Andile Ngcaba is chairman, founder and majority shareholder of investment group Convergence Partners. Through Convergence Partners, Andile is also involved in significant new communications infrastructure projects across Africa including Seacom (the first undersea fibre optic cable system serving Africa's East Coast) which was ready for service on 23 July 2009, the first private sector satellite in Africa (Intelsat New Dawn) which was launched on 22 April 2011 and a recently announced new joint venture to bring high capacity, long-haul terrestrial fibre to South Africa (FibreCo). Andile was previously Director General of Communications in the first democratically elected government of South Africa in 1994. He left Government in 2003 to pursue a career in the private sector.
Abiola Oke is a media executive—he is the CEO and Publisher of Okayplayer, a 9-year-old media company defining and amplifying culture and OkayAfrica, founded in 2011, the leading media company of its kind connecting a global audience to African culture with operations in New York, Johannesburg, Lagos and London. Abiola began his career in the financial services industry holding various senior-level positions at Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, and Barclays. Abiola speaks on topics at the intersection of business, media, technology, music, culture, and Africa. As a noted speaker, Abiola has given keynotes at the Stanford University, spoken at the Oxford University Africa Business Conference, Haiti TECH Conference, AfroTech, World Bank IFC Sustainability Exchange, UNICEF's inaugural Global Innovations for Children and Youth Summit in Helsinki, Finland and the Africa-America Institute’s State of Education Forum in Abidjan. He was awarded the Amplifier of the Year honor at the inaugural AfroBall gala. A passionate humanitarian Abiola serves on various nonprofit boards including MoCADA (Museum of Contemporary Diaspora Arts), FACE Africa, NABU.org— is an ambassador of the Monrovia Football Academy.
Africa is influencing the global economy showcasing its culture through their creative work and fueling a rich ecosystem of bold and borderless artistic expression. Homegrown Creatives exposes a continent that contains movement makers, pivotal names, and vital collectives to the rest of the world cutting across music, culture, and storytelling. How can the economy be improved to sustain creative growth and promote young Africans who seek to pursue their passions? What are the challenges involved in showcasing African stories?
Women's advocate and entrepreneur Eyitemi Popo knows that in order to change the African narrative globally, African stories need to be portrayed in a way that breaks down perpetuating stereotypes and exemplifies the complexity of African identity. She launched two ventures to tackle this challenge and amplify the voices of Africans. The first is Ayiba Magazine, an award-winning African Diaspora publication. The second is Girls Trip Tours, an African travel experience focused on female empowerment. Eyitemi graduated with high honors from Mount Holyoke College, holds a Master’s in Digital Experience Innovation from the University of Waterloo, and is certified in digital publishing from NYU. She also is on the Board of Directors at Gitgirl, a startup that equips African women with technology skills that actually pay the bills.
Lolade Olayokun is the second to last of five children in her family. She is a first generation Nigerian American from her parents Kamorudeen and Abiola Olayokun. Through her journey as a speaker, Lolade embraced her skill to entertain while on the mic, from there MC Lolahstic was born. Having a versatile resume to both tell stories and entertain; has allowed Lolade to speak at Columbia University, host Afrochella in Accra Ghana, Trapkaraoke with OKAYAFRICA, featured in THRILLEST Ramadan special and even hosted SHE.E.O in Lagos Nigeria, along with many other events. In the spring and Fall semesters, Lolade curates the MC Lolahstic College Tour, where she entertains students at their annual fashion shows and moderates’ professional development panels around the country. It is her pride and joy to push the African culture forward while placing smiles on people’s faces.
Margaret Nyamumbo is the founder & CEO of Kahawa 1893, a coffee company leveraging new technologies to revolutionize the global coffee supply chain and close the gender gap in the industry. Prior to launching Kahawa 1893, Margaret worked on Wall Street evaluating retail and consumer companies and also at the World Bank on Private Sector Development for emerging economies. She is passionate about applying innovative solutions to humanity’s most pressing problems. Margaret holds an MBA from Harvard Business and studied Economics at Smith College and the London School of Economics.
Peter DiCampo is a documentary photographer whose work dissects the documentary practice, perceptions of Africa, and the long-lasting impact of foreign aid. He is a cofounder of the acclaimed Everyday Africa project and its resultant nonprofit, The Everyday Projects, through which he and a network of photographers seek to dismantle media stereotypes, broaden coverage beyond the headlines, and promote local storytellers worldwide. Currently, he is a JSK Journalism Fellow at Stanford University. He is the recipient of grants and awards from Code for Africa, Pulitzer Center, Magnum Foundation, Brown Institute for Media Innovation, Open Society Foundations, and POYi, among many others. His photography has exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at galleries in New York, London, and Rio de Janeiro, and his work has appeared in National Geographic, Newsweek, TIME, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, and many more.
By 2100 half of the world’s young population will be African. Creativity and ingenuity in technology is driving a new generation of African innovators who play significant roles in the global innovation space, using their imaginations to create solutions addressing real-life social, environmental, health and economic challenges. These solutions drive the next wave of globalization, exporting innovative African-baked technology. This panel will highlight these innovations and how these young entrepreneurs thrive amidst the challenges involved in doing business and innovating within the continent.
Benjamin Fernandes is a Tanzanian award-winning speaker, former national television personality and current entrepreneur. He worked at The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in their Digital Team and Financial Services team. In 2018, Fernandes was listed by Africa Youth Awards as the 15th Most Influential Tanzanian for the year. Fernandes holds an MBA from Stanford GSB and an Exec.Ed from Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Fernandes pivoted his career during his time in grad school from media to financial technology. Currently, Fernandes runs a fin-tech company he founded during school called NALA. NALA currently ranks #3 in Tanzania for top Finance Apps and they are currently part of Y-Combinator's Winter 2019 batch.
Chris Ategeka is an award-winning serial-entrepreneur, engineer, futurist, & an optimist. He is the founder/ CEO at UCOT Inc., a company that has created a unique model to support and fund early-stage startups. Chris also founded UCOT FORUM, a conference whose main objective is to have authentic discussions around exponential technology development and usage that may not be serving humanity's best interests. Before that, he founded Hourglass ventures: a fund that supports visionary entrepreneurs from Africa. He also founded Health Access Corps, a social enterprise that works to establish sustainable health care systems on the African continent. Chris has won many international awards for his work, TEDFellow; Forbes Magazine 30Under30, Ashoka fellow, Echoing Green fellow and most recently he has been honored by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader (YGL). Chris holds a Bachelor’s of Science, and Master’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
Bankole Cardoso is the Managing Director of Fenix International Nigeria, a next generation energy company with an expandable lease to own solar home system providing lighting, phone charging, Tv and radio, financed through affordable installments over mobile money to over 500,000 households in Africa. Bankole launched his career in New York in financial services with PWC and The Carlyle Group before co-founding two companies in Nigeria- SimplyAds, an Out-Of-Home advertising company, and Easy Taxi, a taxi e-hailing platform. Bankole has featured in Forbes magazine as one of the 30 Under 30 most promising entrepreneurs in Africa and has also worked with Africa’s first tech unicorn The Jumia Group and with the Venture Capital firm Quona Capital. He has an MBA from Columbia Business School.
Mark Heynen is a co-founder and Chief Business Officer at PayJoy. He started his first company in London at 24. After selling that company he joined Google to launch Android and maps in emerging markets, and then joined Facebook to launch their mobile offering in emerging markets. He currently coordinates relationships with the finance and mobile ecosystems for PayJoy. PayJoy is focused on providing consumer finance for the next billion. It allows almost everyone to pay monthly for mobile devices through proprietary software that locks devices in the event of non-payment. It is currently active in 12 emerging markets including Nigeria, Tanzania, Senegal, Kenya, and the Ivory Coast and is actively pursuing other markets.
Angela Essien is a serial entrepreneur and currently the co-founder and C.O.O of Schoolable. With considerable experience working and building solutions for the past five years in the tech ecosystem, and also help in shaping the educational sector and system in Africa using technology. She is also the founder of Life-PIN, a page targeted at matching desperately needy singles around the continent looking to tie the knot. Angela has taught in several schools to better understand the major problems that plagues this sector and is passionate about empowering women, solving problems and philanthropy and a recent Alumni of YCombinator(W19).
A strong and engaged private sector is indispensable to enabling homegrown innovation and boosting shared prosperity. That’s where financial institutions come in. For many decades, financiers have been unlocking private investment, creating markets and opportunities where they are needed most. African startups have raised a record breaking $725 million invested across 458 transactions in 2018, an increase of 300 percent from the previous year. What challenges do investors face in their efforts to enable entrepreneurs on the continent? How can entrepreneurs leverage these resources to innovate?
Stephen Ozoigbo, serial investor and advisor to multiple startups, is the CEO of the African Technology Foundation, and the Managing Partner for the Lions@frica initiative. Prior to these roles, he was the Foreign Direct Investment Manager for the Government of Catalonia, and was responsible for a diverse array of international project management and advisory services that increased investment, innovation and bilateral trade relations between Catalonia and the West Coast of the United States. Stephen previously held roles at Smith Barney and Citigroup. He has an MBA in Global Business from Pepperdine University and an Executive Diploma in Behavioral Finance and Investment for Harvard University.
Nichole Yembra is the Founder and Managing Director of The Chrysalis Company which houses Chrysalis Capital, a new $10M Africa and Diaspora Tech Investment Fund. She served as the Chief Financial Officer at Venture Garden Group (VGG) and Managing Partner at GreenHouse Capital, the VGG investment arm until February 2019. Nichole is a member of the Inaugural Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa Class and serves on the Council of 8 for the Shared Value Africa Initiative. She founded the Garden Women’s Network which promotes the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in the Nigerian tech ecosystem and GreenHouse Lab which is Nigeria’s first female founder-focused tech accelerator and the first and only “Powered by Google” accelerator in Africa. In 2017, she was named by Forbes Africa as one of the Most Promising Entrepreneurs under 30. She is an alumna of the Kenan-Flagler Business School at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a graduate from the Masters in Accounting program at Wake Forest University, and a licensed CPA.
Eric Osiakwan, Managing Partner of Chanzo Capital is an Entrepreneur and Investor with 15 years of ICT industry leadership across Africa and the world. He has worked in 32 African countries setting up ISPs, ISPAs, IXPs and high-tech startups. He Co-Founded Angel Africa List,Angel Fair Africa. He was part of the team that built the TEAMS submarine cable in East Africa and an ICT Consultant for the WorldBank, Soros Foundations, UNDP, USAID, USDoJ, USDoS as well as African governments and private firms. He authored “The KINGS of Africa’s Digital Economy”, co-authored the “Open Access Model”, adopted globally by the telecommunications industry, “Negotiating the Net” – the politics of Internet Diffusion in Africa and “The Internet in Ghana” with the Mosaic Group. He was invited to contribute ideas to Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa. Eric is a TED, Stanford, MIT and Harvard fellow.
German Cufre leads Telecom, Media and Technology investments in Africa and Latin America for IFC. He joined IFC in 2006 and has been part of the investment team focused on telecommunications infrastructure since 2008. Currently responsible for overseeing equity, mezzanine and debt investments in 85 countries across all telecom infrastructure sub-sectors including broadband, data centers, independent tower operators and traditional mobile operators. German is responsible for over US$1.8 billion worth of investments in Africa and Latin America over the last 5 years. Prior to IFC, German worked as a strategy/ turnaround consultant based in Chicago (USA), Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Buenos Aires (Argentina). German holds a BA from Universidad de San Andres (Buenos Aires, Argentina) and an MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management (Chicago, USA).
On the African continent, countries such as Rwanda have had a successful development trajectory in part because of the determined leadership that has achieved a high degree of policy strength. Rwanda aims to become a regional leader in Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI), with a particular focus on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Industry and agriculture are, as well, of great importance to policymakers. The awareness that STI is a leading enabler of economic growth is firmly established in Rwanda’s economic thinking. How might governments and policymakers play a role in enabling a thriving environment for innovation? What challenges do African governments face along the way?
Carole Kariuki holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and Sociology from the University of Nairobi and a Masters Degree in Public Administration and International Affairs from Bowling Green State University, Ohio, USA. Ms. Kariuki has a wealth of experience in leadership having worked for Barclays Bank of Kenya, Nairobi Chapel and Sagamore Institute for Public Policy Research, Indianapolis – Indiana, where she acted as a liaison between Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and the institute before formally joining KEPSA. She worked for several years at KEPSA before being appointed KEPSA CEO. Ms. Kariuki is credited for transforming KEPSA from a little known Business Institution to one of the most influential institutions in Kenya and Globally. KEPSA is the Apex body of the private sector in Kenya, galvanizing the private sector through public-private dialogue and influencing the economic and development agenda of the country and Africa.
Grant Harris is CEO of Harris Africa Partners LLC and advises companies, universities, and non-profits on working in Africa. From 2011 to 2015, Harris served as the principal advisor to President Barack Obama on sub-Saharan Africa, serving as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the White House. In this role, Harris conceived of the historic U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, which generated $37 billion in new commitments to support trade, investment, and development across Africa. Harris was the primary architect of the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa. Harris also served in the African Affairs Directorate at the White House under President Bill Clinton and, before that, in the U.S. Mission to the United Nations under Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. Harris holds a law degree from Yale Law School, a Master’s in Public Affairs from Princeton University, and a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Albert G. Zeufack, a Cameroonian national, is the World Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa. Prior to his appointment in May 2016, he was Practice Manager in the Macroeconomics and Fiscal Management Global Practice and leader of the World Bank-wide Community of Practice for the Management of Natural Resources Rents. Dr. Zeufack received his Ph.D. in economics from CERDI, the University of Clermont-Ferrand (France) where he taught before joining the World Bank. He holds a master’s degree in economic analysis and policy from the University of Yaoundé (Cameroon) and has received Executive Education from Harvard University and Stanford University. Dr. Zeufack is a member of the Technical Advisory Committee of the Natural Resource Charter at the University of Oxford, a member of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Network, and a member of the Board of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC).
Nii Sai is a business and technology leader with over 20 years of experience delivering strategic solutions as a consultant and K-12 Education leader. For the past decade, Nii Sai has been leveraging his MBA and 10+ years of Technology Consulting experience with IBM and PwC to help Aspire Public Schools fulfill its mission of “College for Certain” for underserved students. He began his career training new college graduates on core Software Development skills and coordinated the internship program for PwC’s Professional Development Center in Tampa. Nii Sai got his B.E. in Electrical Engineering from Dartmouth College and his MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Nii Sai is a soccer fanatic, plays the bass guitar, and enjoys collaborating with his recording artiste wife on music projects. He is also passionate about developing the next generation of leaders and applies this through his board service with NTLP (National Youth Leadership Program) and his engagement with MasterCard Foundation African Scholars, among others.