• Monday, May 27, 2024
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Here are the 5 youngest Ph.D. holders in Africa

Here are the 5 youngest Ph.D. holders in Africa

Desiderius Erasmus, a Dutch educationalist, once said, “The main hope of a nation lies in the proper education of its youth.”

Despite the numerous unhealthy socioeconomic plaguing the continent with all sorts of challenges, some African youth are still breaking the ceiling to achieve academic glories.

Here are the five youngest PhD holders in Africa


Nkemehule Karl Omebere-Iyari: In 2006, Nigerian-born Nkemehule Karl Omebere-Iyari completed a PhD in chemical engineering at the age of 22 at the University of Nottingham, UK.

 He received the best Thesis prize and had several academic publications to his credit due to the outstanding quality of his research.

Nkem’s exceptional academic track record precedes his university days. At the age of 14, he successfully passed the Cambridge GCE O-level examination, which is equivalent to the senior secondary school certificate.

At the age of 15, as a student at King’s College, Lagos, he achieved 8 As in the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations and was formally recognized as one of the best five students in the class of 1999.

 He proceeded to Oxbridge College Ikeja, where at the age of 16 in 2000, he completed his Cambridge A levels, with the highest possible grades (three As in Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics).

He commenced his undergraduate studies at the University of Nottingham in 2000 and graduated three years later with a first-class degree in Chemical Engineering at the age of 19 in 2003. He was the best-graduating student in his department and won several prizes for academic excellence and contributions to university life.

In addition, he has since obtained an MBA (where he was awarded a distinction) from the prestigious business school, INSEAD, with an exchange programme at the Wharton Business School (at the University of Pennsylvania).

After completing his studies, Omebere-Iyari worked with numerous multinational corporations such as Shell, and Halliburton, among others.

Musawenkosi Donia Saurombe: The South African emerged as Africa’s youngest PhD holder at 23 after obtaining a doctor of philosophy in Industrial Psychology from the North-West University, South Africa.

She was born in Zimbabwe, raised in Botswana, and currently resides in South Africa where she started her undergraduate studies with a BCom in Human Resources Management at the age of 16 which she completed with distinctions at 20; and a Master of Commerce (MCom) at age 21.

At age 28, she was appointed associate professor of Industrial Psychology at the University of Johannesburg.

Olaoluwa Hallowed Oluwadara: Olaoluwa obtained his doctorate degree at age 24. He entered the University for a bachelor’s degree at 15.

He obtained two B.Sc degrees in Mathematics and Physics, from the University of Bangui, Central African Republic (CAR), which he was running simultaneously.

He bagged his master’s degree from the same university and crowned it with a PhD in Mathematics at the University of Lagos, Akoka, where he was the best graduating Ph.D. student.

Olaoluwa won the University of Bangui’s all-time best student award from the Department of Mathematics (B.Sc), best B.Sc student award in Physics, in 2007, and best M.Sc awards in Physics and Mathematics respectively in 2008.

He is a research fellow of the Mathematical Analysis and Optimisation Research Group.

Salihu Dasuki Nakande: Nakande is one of the youngest Ph.D. graduates in Africa. He was born in October 1987, in the northern region of Nigeria.

He graduated with a first-class degree in Information Technology from Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU), North Cyprus at 21. Salihu completed his master’s degree at Brunel University, U.K.

He capped it with a PhD at the same University in 2012 at age 25.

Opeyemi Shodipe: Shodipe completed her bachelor’s degree at age 19, from Babcock University.

After the mandatory NYSC programme, she entered for a master’s at the University of Ibadan, graduating as the best student in her department.

She capped it with a well-deserved doctorate degree in Information Science from her alma mater, Babcock University. She was 25.