Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals

2009 Recipients

Elijah Bitange Ndemo, Kenya
BSc. Finance 1988

Dr. NdemoDr. Elijah Bitange Ndemo is a distinguished alumnus of the Carlson School of Management, earning his bachelor’s degree in finance in 1988. During his time at the University he served as president of the Minnesota International Student Association (MISA) and volunteered at the Minnesota International Center. He was recognized for his leadership and received two student leadership awards. After earning his undergraduate degree, he received a Volunteer of the Year Award from the State of Minnesota in 1991 and went on to receive degrees from two other universities. Dr. Ndemo has regarded the University of Minnesota as his reference point and proudly represents the University whenever he travels.

During his career he has been published in several journals and newspapers, and presented at international conferences. He was the editor and publisher for the Jua Kail Weekly newspaper, which promoted micro and small enterprise in Kenya. In 1993 he joined the University of Nairobi as a tutorial fellow and rose through the ranks to become a senior lecturer in the business school, where he taught entrepreneurship, management, and research methods. Most of his research work is focused on small and medium enterprises in Kenya with an emphasis on social enterprise. In 2000 Dr. Ndemo earned his Ph.D. from the University of Sheffield in industrial economics.

In 2005 Dr. Ndemo was appointed as permanent secretary for the Ministry of Information and Communication. He is credited with creating the framework of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) policy in Kenya and its implementation. He is responsible for governmental relations with the media and all communication infrastructure, including telephone, digital, and internet communications. He has worked toward improving internet access to Kenya’s rural regions and to reduce poverty through internet technology. He has said that this technology will provide content and services like healthcare to improve all people’s lives. Dr. Ndemo has been involved in initiatives to lower the cost of accessing ICTs (including connectivity hardware and software) in Kenya and the region. His priority has been to connect East Africa to the rest of the world through the under-sea fiber optic cable. He is at the forefront of developing the demand of ICTs by actively promoting business process outsourcing.

In naming Dr. Ndemo as a recipient of the Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals, the committee cited his ethics, integrity, and leadership capabilities on a national level in Kenya. He has exhibited a deep commitment to the importance of honesty and transparency in government actions. One recommender cited, “From his days as a student leader at the University to his days now as a governmental leader in Kenya, he has always worn the mantle of leadership with ease and dignity.”