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Thione Niang

Senegal
Co-founder and Co-CEO, Akon Lighting Africa

Former Advisor to the US President Barack Obama, Thione Niang is a political strategist, global youth advocate, author and now a farmer in Senegal. Born in a modest family of 28 children, he emigrated to the USA in 2000 with 20 dollars in his pocket. Settling in Cleveland, Ohio, He teaches French in a black neighborhood, and tries to have an impact on his students’ lives. He volunteers in the campaign of a Democrat candidate for mayor, and gets noticed for his dynamism. He meets Senator Barack Obama in 2006, and joins his campaign as a «community organizer» in the Cuyahoga county. In 2009, he becomes Chairman of the International Affairs of the Democrat Youth in the USA. In 2012, he was the national Co-Chair of Generation 44 for the reelection campaign. Thione Niang now leads structurally different, but substantially similar international organizations: his foundation Give1project, his farming enterprise JeufZone Farms, Akon Lighting Africa and Solektra International.