacked a network of friends or mentors to help him adjust. “I told myself, ‘Once I get into a place where I’m a lawyer and can help others, I will,’” he says.

Nam fulfilled that promise. He founded a chapter of the Asian Law Students’ Association and later advised law students and young lawyers through the Korean American Bar Association of Georgia and the Georgia Asian Pacific American Bar Association (GAPABA).

He is now community service chair for GAPABA and serves on the Leadership Council for the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation. When he’s not negotiating complex contracts for InComm, a global payment processing company, he provides legal services to nonprofit organizations and helps people in need. “I want to reach out as much as I can,” he says. – MCM


Ashley Nealy 33

Assistant Director, Support Services

U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration

Founder and Chief Creative Officer

Mindly Maven LLC

Atlanta

Ashley Nealy didn’t set out to become an influencer. She wanted to make sure that African Americans were represented in COVID-19 vaccine trials, so she signed up for the Pfizer study.

After reassuring doubtful family and friends about vaccine safety, she ended up telling her story on the local news. Even after some pushback – one online commenter called her a “guinea pig” – she still spoke out, with appearances on national TV and webinars. “If I could even influence one person, that was good enough for me,” she says.

Her reach is far bigger than that. A TikTok video she posted to explain common vaccine effects received 1.6 million views in two days. She launched a company that sells “Vaxxed” wristbands, shirts, masks and buttons. When boosters are needed, she’s ready to sign up – and to keep promoting the value of vaccines. – MCM


Phi Nguyen 36

Litigation Director

Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta

Atlanta

Giving a voice to the voiceless and shining a light on human rights, that’s what civil rights attorney Phi Nguyen does. That could mean anything from simply driving a Vietnamese grandma to the polls to major social justice cases and campaigns.

“The most satisfying part about my job is when I can experience moments of shared joy during visits with people who are incarcerated,” she says. “To show up in my full humanity and remind someone of their full humanity in a place like a prison feels like one of the most powerful gifts I can give another person.”

The stakes are high for the historically excluded communities she serves: When Nguyen and her team win, a person is reunited with their family after long periods of incarceration or thousands of voters get better access to the ballot box. – BL


Phillip Olaleye 36

Executive Director

Next Generation Men & Women

Atlanta

Phillip Olaleye’s nonprofit focuses on students in the most underserved, economically disadvantaged schools and communities in Metro Atlanta, specifically in the Fulton County and Atlanta Public School Systems.

Olaleye and his team of mentors and teachers look for the forgotten students in need of support systems and enrichment opportunities. Gender-specific cohorts of students meet with a teacher and mentor twice a week, hopefully for all four years of high school.

“There’s power in tangible experiences,” says Olaleye. “Talent is universal but opportunity is not. We stand in that gap and activate community resources in Atlanta to plug into our students, to help them get excited about their futures.”

Olaleye is also the leader of the Organized Neighbors of Summerhill, working to preserve and protect the quickly gentrifying historic intown neighborhood, the first freed slave and Jewish post-Civil War settlement. – PR


Christopher Perlera 35

Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships and Messaging

Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS)

Chamblee

Son of El Salvadoran immigrants, Chris Perlera carries inevitable “immigrant child baggage” – the need for autonomy, to be involved and let other people know they can do the same. It’s why he ran for state representative at age 26 and why he’s passionate about civic engagement. He worked in the office of the secretary of state, ran his own consulting firm and now primarily serves immigrant communities at DFCS.

“My role is external-facing and very specific,” he says. “I come in to cover community and cultural gaps for DFCS; this is predominantly expressed with culturally specific communities, Hispanic, AAPI [Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders], and Black refugees and diasporas.”

He also serves on the advisory board of the Hispanic Mentoring Priority, a student success program in Gwinnett County, and the advocacy committee of the Latin American Association. – PR


Deborah Rodríguez Garcia 32

Educational Manager
Humanitarian Programs

Sesame Workshop

Hinesville

Across the globe in Bangladesh, Rohingya refugee children find comfort and early learning through a version of Sesame Street with Muppets in traditional garb, speaking the Rohingya language. The culturally appropriate curriculum is shaped by Deborah Rodríguez Garcia, education manager of humanitarian programs for Sesame Workshop.

Rodríguez Garcia aims to help children become more resilient through play-based learning. “I look at the world from the perspective of a four-year-old,” she says. Recently, she created messages to help children stay healthy during the pandemic.

She previously worked as an educational specialist with the Peace Corps in Nicaragua and with a U.S. State Department program in Malawi. Her community service revolves around Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha Incorporada; at Georgia Southern University, she co-founded the first Georgia chapter of the Latina-oriented sorority. – MCM


Cara Simmons 39

Director, Student Success and Advising Center

University of Georgia (UGA)

Adjunct Instructor and Course Coordinator

UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences

Athens

Quitman native Cara Simmons didn’t plan to attend UGA, but there she earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees.

Her love of the university and students became a career. She teaches courses she helped develop in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences and supports and advises students, helping them become “the best version of themselves.”

“I’ve heard it said, ‘lift as you climb,’” Simmons says. “It’s important to bring others up as you move along.”

Simmons found volunteering at the Athens Diaper Bank “unexpectedly fulfilling. Having access to diapers means having access to education, to a job and to so many things that are needed for people to feel like they have a life,” she says. – PR


Alena Smith 37

Human Resources Business Partner

Accenture Strategy & Consulting

Author and Founder

Trust Your Strength

Powder Springs

Earning her college degree was a pivotal moment in Alena Smith’s life, one that motivates her to support entry-level analysts through her role at Accenture. Smith credits mentorship as the foundation of her career success and says she’s passionate about doing the same for others.

But perhaps Smith’s greatest accomplishment comes from the mentorship she gives fellow mothers through her nonprofit, Trust Your Strength. The organization provides resources to babies (and their families) who were born prematurely and spend time in neonatal intensive care units. She founded it after both of her sons were born prematurely, her youngest spending nearly a year in the NICU.

“The mental support for the parents, I felt, was lacking,” she says. “We need them to know that we understand the journey, but they need someone to lean on too.” – CN


Ralph C. Staffins III 38

President and CEO

Brunswick-Golden Isles Chamber of Commerce

Brunswick

Wherever he’s worked – Thomson, Newton County, and now Brunswick and the Golden Isles – Ralph Staffins has built a reputation for helping businesses succeed.

“It starts with the local business climate,” he says. “You have to build on solid rock so businesses can flourish and want to locate in your community.”

Taking over one of the state’s best-run chambers, Staffins immediately created a communications director position.

“Our economy is the regional leader,” he says. “We need to talk not just to our members but to the entire business community.”

In 2020, Staffins served as chair of the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and is serving an additional year due to the pandemic. Passionate about workforce education, Staffins serves on the boards of directors at the Coastal Pines Technical College and the Golden Isles College and Career Academy Foundation. – PR


Mary-Kate Starkel 37

Vice President of Development

redefinED Atlanta

Scottdale

With a desire to serve children and education and experience in fundraising, Mary Kate Starkel found her niche at redefinED Atlanta, a nonprofit that partners with Atlanta Public Schools to ensure the city becomes a place where every student can get a quality public education.

“We can provide grants to incubate, innovate and scale things that are really working in the district and use some of the funds and relationships we have to influence policy and shift the way things are done,” says Starkel.

RedefinED teaches parents to advocate on behalf of their children and local schools, backing them up with grants – this year about $5 million will be reinvested into APS.

Since 2004, Starkel has volunteered in various capacities at Camp Horizon, a summer camp and year-round support for kids in foster care, ages eight through 23.

“They are massively changing the trajectory of children’s lives,” she says. – PR


Randell Trammell 39

Founder and CEO

Georgia Center for Civic Engagement

Cartersville

Randell Trammell has loved civics since middle school thanks in part to his involvement in Y-Clubs, a community service group teaching about government through the Youth Assembly and Model UN programs of the State YMCA of Georgia (not affiliated with the more well-known YMCA).

After college, Trammel became the program director of the State Y, eventually becoming executive director. The Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) was founded in 2017 as a complementary organization but by 2020, it was time for the organizations to merge.

“Our mission at CCE is simple,” he says. “To educate and equip students to become informed and active citizens. We are straight down the middle. We teach the process.”

Trammell is helping other states set up similar civics education initiatives. And in 2021 he helped develop the Georgia Civics Renewal Act, nonpartisan legislation to enact a Georgia Commission on Civics Education. – PR


Rachel Hollar Umana 31

Founder and Executive Director

Bike Walk Macon

Macon

If you cross Columbus Street at Appleton Avenue in Macon, your feet may skip across a painted keyboard or stride on colorful swirls. Artist-painted crosswalks catch the attention of

drivers and slow them down – just one visible way that Macon is becoming bike- and pedestrian-friendly, thanks to the work of Rachel Hollar Umana, founder and executive director of Bike Walk Macon.

Umana started in 2015 with a desire to encourage commuting by bike and a $5,000 grant as an 8 80 Cities’ Emerging City Champions fellow. Today, Bike Walk Macon offers year-round events, including Open Streets Macon, when some neighborhood streets are closed to cars and reimagined as places to play, walk or bike.

Perhaps most importantly, Umana brings the voice of pedestrians and bicyclists to Macon-area transportation planning. “We don’t want our streets to be built only for cars,” she says. – MCM


Tommy Valentine 38

Executive Director

Historic Athens

Athens

Athens native and community activist Tommy Valentine went looking for a place to help and found Historic Athens, the 53-year-old organization and protector of historic buildings, neighborhoods and heritage, at what he calls an exciting crossroads.

“I’m fiercely loyal to Athens,” he says. “The city also has a history that is complex and sometimes difficult. We have to try to determine how we simultaneously celebrate, conserve and confront that history.”

Noting that it’s hard to conserve without celebrating, Valentine introduced Historic Athens Porchfest in 2019. The outdoor concert series went virtual in 2020 but will be live again this October.

And since Historic Athens relies so much on the volunteer wherewithal of others, Valentine says he “pays it forward by serving other area community groups and emerging leaders as a volunteer, ally and mentor.” – PR


Allison Wilkinson 37

Director of Payroll Services

Georgia College

Founder

Queen of Bags Initiative

Sandersville

As an adoptive mother, Allison Wilkinson knew her son could have been in the foster care system where many children lack essential supplies. That led her to launch The Queen of Bags Initiative.

“It breaks my heart when kids entering foster care are given a trash bag to hold their belongings,” says the tireless volunteer who also leads Georgia College’s payroll department. “That’s why my nonprofit provides new book bags filled with a teddy bear, blanket, hygiene kit, coloring book, crayons, school supplies, socks and more.”

With the help of friends, churches and others, The Queen of Bags – the name is a nod to the beauty pageants she’s entered – has provided much-needed supplies to foster children from Georgia to California. The highlight for Wilkinson is her family’s involvement, including her husband and two sons becoming master bag stuffers. – BL


Jeff Williams 37

Business Development Manager

Conditioned Air Systems

Gainesville

Jeff Williams and his wife faced the worst any parent could endure when their young son died. Out of tragedy came a way to honor his life while serving the community. They founded Joy for Justus, a community initiative to encourage random acts of kindness during the week of his birthday.

A business development role with Conditioned Air Systems also allows him to serve the community. He developed an apprenticeship program with Hall County Schools where students can gain practical experience and training at the company before graduating.

“That’s so valuable to the next generation of kids,” says Williams. “In introducing them to this work, they realize that this is a big need, and they can have a great career.”

During the pandemic, he has also volunteered with the South Hall Rotary to deliver more than 30,000 pounds of food to people in need. – RS

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George Floyd killer Derek Chauvin appeals against 22 years conviction

Former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, convicted of the murder of African-American man George Floyd in 2020 has decided to appeal against his conviction.


Chauvin was sentenced to over 22 years in jail after kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes in March 2020.

His death sparked mass protests against racism and police brutality in the US and all over the world.


He was found guilty of second-degree murder and other charges, was barred from owning firearms for life and also told to register as a predatory offender.

Derek Chauvin, a white man, says there were issues with the jury at the trial and that it should not have taken place in the US state of Minneapolis, citing bias against him.

According to court documents filed on Thursday, September 23, Chauvin alleges that the trial judge abused his discretion at several key points of the case, including denying a request to postpone or move the hearing from Minneapolis due to pre-trial publicity.

Chauvin also said he had no legal representative for the appeal process as the Minnesota police department’s “obligation to pay for my representation terminated upon my conviction and sentencing”,

Chauvin then asked the US Supreme Court to review an earlier decision to deny him a publicly-financed lawyer.

Chauvin, 45, was given 90 days from the date of his sentencing on 25 June to appeal against his conviction.

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#George Floyd murder’s Derek Chauvin# appeals against conviction

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin with his defence lawyer Eric NelsonFormer Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin with his defence lawyer Eric Nelson
Derek Chauvin (R) listens to his sentencing in June alongside his defence lawyer Eric Nelson

MINNEAPOLIS-(MaraviPost)-The former Minneapolis police officer convicted of the murder of African-American man George Floyd in 2020 says he will appeal against his conviction.

Derek Chauvin, who is white, says there were issues with the jury at the trial and that it should not have taken place in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Chauvin was sentenced to over 22 years in jail after kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.

The late Floyd death sparked mass protests against racism and police brutality in the US.

According to court documents filed on Thursday, September 23, 2021 Chauvin alleges that the trial judge abused his discretion at several key points of the case, including denying a request to postpone or move the hearing from Minneapolis due to pre-trial publicity.

BBC understands that the former officer said he had no legal representative for the appeal process as the Minnesota police department’s “obligation to pay for my representation terminated upon my conviction and sentencing”, the Associated Press news agency reports.

He has asked the Supreme Court to review an earlier decision to deny him a publicly-financed lawyer.

Chauvin aged 45 was given 90 days from the date of his sentencing on 25 June to appeal against his conviction.

He was found guilty of second-degree murder and other charges, was barred from owning firearms for life and also told to register as a predatory offender.

Source: BBC

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Mathis Wealth Management Announces Rebranding and Welcomes New Associate

Mathis Wealth Management Announces Rebranding and Welcomes New Associate – African American News Today – EIN Presswire

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Repairing the past: From African American cemeteries to Iraqi art

Our progress roundup highlights American endeavors to address past injustices, by harnessing the power of both local voices and highly visible institutions.

1. United States

Efforts to preserve African American burial sites are gaining momentum across the country. Missing deeds, weak preservation laws, and general lack of awareness have made lost African American cemeteries uniquely vulnerable. More and more, communities are leading efforts to memorialize developed burial grounds, as well as identify and preserve these sites before they are slated for development.

Why We Wrote This

Increasingly, societies are trying to address wrongs by stopping bad practices and giving back what was taken. In the U.S., more communities are memorializing Black burial sites. And two museum collections have returned artifacts to Iraq.

Virginia’s Prince William County recently voted to fund archaeological surveys to improve cemetery mapping. Officials are also considering additional oversight for development projects in the community of Thoroughfare, where a new activist group has formed in response to the erasure of historic Black and Native American gravesites.

In Florida, where legislators estimate there may be as many as 3,000 developed or abandoned burial grounds, the governor signed off on a six-month task force dedicated to studying this issue. Nationally, historical preservation advocates have been pushing congressional bills that would establish a database of African American cemeteries throughout the United States, and to support educational programs. “People are absolutely starting to realize that these kinds of historical injustices need to be addressed now,” said Kelley Fanto Deetz, co-CEO of the History, Arts, and Science Action Network. “So there is a change coming.”
Thomson Reuters Foundation, Black Cemetery Network

2. Colombia

“Green corridors” offer residents of Medellín, Colombia, refuge from rising temperatures. Since 2017, the city has installed tens of thousands of native trees, palms, and other plants to create 30 interconnected corridors through many of Medellín’s “heat islands.” These urban areas have high concentrations of heat-absorbing paved roads and concrete, making the neighborhoods hotter in the day and slower to cool down at night. With more than 12 shaded miles, the green corridors offer residents routes to travel, work, and rest, and have decreased the heat island effect by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, according to city officials. The added vegetation also helps combat air pollution and absorb carbon emissions.

Despite initial concerns over the cost of creating and maintaining the corridors, city gardeners say community members have come to appreciate the green spaces. Their work has also received international praise. The initiative won a 2019 Cooling by Nature Award from Ashden, a United Kingdom-based charity supporting climate change solutions around the world, and the head of the United Nations Environment Program in Colombia, Juan Bello, said, “The Green Corridor project is an excellent example of how city planners and governments can use nature for smart urban design.”
Thomson Reuters Foundation, U.N. Environment Program

Khalid Mohammed/AP

Crates of recovered artifacts sit temporarily at the Foreign Ministry before heading to the Iraq Museum on Aug. 3, 2021.

3. Iraq

The Iraqi Ministry of Culture reclaimed 17,000 looted artifacts in the country’s largest repatriation. Decades of unrest, especially during the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, have allowed for extensive looting of Iraqi antiquities, which often appear on the black market with vague or falsified letters of provenance. The recent return results from years of effort and includes thousands of cuneiform tablets, ancient seals, and other items. Around 12,000 artifacts come from the Museum of the Bible, founded and chaired by Hobby Lobby President Steve Green. The company launched an internal review of museum collections after the U.S. Department of Justice levied $3 million in fines in 2017 for dubious acquisitions. Another 5,000 were donations to Cornell University’s collection.

“This is not just about thousands of tablets coming back to Iraq again – it is about the Iraqi people,” said Hassan Nadhem, the minister of culture, tourism, and antiquities, about the historic shipment. “It restores not just the tablets, but the confidence of the Iraqi people by enhancing and supporting the Iraqi identity in these difficult times.”
The New York Times, Al Jazeera

4. Malawi

Malawian teens are tackling sensitive subjects on air. A survey showed that 54% of young people in Africa rely on radio as their primary news source, and according to the Ichikowitz Family Foundation, 81% find local programming more trustworthy than international programs. The U.S.-based nonprofit Developing Radio Partners is helping local radio stations build on that trust by mentoring young people to be role models for their community, and address critical social issues. So far, DRP has worked with nine stations to train about 400 youth reporters in Malawi. The teens go on to host and research radio shows covering cultural taboos, such as gender violence and HIV.

One program, called “Let’s Shine,” is estimated to have reached 3 million youths since hitting airwaves in 2017. One listener, Doreen Sakala, is a young mother who says the show’s candid conversations about teen pregnancy inspired her to return to school. Organizers say child marriage – which is illegal but remains common in Malawi – has declined in areas where radio stations have partnered with DRP. Near the Zambian border, Nzenje village chief Lawrence Lungu says the youth-led radio shows have helped dissolve at least six child marriages by “[bringing] light to us when we were in the dark.”
Thomson Reuters Foundation

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25 Poorest Countries in the World

In this article, we will be looking at 25 of the poorest countries in the world. You can skip our detailed breakdown of these countries by heading straight to the 5 poorest countries of the world.

The pre-pandemic world had made significant progress to reduce global poverty to almost half by the year 2000. Today however, according to United Nations projections of multidimensional poverty index, the ongoing pandemic has pushed poor nations to a new brink of income inequality and enshrouded almost 8% of the total human population in complete despair.

Poverty by definition is a depravation in income and access to resources to maintain a healthy life. According to the World Bank, poor or low-income countries are nations that have a per capita gross national income (GNI) of less than $1026.

Many of the poorer countries in the world are a cauldron of political instability with years of internal conflict leaving them vulnerable to financial insecurity. Additionally, natural disasters brought on by the global climate emergency have led to entire nations being entrapped in cycles of poverty and disease. Such fragile infrastructures cannot withstand the onslaught of adversities such as Ebola and AIDS outbreaks and nations lose, whatever productive ground they have gained, very quickly.

It is perhaps not surprising that top ten of the poorest countries exist in Africa, and that it is in both Africa and in the continent of Asia that we expect to witness the largest increase in extreme poverty as a result of the pandemic. All of these countries are deeply susceptible to environmental and economic risks and the ripples of the COVID 19 pandemic have contributed immensely to long-term persistent challenges to their economies.

All is not lost and there are many strides that have been made due to narrowing of the digital divide in these nations. Internet accessibility has helped to introduce the services of companies like Alphabet Inc. Class A (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Twitter, Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) and Uber Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: UBER) and open new windows of opportunity and information to these hitherto isolated peoples.

Poorest Countries in the World

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Our Methodology

Over the past 25 years, the World Bank has used gross national income (GNI) per capita – valued annually in US dollars – to classify countries into an economic prosperity scale. The GNI of a country is calculated by taking into account its national output within borders and also its investments from abroad.

The formula for Gross National Income (GNI) is: GNI=C +I+G+X +NFFI. Where the ‘C’ represents consumption, the ‘I’ investments, ‘G‘ is consumptions and investments made by the government, ‘X’ represents net exports and ‘NFFI’ is the net foreign factor income. This defined and preferred benchmark, over the previously used gross domestic product (GDP), has proved useful to analyze progress and development trends since the beginning of the 3rd millennium.

With this context in mind, we will now deep dive into our list of the 25 poorest countries in the world. We will start with the 25th poorest country, according to the World Bank GNI per capita rankings as well as the 2021 World Population Data Sheet.

25 Poorest Countries in the World

25. Lesotho

GNI: $2740

Population: 2.2 million

A constitutional monarchy, Lesotho is a landlocked country with a mountainous terrain almost entirely surrounded by South Africa. The mountains have been largely responsible for their protection from outside encroachment.  The country is home to 2.2 million people and its GNI per capita rests at $2740. Lesotho has been prone to periodic droughts. It has also survived a military takeover which was reverted after seven years of martial rule.

24. Solomon Islands

GNI: $2680

Population: 0.7 million

An archipelagic state of 992 islands and atolls scattered around Melanesia in the Pacific Ocean, its 0.7 million residents are vulnerable to natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. Its GNI per capita is the $2680 and 12.7 percent of its population lives below the poverty line.

Despite these odds, 11.9% of Solomon Islanders have access to the internet and are bridging the digital divide with companies like Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Twitter, Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) and Uber Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: UBER).

23. Guinea

GNI: $2580

Population: 13.5 million

Guinea is a majority Muslim country with ties to France. It has established trade with UAE and China. Its GNI per capita is at $2580. The 13.5 million people of Guinea have survived the Ebola virus, but the underlying fear of a new outbreak continues to permeate. Guinea continues to look to IMF to establish new programs for better infrastructure.

22. Ethiopia

GNI: $2410

Population: 117.8 million

This unique country in Africa evaded Colonial rule for all of its history, except a brief period of four years. Its war with neighboring Eritrea ended in 2018. Its population of 117.8 million makes it the second most populous country in Africa. Ethiopia has battled a 30-year drought and a population boom leaving its GNI per capita at $2410.

The country ranks 22nd in our list of the 25 poorest countries in the world.

21. Uganda

GNI: $2260

Population: 27.1 million

Uganda has one of the highest fertility rates in the world. Its population as of mid-2021 was 27.1 million people. It is perhaps tragically balanced by the AIDS epidemic, which keeps mortality rates high. Uganda’s government spending has grown as has its national debt resulting in its GNI per capita at $2260.

20. Mali

GNI: $2250

Population: 20.9 million

Mali, landlocked in western Africa, depends on its gold mining and agriculture exports as a source of wealth. Its people have seen much economic and social unrest and suffered through over 31 years of dictatorship rule. The current population of Mali is 20.9 million.

19. Gambia

GNI: $2230

Population:  2.5 million 

The Gambia is one of the smallest countries on the African mainland and is home to 2.5 million people, 95 per cent of whom are Muslim. The Gambia, largely an agricultural economy, relies heavily on overseas remittances and tourism. GNI per capita is $2230. Any future economic progress will depend on substantial bilateral aid. The Gambia has not been successful in eliminating its human trafficking problem; women, girls and young boys continue to be in danger of becoming victims.

18. Togo

GNI: $2230

Population: 8.3 million

The Togolese people have lived under a 50 year rule, with one family at the helm. The political and civil unrest and frustration in the form of riots experienced by the country is mainly due to this. Togo enjoyed a period of economic stability till the political situation erupted into its current state. At the moment its GNI per capita is at $2230. Although this figure is similar to The Gambia, other factors of the Human Development Index have been taken into account to place it below that country.

However, as youth in poor countries like Togo gets access to the internet and begin to use services of companies like Alphabet Inc. Class A (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Twitter, Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) and Uber Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: UBER), many believe this would increase awareness and create new economic opportunities in the region.

17. Burkina Faso

GNI: $2190

Population: 21.5 million

Burkina Faso is a country with very limited natural resources. Its 21.5 million inhabitants have had a history littered with human and natural disasters from drought to terrorist attacks and then to internally displaced peoples from these attacks. The current GNI per capita for Burkina Faso is $2190. Like The Gambia it struggles with issues resulting from human trafficking of women and children.

16. Rwanda

GNI: $2160

Population: 13.3 million

Rwanda has had a past littered with unrest culminating in the genocide of 800,000 people in 1994 including a large proportion of its Tutsi population. Its current population stands at 13.3 million people. Tourism, tea and coffee are some of the major sources of foreign exchange. Present day government has made pathways to leading the way to progress in the communications and technology sector. Rwanda’s GNI per capita is $2160.

However, as youth in poor countries like Rwanda gets access to the internet and begin to use services of companies like Alphabet Inc. Class A (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Twitter, Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) and Uber Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: UBER), many believe this would increase awareness and create new economic opportunities in the region.

15. Afghanistan

GNI: $2110

Population: 39.8 million

Afghanistan, one of the two countries on our list that is not located in Africa, houses a population of 39.8 million people. The geopolitical situation of the country has made it helpless against interference from its neighbors. Over 72,000 Afghans have received refuge in neighboring Pakistan. It is unfortunate that Afghanistan continues to be the world’s largest producer of opium. Since the US invasion in 2001, economic activity has increased slightly and currently the GNI per capita is at $2110.

14. Guinea-Bissau

GNI: $1980

Population: 2 million

A small country of 2 million people located on the western coast of Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, Guinea-Bissau is home to a diverse plethora of ethnicities. The country has experienced its fair share of political upheavals in the form of coups and civil war. All this has contributed to its fragile economy where the GNI per capita is $1980 and two out of three Bissau-Guineans remain below the poverty line.

13. Sierra Leone

GNI: $1670

Population: 8.1 million

Home to 8.1 million people, Sierra Leone is located on the Western edge of the continent of Africa. Subsistence agriculture is the main source of wealth for its people.

12. Eritrea

GNI: $1610

Population: 3.6 million

Eritrea was involved in a 30-year struggle for independence from Ethiopia till 1991. Like many African countries the Eritrean population of 3.6 million people engages in subsistence agriculture for most of its economic output with a small percentage involved in mining of gold and other minerals. Its GNI per capita is currently at $1,610.

However, as youth in poor countries like Eritrea gets access to the internet and begin to use services of companies like Alphabet Inc. Class A (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Twitter, Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) and Uber Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: UBER), many believe this would increase awareness and create new economic opportunities in the region.

11. Chad

GNI: $1580

Population: 17.4 million

After Chad’s independence in 1960, the Chadian people saw over three decades of oppression and invasion from its neighbors. The country is home to 17.4 million, over 400,000 of whom are from Nigeria and Sudan. Chad mediates to resolve the Darfur conflict. Its GNI per capita is $1580 as low oil prices stress Chad’s fiscal position. Its 1 million internet users have been introduced to the services of companies like Alphabet Inc. Class A (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Twitter, Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) and Uber Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: UBER) opening avenues of free flow of information and technology.

10. Malawi

GNI: $1540

Population: 20.3 million

A country of 20.3 million people, Malawi is located in southern Africa. It is ranked among the world’s least developed countries with a GNI per capita of US $1540. The country is heavily dependent on IMF, World Bank and other donor nations for assistance. A large share of its economic down trend can be attributed to the El Nino triggered drought of 2015.

9. Madagascar

GNI: $1540

Population: 28.4 million

Once a pirate stronghold in the early 18th century, Madagascar with its mostly youthful population of 28.4 million people is a small island in the Indian Ocean. It has suffered its fair share of cyclones and locusts infestations over its history. The dependent population contributes to its low GNI per capita of $1540. It is perhaps not surprising that 9.8% of the internet users in Madagascar’s dependent population use the services of (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Twitter, Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) and Uber Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: UBER).

8. Liberia

GNI: $1250

Population: 5.18 million

Liberia is a country on the western coast of Africa. Its name is derived from the Latin ‘liber’ meaning free and is home to 28 diverse ethnicities of 5.18 million people. The basis of its foundation was a home for liberated African American slaves. An Ebola outbreak in 2015 and over a decade of fighting have reduced its GNI per capita to $1250. Ivorian refugees in Liberia make up 95% of the refugee population.

7. Mozambique

GNI: $1250

Population: 32 million

Mozambique, on the eastern coast of South Africa, remained under the Portuguese till 1975. Its 32 million inhabitants have struggled with a severe drought and large scale emigration due to civil war for the better part of a century. The GNI per capita of Mozambique stands at $1250 as of 2020. Mozambique like most poor African countries is highly vulnerable to lower life expectancy due to AIDS.

6. Niger

GNI: $1210

Population: 25.1 million

Named after the Niger River, this landlocked African country is home to 25.1 million people. Niger’s geopolitical position and the rate of unrest and spillover effect from surrounding countries have contributed to its low GNI per capita at $1210. Niger lacks the funds to develop its mineral and oil resources and is ranked last in the UN Development Programme’s Human Development Index.

However, as youth in poor countries like Nigeria gets access to the internet and begin to use services of companies like Alphabet Inc. Class A (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Twitter, Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) and Uber Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: UBER), many believe this would increase awareness and create new economic opportunities in the region.

Click to continue reading and see the 5 Poorest Countries in the World.

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Disclosure: None. 25 Poorest Countries in the World is originally published on Insider Monkey.

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