Speakers 2015

Wananchi Online

Njeri Rionge is a Kenyan serial entrepreneur and founder of Wananchi Online, East Africa’s first mass market Internet Service Provider (ISP) which has grown to become the region’s leading cable, broadband and internetbased phone company. Wananchi Online is currently worth over $150 million and Njeri has gone ahead to start other successful companies. In the true spirit of a persevering entrepreneur, Njeri worked her way up the business ladder from very small beginnings. In her early days, she sold yoghurt to high school kids during break times from the back of a borrowed car. She went ahead to become a hairdresser before starting a luxury goods trade shuttling between Kenya, London and Dubai. According to a BBC interview in 2012, she tried many businesses before she touched the one ‘that turned into gold’.
After her success with Wananchi Online, Njeri went ahead to found Ignite, a management consultancy firm dedicated to helping African businesses leave lasting legacies. Under her leadership, Ignite has expanded to include Ignite Lifestyle (a health care consultancy), Insite (a digital marketing firm) and Business Lounge (an incubator that provides support for Kenyan startups and foreign companies looking to enter the country). Njeri, who’s in her late 40s, shows no sign of letting up on serial entrepreneurship. She is passionate about Africa’s position as the next big economic miracle and wants to contribute to the capacity of the continent to reach its full potential. She has been featured on Forbes and the BBC.

Co-founder & CEO

My Green Space

Mike is a social commerce visionary who dreams of ways to use technology to transform rudimentary human activities. Michael is originally from Kenya and came to Canada in 2008 on a full scholarship to study at the Sauder school of business and never looked back.
Michael values sustainability and believes in the power of technology to make
​the world a better place. He has a keen eye for visual communication and product development. He is obsessed with the power of co-creation.
Currently, Michael is using his marketing prowess and startup experience to steer the vision for My Green Space: A digital garden planner and seed shop on a mission to make communities more sustainable and resilient. Mike is a full time optimist who loves nothing more than living at the intersection between people and technology.

Founder & Executive Chairman
Mandela Institute of Development Studies (MINDS)

Dr. Nkosana Moyo is a former Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of the African Development Group (AfDB) and the Founder and Executive Chairman of the Mandela Institute for Development Studies (MINDS). He is a respected keynote speaker at global fora, having spoken at the London School of Economics Africa Summit, Harvard Africa Business Conference and World Economic Forum to name but a few of his past speaking engagements. Dr. Moyo served as Co-Chair of World Economic Forum’s Africa Regional Agenda Council on the Future of Africa, where he guided the Council for a period of 3 years.

Prior to joining the the AfDB in 2008, Dr. Moyo was a Managing Partner of the Private Equity Firm Actis Capital LLP, focusing on the Africa Business. He has also served on the boards of a number of companies in the cement, sugar, finance, tourism, mining, airline and food sectors. He also served as Minister of Industry & International Trade in his native Zimbabwe.Dr. Moyo holds an MBA from the Cranfield School of Management, and a PhD in Physics from Imperial College, London.

Professional Engineer

Peter is a Mechanical Engineer at Microsoft’s Corporate Headquarters in Redmond, Washington, USA. His current role at Microsoft involves providing design management, technical direction and general mechanical engineering leadership associated with Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure. Peter is also a co-founder and Director at Chebu Pharmaceutical Ltd which has a vision to develop sustainable, cost effective and efficient medication delivery systems in Kenya. 

Mr. Wangia is a registered Professional Engineer (P.E.), holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington and an MSc in Engineering Management from the University of Kansas.

Coders4Africa Co-Founder
Analytics & Optimization

Kwame Andah is passionate about technology, entrepreneurship, Pan-Africanism, data and optimization. Hailing from the West African nation Ghana, he is a resourceful and strategic tri-lingual (French, Twi, English) professional with over  10 years in IT and marketing management, consistently energized by opportunities in overcoming promotional boundaries. A fast learner who utilizes changes in Internet marketing and new technologies to exceed company goals.

A globally educated (Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, UK, France, Malta) self-starter, Kwame has a passion for optimizing business intelligent solutions through digital analytics that move beyond what happened’ to ‘why it happened’ and what should be done. Turning analytical observations into insights, insights into recommended actions, and ultimately developing digital strategies to expand corporate profiles, products and services.

In his spare time, Kwame enjoys the outdoors with his 13 year old son and working in the recording studio with his wife who is a Congolese singer/songwriter.

Golden Palm Investments

Sangu Delle is a Ghanaian entrepreneur, author, clean water activist, Soros Fellow and TEDGlobal Fellow. Sangu is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Golden Palm Investments (GPI); an investment holding and advisory company focused on building world class companies in Africa. GPI operates companies in high growth industries and funds promising start-ups that can have social impact and generate jobs.
GPI has backed startups such as SOLO Mobile in Nigeria, mPharma in Ghana and Stawi Foods in Kenya. Sangu is the co-founder of cleanacwa, which is a nonprofit working in underdeveloped communities in Ghana to make sure that water and sanitation, basic human rights, are provided. Sangu earned his Bachelors Degree in Economics and African Studies at Harvard University, and returned to his Alma Mater to complete the Juris Doctor (JD)/MBA Programs at the Harvard Law and Business Schools.

Mr Ganda is an Africa focused Investor and Advisor. He is a Director at Greylock Capital Management in New York City where he manages a portfolio of corporate, sovereign and restructuring of African securities.
He received his MBA from the Fuqua School of Business. He has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Villanova University.

He is an African Adviser, Strategist and  Investor. Investments and transactions covered span Telecommunications, Mining, Commodities, Infrastructure, Information Technology, Agriculture, Financial Services.

He also advises corporations interested in doing business in Africa. He provides not only an entree but strategy, constant advice, analysis as well as access to key decision makers in Africa.

Project Manager

Dalberg Global Development Advisors.

Panel topic:
“Powering Africa”

Layusa Isa-Odidi is a Project Manager in the Washington DC office of Dalberg Global Development Advisors. In her career as a consultant, she has advised Fortune 100 companies, governments, and NGOs.

In particular, she has focused on power and infrastructure, global health, and repositioning consumer goods for the base of the pyramid. Before joining Dalberg, Layusa worked with McKinsey & Company as an Associate in Lagos and the Boston Consulting Group in Boston advising private sector and government clients. She also worked as an aide to the former Nigerian Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, advising on SME policy and establishing the nation’s Committee for Private Equity and Venture Capital Development.

Layusa holds a Master’s in Public Administration in International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School, a Master’s in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School, and a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University. She has authored two academic theses, one on how to translate human right  theory into practice during her undergraduate studies and another on corruption in the provision of utilities to Nigerian SMEs during her graduate studies. Layusa enjoys hiking, traveling, and learning the dances of the countries she visits.

Mobola is an experienced private equity professional, having spent the last eight years with Alitheia Capital building a portfolio of impact funds and investments. Her career spans private equity, management consulting and financial advisory in West and Southern Africa, and the United States. Alitheia Capital is a Nigeria based investment and advisory firm focused on channeling private equity investments into small and growing businesses.

Mobola’s previous roles include portfolio management for the UNDP in Botswana where she was involved in managing the country offices’ $4mn Energy and Environment portfolio; strategy consulting at Accenture Nigeria where she worked with several leading financial institutions; business valuation and financial advisory with Howard Frazier Barker Elliott, and strategic financial management with Nextel Communications, both in Houston, Texas.

Mobola holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance from the University of Houston, Texas; and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She sits on a number of advisory boards, and is also a Certified Public Accountant.

Dr Trevor Heaver is a Sauder Professor Emeritus and he specializes on transportation economics and logistics. Being passionate about efficiency and innovation in transportation and logistics, as part of his work, Heaver introduced courses on international shipping and logistics to the University of British Columbia in the 1960s and has conducted extensive research on the railway industry and transport policy as well as shipping and logistics.

Heaver is widely recognized in the field of transport economics and logistics. He was a founding member of the World Conference on Transport Research and of the International Association of Maritime Economists. Having represented UBC as chairman and president of the two bodies, he helped elevate the global stature of UBC and Vancouver in the field. He was elected a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, and although retired he has undertaken teaching and research assignments in Australia, South Africa, and Europe. Heaver has recently been awarded the prestigious 2015 Onassis Prize, recognized for excellence in his academic and research field.

Vice President
CPCS operations in the West Africa region

Philip Asante is the Vice President in charge of CPCS operations in the West Africa region. Asante is responsible for ensuring quality delivery on contracted projects and ensuring that outputs meet the expectations of a diverse range of clients. Also, he is responsible for developing new markets, clients and opportunities within the English West Africa region.

Within CPCS, Philip has also served as a Principal and Senior Consultant where he provided invaluable expertise in Project management, budget administration and quality control on multiple consultancy assignments. Asante also lead teams on feasibility studies, economic and financial valuation analyses for various transportation and energy infrastructure development projects.

Some of Asante’s notable work include the following: Research projects to develop a 25-year development master plan for the Nigerian ports, a study to determine the feasibility of developing a wholesale and retail electricity market in Kenya with the option for eligible consumers (large users) to purchase electricity directly from generators, and a review of the financial
parameters and conditions of the Zambia freight rail concession in an attempt to mediate disagreement between private rail concessionaire and the government of Zambia. Asante is passionate about Africa and consequently strives for excellence in his quest, searching to develop a robust, sustainable and efficiently functioning transportation and infrastructure system on the continent.

Faculty of Land and Food Systems

Rick Barichello is a Professor within the Food and Resource Economics Group at the University of British Columbia and has worked at UBC since his PhD at the University of Chicago in 1979. He was Head of the UBC Department of Agricultural Economics from 1988 to 1994, and from 2007 to 2014 was the Director of the Center for Southeast Asia Research within UBC’s Institute of Asian Research.

He has been a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Asian Research Institute, National University of Singapore, and a visiting professor at Yale, Stanford, Harvard, UCalifornia-Davis, Leuven in Belgium, and ISEAS in Singapore. He worked for the Harvard Institute for International Development in Jakarta, from 1986 to 1988, and has subsequently researched/taught in Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, China, Cambodia, Korea, and Ethiopia.

He was President of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society in 1999 and awarded the designation of Fellow of the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society, its highest honour, in 2008. His research has been on the economic analysis of public policy, particularly trade and agricultural policies and institutions, Canadian dairy and poultry quota markets, and on a variety of agricultural development issues, mostly applied to Southeast Asia. His work in development has focused mostly on trade policy, world food markets, Southeast Asia rural labour markets, and cost-benefit analysis.

Co-founder & CEO
Market Atlas

Justin Mahwikizi currently leads Market Atlas’ marketing and day-to-day operations where he was a co-founder and introduced African markets focused software-driven market research tools covering Equities, Currencies, and Macro analysis to the North American market
Justin has given keynote speeches and presentations to institutions such as The World Bank, Columbia University, Georgetown University, and Seattle based Africa Chamber of Commerce for the Pacific Northwest. Prior to Market Atlas, he spent 10 years in Investment Banking & Trading Operations with Northern Trust, UBS, RBS, The Private Bank and Trust Company, and HSBC. Justin holds a BBA in finance and international business from Temple University.

AfriCap Microfinance Investment Company

Anne-Marie has over 20 years experience in finance and private sector development throughout Africa.
In 1993 she joined the Finance and Private Sector Development Department of the World Bank in Washington DC where she led numerous financial sector and SME strategy assignments, and provided financial advising. In 2001 she began to work for FinMark Trust SA, whose mandate is making financial markets work for the poor in Africa. She become chair of the Board of AfriCap Microfinance Investment Company, a Pan African equity fund for microfinance in 2006 and oversaw its recapitalisation from a $13 million dollar fund to a $42 million investment company in 2007. She became the CEO of AfriCap in 2011 with a mandate to create value in the portfolio and conclude exits of the investments by the end of 2013. Since 2010, Ms Chidzero is a member of the Investment Committee and the Advisory Committee of the USD257 million Africa Enterprise Challenge fund, a grant facility that finances private businesses innovating in agribusiness, rural finance and renewable energy across the African continent.

She is also the Chair of New Faces New Voices, a pan-African network of Women in Finance, set up under the patronage of Mrs Graca Machel, and past Chair of the Centre for Financial Regulation and Inclusion, Cenfri, based at University of Stellenbosch Business School. Currently she is the managing a USD20million financial access project in Mozambique, and has recently been appointed on: the technical assistance committee of the Fund For Agricultural Finance In Nigeria; the Advisory Council Making Finance Work for Africa; and Africa Advisory Council of Women’s World Banking. Ms. Chidzero obtained her MA in Economics from the University of Toronto.

Managing Director
The Lundin Foundation

Mr. Nairne has served as the Lundin Foundation’s Managing Director since 2007. He serves on the Advisory Board of several SME funds and companies in Sub-Saharan Africa and is concurrently appointed as an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia, where he teaches courses on Country and Project Risk Analysis in Developing Countries and African Political Economy.

Prior to joining the Lundin Foundation, Mr. Nairne served as Deputy Director with Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade’s Pacific Office and as Senior Political Risk Analyst at Export Development Canada. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University and a Master of Arts from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University.

Kwehnui Tawah is a gifted young African entrepreneur. Born in Takoma Park, Maryland to Cameroonian parents, Kwehnui has lived in over seven different countries on three continents.

Currently working on Wall Street as credit trader for Goldman Sachs, Kwehnui has extensive experience working as an Investment Banker. Although only 22 years in age, Kwehnui has a resume that belies his years. He is a former intern of the Blackstone Group, where we worked in their Private Equity Portfolio Operations as a Summer Analyst.

An entrepreneur passionate about Africa’s dvelopment, Kwehnui is a Co-Founder and CEO of Yakkity International, a digital marketing platform geared towards the African Market. Kwehnui maintains an avid interest in the Financial Technology and Entertainment spaces, and hopes to be a major contributor in the unveiling Africa’s growth story through improving service delivery and Investments in the Infrastructure & Technology.Kwehnui earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Statistics from the University of Chicago.

UBC Vancouver School of Economics

Francesco Trebbi is a professor at the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver School of Economics. His research interests centre around political economy and macroeconomics (with emphasis on monetary and fiscal policy). Professor Trebbi has authored numerous papers on Political Economy in Africa, with part of his research revolving around the political economy of development, especially political institutions and their design.
His research has an emphasis on the political economy of consolidated democracies, including elections and campaign finance, housing and banking regulation, and lobbying. Professor Trebbi obtained his Masters & PhD in Economics from Harvard University.

Former Associate Professor
Harvard Business School

Eric Werker is a former Associate Professor in the Business, Government, and the International Economy Unit at Harvard Business School. His research explores the political economy, macroeconomics, and business environments of emerging and frontier economies, particularly in Africa.

Professor Werker shall be moving to Vancouver this fall to teach at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business. He has written on fragile states, foreign aid, foreign investment, non-governmental organizations, conflict, and governance.

His work has been featured in the Financial Times, Washington Post, BBC, NPR, and publications across the developing world.

Outside of academia, Dr. Werker is the Country Director for the International Growth Centre’s program in Liberia. He has worked with the US Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation on foreign aid projects and with the NGO Conservation International on low-carbon development.

He serves on the Advisory Group of the Center for Global Development, is a Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for International Development, and has worked with corporations and nonprofits on their decisions and activities in emerging markets.

Dr. Werker earned his Ph.D. and AB in economics from Harvard University.

Impact Africa Trust

Isaac is the Co-founder of Impact Africa Trust, a non-profit organization focusing on identifying, qualifying and equipping youth-led projects in the areas of Agribusiness, Education and Healthcare.

He is also an education rights advocate and a Graduate of MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program who recently completed his Master’s Degree in Food and Resource Economics at the University of British Columbia. He also holds Bachelor of Science Honors Degree in Economics from the University of Zimbabwe.

Isaac is a Global Youth Ambassador for the United Nations Education First Initiative, AworldatSchool. He has been invited to speak at various local and international forums on social entrepreneurship, such as the 2015 Skoll World Forum, hosted at the University of Oxford’s Said Business School as one of the young nine social innovators from across the world.

Isaac was also nominated by the World Bank Group-International Monetary Fund (WBG-IMF) to represent Zimbabwe at the World Bank Group-International Monetary Fund (WBG-IMF) in Côte D’Ivoire.

He is deeply involved with the African Youth Movement (AYM), a pan-Africanist action-oriented social movement that strives for the development, active participation and leadership of African youth in the fight for social justice. As the diaspora representative for the AYM, he is involved in connecting and representing the movement in North America. He hopes to engage key policy makers in Africa and beyond over employment and entrepreneurship challenges which the continent faces.

Isaac believes in involving and including young people at the center of sustainable development. Before coming to UBC, Isaac worked for Youth Career Development Zimbabwe as Programs Manager where he worked with disadvantaged youth through career guidance.