“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

October 28, 1990 was the wrong day to be in Monrovia, Liberia.

My family would have perished—as nameless casualties of a senseless war in a foreign land—were it not for the intervention of a motley peacekeeping force led by Ghana and Nigeria. To this day, that early brush with mortality reminds me that I may yet owe death a life.

I was never a pan-African before that day—my mind teemed with tired tales from my father of Nkrumah's utopian vision. But capitalism could well succeed where decades of post-independence politics failed—in uniting a continent of promise and ushering it into the 21st century.

Africa's economic rise has set the stage for a transportation revolution—one I intend to help shape. I will build an airline that links the remotest parts of the continent, connecting its people and markets.

I learned the value of giving back early from my father, a self-taught teacher who raised three PhDs. I want to be useful. To enable Africans to connect and trade with one another. To unleash the energy of commerce.

And partake in the taming of a continent.

— Michael Nkansah