Oluwatosin Kareem Kasali
Oluwatosin Kareem Kasali, MPP Class of 2024

A first-year student at Harris, Oluwatosin “Tosin” Kareem Kasali, MPP Class of 2024, was compelled to join the Harris School of Public Policy because of the data-driven nature of the MPP program and how it could help him advance positive change throughout Sub-Saharan Africa using methods other programs do not.

“I’m eager to learn the academic theory behind public policy; the concepts and ideas that underpin the way we look at development across the world, and especially in Africa,” he said. “I’m very interested in learning how to turn ideas into policies backed by research and data.”

Born and raised in Nigeria, Tosin had spent summers in Chicago, but had not visited in 10 years prior to enrolling at Harris. Being new to America and to Harris, Tosin says he “found comfort in new friendships with colleagues and advice from staff which has made settling into a new culture, both academically and socially, easier than it would have been in many similar places of excellence.”

Building on his professional experience and his undergraduate studies in Business Management at the University of Exeter, Tosin has focused his attention on international development and public finance at Harris and as he looks to his future. Earlier in his career, Tosin spent time in Nigeria’s Finance Industry before moving into a consulting and policy advisor role for startups in Lagos.

His involvement with one of those startups, a firm focused on digitizing policies in Sub-Saharan Africa that were once hard to read and difficult to access, spurred his ambitions. Since then, he’s been involved with several leading organizations, including WHO, The Gates Foundation, Microsoft, and Johnson & Johnson – each working on projects directed toward energy and healthcare development in Africa.

Tosin has big long-term goals after he leaves Hyde Park.

“In ten years, I hope to be running a strategy advisory organization providing advice and designing solutions for the brightest and most innovative startups and medium-sized enterprises across Africa and the Global South. I am extremely interested in being a partner to bright minds looking to solve some of that region’s biggest challenges, including the effects of climate change, as well as access to energy, healthcare, and capital markets. There’s a major opportunity to partner with private organizations and public sector entities to build more efficient interventions and improve life outcomes for their customers and citizens.”

Ultimately, Tosin said, “One of the things that would make me the happiest is working on energy access in Africa – across Sub-Saharan Africa – building a renewable energy company that uses green energy to provide electricity. It’s a great opportunity to do something that’s helping future generations by moving away from using carbon, and it’s also creating jobs and improving business outcomes."

For international students, every bit of financial assistance is helpful. As a 2022-23 recipient of the Oluwadamilola Oyedele Scholarship, Tosin is honored to have the support of someone of similar background who recognized his accomplishments and hopes for the future.

“At the end of the day, having the comfort of this type of support is very important to me personally. Being supportive of the ‘tribe’ is very important where I come from. I’m grateful for that connection,” Tosin said. He is also appreciative of financial support in a country and institution he’s just getting to know, so he’s able to more freely focus on his studies and determine how he can best apply the Harris toolkit to create a more brilliant future for his home country.