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Top 5 youngest scholars in Africa

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.
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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:


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Nkemehule Karl Omebere-Iyari

1.Nkemehule Karl Omebere-Iyari: He is a Nigerian who finished his doctorate in a record time of three years, specialising in multi-phase flow at the age of 22.

Omebere-Iyari is a giant of intellectual ingenuity, who bagged his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Nottingham in 2006.

This Nigerian, who is now 40 years old, was an old student of Kings College, Lagos where he recorded 8 As in his WAEC result at age 16.

The same year he proceeded to Oxbridge, Ikeja, where he wrote and passed his A-levels, scoring ‘A’ in Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics.

He entered the University of Nottingham immediately and graduated three years later with a first class in Chemical Engineering at 19 in 2003.

He was also the best graduating student in Chemical Engineering that year. With a university scholarship, Omebere-Iyari wasted no time in going for his doctorate.

He received an EU grant of €17,000 (about N23,014,600) every year, and completed his doctorate in three years, specialising in multi-phase flow.

After graduation, Omebere-Iyari worked with numerous multinational corporations such as Shell, and Halliburton, among others. Besides, he obtained an MBA with distinction from INSEAD/Wharton and is a member of many professional groups.


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Musawenkosi Donia Saurombe

2.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.

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Olaoluwa Hallowed Oluwadara

3.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

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Sallihu Dasuki Nakande

4.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.

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Opeyemi Shodipe

5. 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.


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