Africa's Portal

TO DOING BUSINESS WITH THE

United States

Platinum Sponsor

This Virtual Summit, the first and the largest of its kind convenes thousands of c-suite executives and decision-makers at African businesses, large and small, to present to you, from the highest ranks, the ways in which the U.S. can assist in growing your businesses through trade, investment, and technical assistance.

Designed specifically to serve African business leaders, this Virtual Summit is a portal, a one stop shop, into the United States Government’s resources at the highest levels. The summit is structured as four sessions taking place in one day.

For decades, The United States Government has funded a number of agencies and platforms to support African companies to do business with both the U.S. government itself, and with the U.S. private sector.  We are pleased to bring these resources together, at one time, in one place, for African business leaders.

Platinum Sponsor

Panel 1

MODERATOR

Ms. Teresa H. Clarke

Chair and CEO of Africa.com

Teresa Clarke, Chair and CEO of Africa.com since its founding ten years ago, was the first African-American woman named managing director in the investment banking division of Goldman Sachs & Co.

Ms. Clarke, an expert on African investment, served on President Obama’s Advisory Board on Doing Business in Africa.  She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the Leadership Council of the New York Women Corporate Directors.  A frequent lecturer on the topic of African investment, she has lectured at the following business schools, among others: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Wharton, Stanford, Oxford, and Lagos Business School.

Named one of the Top 25 Women in Business, she currently serves on the board of Cim Finance in Mauritius (SEM:CIM), and chairs the board of Change Financial in Australia (ASX:CCA).

Ms. Clarke founded the Student Sponsorship Programme of South Africa, which has awarded over $20 million in scholarships to South Africa’s high performing high school students.  She chairs the US board of the Legal Resources Centre, the largest public law organization on the continent of Africa, which employs nearly 100 attorneys and staff working human and civil rights matters.  

Ms. Clarke earned an A.B. cum laude from Harvard College, an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

View From The Very Top

The Summit kicks off with keynote remarks by the highest-ranking U.S. government official responsible for relations with Africa, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, The Honorable Tibor Nagy. Then, the Chairman of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (President and CEO of GE Africa) Farid Fezoua, will deliver keynote remarks from the private sector perspective. Finally, Yvonne Ike, Managing Director and Head of Sub-Saharan Africa (ex-RSA) for Bank of America, will deliver keynote remarks from the perspective of a leading U.S. financial institution.

Speakers

The Honorable Tibor P. Nagy, Jr.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State
Bureau of African Affairs

Ambassador Nagy, a retired career Foreign Service Officer, spent 32 years in government service, including over 20 years in assignments across Africa. He served as the United States Ambassador to Ethiopia (1999-2002), United States Ambassador to Guinea (1996-1999) as well as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Nigeria (1993-1995), Cameroon (1990-1993), and Togo (1987-1990). Previous assignments include Zambia, the Seychelles, Ethiopia, and Washington, DC.

Ambassador Nagy has received numerous awards from the U.S. Department of State in recognition of his service, including commendations for helping prevent famine in Ethiopia; supporting the evacuation of Americans from Sierra Leone during a violent insurrection; supporting efforts to end the Ethiopian-Eritrean War; and managing the United States Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria during political and economic crises.

Following his retirement from the Foreign Service, Ambassador Nagy served as Vice Provost for International Affairs at Texas Tech University from 2003 – 2018. During that time he lectured nationally on Africa, foreign policy, international development, and U.S. diplomacy, in addition to serving as a regular op-ed contributor to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal newspaper on global events. He co-authored “Kiss Your Latte Goodbye: Managing Overseas Operations,” nonfiction winner of the 2014 Paris Book Festival.

Ambassador Nagy arrived in the United States in 1957 as a political refugee from Hungary; he received his B.A. from Texas Tech University and M.S.A. from George Washington University.

Farid Fezoua

Mr. Farid Fezoua

Chair of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa;

President and CEO, GE Africa

Farid Fezoua is the President & CEO, GE Africa – leading GE’s operations in Sub-Saharan Africa across all GE businesses including Healthcare, Power, Aviation, and Renewable Energy. He was appointed to this role in October 2018. 

Prior to this appointment, Farid was the President & CEO for GE Healthcare, Africa, driving GE Healthcare’s business growth while developing sustainable healthcare offerings and partnerships with public and private health providers to address the continent’s biggest health priorities. Focused on addressing the need for larger access to affordable and quality healthcare, Farid also led the development of major large-scale modernization programs and public and private sector project development for GE’s Healthcare business across Africa.

Joining GE in 2003 in France, Farid led customer financing efforts for GE Healthcare’s Middle East, Africa and Turkey Region. In 2005, Farid was appointed Regional Executive for GE Capital Markets Corporate, leading customer and project finance for all GE businesses in the Middle East and Africa, based in Dubai.

With a career spanning almost 28 years, Farid has covered various geographies including the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Eastern Europe and Russia. He has extensive experience in the financing of trade and investment flows across the Middle East, Africa and Europe, and a deep knowledge of trade and export /project finance practices together with a large portfolio of banking and institutional relations in the region. He has developed a strong track record of infrastructure project development & financing in the field of power, transportation & healthcare as well as business operations & management.

Ms. Yvonne Ike

Managing Director, Head of Sub Saharan Africa,
Bank of America

Yvonne Ike is a Managing Director and Head of Sub Saharan Africa (Ex-RSA) at Bank of America.

Since joining Bank of America in September 2014, Yvonne established the bank as a leader in providing international financial services in the Sub Saharan Africa region. Since 2015 the SSA team has executed over $20bln worth of transactions for SSA clients.

Yvonne is an Executive sponsor of BofA Inter-Generational (iGEN) Employee Network which provides a platform for young talent to network, improve their broader understanding of the banking sector and navigate their career opportunities within the bank. In addition, Yvonne is a Global Ambassador for the Global Ambassadors Programme with Vital Voices. The programme provides mentoring and entrepreneurship training for women across the globe. Yvonne is also a sponsor of the Africa Recruitment Programme.

Yvonne has more than 25 years’ experience in the financial services sector, including capital markets and fixed income, derivatives and equities products. Over the course of her career, Yvonne has led senior teams in New York, Geneva, Hong Kong, Nigeria and South Africa.

Prior to joining Bank of America in September 2014, Yvonne was Chief Executive Officer at West Africa at Renaissance Capital, where she was responsible for the firm’s West Africa franchise covering Investment Banking and Securities Trading. Prior to that, Yvonne worked in Investment Banking and Asset Management at JP Morgan from 1994 to 2009. She also worked as a partner at Africapital Management Limited from 2009 to 2011. Yvonne started her career as an auditor with Ernst and Young International.

Yvonne is a trustee of The Christopher Kolade Foundation and The Dangote Foundation. She is passionate about actively contributing to Africa’s development and is involved in several initiatives including African Gifted Foundation and Women for Women International. In 2017, Yvonne founded Adara Foundation , an NGO that focuses on women, education and entrepreneurship in Africa.

In 2020 Yvonne joined the Global Advisory Council of Oxford University Business School.

Yvonne has received many international awards including being recognized by the Queen of England as one of the top 200 business women in the UK to make a significant impact in society during 2007 and being nominated one of top 100 most powerful black leaders in the UK by Powerlist. In 2019 she was also recognised as one of the Top 100 Women CEOs in Africa.

Panel 2

MODERATOR

Dr. Witney Schneidman

Senior International Adviser for Africa at Covington & Burling LLP and Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs

Witney Schneidman has nearly 40 years of experience working across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Drawing on his experience in the State Department, the World Bank, think tanks and his own consulting practice, Dr. Schneidman, a non-lawyer, has advised energy, technology, consumer and health companies, among others, on projects in more than 30 African countries. He has also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African affairs, and on the Africa advisory committees in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and at the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

Dr. Schneidman provides strategic advice on the varied political, economic, social and regulatory issues that are critical to companies’ success in Africa. This includes issues related to Corporate Social Responsibility, compliance, market entry and risk mitigation. He played a leading role in the passage and recent reauthorization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act and was a delegate to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit co-hosted by President Obama during his visit to Kenya.

Dr. Schneidman chairs Covington’s Africa Practice Group and is a senior member of the firm’s Public Policy Practice Group, the International Strategy Group and the International Trade and Finance Group.

Dr. Schneidman has written extensively on African economic and political issues and aired his views on CBS NewsCNNNational Public Radio, the BBC and the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation, among other media outlets. He is also a Non-Resident Fellow at the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution.

Hear It From The Agency Heads

A panel discussion featuring the Chief Operating Officer of Prosper Africa, a new U.S. government initiative that brings together the resources of over 17 U.S. Government agencies to connect U.S. and African businesses with new buyers, suppliers, and investment opportunities. Joining this panel are the ‘Africa heads’ of some of the key U.S. Government agencies that do business with Africa, including the International Development Finance Corporation (formerly OPIC); The Export/Import Bank; USAID; and the U.S. Africa Development Foundation.

Speakers

Ms. Victoria Whitney

Chief Operating Officer
Prosper Africa

Victoria Whitney is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the U.S. Government Prosper Africa Initiative. In close coordination with the White House, she leads the interagency Prosper Africa Executive Secretariat, charged with coordinating the tools and resources of seventeen agencies to maximize the impact of U.S. Government efforts to mobilize private capital, improve business climates, and accelerate shared economic growth across the United States and Africa. Most recently, Ms. Whitney served as the Senior Director for Global Strategy and Communications at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) where she advised executive leadership on strategic planning, communications, and the alignment of resources across priority objectives.

Prior to her government service, she led marketing and communications strategies for high-profile B2B and B2C clients at Splash, a leading event-marketing software company. She also oversaw enterprise business development. Ms. Whitney began her career as a news producer with ABC, CBS, and Al Jazeera America in New York. Ms. Whitney earned her degree from Sarah Lawrence College and has lived and studied abroad in West Africa and the Lake Victoria Basin.

Mr. Ramsey Day

Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Africa, USAID

Ramsey Day serves as the Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Africa. Prior to joining USAID in January 2018, Mr. Day was the Senior Director for the Center for Global Impact at the International Republican Institute (IRI) where he led the Institute’s project design, strategic planning, and monitoring and evaluation efforts. He also worked in Amman, Jordan as the IRI Country Director from 2014 to 2017 leading programs in public opinion research, good governance, and political party building.

Mr. Day has held numerous positions within the international development and foreign policy communities both in the United States and various overseas posts. He served as the Country Representative for USAID in Montenegro and at the USAID headquarters in Washington within the Legislative and Public Affairs Bureau (LPA) as the Chief of Public Liaison where he led the Agency’s public outreach efforts. He was also the Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor for the USAID Europe and Eurasia Bureau advising the Assistant Administrator and other senior officials on development policy, strategic communications, and legislative issues.

Mr. Day has worked on several national domestic campaigns and has represented the White House on official delegations of the President and the Vice President of the United States to over 20 countries. Prior to government service, he worked in marketing for multi-media companies in both Atlanta, Georgia and New York.   

Mr. Day holds a B.A. from the University of Mississippi and a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) focusing on International/Global Affairs from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Mr. Worku Gachou

Managing Director for Africa U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC)

Worku Gachou is the Managing Director for Africa at U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), America’s development bank. As a Managing Director, Mr. Gachou serves as a key adviser to the agency’s Chief Executive Officer, providing guidance and leadership on policy and transactional matters in Sub-Saharan Africa.  DFC’s current Africa portfolio consists of $5.3 billion in 145 projects across the continent.

He previously served in the same capacity at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) before its transformation to DFC.

Before joining the agency, Mr. Gachou was a policy advisor in Covington & Burling LLP’s Public Policy and Government Affairs practice, where he provided strategic political and economic consulting, risk management, and other advisory services for corporate clients.

Prior to joining Covington, Mr. Gachou led the Africa portfolio for the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the U.S. House of Representatives. In this role, he was responsible for the drafting and enactment of several landmark pieces of legislation impacting the continent, including the Electrify Africa Act, the END Wildlife Trafficking Act, and the reauthorization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

Mr. C.D. Glin

Mr. C.D. Glin

President of the U.S. African Development Foundation

C.D. Glin is the President and CEO of the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF), a catalytic, grant making, local capacity development organization established by the U.S. Congress to support and invest in African designed and community-led programs, promote inclusive economic growth and create pathways to shared prosperity for underserved, marginalized, poor and vulnerable populations. Glin annually oversees approximately $115 million in philanthropic and social impact investments in more than 1200 civil society nonprofits, grassroots organization and small and medium-sized enterprises in 20 country offices in fragile states throughout Africa’s Horn, Sahel and Great Lakes regions. He leads strategic, programmatic and financial operations to address some of the biggest humanitarian assistance, global development, and peace and security challenges e.g. food insecurity, energy poverty, and unemployment, particularly among women and youth. Additionally, Glin champions the Foundation’s strategic partnerships and collaborations with non-profit, philanthropic, and private sector organizations, as well as academic institutions, foreign governments and Executive Branch agencies. 

Prior to leading USADF, from 2011-2016, Glin was based in Nairobi, Kenya and served as Associate Director with the Rockefeller Foundation. His responsibilities include shaping and scaling innovative solutions in promotion of the Foundation’s dual goals of building resilience and promoting inclusive economies. Glin contributed to several initiatives including Harnessing the Power of Impact Investing, Climate-Smart Rural Development, Digital Jobs Africa, 100 Resilient Cities and led YieldWise, a $130 million effort to improve incomes and to create jobs for smallholder farmers by reducing post-harvest crop loss and promoting sustainable sourcing in African agriculture value chains. 

From 2009-2011, he was a White House appointee serving as the Peace Corps’ first Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Global Partnerships. Glin established the Office of Strategic Partnerships, directed inter-agency stakeholder engagements, thought leadership initiatives and internal and external communications, as well as relationship management efforts to maximize the Peace Corps’ $400 million budget, 79 countries and 9,000 volunteer’s contribution to U.S. Foreign Assistance priorities and presidential initiatives e.g. Feed the Future, Power Africa, and the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). 

Previously, as Vice President for Business Development with PYXERA Global, a global non-profit with the mission to reinvent how public, private, and social interests engage to solve global challenges, Glin established local content, skill-based volunteering, business advisory, employee engagement and corporate social responsibility programs for Fortune 100 companies throughout Africa, Central Asia, Europe and the Americas. Earlier in his career he consulted for the State Department, USAID and the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation while living in Ghana and Northern Nigeria. 

Glin served as a volunteer in the first Peace Corps South Africa group, during the Presidency of Nelson Mandela. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Howard University; a Master’s level post-graduate diploma in Strategy and Innovation from University of Oxford’s Said Business School and completed the Venture Capital Executive Program at UC Berkeley. Glin is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the Board of Directors of Root Capital, a non-profit social investment fund operating in poor rural areas of Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. He is a past member of World Economic Forum’s Transformation Leaders Network and past participant in the Aspen Executive Seminar on Leadership, Values, and the Good Society. In 2011, Glin was designated by the White House as a “Champion of Change” for his commitment and contributions to international service and civic participation.

Mr. Bradley McKinney

Vice President, Economic Security and Operations, Program on China and Transformational Exports Export-Import Bank of the United States

Bradley McKinney serves as Vice President for Economic Security and Operations with the Program on  China and Transformational Exports at the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM). In this role,  he undertakes efforts to advance the United States’ comparative leadership in the world by engaging and building relationships with external stakeholders and foreign counterparts; generating and maintaining a robust pipeline of prospective Program-related deals; supporting EXIM’s collaboration and  building consensus with interagency partners, including the DC Central Deal Team; and managing  Program operations, including budget and policy issues. 

Prior to EXIM, Bradley served as Chief of Staff of the International Trade Administration (ITA) at the U.S.  Department of Commerce. In this capacity, he served as the principal advisor to the Under Secretary for  International Trade, providing counsel on management, strategic policy initiatives, and support in  administering overall operations of the bureau. He initially joined the Administration in September 2018  as Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets and Director General of the  U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service.  

Before joining the Trump Administration, Bradley was a food and agriculture policy consultant at  Michael Torrey Associates and Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting. Earlier in is his career, he spent time  with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, and as a senior aide to then-U.S.  Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana. 

Bradley is a native of Fishers, Indiana. He has a B.S. and M.S. in Agricultural Economics from Purdue  University, and an M.B.A. from the Kelly School of Business at Indiana University. He and his wife,  Kristie, have two sons, Fisher and Christian.

Panel 3

MODERATOR

Mr. Hubert Danso

Chief Executive Officer and Chairman,
Africa Investor, AI Group

Hubert Danso, CEO and Chairman: Africa investor (Ai), Chairman, AUDA Continental Business Network (CBN), Chairman: AiSWPFF

Hubert is the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Africa investor (Ai) Group – a pan African Infrastructure Investment Holding Company for institutional investors. He also serves as the Chairman of the CFA New York Society Global Asset Owners’ Advisory Council, the Chairman of the African Sovereign Wealth & Pension Fund Leaders Forum and is the current Chair of The African Union Development Agency’s (AUDA) Heads of State Continental Business Network (CBN). Hubert Leads Ai’s Pension and Sovereign Wealth Infrastructure Co-Investment Platform and also advises institutional investors, governments and development finance institutions on major infrastructure and private equity investments in Africa. Danso was instrumental in establishing the NEPAD-AU 5% Agenda Infrastructure Investment Initiative, for Pension and Sovereign Wealth Fund infrastructure investors. Hubert holds an LLB in Business Law and an LLM Masters in International Commercial Law from the University of Sussex in England.

Hear It From African Business Heads

The third portion of the summit is a panel of very senior African business leaders who have done business with the U.S., who will provide their perspectives on their experiences, and guidance to those who seek to follow their footsteps.

Speakers

Iyinoluwa Samuel Aboyeji

Mr. Iyinoluwa Aboyeji

Founder of Andela & Future Africa; Founder and Former Managing Director of Flutterwave

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji is an entrepreneur in the public interest. He is passionate about partnering with missionary talent and capital to build an African future. He spent the last few years as the CEO of Flutterwave, a business building payments technology and infrastructure to connect Africa to the global economy. Over those years, he led the company to become one of the fastest growing payments technology businesses of all-time processing over $2 billion across over 50 million transaction with annual revenues of millions of dollars a year. It also attracted significant investment from experienced players in the global payments arena such as Y Combinator (investors in Stripe), Greycroft (investors in Braintree), Greenvisor Capital (Led by the Former CEO of Visa), Mastercard amongst others.

Prior to helping to co-found and lead Flutterwave, Iyinoluwa co-founded Andela – Africa’s largest engineering organization with over 1000 software engineers which has received investment from Mark Zuckerberg and Google Ventures amongst others.

Iyinoluwa holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Studies from the University of Waterloo; and sits on the board of several institutions including Paris’ Share Africa Project, Rainbow Educational Services Limited and Filmo Realty. He served as the Deputy Director General for Madam Oby Ezekwesili’s 2019 Presidential Campaign, he is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, a Forbes 30 under 30 honoree and a member of Nigeria’s Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council.

Ms. Naa-Sakle Akuete

Founder and CEO
Eu'Genia Shea

Naa-Sakle Akuete is the Founder and CEO of Eu’Genia Shea, an all natural shea based moisturizing line. Naa-Sakle graduated from Wellesley College in 2008, before spending the financial crisis at Lehman Brothers and Barclays Capital. She graduated from Harvard Business School in 2014 and began Eu’Genia Shea soon afterwards. www.eugeniashea.org

Bolaji Balogun

Mr. Bolaji Balogun

Chief Executive Officer, Chapel Hill Denham and Chief Investment Officer, Nigeria Infrastructure Debt Fund

Bolaji is Chief Executive Officer of Chapel Hill Denham and Chief Investment Officer of the Nigeria Infrastructure Debt Fund. Bolaji has thirty-one years of experience in investment banking, investment management and mobile telecommunications. Chapel Hill Denham is Nigeria’s leading investment bank and leading alternatives investment manager with funds in Infrastructure, Real Estate and SMEs. 

He spent over ten years with the FCMB Group, in investment banking and securities trading, leaving in January 2001. From April 1993 to January 2001, he was Executive Director/Chief Operating Officer at CSL Stockbrokers Limited. Bolaji was Executive Director at FCMB Capital Markets from January 1996. He left FCMB Capital Markets in January 2001, to be a co-founder and Director of Econet Wireless Nigeria, now Airtel Nigeria. Bolaji led the capital raising and license bid auction for Econet Wireless Nigeria’s USD285 million GSM license. He was Chief Business Development & Strategy Officer and was appointed Chief Marketing Officer in October 2001. The US1.67 billion sale of Econet Wireless to Celtel in 2005, remains Nigeria’s single largest successfully exited private investment. Bolaji left mobile telecommunications and returned to investment banking, when he founded Chapel Hill in 2005.

Bolaji is Co-Chair of the Private Sector Advisory Group on the SDGs, Vice Chairman of Endeavor Nigeria and a Director of Trustfund Pensions, one of Nigeria’s largest pension Fund Managers. He was former Chairman of Lafarge Africa Plc, Nahco FTZ Limited, a former Director of Nahco Aviance Plc and NASD Plc. He was appointed to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Africa Advisory Board in September 2009. Bolaji is an Economics (Honours) graduate of the London School of Economics, University of London.

Mr. Kuseni Dlamini

Chairman of the Board
South Africa's Massmart Holdings Ltd.

Kuseni Dlamini is the Chairman of JSE-listed Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd, the leading pharmaceutical manufacturer in the southern hemisphere with operations in over 50 countries. He recently joined the board of The American Chamber of Commerce in SA. Kuseni is the former CEO of Old Mutual South Africa and Emerging Markets. Prior to this he was the Head of Anglo American South Africa and a member of the Executive Committee of Anglo American in London and was Director of Anglo Platinum.

He is also the former Executive Chairman of Richards Bay Coal Terminal Company (RBCT) Ltd and a former Chairman of Anglo Operations (Pty) Ltd. As part of his career in mining he held a number of senior positions at Anglo Gold Ashanti and De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd in South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Kuseni is a graduate of the Universities of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, and Oxford where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

In March 2008, he was named a ‘Young Global Leader (YGL)’ by the World Economic Forum and, during the same month, Miningx selected him as one of the top 100 most influential people in South African mining. In June 2008, the Mail & Guardian named him as one of the top 200 young people worth taking to lunch and in the same year and month, The Economist referred to him as “A Rare Commodity’. In 2010, the World Economic Forum appointed him a member of the Global Agenda Council on Economic Growth and Poverty Alleviation. In 2011, he was appointed co-Chairman of the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa Summit which brings together Heads of States, leading politicians and business leaders to debate the state of Africa in a changing world on an annual basis.
Kuseni is active in professional bodies and charities which include the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), Common Purpose and the Advisory Board of GIBS Business School. He is also a member of the Council of the University of Pretoria and former Chairman of the Board of South African National Parks (SANParks).

Ms. Ndidi Nwuneli

Managing Partner, Sahel Consulting: Agriculture & Nutrition; Co-founder, AACE Foods; Founder, LEAP Africa

Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli is an expert on African agriculture and nutrition, philanthropy, and social innovation. She has over 25 years of international development experience and is a recognized serial entrepreneur, author, public speaker, and consultant.

Through her work in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, she has led the design and execution of high-impact initiatives focused on policy, strategy, organizational design, ecosystem solutions, and growth.

Ndidi Nwuneli is the Managing Partner of Sahel Consulting Agriculture & Nutrition Ltd., which works across West Africa shaping agricultural policy, creating catalytic ventures, and implementing ecosystem solutions.

She is also the co-founder of AACE Foods, which sources from over 10,000 farmers and produces a range of packaged spices, seasonings, and cereals for local and international markets.

She is the founder of LEAP Africa which inspires, empowers, and equips a new cadre of principled, disciplined, and dynamic young leaders in Africa. She is the chair of Nourishingafrica.com, envisioned as a home for a million entrepreneurs in the African food and agriculture landscape.

Ndidi started her career as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, working in their Chicago, New York and Johannesburg Offices. She holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree with honors from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She was a Senior Fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government at the Harvard Kennedy School and an Aspen Institute New Voices Fellow.

Ndidi was recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and received a National Honor from the Nigerian Government.

Ndidi serves on the boards of the Rockefeller Foundation, AGRA, Nigerian Breweries Plc. (Heineken), Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. India, Fairfax Africa Holdings Canada, BusinessDay Newspapers, Royal DSM Sustainability Board, Netherlands, and the African Philanthropy Forum.

Ndidi is the author of “Social Innovation in Africa: A Practical Guide for Scaling Impact,” published by Routledge. Her new book titled “Food Entrepreneurs in Africa: Scaling Resilient Agriculture Businesses,” will be published by Routledge in 2020. She is a TED Global speaker and her work has been featured on CNN, BBC and a range of international and local media outlets.

Mr. Admassu Tadesse

President and Chief Executive
Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank

Admassu Tadesse is an international banker specialized in trade and development finance, with experience at board and executive-levels globally and in Africa. 

He is currently the President and Chief Executive of the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (TDB) – formerly the PTA Bank. Since he joined the Bank in 2012, Mr. Tadesse has launched new business operations and spearheaded critical reforms which have led TDB to transform its ownership and risk management structures, expand its partnership network, grow its assets from US$ 1 billion to over US$ 6 billion, and drive higher impact in the 22 Member States it serves. 

Specialized in trade and project finance, TDB covers 22 Member States from Egypt, to Mozambique and Eswatini. It has 39 shareholders, both sovereigns and financial institutions, including the AfDB, BADEA, Denmark’s IFU, People’s Bank of China, OFID of OPEC, as well as several pension funds, and insurance companies.

Over the past 7 years, the Bank has enjoyed several rating upgrades, and its capital and funding have multiplied several-fold, alongside its shareholder base and portfolio size. The Bank is now investment grade-rated and one of the leading financial institutions in the region.

Previously, Mr. Tadesse was Executive Vice President at the Development Bank of Southern Africa, where he served for over 10 years, and among other portfolios, was responsible for international finance and corporate strategy. He has also worked as a senior advisor and specialist with various funds and international organizations, including in New York.

He is a recipient of several distinctions and awards, and serves on several boards and industry bodies globally. Just recently, Mr. Tadesse has been recognized for his achievements at the prestigious African Banker Awards in June 2019, where he won the ‘African Banker of the Year’ award. Mr. Tadesse holds an MSc from the London School of Economics, and an MBA from Wits Business School. He is also an alumnus of Harvard Business School and Western University.

Panel 4

MODERATOR

Ms. Zain Verjee

Journalist, Former CNN Anchor & Correspondent, and Communications Entrepreneur

Zain Verjee is one of the world’s most respected and recognized journalists, with an action-packed background and experience as a storyteller, entrepreneur, communicator, and interviewer. She is well known as a former CNN anchor and correspondent, and has made a successful transition into the world of communications and creative entrepreneurship.
 
Her communications firm, Zain Verjee Group, has worked with a deep lineup of organizations and entities such as Bloomberg Media, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Pfizer Inc., Equity Group Foundation of Kenya, World Health Organization, GE Africa, OCP, The Aga Khan Development Network, The MiSK Foundation, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa on their communications and public relations delivery and strategies via advisory, consulting, and content production. She is a highly sought after facilitator and interviewer, and has spoken on platforms such as TED and Africa House.  She is a senior fellow (non resident) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Africa Program.  She is a guest opinion columnist on African issues for The National,  UAE. 
 
Zain is also a startup founder and content creator, co-founding aKoma Media, a continental network of workspaces for Africa’s creative and cultural economy, in 2015. Her other ventures in the creative space include Amplify, a content creator fellowship with participants from East/West Africa and the US, in partnership with MasterCard Foundation. In addition, with her former colleague and CNN anchor Isha Sesay, Zain launched Rouse, an immersive three day gathering event for an elite community of women in Africa and the diaspora in 2019. 
 
Zain resides in the Los Angeles area and Nairobi, Kenya, and her versatility and charisma have been a great asset for her in her post anchor life and entrepreneurial ventures.

Views From Ambassadors Country-by-Country

The fourth portion of the summit is a panel of U.S. Ambassadors to several key African countries who will speak about the resources available specifically in their markets to support African businesses.

Ambassadors

U.S. Ambassador to Angola

Hon. Nina Maria Fite

Nina Maria Fite was appointed as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Angola on November 20, 2017.

A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Ms. Fite was most recently the U.S. Consul General in Montreal, Canada from September 2014 to August 2017. She also served as U.S. Consul General in Lahore, Pakistan from September 2011 to May 2014.

Ms. Fite’s previous assignments include serving as the Deputy Economic Counselor in Kabul, Afghanistan; the Political/Economic Section Chief in Luanda, Angola; with the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office; as Regional and Bilateral Environment, Science and Health Officer in Budapest, Hungary; and as the Director of the Policy Planning Office in the State Department’s Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science. She also served in Lisbon, Portugal and Kingston, Jamaica.

A native Pennsylvanian, Ambassador Fite completed a Bachelor of Architecture at Carnegie-Mellon University and holds a Master’s in International Management from Thunderbird – The American Graduate School of International Management and a Master’s of Science in National Resource Strategy (Distinguished Graduate) at the National Defense University’s Eisenhower School in June 2011. She speaks Portuguese, French, Hungarian and Spanish.

U.S. Ambassador to Ghana

Hon. Stephanie S. Sullivan

Stephanie S. Sullivan, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Career Minister, was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Ghana on November 30, 2018.   She presented her credentials to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on January 23, 2019. Ambassador Sullivan was nominated by President Donald Trump on July 9, 2018 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on September 6, 2018.

She formerly served as Ambassador to the Republic of Congo (2013-2017). 

Most recently, she was the Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, after having been Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central African Affairs and Security Affairs since January 2017. 

Ambassador Sullivan was Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources from 2011-2013.  She was previously Managing Director of the Office of Management Policy, Rightsizing, and Innovation.  She served multiple tours in the Executive Secretariat Operations Center, the State Department’s 24/7 briefing and crisis management center, as Director (2008-2010); Deputy Director (2003-2005); Senior Watch Officer (2002-2003); and Watch Officer (1988-89); and in the White House Situation Room (1989-90).   

Ms. Sullivan served as the Political Chief in Accra, Ghana (1997-2001) and as a management, consular, and political officer in Douala and Yaoundé, Cameroon (1986-1988). Other Washington assignments include desk officer for Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso in the Bureau of African Affairs (1991-93) as well as post management and human resources positions supporting colleagues in Africa, Europe, and the Western Hemisphere. 

Ms. Sullivan was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Democratic Republic of Congo (1980-1983) and later worked as Chief of Operations for the Africa Region at Peace Corps (1994-96). 

Ambassador Sullivan graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Classics and from the National War College with a Master of Science in National Security Strategy. She speaks French, Lingala, and some Spanish.

U.S. Ambassador to Kenya

Hon. Kyle McCarter

Kyle McCarter was nominated by President Trump to be the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya and was confirmed on January 2, 2019.

Prior to his Nairobi assignment, Ambassador McCarter was a manufacturing entrepreneur in Lebanon, Illinois. He served eight years on the St. Clair County Board and six years on the O’Fallon Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, including two years as President and four years as Chairman of the Economic Development Committee. He was a State Senator in the Illinois General Assembly from 2009-2019. He has a B.S. in Accounting from Oral Roberts University.

Ambassador McCarter is married and has two children.

U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria

Hon. Mary Beth Leonard

Ambassador Leonard is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor.  From 2016-2019, Ambassador Leonard was the Representative of the United States of America to the African Union, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, serving concurrently as U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).  She was previously the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Mali from 2011-2014.  Her service in Mali was recognized with the Department’s Diplomacy for Human Rights Award in 2013, an honor that annually recognizes a U.S. Chief of Mission who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to defending human rights and advancing democratic principles in his or her host country.

She served as the State Department’s Senior Faculty Advisor at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, following a year as the Department’s Diplomat in Residence for New England, based at Tufts University.  Ambassador Leonard was the Director for West African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State from 2009-2011, and Deputy Chief of Mission in Bamako, Mali from 2006-2009.

After joining the State Department in 1988, Ambassador Leonard served overseas as an economic and consular officer in Yaoundé, Cameroon; Windhoek, Namibia; and Lomé, Togo.  She also worked in the Department’s Operations Center and in its Office of Central African Affairs.  She served as political and economic officer in Cape Town, South Africa and thereafter as Deputy Chief of Mission in Paramaribo, Suriname.

Ambassador Leonard, a native of Massachusetts, graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. from Boston University, with a major in economics and a minor in French.  In 1988, she earned a master’s degree in international relations, with an emphasis on African studies, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.  In 2004, she received a Master of Security and Strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College, with distinction.  She speaks French, Spanish, Afrikaans, and Dutch.

U.S. Ambassador to South Africa

Hon. Lana J. Marks

Ambassador Lana Marks was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa on October 4.  Prior to her appointment, Ambassador Marks served as the Chief Executive Officer of the LANA MARKS fashion brand, which she founded in 1987.  Over the course of 30 years, she developed the label into an international brand, opening stores and boutiques across the world.  Ambassador Marks is a member of the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America.  In 2001, she was one of 50 American CEOs – and the sole fashion representative – invited to the White House for the Women Business Leaders’ Forum.

A longtime advocate of women’s empowerment, Ambassador Marks has served on Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government’s Women’s Leadership Board and as a distinguished speaker at Georgetown University’s Women’s Leadership Initiative.  She represented the United States twice for the Women Business Leadership Summit in Helsinki and is a supporting member of the Council of Women World Leaders.  In 2002, the Star Group selected her as one of 40 businesswomen to be honored as a leading woman entrepreneur of the world.  Ambassador Marks has joined forces with dozens of charities, with a focus on advancing breast cancer research and supporting underprivileged children and the arts.

Ambassador Marks was born in East London, South Africa, where she learned isiXhosa and Afrikaans and attended the University of the Witwatersrand.  A former competitive tennis player, she is married with two children and is the proud grandmother of three grandchildren.