CCA Snubbed Nobel Prize Laureate, Abiy Ahmed, no invitation to Washington, DC
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda will provide opening remarks and engage in a fireside chat tomorrow Tuesday 23rd June 2020, the first day of a 4-day Leaders Forum hosted by the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA)
Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) is the leading U.S. business association focused solely on connecting business interests in Africa
WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, June 22, 2020/APO Group/ –The theme of CCA’s Leaders Forum (https://bit.ly/3hNoKZD) is “Resilient U.S.-Africa Business Engagement to Drive Post COVID-19 Recovery”. Discussions will centre around the theme of resiliency in action. Areas to be explored include: The Global Financial Response in Africa; Economic and Health Innovations in Response to COVID-19; Drivers of Growth in Post-COVID and; Sustaining Regional and Bilateral Trade Post-COVID.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CCA Leaders Forum, is the first time Heads of State, senior USG officials, African government officials, private sector executives, and leaders from multilateral institutions will be convened around U.S.-Africa Business engagement.
In another first, the event is open to the public on Zoom or YouTube as well as live streamed across Africa, as the Corporate Council on Africa invites the people of the Continent to listen to what their leaders have to say in this distinguished 4 day forum.
Other Heads of State speaking at the forum this week include H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta President, Republic of Kenya, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo President, Republic of Ghana, and H.E. Filipe Nyusi President, Republic of Mozambique. The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia, is not in the list of the invited guest speakers.
Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) is the leading U.S. business association focused solely on connecting business interests in Africa. Established in 1993 to promote business and investment between the United States and the nations of Africa, CCA serves as a neutral, trusted intermediary connecting its member firms with the essential government and business leaders they need to do business and succeed in Africa. CCA uniquely represents a broad cross section of member companies from small and medium size businesses to multinationals as well as U.S. and African firms. Our members are invested in Africa’s most promising sectors including agribusiness, energy, finance, health, ICT, infrastructure, security, tourism and trade facilitation. Working closely with governments to improve Africa’s trade and investment climate CCA are committed to championing business and trade between the U.S. and Africa.
H.E. NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO-ADDO President, Republic of Ghana
Born March 29, 1944, in Swalaba, Accra, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was raised in Accra, Ghana’s capital. His father’s residence in Accra was effectively the headquarters of the country’s first political party, the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), after it was formed at Saltpond on August 4, 1947. He graduated college from the University of Ghana with a degree in Economics and went on to become a lawyer. Akufo-Addo held various political positions including General Secretary of the broad-based People’s Movement for Freedom and Justice (PMFJ) and Member of Parliament for the Abuakwa South constituency in the Eastern region of Ghana. Akufo-Addo competed in three presidential elections, the first two of which he lost by a narrow margin. In March 2014, Akufo-Addo announced his decision to seek his party’s nomination for the third time ahead of the 2016 election. He secured an unprecedented, landslide victory of 94.35% of the votes in the party’s presidential primary in October 2014, in a contest with seven competitors. He was elected President of Ghana in the December 7 elections, after obtaining 53.85% of the total valid votes cast, as announced by the Electoral Commission.
H.E. UHURU KENYATTA President, Republic of Kenya
Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta is the fourth and the current President of Kenya, in office since 9 April 2013. He previously served in the Government of Kenya as Minister for Local Government from 2001 to 2002, and he was leader of the official opposition from 2002 to 2007. Hon. Kenyatta was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade in April 2008. In the same year, he was transferred to the Treasury as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, as part of the Grand Coalition Cabinet, where he served up to January 2012. He served as the Member of Parliament for Gatundu South Constituency beginning in 2002. President Kenyatta was also the Chairman of Kenya African National Union (KANU), which was a part of the Party of National Unity (PNU). President Uhuru Kenyatta is the first son of founding President Jomo Kenyatta. Born at the dawn of Kenya’s Independence, he carried in his name, Uhuru – which means freedom. President Uhuru Kenyatta attended St Mary’s School in Nairobi and then Amherst College, Massachusetts, United States, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in politics and economics. The President has had a long and outstanding career in politics, having served in various capacities in previous administrations heading dockets.
President, Republic of Mozambique
HON. BETTY C. MAINA
Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development, Kenya
Hon. Betty C. Maina, CBS brings a wealth of experience and professional capability built over two decades of engagement with top-notch public and private sector organizations. She has more than 27 years’ experience in organizational leadership and development, with an ability to prepare and implement strategic business plans and mobilize resources for implementation, traits that place her at a strategic position to effectively lead the coordination of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development in Kenya.
Hon. Maina has served as the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, State Department for industrialization, and State Department of East African Affairs. She has also served as the Chief Executive of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers for 11 years (between June 2004–July 2015), where she not only oversaw the doubling of membership of the association, but also established seven satellite offices to compliment the services offered at the national office
Ms. Maina was behind the successful implementation of the association’s strategic plan, resource mobilization and fundraising and oversaw its revenue increase from Kshs 24 million to Kshs 400 million annually within her ten year stewardship.
DR. VERA SONGWE
Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
Vera Songwe is the UN Under-Secretary-General and 9th Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), becoming the first woman to lead the institution in its 60-year history.
As Executive Secretary, Songwe’s reforms, focusing on “ideas for a prosperous Africa”, have brought to the fore critical issues of macroeconomic stability, development finance, private sector growth, poverty and inequality, the digital transformation, trade and competitiveness.
Recently listed as one of Africa’s 50 most powerful women by Forbes, named as one of the ‘100 Most Influential Africans’ by Jeune Afrique in 2019, ‘100 Most Influential Africans’ by New African Magazine in 2017 and one of the ’25 African to watch’ by the FT in 2015, Songwe is acknowledged for her long-standing track record of providing policy advice and her wealth of experience in delivering development results for Africa. She has written extensively on development and economic issues including on debt, infrastructure development, fiscal and governance issues. She is well published and contributes to the development debate across a broad spectrum of platforms including in the Financial Times.
Prior to ECA, she held a number of senior leadership roles with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and World Bank.
DR. DONALD KABERUKA
Chairman and Managing Partner, SouthBridge Group
Donald Kaberuka is Chairman and Managing Partner, SouthBridge Emeritus President, African Development Bank (2005 – 2015) Special Envoy of the African Union on Financing the Peace Fund and COVID19 response Former Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Rwanda (1997 – 2005) A Rwandan economist and former Finance Minister, Dr. Kaberuka is the 7th President of the African Development Bank (20052015). He is credited for expanding the reach and impact of AfDB, Africa’s premier financial institution during his two terms as President.
Kaberuka is currently the African Union High Representative for Financing, the Peace Fund and COVID19 response. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of several organisations and think tanks including the Rockefeller Foundation, Center for Global Development, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, The Brookings Institution and the London School of Economics. He serves on the International Advisory Council of Standard Chartered Bank and Co-Chair of the Oxford- LSE Commission on State Fragility, Growth and Development. He was also nominated in 2017 to Chair the panel on the third External Evaluation of the International Monetary Fund. Since retiring from the African Development Bank, he is Chairman and Managing Partner of SouthBridge an investment advisory firm which he co-founded. He was elected in 2019 as Chair of the Board of The Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria.
Senior Vice President and Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, Visa
Aida Diarra joined Visa as SVP and Head of Sub-Saharan Africa at Visa in November 2018. In this capacity, she oversees Visa’s business operations in 45 countries and five offices in Sub Saharan Africa. Her focus is digitizing cash, driving wider digital acceptance, and promoting financial inclusion in the diverse markets of the region.
Aida is a recognized leader in the financial services and digital finance industries, having previously led Western Union’s Africa portfolio. She has a Master Business Administration (MBA) in International Business & Management from the University of Hartford, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from American Business School.
Group CEO, Ethiopian Airlines
Tewolde GebreMariam was appointed as Group Chief Executive Officer of Ethiopian Airlines in January 2011. He began his career at Ethiopian in 1985 as Transportation Agent and held a number of senior leadership positions in different divisions in the Airline including Ethiopian Cargo, Area Offices and Sales & Marketing.
In his role as CEO, Mr. Tewolde, has been a multiple award winner including African CEO of the Year, Best African Business Leader, The Airline Strategy Award for Regional Leadership, The Most Gender Focused CEO Award and Airline Executive of the Year Award.
Mr. Tewolde also serves as a member of the High-Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport with United Nations, Chief Executive Board member of Star Alliance, Board member of International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airlink Advisory Council. Additionally, he is an Executive Committee member of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), a member of Board of Directors of Africa Travel Association (ATA) and Board of Directors of Ethiopian Tourism Organization (ETO).
Mr. Tewolde graduated from Addis Ababa University with B.A. Degree in Economics. He earned his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Open University in the United Kingdom. He has received Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters Honoris Causa from Addis Ababa University in July 2019.
Co-Founder and CEO, Mpharma
mPharma is a technology driven vendor managed inventory and retail pharmacy operator with operations across 5 countries in Africa (Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Zambia and Zimbabwe). mPharma manages a network of over 400 pharmacies that serve millions of patients each year. mPharma also owns Haltons, Kenya’s 2nd biggest pharmacy chain.
Mr. Rockson received his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Westminster College, was a PPIA Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and a Rotary Scholar at the University of Copenhagen. He also founded the Big Brother Big Sister program in Denmark and the Six Days of Peace Project in the Middle East.
President and CEO, GE Africa
With a career spanning almost 28 years, Farid Fezoua has been leading GE Healthcare’s business growth in Africa since 2012. He has led the development of major large-scale modernization programs with public and private sector project development/partnerships across Africa.
Farid joined GE in 2003 to lead customer financing efforts for GE Healthcare’s Middle East, Africa and Turkey Region. In 2005, he was appointed Regional Executive for GE Capital Markets Corporate, leading customer and project finance for all GE businesses in the Middle East and Africa. Prior to joining GE, he held several senior positions in international banks. He started his career at BCEN-Eurobank, Paris (subsidiary of the Russian foreign trade Bank). He then went on to serve as Deputy Head of Commodity and Trade Finance at B.A.I.I. (Banque Arabe et Internationale d’Investissement, a subsidiary of BNP specialized in trade and investment in the MENA region). He was also the Assistant General Manager & Head of Correspondent Banking and Trade Finance at the Arab Banking Corporation, Paris Branch. Farid has extensive experience in the financing of trade and investment flows across the Middle East, Africa and Europe. 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.
Co-founder of IHS Towers and CEO, IHS Nigeria at IHS Towers and CEO, IHS Nigeria
Mohamad has over 20 years of experience working in the telecommunications sector and is IHS Nigeria’s Chief Executive Oﬃcer and co-founder overseeing IHS Towers’ largest market. IHS Towers owns around 30,000 towers in Africa, Latin America, and the Arabic Gulf, with more than half based in Nigeria making it the third largest multi-national tower company in the world. Mohamad has a Master of Engineering in Applied Operation Research from Cornell University, a Master of Business Administration from Rollins College, and a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from the American University of Beirut. He is also ﬂuent in both Arabic & English.
Government Affairs Director, Asia Pacifica, Africa, and the Middle East, Caterpillar
Jeffrey Hardee is Executive Director, Government & Corporate Affairs, Asia Pacific, Africa & Middle East and Singapore Country Manager for Caterpillar. His is based in Singapore.
Prior to Caterpillar, Hardee worked at Dell as Executive Director for Government Affairs Asia Pacific, the Business Software Alliance as Vice President & Regional Director Asia Pacific, and at the Motion Picture Association of America as Vice President Asia Pacific with responsibilities for Middle East as well. He began his career at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, DC, serving in the International Trade Administration in Washington, DC and later as a commercial officer at the US Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia.
He is Vice Chair of the US-ASEAN Business Council Infrastructure Committee and is a Vice Chairman of the Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC). He served on the Board of the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore 2012-2018 and as an Alternate Member for the United States on the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) from 2013 to 2015
Hardee has resided in Asia since 1989, is married and has two adult children. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Duke University and a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Texas in Austin.
Senior Partner, Johannesburg Chairman, McKinsey Africa
Dr. Acha Leke is a Senior Partner in McKinsey’s Johannesburg office and Chairman of McKinsey’s Africa practice. He started his career at McKinsey & Company as a Summer Associate in South Africa in 1998. He rejoined the Firm in Atlanta in 1999 and transferred back to Johannesburg in 2002 to help expand the Firm’s activities across Sub- Saharan Africa. Acha relocated to Lagos in 2010 to open up the Firm’s newly established office in Nigeria and returned to South Africa in 2014. He leads the Firm’s Private Equity Practice in Africa and is a member of the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) Council. Until December 2018, he led the Firm’s Public and Social Sector Practice in Africa and was also the Senior Partner in charge of Global Recruiting for McKinsey worldwide.
Acha serves governments, multinational, and private sector institutions across Africa on issues of economic development, tax administration, growth strategies, holistic transformations, and investment decisions. He has worked across over 20 African countries to date.
Prior to McKinsey, Acha worked as a part-time Consultant on novel techniques to linearize High Power Amplifiers for wireless applications, while completing a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. He also received an M.S. in Electrical Engineering and an M.S. in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management from Stanford University, as well as a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering summa cum laude, with a minor in Economics, from the Georgia Institute of Technology where he graduated as Valedictorian (first Black Valedictorian in the School’s history).
Acha is a co-founder and member of the Global Advisory Council of the African Leadership Academy, a co-educational boarding school which aims to develop the next generation of African leaders. He is also a co-founder of the African Leadership Network, a network of the current generation of African leaders who aspire to bring prosperity to the Continent. He is a World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Global Leader Alumni (2008), and has received numerous recognitions including Africa’s Young Investment Professional of the year (Africa Investor, 2008); Top 40 men under 40 in South Africa (Destiny Man, 2010); Top 10 Youngest Power Men in Africa (Forbes, 2011); 50 Most Influential Africans (Africa Report, 2012, 2019; Jeune Afrique, 2018); 100 Most Influential Africans (New African, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016; Jeune Afrique, 2019); Top 20 next generation Francophone Africans (Forbes, 2013); Top 40 under 40 in Nigeria (Business Day, 2013); Top 20 Rising Stars in Africa (Euromoney, 2014).
He served on the WEF’s Global Future Council on Economic Growth and Social Inclusion for 2 years, after having served for 8 years on the Global Agenda Council for Africa; he also served on ONE’s Africa Policy Advisory Board. He is a member the Lagos Business School Advisory Board, and of President Kagame’s African Union (AU) Reform Steering Committee. He co-authored McKinsey’s highly acclaimed series of Lions on the Move reports and the latest book Africa’s Business Revolution: How to Succeed in the World’s Next Big Growth Market. He is regularly featured in various media (CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, Economist, FT, Wall Street Journal, Jeune Afrique, Harvard Business Review, etc.).
Acha is from Cameroon, and is fluent in both English and French.
Partner and Lead of Africa and MENA practice, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
Kalidou Gadio, co-chair of Manatt’s Africa and MENA practice, leverages his more than 25 years at the African Development Bank, including eight years as its general counsel, to counsel African governments in legislative reforms, institutional capacity building, and advises sovereign corporations, private enterprises and public-private partnerships on project finance transactions, including developing local capital markets. In litigation and international arbitrations, he advises in disputes involving foreign investors in mining and oil and gas.
Kalidou is well versed in strategic and economic development projects involving energy, natural resources and infrastructure. He advises developers, construction companies, financiers and sovereign states on financing structures, risk allocation, financing arrangements, and relevant security packages and considerations, while also conducting KYC due diligence. While with the African Development Bank, Kalidou played a critical role in creating Africa50—a new investment bank for the continent of Africa with a stated capital of $3 billion.
He was instrumental in setting up the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) to provide legal services for African governments negotiating major commercial or infrastructure contracts. He also played an important role in the negotiation and implementation of the Treaty on Anti-corrupt practices in the procurement of projects financed by multilateral financial institutions. Early in his career, Kalidou practiced law at an international firm in Paris, then at another in New York.
President and CEO, Whitaker Group
Rosa Whitaker is President & CEO of The Whitaker Group (TWG), a transaction advisory, project facilitation and development firm specializing in Africa. TWG has facilitated several billion dollars in investments in Africa and now makes its own direct investments in African companies.
Serving in the administrations of Presidents William J Clinton and George W. Bush as the first ever Assistant US Trade Representative for Africa, Rosa was one of the architects of the African Growth and Opportunity Act which has been the cornerstone of US-African economic relations since its passage in 2000.
HON. ZAINAB S. AHMED
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Nigeria
Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed was appointed Minister of Finance, Budget & National Planning on August 21, 2019.
Prior to this, Mrs. Ahmed was Nigeria’s Minister of Finance from September 14, 2018 to May 29, 2019. In this position, her responsibilities included the management and control of Nigeria’s public finance, with the specific functions of preparing annual estimates of revenue and expenditure for the Federal Government. She worked closely with leadership of the Central Bank of Nigeria to coordinate the fiscal and monetary policies of the Federal Government of Nigeria. In her capacity as Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ahmed spearheaded the development and launch of the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiatives (SRGI), a cross-agency suite of interventions aimed at boosting revenues in Nigeria. She also launched Project Lighthouse, a data-driven artificial intelligence engine that supports the development of a more efficient revenue assessment methodology that analyses and provides an analytic view of revenue sources across the country, optimizes the collection of those revenues and ensures that major revenue loopholes are plugged and revenue collection is dramatically improved.
Mrs. Ahmed graduated with B.Sc. Accounting from the Prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria and studied for her MBA at the Ogun State University, Ago Iwoye, Nigeria. As a seasoned Accountant, who has served in both the Public and Private Sectors, she brings to bear, in her new role at Nigeria’s Ministry of Finance, Budget & National Planning, her considerable knowledge and experience in Financial Reporting, Public Financial Management, Budget Formulation and Execution, Public Sector Reform, Natural Resource Accountability, National Projects Management, as well as Macroeconomic, Monetary and Fiscal Policy Coordination.
Cluster Head for Sub Saharan Africa, Citi
Akin Dawodu, Managing Director, Head for Sub Saharan Africa, Citi. Since November 2019, Mr. Dawodu has led Citi’s Sub Saharan Africa business with responsibility for 12 presence and 21 non-presence markets. He concurrently serves as CEO of Citi Nigeria, a position he has held since 2015, and Cluster Head for West and Central Africa, which he was appointed to in January 2019.
Mr. Dawodu started his Citi career in 2000 as a Foreign Exchange dealer in Nigeria. After a short duration as MTN Nigeria’s first Treasurer, he returned to Citi in 2007 and became the Country Treasurer. Thereafter he held the position of Chief Operating Officer and Public Sector head. He attended the University of Lagos and holds a Master of Business Administration from Manchester Business School. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst. Mr. Dawodu represents Citi on the Board of Directors of Accion Microfinance Bank in Nigeria and was a past President of Nigeria’s Financial Markets Dealers Association.
H.E. PAUL KAGAME, President, Republic of Rwanda
CEO, Acrow Bridge
Bill Killeen is the CEO and Chairman of the Acrow Bridge, which is a leading manufacturer of prefabricated modular steel bridges based in the United States of America with its headquarters in Parsippany, NJ, a manufacturing facility in Milton, PA, warehousing in Lafayette, NJ, domestic sales offices in Golden, CO, Mobile, AL, Seattle, WA, Richmond, VA, and Canadian offices in Toronto, Ontario, Vancouver, British Columbia, Montreal, Quebec, and international offices headquartered in New York City, and sales offices in Johannesburg, South Africa, Rome, Italy, and Rydzyna, Poland. Bill’s career started at Acrow in 1977 after working in the public sector for a few years. He worked his way through the organization and became president in 1995. In 1999 Bill led a group that includes his brother Charles in the acquisition of Acrow. Today, Acrow Bridge remains privately held by 11 of its senior managers. Bill received his Bachelors degree from New Jersey Institute of Technology in 1983. He then obtained a professional engineering license in 1987 from the State of New Jersey. Bill has dedicated himself to improving prefabrication technologies because of the abundant benefits it yields for developing countries, and also for developed countries. Bill finished 6 years on the Board of Directors for the Corporate Council on Africa based in Washington, DC. In September 2016 Bill was appointed by President Obama to the Presidential Advisory Committee – Doing Business in Africa. His appointment has continued under President Trump.
President and CEO, KRL International
K. Riva Levinson is a sought-after political and business strategist solving challenges for clients across governments and continents. While global in her reach, Riva’s passion lies in Sub-Saharan Africa where she has traveled and worked for 32 years on projects ranging from political risk to election strategy. Notable achievements include advising former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first democratically elected female president, since 1997 through her two terms in office; and counselling Joyce Banda, former president of Malawi, during her period of exile.
President and CEO of Corporate Council on Africa
Senior Vice President and Head of Global Government Engagement, Visa Inc
Ambassador Demetrios Marantis serves as Senior Vice President, Global Government Engagement, leading Visa’s global government engagement team and is responsible for partnering with government officials around the world to advance policies that foster the growth of electronic payments.
Ambassador Marantis joined Visa from Square, where he led global policy, government, and regulatory affairs. Prior to joining Square in May 2013, Marantis served as Acting United States Trade Representative and Deputy United States Trade Representative. Marantis was nominated for his position by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 6, 2009. As Deputy United States Trade Representative, he was responsible for U.S. trade negotiations and enforcement in Asia and Africa, including the TransPacific Partnership (TPP), the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum, the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT), the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum, and Trade and Investment Framework Agreements with countries ranging from South Africa to the Philippines. He played a central role in the negotiation and congressional passage of the U.S.-Korea trade agreement and spearheaded conclusion in APEC of the first ever agreement to reduce tariffs on environmental goods.
Before the Obama Administration, Marantis served as Chief International Trade Counsel for the Senate Finance Committee. In this capacity, he advised then Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, as well as members and staff of the Finance Committee and Democratic Caucus, on trade and economic issues. He joined the committee in February 2005 after serving as Issues Director on the Kerry-Edwards 2004 presidential campaign. Marantis spent 2002 through 2004 in Hanoi as Chief Legal Advisor for the U.S.-Vietnam Trade Council where he provided technical assistance on international trade matters. Between 1998 and 2002, he served as Associate General Counsel in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative where he negotiated provisions of international trade agreements and represented the United States in WTO dispute settlement proceedings. He also worked for five years in the Washington, D.C. and Brussels, Belgium offices of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld.
Marantis holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and an A.B. in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University.
Secretary General, AfCFTA
Wamkele Mene was elected by the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of States & Government of the African Union, to the position of Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat.
Prior to being elected Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, he served as Chief Director: Africa Economic Relations, at the Department of Trade & Industry of South Africa. In this role, he was South Africa’s chief trade negotiator in the AfCFTA and Tripartite FTA negotiations. During his tenure as chief negotiator, South Africa ratified both the AfCFTA and Tripartite FTAs agreements, providing new export markets in fast growing and dynamic markets in East and West Africa.
Prior to assuming this position, Wamkele was Director: International Trade Law & Investment Law at the Department of Trade & Industry, a role in which he was principal legal counsel on international trade law and international investment law.
From 2010 until 2015, Wamkele represented South Africa at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland. During his posting to the WTO, Wamkele was elected by over 130 governments to the position of Chairman of the Committee on International Trade in Financial Services, a committee comprising trade negotiators, financial regulators and financial policy makers from over 160 countries.
Prior to joining the government, Wamkele worked for the law firms Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in London and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP in Hong Kong.
Wamkele has written and lectured internationally on international trade law, international investment law and international business law. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (Law) degree from Rhodes University in South Africa, a Master of Arts in International Studies & Diplomacy (with specialization in International Economics) from the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), University of London and a LL.M. (Master of Laws) in Banking Law & Financial Regulation from the Law Department of the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE).
DR. WITNEY SCHNEIDMAN
Covington & Burling, LLP
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.
CEO, OCP Africa
Mr. Karim Lotfi Senhadji is the CEO of OCP Africa (OCP subsidiary). Prior to holding this position, Mr. Senhadji spent more than 7 years at OCP in different leadership positions.
Before joining OCP, Mr. Senhadji held different managerial positions at several Moroccan and multinational companies, including Holcim Group, Altadis Maroc and Méditelecom.
Mr. Senhadji has degrees from MIT-Boston, HEC-Paris and holds an Executive MBA from ESSEC & Mannheim Business schools. He is also a graduate from the Royal Air Forces School in Marrakech where he received his diploma in aeronautic engineering and a trained pilot.
Mr Karim Lotfi Senhadji est le Président Directeur Général de OCP Africa, la filiale du Groupe OCP dédiée au continent africain. Avant OCP Africa, Mr Senhadji a occupé durant 7 ans plusieurs fonctions au sein du Groupe OCP. Antérieurement, Mr Senhadji a occupé plusieurs fonctions managériales dans différentes entreprises marocaines et multinationales dont Holcim Group, Altadis Maroc et Méditelecom.
Mr Senhadji est diplômé de MIT-Boston, HEC-Paris et dispose d’un Executive MBA des écoles de commerce ESSEC & Mannheim. Il est également diplômé de l’École Royale de l’Air de Marrakech où il a été formé comme pilote de chasse et reçu son diplôme en ingénierie aéronautique.
DR. ALBERT ZEUFACK
Chief Economist, Africa, The World Bank Group
Dr. Albert G. Zeufack 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. His main research interest is in the micro-foundations of macroeconomics.
Dr. Zeufack joined the World Bank in 1997 as a Young Professional and started his career as a research economist in the Macroeconomics Division of the Research Department. Since then, he has held several positions in Africa, East Asia and Pacific, Europe and Central Asia regions. Between 2008 and 2012, on leave from the World Bank, he was the Director of Research and Investment Strategy/Chief Economist for Khazanah Nasional Berhad, a Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Fund.
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 Advisory Board of the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI), a member of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Network, and a member of the Board of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC).
DR. JEFFREY STURCHIO
Chairman, Rabin Martin
Dr. Jeffrey L. Sturchio is Chairman of the U. S. Corporate Council on Africa and CEO at Rabin Martin, a global health strategy consulting firm. He has also served as President and CEO of the Global Health Council. Before joining the Council in 2009, Dr. Sturchio was vice president of Corporate Responsibility at Merck & Co. Inc., and president of The Merck Company Foundation.
He is also Chairman of the BroadReach Institute for Training and Education and Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, TB and Malaria, and a member of the boards of ACHAP and the Science History Institute.
Dr. Sturchio is a visiting scholar at the Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health and the Study of Business Enterprise at The Johns Hopkins University; Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; a principal of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network; Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Arthur W. Page Society; and an advisor to amfAR, the Global Health Group at the University of California San Francisco; Intrahealth International; and the Rutgers Global Health Institute. He received an AB in history from Princeton University and a PhD in the history and sociology of science from the University of Pennsylvania. His most recent book is The Road to Universal Health Coverage: Innovation, Equity, and the New Health Economy (edited with I. Kickbusch and L. Galambos, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019).
President, Trade and Development Bank
Admassu Tadesse 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 US$ 6.7 billion, and drive higher impact in the 22 Member States it serves.
Specialized in trade and corporate finance as well other areas of development finance and asset management, 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 8 years, the Bank’s capital and funding have multiplied five-fold, alongside sharp growth in its shareholder base, with assets approaching USD 7 billion. With several credit ratings upgrades, the Bank is now investment grade-rated and one of the leading financial institutions in the region.
Previously, Mr. Tadesse was EVP at the Development Bank of Southern Africa, where he served for about 10 years, and was responsible for international finance and corporate strategy among others. 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. Recently, Mr. Tadesse was recognized, as the 2019, African Banker of the Year. He holds an MSc from the London School of Economics, and an MBA from Wits Business School. He is also an alumni of Harvard Business School and Western University.
Senior Vice President, Albright Stonebridge
Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield is a Senior Vice President at ASG, where she draws on her long and distinguished career as a U.S. diplomat to help the clients of ASG’s Africa practice.
She joined ASG after serving as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (2013 – 2017). In this capacity, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield led U.S. policy toward sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on peace and security, democracy and governance, economic empowerment and investment opportunities. Prior to this appointment, she served as Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources where she oversaw all personnel functions for the U.S. Department of State’s 70,000-strong workforce.
Previously, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield served as U.S. Ambassador to Liberia (2008-2012) and held postings in Switzerland (at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations), Pakistan, Kenya, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Jamaica. Her Washington postings include the Bureau of African Affairs, where she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, and the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, where she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary. Prior to joining the U.S. Department of State, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield taught political science at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield was awarded the Hubert Humphrey Public Leadership Award, the Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award, and the Warren Christopher Award for Outstanding Achievement in Global Affairs. She has also received the Presidential Rank Award and the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award.
She earned a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, where she worked towards a PhD. She received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from the University of Wisconsin in May 2018.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield is also a Distinguished Resident Fellow in African Affairs at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service.
She is based in Washington, DC.