Erik Charas is an entrepreneur, engineer and self-styled social activist. His company, Charas LDA, invests in young Mozambican entrepreneurs, targeting the very bottom strata of society with a view to transforming the next generation of Mozambicans into successful small business owners. He is also president of Mozambique’s biggest circulation newspaper, @ Verdade, with over 600,000 readers.
Mr. Charas was voted a Hero of Africa by media group MSN in 2005, named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2006, and an Archbishop Tutu African Leadership Fellow in 2007.
Mr. Charas believes passionately that the key challenge Africans face is creating a unique identity. Looking ahead, he believes that Africa needs to create positive role models, not just politicians and liberation leaders, but ordinary people who struggle to exist in a hostile environment. His heroes include his father and Nelson Mandela: “My father, because he believed that we are all entitled to live a dignified life and we should pursue our dreams regardless, and Nelson Mandela, the father of all us Africans.”