Adam Frankel

Chief Marketing Officer, Andela

As Chief Marketing Officer, Adam oversees business development, communications, and partnerships for Andela. Andela is a for-profit company with a social mission to train the next generation of world class software engineers from the talent pool in Africa and connect them to career opportunities at some of the best engineering companies in the world.

Adam joined Andela from Microsoft, where he worked in corporate strategy. Previously, he was founding Executive Director of Digital Promise, a bipartisan nonprofit chartered by Congress to spur digital innovation in education.

Before Digital Promise, Adam was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Speechwriter for President Barack Obama. He was a speechwriter for Barack Obama for four and a half years, starting as the second speechwriter on the 2008 presidential campaign.

Adam is a graduate of Princeton University and the London School of Economics, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He is a member of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation’s Board of Directors and its Profile in Courage Award Committee, and a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. His media appearances include CNN and Bloomberg TV and his writing has appeared in The New Yorker. Adam was born and raised in New York.

Adeniyi Adeleye

‎Head, Real Estate Finance (West Africa) at Stanbic IBTC Bank

‘Niyi has over 20 years of in-country, regional and international work experience and has developed competences in various disciplines from a diverse work background.

Niyi has a first degree in Building Engineering from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria and Master Degrees in Construction Management and Construction Economics from University of Lagos, Nigeria and the London Southbank University, England respectively.  He is also an alumnus of Harvard University, Boston Massachusetts having graduated from the Advance Management Development Program (AMDP) in Real Estate, a programme that is a combined initiative of the five major schools of Harvard University (HBS, GSD, HLS, HKS, GSAS).

Within the Standard Bank Group he was responsible for the Group’s real estate investments activities as well as its real estate debt financing business in West Africa. He oversaw the bank’s equity investments in projects valued at about US$500m and oversees a debt portfolio of projects valued at about US$1.2bn in West Africa.  He has served on various specialised real estate committees and teams for UN-Habitat and Federal Housing Authority, Nigeria, Presidential Committee on Housing. He is also a regular speaker at international real estate conferences such as API and GRI in the African continent. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI); Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Chartered institute of building (CIOB).

Adham Abouzied

Project Leader, Boston Consulting Group

Adham Abouzied is a Project Leader in the Boston Consulting Group’s Casablanca office. Adham graduated from the Faculty of Engineering, Ain Shams University, Department of Strategic Urban Planning and Design. He holds a post-graduate diploma in Urban Planning from the same school. Prior to joining BCG in 2011, Adham worked an Urban Planner at an Egyptian Urban Planning consulting firm, defining the vision and development strategy for new governorate in Egypt. He also assisted the market leader of cinema production in Egypt in re-designing production operations and workflow. Some of Adham’s most recent case work includes developing a strategy and business plan for a large-scale real estate development in a MENA country, assessing SME banking market potential for an international bank in Egypt, and supporting an Egyptian governmental agency in defining the vision and development strategy of Greater Cairo Region for the year 2050.

Adiat Disu

Founder and Creative Director, Adiree

Adiat Disu founded Bleu Ventures, a consortium including branding and communications firm Adiree, global retail platform Luxoic, as well as media and event platforms Africa Fashion Week and

The group’s client list has included entrepreneurs, start-ups, corporations, fashion/lifestyle brands, and non-profits such as the United States Agency of International Development, Kimora Lee Simmon’s Shinto Clinical, Hearst Magazines (Cosmo Nigeria), Iman Cosmetics, and Akon.

As a former IBM communications/operations specialist and analyst for TJX Companies, Disu merges her desire for business, tech, and building brands globally. She also advocates for Africa’s youth and female entrepreneurs. Disu was recognized as an Everyday Hero (two-page spread in Black Enterprise), Forbes 30 under 30 power women , selected to speak with African Entrepreneur Women Delegates in Washington D.C. (keynote Hilary Clinton), United Nations (Host Diane von Fürstenberg), and New York Africa Forum in Gabon.

As an ambassador she campaigns for Africa-focus entrepreneurs and brands. For example, Disu has developed a selection of African lifestyle brands, placing them on national platforms via partnerships, quality productions, digital adverts and media placements. The result: increased awareness of African fashion by 8.5 million views and $300K+ in financing raised.

Disu is an Alumnus of the Bentley University, with a degree in Information Technology and Corporate Communications.

Adiba Ighodaro

Partner, Actis

Adiba began her career in commercial and corporate law, providing advice to international banks and corporates with subsidiaries in Africa. Adiba joined Actis (formerly CDC) in 1991, and in 2000 was made Head of West Africa, setting up Actis’s Nigeria office in the same year. She played a key role in a series of notable Nigerian investments including Starcomms, UAC Nigeria and The Palms, the development of Lagos’s first modern shopping mall.

In 2004, Adiba joined Actis’s newly-formed Investor Development Group where she has developed relationships in and raised funds from across North America, the Gulf, Asia and Africa. Today, as a partner of the firm, Adiba both heads fundraising for the Americas and manages a number of Actis’s global strategic relationships. She remains a key source of advice on business and relationships in Africa.

Adiba was a founding Board Director and Investment Committee member of Capital Alliance Private Equity Limited, Nigeria. She has also contributed extensively to think-tanks including the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, the Privatisation Committee, and the Nigerian-South African Business Council.

Outside of Actis, Adiba sits as a non-executive director on the board of Old Mutual Plc, a financial services group, established in 1845 in South Africa, and now a FTSE100 listed company. She is also a member of the Africa Council of the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association (EMPEA).

Adiba holds an LLB from King’s College, London, a BL (Gray’s Inn) and a C Dip Accounting & Finance (ACCA).

Alan Fields

Principal, The Abraaj Group

Alan has over 20 years experience as an institutional sales professional in the United States, introducing investment solutions to U.S institutional clients across a wide range of alternative products. Prior to joining The Abraaj Group he spent 13 years as Managing Director with PineBridge Investments (and its predecessor entity AIG Investments) covering pension plans, endowments & foundations, insurance companies, and family offices.

He helped to raise funds in Sub Saharan Africa, Central & Eastern Europe, pan Asia, and Latin America. Prior to AIG/Pinebridge Alan was Managing Director in institutional fixed income sales with Bear Stearns & Co, where he spent 10 years and before that he was with the auditing team of KPMG for three years. Alan received his MBA in Finance from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Accounting from Pace University. He holds both the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designations. He is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Alan is married with three children and resides in New Jersey, USA.

Allan Cunningham

Founding Editor & CEO, Africa Capital Digest

Allan Cunningham is the Founding Editor & CEO of Africa Capital Digest, a multi-platform media brand used as a key source of deal news, comment, perspective and opinion by private capital investors and their advisors involved in private equity, infrastructure and venture capital deals in Africa.

In a media career spanning almost 20 years, Allan has held senior leadership positions at some of the world’s most respected private equity, venture capital and M&A media properties including Dow Jones Private Equity Analyst and Dow Jones VentureWire, as well as The Deal. He has built a number of successful digital content businesses delivering financial news, information and networking products and services to investors, executives, advisors and service providers working in the private equity, venture capital and M&A markets.

Allan founded Africa Capital Digest with the editorial mission to chronicle the deals, the people and the companies making investments in Africa and help plug the knowledge gap that exists about the private capital investment opportunity on the continent. Today, the brand’s products and services are part of the workflow of many of the leading global investment professionals assessing and making investments in Africa.   

Born and raised in Mombasa, Kenya, Allan now lives and works in Connecticut, USA.

Ange Muyubira

Founder, Kaz’O’zah Art

Since childhood, Ange M. Muyubira was passionate about art & fashion. She fled to England as a result of Burundi’s ethnic war in 1993. While studying, she worked for some of the prestigious Fashion Houses in London. After living in London England for 10 years, Ange returned to Burundi and contribute to the development of her nation. She focused her contribution in creating jobs for under privileged and talented people through socio economic value chain. Ange’s investment was nothing but the human capital which stemmed from her entrepreneurial spirit, her passion and her hard work ethic. In 2012, Ange founded Kaz’O’zah Art, a social enterprise that gives the opportunity to small artisans, especially women & youth, to use their craftsmanship to become self-sufficient, support their families, and overcome poverty. Burundian artisans have always been skilled, but they struggled to earn an income because they made out-dated products, lacked an understanding of market needs, and had no viable opportunities to compete in business. Kaz’O’zah Art has targeted those issues by training artisans to produce modernely designed items and finding them markets. This has improved the art and craft industry in Burundi and opened doors for artisans in their profession. Kaz’O’zah Art currently works with over 135 Burundian artisans, 30 of whom are full-time employees.

Aubrey Hruby

Co-founder, Africa Expert Network

Aubrey is an adviser to investors and companies doing business in Africa. She is a Senior Fellow at the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council and the co-author of the book,The Next Africa (Macmillan, July 2015).

Aubrey has a successful track record in African market entry, project/deal identification, investment facilitation, and experience in the infrastructure, energy, agribusiness, financial services, FMCG, healthcare, and textiles/apparel sectors. She is Managing Partner of Noveni Advisors and a co-founder of AXN.

Aubrey served as the Managing Director of the Whitaker Group, where she helped facilitate over $2 billion in investment and capital flows to Africa. Aubrey has consulted extensively in 20+ African markets (including Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and South Africa). She has worked with Fortune 500 companies to design and implement successful investment and market entry strategies and advises the US Chamber of Commerce’s Africa Division. Over the past ten years, Aubrey has regularly led CEO-level delegations to African countries and coordinated presidential visits to the United States.

Recognized by Diplomatic Courier as a Top 99 Foreign Policy Leader and passionate about strengthening relations with African countries, she works to ensure Africa is kept on the US foreign policy agenda. Aubrey writes regularly for outlets including the Huffington Post, the National Interest and FT. She also speaks regularly on African business issues at conferences and in the media, interviewing with the Wall Street Journal, NPR, Bloomberg Radio, CCTV, AriseTV, Africa24. A strong supporter of African entrepreneurship, Aubrey is an active member of the African Leadership Network and currently serves on the planning committee for the Annual Africa-America Institute Gala Dinner. Aubrey is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Ayodeji Balogun

Country Manager, AFEX Nigeria Limited

Ayodeji Balogun currently serves as the Country Manager for AFEX Nigeria, where he is pioneering the development of a private sector led commodities exchange and warehouse receipt system in Nigeria. Prior to his role as Country Manager, Ayodeji was in charge of developing the company’s new market entry strategy in East and West Africa, Ayodeji doubles as the Product Development Manager, leading value chain development in the Agriculture Sector, and designing physical and derivative contracts for commodities across markets in Africa.

Before joining AFEX, Ayodeji supported several private sector enabling policy initiatives at the Tony Elumelu Foundation including designing the Nigerian National Competitiveness Council and drafting a bill to regulate the non-profit sector in Nigeria.

He is an MBA graduate of the Lagos Business School, has a first degree in Mechanical Engineering and a diploma in Heavy Equipment Engineering (with Distinction) from Penn Foster University, Scranton, US. Before his admission to Lagos Business School, Ayodeji grew up as an entrepreneur, starting commodity trade in his teenage years, and managing his family owned commodities trading business with turnover in excess of USD15 million. He founded a haulage business; was part of a mobile service start-up and also part owner of an agribusiness venture.

Bunmi Akinyemiju

Group CEO, Venture Garden Group

Bunmi is the Group CEO of Venture Garden Group – a fast growing group of Financial Technology Companies with a focus on emerging markets. Within the space of 3 years, Bunmi founded five proprietary companies in Nigeria – these high growth companies in partnership with public and private institutions have deployed Data and Revenue Collection and Payment technologies -some of which are of national scale, in the Aviation, Fueling, Education, Power and Tax industries. Recently, Bunmi led his team to raise $20m to scale the group, leading to a massive company-wide restructure now headquartered in Mauritius and the birth of Venture Garden Nigeria and Venture Garden Ghana.

As the Dean and Chief Executive Officer of the Garden Institute of Business and Entrepreneurship – a financial technology business incubator which he founded, Bunmi puts his entrepreneurial and technical skills, developed over 15 years at the helm of start-up companies and 20 years in software development, web solutions development and assisting Michigan-based companies with technology strategy and Consulting Programming to play, investing in over 7 high growth financial technology start-ups in Nigeria till date.

As serial entrepreneur who has built more than 8 companies in the US and emerging markets like Nigeria and Ghana and developed over 20 proprietary technologies in Aviation, Government, Education, Oil & Gas and Banking sector globally, Bunmi is an execution-focused executive with substantial breadth and depth of knowledge and relationships in the areas of Software development, Technology Consulting, Revenue Collection Strategies, Software Project Management, Business Startups, Internet Technology & Business Development.

Bunmi was the vice president of the Lansing-based Artemis Solutions Group, Founder and CEO of e-payment and mobile-payment startup Enliven Software and a Principal of Nuwave Technology Partners, a Michigan based Network integrator and Telephony Company.

Daniel Obaseki

Investment Professional, Black River Asset Management

Mr. Obaseki is an Investment Professional based in Black River’s London office, with a focus on food private equity investments in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Mr. Obaseki joined Black River in 2014.  Prior to joining Black River, Mr. Obaseki worked as a Summer Associate both for the Abraaj Group in Nigeria and Knife Capital in South Africa.  Prior to that, he worked at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Washington, D.C., where he served in the Oil & Gas investment team, focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa growth equity investments. Before this, he worked at Tradewinds Global Investors, where he served in the global natural resources investment team.

Mr. Obaseki received his Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Dartmouth College and his MBA from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.).

David Wilson

Co-founder and CEO, Asimmetric

David is co-founder and CEO of Asimmetric, the Cape Town-based Internet quality company. Asimmetric helps WiFi providers and mobile operators measure and improve their network’s quality of experience. It is the first African startup backed by PCH’s Highway1, the top hardware accelerator program, based in San Francisco.
Before diving into entrepreneurship, David spent seven years at Accenture, and Delta Partners, the leading telecoms-focused management consulting company in emerging markets. He worked with C-level telecoms executives on corporate and network strategy at companies such as STC, Telkom, Cell C, Vodacom, MTN, and others in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.
He studied Business Science and Information Systems at the University of Cape Town, where he graduated top of his class. David loves travel, movies, data, and design; in 2015, Phaidon published a map he created with South African census data in the best seller “Map: Exploring the World”.

Dia Martin

Senior Investment Officer, OPIC

Ms. Dia Martin is a Director on the Social Enterprise Finance team in the Small and Medium Enterprise Finance department at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) in Washington, D.C.  OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help solve critical development challenges in emerging economies with significant focus on Africa and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy.

Ms. Martin is responsible for providing financing to projects and funds active in microfinance, SME and other impact investment sectors. Her responsibilities are inclusive of the entire investment process from business development and deal sourcing through investment approval and transaction closing.  Ms. Martin also serves as the Program Manager for the Portfolio for Impact program, which is focused on financing smaller, earlier stage projects that are highly developmental in the impact investing space.

Prior to accepting her current position, Ms. Martin was in Germany for three years where she was a Risk Manager with Finance in Motion GmbH, analyzing microfinance institutions in Southeastern Europe and structuring a microfinance fund focused on Sub-Saharan Africa.  She is a 2007-2008 recipient of the Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship, focusing on development finance.  Ms. Martin has also held positions with Citigroup’s Public Finance department and with Moody’s Investors Service covering the healthcare sector.

Ms. Martin holds a MA in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and a MBA in Finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  She received her B.S. in Finance from Hampton University.

Dikko Atanu

Founder Neoleum

Dikko leads the growth strategy of Neoleum, a midstream infrastructure development and gas commercialization platform, focused on Sub-Saharan Africa. Neoleum helps eradicate gas flares by providing modular gas monetization solutions to indigenous companies, and provides services to a UK listed company developing a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) for power generation and industrial applications across West Africa.

Dikko started his international career at the trading division of Credit Suisse, whilst his energy career started at Global Energy in which he worked closely with the CEO in taking the first indigenous owned and operated 120MMscfd gas plant in Africa to First Gas.

Dikko previously was the Head of Gas and Business Development at Afren, a UK listed E&P company, which at the height of its success had a market cap of $3 billion. He was instrumental in key acquisitions and divestments, as well as various funding initiatives. Prior to that, he co-founded Associated Offshore Oil, an indigenous E&P company that successfully acquired an operating interest in a Chevron marginal oil field, and was involved in deal origination and structuring of a gas flare reduction project.

Dikko has consulted for several energy companies in the US including BP, Coral Trading (Shell), Berkshire Hathaway Energy, PPL Energy and Cheniere Energy in the area of energy trading and risk management.

Dikko holds a B.A. in Economics from City College New York and M.Sc. from Long Island University, New York and is a Doctoral candidate at the International School Of Management.

Donald Duke

Former Governor of Cross River State, Nigeria

Donald Duke (born 30 September 1961 in Calabar) was the Governor of Cross River State, Nigeria from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007. He has been at the helm of affairs of the State since the commencement of the present democratic dispensation in Nigeria. He received LLB degree in 1982 from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria – Nigeria, the B.L in 1983 from the Nigerian Law School, Lagos and the L.L.M. in Business Law and Admiralty in 1984 from University of Pennsylvania. 

Duke has been praised for his contributions to the fields of agriculture, urban development, government, environment, information and communication, investment drive, and tourism. Through his work Calabar is seen as the “cleanest city in Nigeria.”

 He created the idea of the Obudu Ranch International Mountain Race and the race grew to become one of the most lucrative mountain running competitions in the world under his stewardship.

Edward Stokes

Founder and Managing Partner, Intrepid HR

Edward is the founder and Managing Director of Intrepid HR, a successful pan African Leadership , Careers and Talent Management / Development advisory business. Our clients are the leading Investment Banks, Private Equity Firms and Fund Managers. We also assist our financial markets clients develop and optimize businesses they have invested in, through providing the leadership and talent required for these businesses in industry to reach their investment objectives.

Following a career in finance and investment advisory, in 1990, Ed joined a global financial markets recruitment business in London where he worked with leading investment banks to build their capability. In 1996, recognising the Africa opportunity, Ed set up a business in South Africa to understand and service the African market.

Following 20 years experience across Africa, Ed and his team at Intrepid HR have deep understanding and sight of leadership and accelerated post MBA career opportunities across Africa.

Eghosa Omoigui

Founder and Managing Partner, EchoVC Partners

Eghosa Omoigui is the founder and Managing General Partner of EchoVC Partners (a seed & early-stage technology venture capital firm bridging Silicon Valley & underserved emerging markets) & EchoVC Pan-Africa, a seed-stage tech VC fund focused on sub-Saharan Africa. Before this, Eghosa was with Intel for nearly 10 years and his last role was as Intel Capital Director, Consumer Internet & Semantic Technologies, where he acted as a senior investment professional focused on platform-agnostic consumer, web services and digital media-based investment opportunities in the US, EU & Asia. Omoigui also drove ICap’s stage-agnostic investment focus on next generation semantic technologies, smart data and the realtime web. Eghosa was personally responsible for (developing supporting theses for and) sourcing investment opportunities in various companies including AdMob, Jaiku, Powerset, Facebook, LinkedIn, Teracent, Qik and Pandora.

Eghosa has advised SWIFT (the inter-bank consortium) on technology innovation for financial services (InnoTribe), is a member of the ASTIA Venture Advisory Board (an organization focused on mentoring and supporting women entrepreneurs), was a winner of the Moss-Adams/ASTIA Women Entrepreneur Mentor of the Year award, and is a Pipeline Angel Fellowship Mentor.

He collects colognes, has a particular fondness for big dogs, and loves futbol and cricket.

In September 2014, Nigeria’s Communications Technology Minister announced that EchoVC Pan-Africa would be the sole manager of the Federal Government of Nigeria’s $15m ICT Innovation Fund.

Ernest Danjuma Enebi

Founder and Managing Partner, The Denda Group

Ernest Danjuma Enebi, was born and raised in Kaduna, Nigeria. He studied Mechanical Engineering and Business at Northeastern University – Boston, MA where he helped set up the Social Enterprise Institute at the D’Amore Kim School of Business. In 2008, he helped implement an innovative program that partnered US Business School students with their counterparts in developing countries, to provide strategic business consulting services and seed funding for local micro-entrepreneurs to start, build and grow their community-based businesses. In 2010, He moved to New York, to work as a construction manager in the city’s

booming commercial construction industry. During this time he continued to work as a business strategy consultant to several non-profits, most prominently serving as chief strategy officer for the innovative clean water charity – FACE Africa. After 5 years in the construction industry and over 7 years as a consultant, he left the construction industry to start his own strategy and management company – The Denda Group. Denda helps build, grow and scale primarily Africa focused Start-ups, Non-profits and Small-Medium Sized enterprises. Providing branding, marketing and a strategic business services to businesses who otherwise He is also a social activist and is one of the premier fundraisers in the Diaspora for causes benefitting equality and social justice on the continent.

Fanta Kamara

Co-Founder & Creative Director, Marazetti Inc.

Fanta Kamara is an International Business Development Manager and skilled Operations Manager who has a strong focus on social entrepreneurship that will improve the socio-economic status of people in Africa. An International Business MBA Candidate, Fanta is passionate about fostering investment relationships between Africa and the rest of the World.

A former Global Communication Specialist of The Estee Lauder Companies, Fanta is no stranger to Corporate America. She is the co-founder of Marazetti Inc.; a unique, socially conscious fashion brand that creates western shapes from African luxury fabrics and materials. Marazetti Inc. was founded on the idea of creating financial sustainability by providing stable jobs for the marginalized. Her experienced as a recognized fashion model presented a unique opportunity of giving back to African women in a new way: Marazetti offers free beauty services for women and provides free cosmetics products to lift their spirits.

Fanta served as Chief Operating Officer for Caspian Holdings Company, where she managed World Bank projects and facilitated operational activities, focusing on budgetary controls, and consummating tough negotiations, but most importantly overseeing human relations because it allowed her to make direct impact on the lives of over 200 staff, who were marginalized. During her tenure as COO for Caspian, Fanta worked closely with World Bank engineers, project management team and beneficiary (Monrovia City Corporation), providing powerful insights, strategies and recommendations to improve project outcome.

Fanta’s determination has created an astounding number of opportunities for Africa. She works with various artisans to teach them how to perfect their craft.

Hans Kuipers

Partner, The Boston Consulting Group

Hans is a Partner in the Johannesburg office of The Boston Consulting Group. Hans joined BCG in Amsterdam in 2011 and transferred to Johannesburg later in 2011

Hans leads BCGs South African Technology, Media and Telecommunication practice and he is the node for the strategy practice. He focuses primarily on telecommunication and private equity clients. Further his project experience also includes consumer goods, healthcare, technology and media.

Before joining BCG Hans was a partner in Accenture’s management consulting practice in Amsterdam where he was  responsible for all telecom-, media-, entertainment- and technology industry related management consulting projects.

Hans holds a master in chemical engineering and a master in business administration, management and organization from the university of Groningen (the Netherlands).

Idris Mohammed

Partner, Development Partners International

Idris has been a partner with DPI since its inception in 2007 and heads DPI’s recently opened Lagos office. Idris has over 20 years of experience in private equity investing, corporate finance and banking, spanning both the US and Africa. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Lehigh University (1992) and an MBA in Finance and Strategic Management from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (2000). Idris currently serves on the boards of Letshego Holdings Limited and Food Concepts Plc and previously served on the board of Mansard Insurance.

James Newlands

Lead Partner - Americas Africa Business Center, Ernst & Young

James leads EY’s Americas-Africa Business Center based in New York. In this role he works with key EY accounts in the Americas, across a range of sectors, to assist them in developing, stress-testing and executing their Africa growth strategies, bringing to bear the practical experience he has gained in building EY’s business in Africa.

James is a senior partner in the South African firm, having more than 32 years’ experience in providing assurance and advisory services to a number of the firm’s leading clients in the Oil & Gas, Retail and Consumer Products and Life Insurance sectors. He has also held a number of leadership positions in the firm, including Africa Oil & Gas Sector Leader and Western Cape Regional Senior Partner.

Over the past four years James was responsible for leading the execution of EY’s Africa Investment Plan. This multi-year plan is focused on building capacity, expanding the firm’s footprint and enhancing EY’s brand across 28 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Jerry Parkes

Managing Director, Injaro Investment Advisors

Jerry is the Managing Director of Injaro Investments Limited, a fund management company that manages a US$50m fund focused on agricultural SME investments in West Africa.

Prior to Injaro, Jerry was a director at Knox D’Arcy Investment Management, a UK-based fund manager and private equity investor focusing on small to mid-sized companies. In this role, he managed a £30m portfolio of SMEs and his responsibilities included engaging with senior management to actively seek the improved performance of their businesses. His previous experience includes stints in consulting and investment banking with firms such as Accenture, Merrill Lynch, UBS and Technoserve-Ghana, where he advised entrepreneurs on strategy and business development. As an investment banker he completed transactions ranging in size from US$30m to US$450m.

Jerry has co-authored a business case that forms part of the Private Equity in Emerging Markets curriculum at the Wharton School. He holds an MEng. in Electronic and Electrical Engineering with French (First Class Honours) from the University of Manchester  and an MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

John Gadzi

Managing Director - Advisory, IC Securities

John is responsible for the Firm’s Equity Capital Markets, Mergers & Acquisitions and Financial Advisory businesses globally. John spent the last six years prior to joining the Firm in the Investment Banking Division at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in New York and was a Vice President responsible for key sub-sectors in the Industrials group. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, John served as a Manager at Lucent Technologies, Inc., focusing on corporate strategy and business development. John began his career as an Investment Banking Analyst in the Banks and Financial Institutions Group at Salomon Smith Barney, Inc.

John holds a Bachelor of Science (Magna Cum Laude) in Finance from the University of Maryland and a Master of Business Administration (Honors), Finance Major from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.


Jon Gosier

Founder, Cross Valley Capital

Jon Gosier is a serial tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist working at the intersection of data science and outcome driven user experience. Gosier developed a highly successful model for inclusive investing which allowed middle-class individuals to invest in startups.

In 2014, he co-founded Third Cohort Capital with fellow alum of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program in Philadelphia. Gosier is revolutionizing other areas of venture capital as the founder of Cross Valley Capital and partner at Rokk3r Labs in Miami. He is also a huge advocate for investing in tech companies in emerging markets through his Appfrica Fund. In his career as a data scientist, Gosier’s technologies have been deployed by groups like the US Department of State, the US Army, the United Nations, the Red Cross, FEMA, the Government of Canada and the Kenyan disaster response company Ushahidi to name a few.

In 2014, Gosier gained wide recognition for his TED talk on “Trickle-Down Techonomics,” which explored the unintended consequences of technical innovation and the responsibility he feels innovators have to design products that yield better social outcomes in addition to great features. Gosier was listed as one of “The New Faces of Black Leadership” by TIME Magazine in 2015. He has received similarly distinguished honors from Black Enterprise Magazine, Business Insider, IDEO and The Economist.

Katherine Klein

Vice Dean - Wharton Social Impact Initiative, Wharton

Katherine Klein is the Vice Dean for the Wharton Social Impact Initiative. In this position, Klein shapes WSII’s vision and strategy for social impact projects, partnerships, initiatives and faculty engagement at Wharton.

Klein is the Edward H. Bowman Professor of Management at Wharton. She teaches on leadership, social impact, and research methods.  Her courses include MGMT 893, a Global Modular Course titled “Conflict, Leadership, and Change: Lessons from Rwanda”; the pilot executive MBA course “Social Impact Knowledge for Action”; and a doctoral seminar on research methods in management.

She is a Fellow of the Academy of Management, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the American Psychological Association, and the Association for Psychological Science.  Her research explores Leadership, Diversity, Teams and Social Networks; Levels of Analysis Issues in Organizational Theory and Research; Innovation and Technology Implementation; Employee Ownership: ESOPs and Employee Stock Options; among other topics.

Her research appears in numerous top journals including Administrative Science Quarterly, Journal of Applied Psychology, the Academy of Management Journal, and the Academy of Management Review.

Professor Klein received her B.A. in Psychology from Yale University and her Ph.D. in Community Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin.

Kofi Asomaning

Managing Director - West Africa, Capri Investment Group

Kofi Asomaning is the Managing Director responsible for the investment and asset management activities of Capri Africa in the West Africa region. He previously served as a Senior Manager, Real Estate West Africa for Stanbic Bank based in Accra, Ghana as the Head of Real Estate Finance (Debt) and Real Estate Investments (Equity). Mr. Asomaning was responsible for assessing and determining funding for real estate development and financing opportunities across the region. Prior to Stanbic, Mr. Asomaning was the Senior Real Estate Advisor – Advisory Services for Ernst & Young in the Corporate Real Estate, Investor Services and Construction Advisory practice in New York. Mr. Asomaning is a certified member of Project Management Institute, a globally recognized certification that demonstrates competency to lead and direct projects. He is also a founding member of The Human Development Group, Ghana, a non-profit which empowers young people to discover and achieve their full potential. He has a MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and graduated Summa Cum Laude (first in his class) with a BSc. Architecture, Pg Diploma in Architecture from the University of Science & Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

Kunbi Odubogun

Founder & Editor-in-Chief,

Kunbi Odubogun is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Aisle Perfect, an international wedding blog that provides elegant inspiration to engaged couples and their bridal party. Initially created as a planning diary for her own wedding, Aisle Perfect has blossomed into a top wedding planning resource for overwhelmed couples around the globe.

In 2015, Kunbi launched Pretty Perfect Living, a lifestyle website for newlyweds that shares inspiration on Home Decor, Motherhood, Recipes and more.

A business Immigration attorney with a passion for startups, Kunbi graduated from Fordham University School of Law in 2010 and has a  B.Sc. in Management and Leadership from the University of Kansas.

Lauren Cochran

Director of Private Investments, Blue Have Initiative

Lauren is the Director of Private Investments at the Blue Haven Initiative (BHI), where she leads the strategy and execution of the direct investment portfolio. BHI is a single family office investing in innovative for-profit business models that improve standards of living, create economic opportunity and better the environment for people and businesses. Prior to joining BHI, Lauren spent five years at Imprint Capital leading investments in businesses with a measurable social impact while also seeking commercial returns. Previously, Lauren worked for Bill Clinton’s Health Access Initiative where she analyzed healthcare infrastructure in Sub Saharan Africa. Lauren also spent time in private equity, first in Deutsche Bank’s financial sponsor’s group in New York and then at Diamond Castle Holdings, a private equity firm investing in energy, financial services and healthcare. Lauren holds a B.S. from Georgetown University, completed the General Course program at the London School of Economics and earned her M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Lisa Lambie

Managing Partner, Satatt Holdings International

Lisa has a 20+ year track record in private equity, alternative investments, operations, and successful entrepreneurship,with the last 8 years in Africa (incl. living and working from Mozambique and South Africa). Satatt is an Africa private investment holding firm representing investment capital from Africa, Asia, and North America, and directly co-invests its own capital with its Family Offices, HNWI, institutional investors, and strategics in direct private equity and mezzanine investments (incl. venture capital). Country focus is Ethiopia, Uganda, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Morocco. Prior to Satatt, Lisa was a Managing Director at Cordiant (a US$3 billion fund manager), responsible for Africa and mezzanine investments, member of Fund’s Operating Committee and Keyman for US$211mm Africa private equity fund with 16 portfolio companies in 8 African countries, and investments in Aureos (now Abraaj) Southern & West Africa Funds. At Barclays Capital/ABSA, Lisa was Director in Emerging Markets Structuring responsible for increasing Africa investment banking origination and structuring for international and local investors; and separately Head of Sub-Sahara Africa Distribution, Team, and Capital Market approvals for 10 countries across debt, mezzanine, and equity. Global investment banking includes JP Morgan and BOA as Principal in EMEA Financial Sponsors & Leveraged Finance arranging and executing 17 investments (incl. bank’s capital) for 14 of the largest global private equity firms, and with primary EMEA coverage responsibility for The Blackstone Group and Clayton Dubilier & Rice. Lisa was also recruited as first Vice President, Corporate Finance for NCB (Portland Private Equity portfolio), where she successfully launched and built its highly profitable investment banking activities for Caribbean’s largest financial institution at that time. Lisa has a BSE in Civil Engineering & Operations Research from Princeton, and a MBA in Finance from The Wharton School. Board positions include AfrAsia Bank  (UK Advisory Panel), Canada-Africa Partnership for Energy & Infrastructure, and The Wharton Club of Africa (President).

Mary Iwelumo

Partner - Strategy and Operations, PwC Nigeria

Mary is a Partner in the Strategy and Operations practice in Nigeria. She has over 13 years of experience in articulating and formulating strategies for a number of our energy, financial services and manufacturing and public sector clients.

Selected experience includes:

  • Central Bank of Nigeria – Setting up of AMCON (design of Target Operating Model, Business Plan and NPL Valuation)
  • Strategic Planning for Ministry of Aviation
  • Set up of a Strategic Management Office for the Cross River State Government,
  • Set up of a  Development Finance Institution (DFI) for the Ministry of Finance
  • Strategic Plan for  First Bank of Nigeria Plc./ Banque Internationale de Credit (BIC)
  • Transformational Plan and Organisational Development  Bank of Agriculture
  • Development of a Five Year Strategic Plan, for Abuja Technology Village Free Zone Company

Mary has a degree in Pharmacy and an MBA from Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, USA. She is also a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria.

Matthew Forti

Managing Director, One Acre Fund USA

Matt Forti has been involved in One Acre Fund’s board since the organization’s founding in 2006, and was our first Board Chairman. Matt joined One Acre Fund’s staff in 2013, as the director of One Acre Fund USA.
Prior to joining One Acre Fund’s staff, Matt was a Manager and Co-head of the Performance Measurement Practice at the Bridgespan group, a 501(c)3 that helps nonprofit and philanthropic leaders develop strategies to achieve breakthrough results. Matt received an MBA with distinction from the Kellogg School of Management and graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Northwestern University with a BA in economics and sociology.

Matthew “Tayo” Rugamba

Founder and Creative Director, House of Tayo

Matthew “Tayo” Rugamba is the Founder and Creative Director of House of Tayo, a men’s clothing brand based in Kigali, Rwanda. Rugamba started the business in 2011 just before his junior year of college with the money he saved up from a summer job. 

House of Tayo was created out of the desire to find a unique way through which to showcase African sophistication, style and flavor through contemporary, locally-made clothing and accessories. With style influences ranging from the Motown era to traditional British tailoring, House of Tayo seeks to combine elegance and class with a strong sense of African heritage and iconography. The brand is truly authentic and homegrown, utilizing African textiles and fabrics, and produced by Rwandan tailors and artisans.

After completing his undergraduate degree at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon in 2013, Rugamba returned to Rwanda to grow his company. House of Tayo currently works with over 35 local tailors and seamstresses to produce their products. Their trademark bow ties are exclusively made by a women’s cooperative based in Kigali.

Rugamba is currently the subject of a web series on The Africa Channel charting his journey as a designer.

Mbwana Alliy

Founder and Managing Partner, Savannah Fund

Mbwana Alliy is the founder and managing partner at Savannah Fund, an Africa focused Technology Venture Capital fund that runs both an accelerator and seed tech investments.

He is passionate about product development and launching new ventures in technology. He is an experienced Product Manager within consumer web, enterprise Software & SaaS. Mbwana is originally from Tanzania and has lived and worked in 3 continents (USA, Europe and Africa). He has a Bachelor’s Engineering degree from Bristol University and an MBA from Stanford Graduate school of Business.

As of 2015, Mbwana has overseen 21 investments in Africa in 6 countries (Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Ghana). These companies, most less than 2 years old have generated over 200 full time jobs and raised over $14 Million in venture financing.

Mia Kimani

Principal, The Boston Consulting Group

Mia is a Principal in the Johannesburg office. Mia is an expert on doing business in Africa and has worked extensively for clients across the continent, particularly on Africa strategy and route to market topics. Mia is also an author of BCG’s recent Winning in Africa and African Consumers reports.
Mia received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of St. Gallen where she did an exchange semester at the National University of Singapore, before joining BCG Zurich as an Associate in 2005. After two years at BCG, Mia continued her education and received a MBA from Harvard Business School and also spent some time working for an outsourcing company in Nairobi, Kenya.

Since returning to BCG, Mia has done projects in many different industries from Health Care, Financial Services, Industrial Goods, Consumer Goods and Mining.

Mia has a passion for travelling and has travelled to more than 50 countries so far.

Michael Rain

Editor-in-Chief, ZNews Africa

Michael Rain is a co-founder and editor-in-chief of ZNews Africa where he leads content strategy and media relations. He is a visual + textual artist and strategic communications professional and has worked with some of the world’s largest and best known brands including TimeWarner, Toyota, The Wall Street Journal, Madison Square Garden and UnitedHealth Group.
Michael earned a bachelors degree in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations from Columbia University. He serves on the boards of Public Allies of New York and the Columbia University Black Alumni Council, which is he is currently vice-president. He is Ghanaian-American, a life-long New Yorker and Brooklyn native.

Mirabelle Moreaux

Investment Officer, Injaro Investments Limited

Mirabelle is an Investment Officer of Injaro Investments Limited, a fund management company that manages a US$50m impact-oriented fund focused on agricultural SME investments in West Africa. The Injaro team believes in the greatness of the African entrepreneurial spirit and in the ability of African entrepreneurs to build successful businesses that make a difference in the lives of the communities in which they operate.

Prior to Injaro, Mirabelle was an Engagement Manager at Booz & Company, a global management consulting firm that now operates as Strategy& at PwC. Her consulting experience involved advising top businesses, governments and organizations in the USA, Middle East and North Africa. She focused on formulating and implementing strategic and operational improvements for clients in the agriculture, health, financial services, public and non-profit sectors.

Mirabelle also worked with Abt Associates, Inc., a socio-economic policy research and consulting firm in Washington, D.C. At Abt, she evaluated health, education and social programs funded by foundations as well as federal and state governments.

Mirabelle graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Grinnell College and the London School of Economics with a BA in Economics and French. She holds an MBA from the Wharton School, University.

Ngozi Dozie

Co-founder, Kaizen Venture Partners

Ngozi Dozie is a Director and co-Founder of Kaizen Venture Partners and serves as CEO of Cafe Neo and KZ Noir.

Ngozi Dozie was an investment banker at JPMorgan assisting clients with mergers & acquisitions advisory and capital financing.  Prior to JPMorgan, Ngozi worked with Arthur Andersen UK as a risk consultant, and Deloitte & Touche as a financial analyst in the Petroleum Services Group.

Ngozi holds an MBA from the Wharton School and qualified as a chartered accountant (ACA) with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He graduated with an MSc in Computation from Oxford University and a First Class in BSc Physics from Imperial College.

Nick Ashburn

Director of Emerging Markets - Wharton Social Impact Initiative, Wharton

Nick Ashburn, GSE ‘12, is the Director of Emerging Markets at the Wharton Social Impact Initiative. He previously led WSII’s impact investing activities, including research, outreach, and training programs.

Before joining WSII, Nick worked on a Ford Foundation project focused on jumpstarting the impact investing ecosystem in the region and also advised nonprofits and social enterprises on strategy and program development. He’s worked for, promoting greater innovation for poverty alleviation and on education and youth development initiatives in developing countries.

Nick has taught Social Entrepreneurship at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas-Austin and is a Lecturer in the School of Social Policy and Practice at Penn.  He received an MS.Ed in international educational development from Penn’s Graduate School of Education and a BA with honors in political science and German from Belmont University.

Okendo Lewis-Gayle

Founder, Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance (HEA)

Okendo Lewis-Gayle is founder and chairman of the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance (HEA) and author of Harambeans, a collection of stories of young African entrepreneurial leaders.

HEA is a network of highly educated young African entrepreneurs, who are spearheading social and business ventures across Africa – efforts which have been recognized by the Economist, Forbes, Vanity Fair, China Daily and the Queen of England among others.

In partnership with Fortune 500 companies and Ivy League universities, Okendo has overseen the development of HEA’s diverse ecosystem of opportunities aimed at supporting the entrepreneurial aspirations of young African professionals with mentors, feasibility study grants, scholarships, pro bono legal services and access to angel and venture capital. Okendo has recently been admitted to the Harvard Kennedy School to continue his master’s studies as a member of the prestigious Edward S. Mason Program.

Pardon Makumbe

Co-Founder, CRE Venture Capital

Pardon is a Founding Partner at CRE Venture Capital (Formerly known as Africa Angel Network). CRE invests and partners with visionary entrepreneurs in technology-enabled startup companies in Sub-Saharan Africa. CRE brings its arsenal of capital, global relationships and experience to position its portfolio companies for outsized success.

He was previously a Principal at EL Rothschild, a Rothschild family investment holding company, overseeing various investments and holdings in India, Europe, and Africa, notably The Economist Group, IHS Towers and Impala Energy Holdings. Earlier, Pardon worked at Bain & Company in New York, at Emerging Capital Partners in Johannesburg, and at Temasek Holdings in Singapore.

Pardon graduated from Princeton University as a Davis Scholar, and from the Wharton School of Business as a Palmer Scholar.

Rajith Sebastian

Former Regional Coverage Director, Nedbank in East Africa

Rajith Sebastian is a first year MBA student at the Wharton School. He has 12 years of investment banking experience, primarily across Sub Saharan Africa and China. He was previously Regional Coverage Executive for Nedbank in East Africa, based out of Nairobi. Prior to Nedbank, Rajith worked for Standard Chartered Bank, originating investment banking deals across Sub Saharan Africa. Prior roles were at Chinavest, Macquarie Bank and Monitor Group in various locations. Work roles spanned across Corporate Advisory, Project Finance, Commodity Finance and Debt Capital Markets. Rajith has also previously founded a recylced plastics trading business, and a branded hair weave business. Rajith spent the early part of his life in Kenya, before moving to South Africa. He has a Bachelor of Business Science degree from the University of Cape Town, and is a CFA Charterholder. He lives with his wife and 2 kids in Philly. 

Robert Tashima

Managing Editor - Africa, Oxford Business Group

With a background in political economy and international trade, Robert Tashima joined Oxford Business Group (OBG) in early 2007 as an Editorial Manager, serving in the Middle East and North Africa, before taking over the Africa Managing Editor in 2008. In this capacity, he is now in charge of OBG’s field research across the continent, and is responsible for commissioning, editing and writing for the company’s Africa-focused digital and print editorial content.

As Africa Managing Editor, Robert has helped oversee an expansion of OBG’s research to many of the continent’s largest emerging markets, including Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Kenya. During this time, he has also initiated field studies on sub-national and local economies and worked alongside key domestic stakeholders to identify new opportunities for potential foreign investors. Robert has been responsible for leading primary source research and data gathering initiatives for OBG projects in more than a dozen countries in the Middle East and Africa.

Robert has also represented OBG for a number of local media throughout the region, as well as international outlets including the BBC, France 24 and Reuters, has spoken at conferences in both moderator and keynote speaker capacity, and has delivered talks at a number of top-level universities, including London Business School, University of Virginia and Georgetown University.

Prior to joining OBG, he served as a risk analyst, covering governance issues in Central and Southern Africa, and worked in the California State Legislature, where he was responsible for drafting and negotiating tax, trade and business laws.

Robert is a current Truman Project Security Fellow and a former Jesse M Unruh Fellow. He has studied at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Bordeaux, France, and has received his BA in Political Science and French from the University of California at Berkeley and his MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics. Robert is fluent in French.

Samir Ibrahim

CEO & Co-Founder, SunCulture

Samir Ibrahim is the CEO & Co-Founder of SunCulture, based in Kenya. SunCulture designs and sells solar-powered irrigation systems and agricultural extension services that make it cheaper and easier for farmers to grow high-value fresh fruits and vegetables. SunCulture’s AgroSolar Irrigation Kit combines the cost-effectiveness of solar-powered water pumping with the efficiency of low-pressure drip irrigation to distribute water and fertilizer directly to crop roots, resulting in yield increases of up to 300% and water savings of up to 80%. The payback to the farmer is one three-month growing season — based on fuel, fertilizer, and labour savings, and crop yield increases.

Samir Ibrahim’s interest in the relationship between economic development and the private sector started long before he gained his degree in finance and international business from NYU Stern School of Business. With family in East Africa, he has always been passionate about the East African agribusiness sector and the ways in which it can contribute to the livelihoods of individual farmers, contributing to the overall strength of national economies. That made Kenya a perfect fit to launch SunCulture – a company built on the intersection of agriculture and renewable energy – a key to lifting the world’s poorest out of poverty. SunCulture continues to expand in Kenya, providing hundreds of small to medium size local farmers with the ability to irrigate their crops using a renewable energy solution, ultimately putting them on a path to prosperity not previously possible.

Sandra Idehen

Project Leader, Boston Consulting Group

Sandra Idehen is a Project Leader with the Boston Consulting Group. Sandra originally joined the Johannesburg office in 2012 but in 2015 transferred to Nigeria to help pioneer BCG’s Lagos office. Sandra holds an MBA from Yale School of Management. Sandra also received a Masters in Sports Industry Management from Georgetown University and a Bachelors degree in Ethics & Philosophy, and Africana Studies from Brown University. Sandra has considerable experience working in Consumer Goods, Energy and Industrial Goods Industries, specifically in South Africa and Nigeria. Some of her past case work includes a commercial due diligence for a FMCG soft drinks business in South Africa, Nigeria & Ghana, the implementation of a Shared Services reorganization for a large international oil company in Nigeria and the development of a GTM strategy and implementation for a European diary products manufacturer in Nigeria.

Saran Kaba Jones

Founder, FACE Africa

Saran Kaba Jones is the Founder and CEO of FACE Africa, a community development organization working to strengthen water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure and services in rural communities across sub-Saharan Africa.Saran was born in Liberia but left in 1989 at the young age of eight, shortly before the country’s civil war began. The daughter of a career diplomat, Saran spent her formative years living in Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, France and Cyprus before moving to the United States in 1999. She returned to Liberia almost 20 years later to find a country in desperate need and made it her mission to help, specifically focused on access to safe drinking water and sanitation and empowering women and girls through education and skills training.Since launching FACE Africa in January 2009, the organization has raised over $600,000 from JP Morgan Chase, Coca Cola, the Voss Foundation, P&G, Chevron and the Robert Bosch Foundation, among others; built over 50 WASH projects and reached 25,000 people in rural Liberia. More recently, FACE Africa was at the forefront of Ebola response efforts in Rivercess County, Liberia, where they conducted social mobilization, prevention and awareness and community engagement programs.

Selena Cuffe

Co-founder and CEO, Heritage Link Brands

Selena Cuffe is the co-founder and CEO of Heritage Link Brands, a company transforming the world’s view of Africa (and Diaspora) through the medium of pioneering brands. HLB is the largest importer of wine produced by indigenous Africans in the world.

In 2005, Selena and Khary Cuffe married and subsequently founded Heritage Link Brands upon learning South Africa had a $3 billion wine industry, yet less than 2% of the industry was owned by blacks, who make up over 85% of the country’s population. From PBS to TIME, her company has been recognized for its innovation and award-winning wine portfolio, rooted in stories of triumph.

Cuffe, a California native, is a graduate of Stanford University and holds an MBA with honors from Harvard University. Prior to founding Heritage Link Brands, Selena served as a global marketer for the Council on International Educational Exchange and Procter & Gamble Company.

An avid supporter of international education and exchange, Cuffe serves as an Advisor to Face2Face Health, the Harvard Business School FIELD Program, and Stanford University Bing Overseas Studies Program. Selena is also a Board Director for Nigerian retailer, T-Mart and Vice President Emeritus of the Harvard Business School Alumni Board. She has lived in four countries, travelled to 40, and is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. Selena loves great cuisine to go with her wine, and enjoys her blessings as mom to three children, ages nine, seven and 18 months.

Sola Olaniyan-Bright

MBA Candidate

Sola is a 2nd year MBA student at Harvard Business School who was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Covenant University, Nigeria, she worked in asset management at ARM Investment Managers, where she became a qualified accountant with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), and then served as a consultant at McKinsey & Company working with banking, oil and gas, and agriculture-focused clients across Sub-Saharan Africa.


To pursue her interest in the consumer goods space, she took a one-year sabbatical just before business school to work with the Group CFO of Adidas Group at its headquarters in Germany, where she worked closely with senior management to define strategic objectives for the company and guide the implementation of shorter term goals across the Adidas and Reebok businesses.


Since starting her MBA journey, she’s keenly explored the space of entrepreneurship and has worked with startups such as, a fast fashion e-commerce startup, and Africa Courier Express (ACE), a tech-based logistics service provider, both based in Lagos Nigeria. She also serves as a coach for African entrepreneurs via the HBS Africa Business Club Entrepreneur Mentoring team.


She plans to move back to Africa after her MBA to merge her passion for entrepreneurship, technology-based business innovations, and the growing consumer opportunity by helping companies find meaningful ways create and capture value across the continent.

Stephane Timpano

Managing Partner - Nigeria, Bain & Company

Stephane Timpano is a Managing Partner at Bain & Company, assigned since End 2011 to the Johannesburg office.

Mr Timpano started his career in 1997 within Ernst & Young Italy. In 2000 he joined Bain & Co Italy where heas been promoted manager in 2004. In 2006 he left the firm to join EMI Music as Managing Director of the Post-Media production business unit in Southern Europe. In 2010 he has been appointed Business Development Director of Sky Italy (NewsCorp PayTV business).

Mr Timpano specializes in Bain’s TMT practice. Specific case experiences include:

  • Mobile operator start-up in Italy (Business planning and Project Management)
  • Network deployment and optimization for pan-European telco operator
  • Customer experience program for African mobile operator
  • Product design and bundling (triple/quad play) for Italian telco
  • IPTV deployment for Italian Telco operator
  • Multiple experiences in Mobile Streaming Apps & Digital Music projects
  • Multiple M&A assignments in IT, Media and Telecom services

Mr. Timpano holds a degree in Political Sciences (Sciences Po), a degree in Business Economics (Aix-Marseille University) and MBA for SDA Bocconi (Milan).

Outside of work, Mr. Timpano is a Masterchef trainee.

Thomas Laryea

Partner, Dentons

Thomas Laryea is a partner in Dentons Public Policy and Regulation Department.  He received his legal education in England and the United States and works from offices in London and Washington DC. His doctoral thesis is in international civil procedure.

Thomas’ practice at Dentons focuses on advice to government and private sector clients in their dealings with multilateral financial institutions and foreign investment.  His government representations include  Romania and Ghana in their legal and financing relations with the International Monetary Fund .  His other government representations include the Government of Niger in a US trade matter, a Libyan sovereign wealth fund in sanctions and restructuring issues, and advice on the distribution of assets  and liabilities between Sudan and South Sudan.

Prior to Dentons, Thomas was Assistant General Counsel at the International Monetary Fund, where he was responsible for the IMF’s legal relations with each of its then 187 member countries, capital markets legal work and sovereign and private debt restructuring.  In that capacity, Thomas worked on many of the most challenging IMF financing programs, including with Argentina, Greece, Iceland, Ireland and Ukraine.

Unoma Okorafor

Founder and CEO, Working to Advance STEM Education for African Women Foundation

Dr. Unoma Okorafor is the founder and CEO of Working to Advance STEM Education for African Women (WAAW) Foundation, an international non-profit whose mission is increase the pipeline of African girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields, and ensure female engagement in Technology innovation and entrepreneurship to benefit Africa. Headquartered in Lagos Nigeria, WAAW impacts over 10,000 girls each year, and operates in 17 Universities across 10 African Countries.

Unoma has worked as a Technical Lead and Software Engineer at leading Technology firms including Texas Instruments, Hewlett Packard, IBM research labs and Intel. As a serial entrepreneur, in addition to WAAW, she is also founder of Herbal Papaya, a leading manufacturer of Organic Papaya wellness products as well as the co-founder of Radicube Technologies – A Big Data Analytics Consulting Firm, both headquartered in Dallas Texas. Married with 3 children, Dr. Okorafor is passionate about female empowerment and solving problems in Africa employing locally available resources. She enjoys connecting with Women in Technology and Entrepreneurs working to support growth in Africa.

Unoma grew up in Nsukka, Nigeria and holds an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Lagos as well as a Masters from Rice University in Houston and a Ph.D. from Texas A & M University, both in Computer Engineering. Additionally she attended Stanford University Business School’s Graduate Program in Social Entrepreneurship and the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Program.

Yoeal Haile

Chief Strategy Officer, African Leadership Group

Yoeal manages finances and fundraising efforts for the African Leadership Group. In this role, he works to create, communicate, execute, and sustain strategic initiatives. Prior to joining the African Leadership Group, Yoeal worked as an Equity Derivatives Associate for Merrill Lynch in their Hong Kong office. Yoeal also spent time working at Exxon Mobil in their corporate strategy division and at General Electric as a design engineer. Yoeal has an MBA in Finance and Management from The Wharton School and a BS in Industrial Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Wenjie Chen

Economist, International Monetary Fund

Wenjie Chen is an economist in the African Department of the International Monetary Fund, where she works on South Sudan and is part of the China-Africa Network. Her current research is on Chinese investments in Africa. Prior to joining the IMF, she worked as an assistant professor at George Washington University where she taught International Finance and Macroeconomics in the MBA program. She received her PhD in Economics from the University of Michigan and her area of research is in foreign direct investment, global value chains and applied econometric methods.

Winslow Robertson

Founder and Managing Member, Cowries and Rice

Winslow Robertson is the Managing Member of Cowries and Rice (, a China-Africa strategy consultancy. Cowries and Rice advises in all aspects of the China-Africa relationship, and its services have been used by private companies, individual investors, strategic advisory firms, think tanks, and non-profits. Cowries and Rice also offers a weekly newsletter, blog, and podcast that discusses the burgeoning China-Africa relationship from multiple perspectives. Mr. Robertson’s academic focus is on West African history, having received his M.A. in History from Syracuse University and his B.A. in History from James Madison University.

Yomi Jemibewon

Co-founder and Head of Principal Investments, CardinalStone Partners

Yomi is one of the founding Partners and Head of Principal Investments at CardinalStone Partners, an Investment Bank and Asset Management firm based in Lagos, Nigeria. CardinalStone’s Principal Investments team builds businesses across the real sector of the Nigerian economy, through incubation, growth and restructuring investments. The current portfolio spans Agriculture, Oil & Gas Services, Mining and Financial Services.

Prior to CardinalStone, Yomi was a Vice President in the Investment Banking Division of Avante Capital (currently Argentil Capital Partners), based in Lagos. In this role, he was involved in financial advisory and capital raising for several projects in the Nigerian energy sector. Prior to Avante, Yomi worked as a consultant with the New York office of Bain & Company, providing strategic and operational advice to businesses across North America. He began his professional career as a Research Engineer with Motorola, based in Boynton Beach, Florida.

Yomi holds B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Electrical Engineering from VirginiaTech and an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.