CEO & Founder - Thrive Agric
Ayo Arikawe is the Co-Founder & CTO of ThriveAgric LTD, a fast-growing agricultural technology company that is passionate about ensuring food security and productivity in Africa by empowering smallholder farmers through its flagship proprietary products; Agricultural Operating System (AOS).
Till date, ThriveAgric has partnered with several organizations to unlock over $150m financing for farmers; worked with over 500,000 smallholder farmers; produced and traded over 800,000 metric tonnes of grains; impacted over 2800 communities across 26 states in Nigeria and targeting 10,000,000 farmers in 2027.
Thrive Agric also directly employs over 2,500 people with an average age of 27 and indirectly engages over 40,000 youths all over Africa.
Ayo leads the market access thematic group of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG); a notable platform for public-private dialogue in Nigeria and he serves on the Advisory board of Ukhanyo Farmer Development (a non-profit organization that helps South African farmers unlock finance).
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from Covenant University and is an alumnus of YCombinator, Google Launchpad, and World Food Programme Accelerator. Recently he emerged winner of the 2022 Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) for Central Europe, Middle East Africa. In 2019, he also emerged Top 10 Jack Ma Foundation Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) and is a 2019 YTech 100 recipient from the Future Awards Africa.
His noteworthy achievements all started as a result of his flair for solving big problems and real life issues on a large scale.
Chief Executive Officer, AgroMall.
Adefemi is a graduate of Agricultural Economics and Extension from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria. His professional experience includes work with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group, British American Tobacco (BAT), and the Agricultural Development Programme (ADP). He has worked with over 1 million farmers and agricultural businesses to deploy over US$200m in areas such as extension, education, finance and private equity.
Adefemi is responsible for leading the development and implementation of The Agricultural Option; a development effort that is presenting agriculture as a viable economic option for young people in Nigeria, by supporting an evolution of Nigeria’s average agriculturist to become a young person, cultivating on up to 50 hectares of land, or its equivalent in non-crop value chains and practices, with infrastructure, equipment, and processing capacity, that earns at least 50 million Naira (US$100,000) per annum.
Dr. Julian Lampietti
Manager - Agriculture and Food Global Practice; World Bank
CEO & Founder -Decagon & L5Lab, Member; Board of Director, Unilever
Global Director, infrastructure - International Finance Corporation (IFC)
Dr. Frannie Léautier
Senior Partner & CEO - South Group Investments
Dr. Frannie Léautier, Senior Partner at SouthBridge Group and CEO of SouthBridge Investments, is a highly experienced and well-known finance and development expert, with long-standing global experience leading and transforming organisations in the private, public and non-for-profit spheres. She had an illustrious career at the World Bank Group (WBG), where during her 15-year tenure, she held senior financial positions across the Group. Frannie was Chief of Staff to the President, and served as Vice-President for seven years of her tenure at the WBG. She was Infrastructure Director and played a critical role in the strategic work around the joint World Bank/IFC infrastructure products and played a crucial role in developing the WBG’s infrastructure strategy. At the WBG, she won several awards for her outstanding support and contributions. She was Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the African Development Bank (AfDB) and chaired the AfDB Board for much of the time she was there. Dr. Léautier has held senior leadership roles at The Trade and Development Bank (TDB) Group, including Vice Chair of the Board, Special Advisor to the President before becoming TDB’s first Chief Operating Officer. She also led the Asset Management business of TDB, including the launch of a unique product for trade finance in Africa.
Dr. Léautier is known for her skills in operational management, transformational leadership, resource mobilisation, working with complex multi-constituency governance structures, and engaging with the highest levels of government. She has founded several companies. In addition to her extensive career, Dr. Léautier holds advisory and governance roles on several boards, including the UN Foundation, where she is a member of the Board and serves on the Program Committee and Nominating Committee; Orca Energy Group, a Toronto Exchange publicly listed company, where she is member of the Risk and Audit Committee and chairs the ESG Committee; chair of the board of Norsad Finance Ltd; was member of the Executive Board at AZA Finance, a cross-border payments platform; trustee at ODI; chair of the Risk and Audit Committee of CFAO; and is a member of the board of Les Eaux Minérales d’Oulmes, where she sits on the Audit and Risk Committee. She is also Chair of the Board of FSD Africa and FSD Africa Investments, and a member of the Board of World Resources Institute (WRI). She was a member of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Regional Advisory Group for Africa and has previously served as co-Chair for the Global Agenda Councils of the WEF on youth unemployment and also for Africa. In the creative industry and luxury sector, Dr. Léautier is emeritus Board Member of the Africa Culture Fund (ACF), and was on the Board of the Great Green Wall Organization Foundation. Other advisory board roles she has held include with MIT, OCP Group, African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) where she was Treasurer and chair Audit and Risk Committee, Institute for Security Studies (ISS), King Badouin Foundation US (KBFUS), and Nelson Mandela Institute for Science and Technology (NM-AIST).
She brings an experience in the insurance and banking space, having served as chair of the Audit and Risk Committee of the Board African Risk Capacity Ltd, a Bermuda regulated
Audu Maikori, Esq.
CEO & Founder - Chocolate City Group
Audu Maikori (“OWDOO MAYKORY”) is a multi-award-winning media entrepreneur, entertainment lawyer, social activist, and public speaker. He is the Founder and Executive Vice Chairman of Chocolate City Group, a company widely regarded as one of the most successful and influential entertainment companies in Africa. The Chocolate City Group is comprised of: Chocolate City Media (film, TV, and content production), Chocolate City Kenya, CCX (live music space), and the Chocolate City Music record label. The Chocolate City Music Label is one of the most successful record labels in Africa, and has been responsible for the careers of some of Africa’s biggest artists, including multiple-Grammy Nominated Femi Kuti, Ckay, M.I. Abaga, Blaqbonez, and CandyBleakz, among others.
Audu is also the Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pixel Ray Studios, a Pan-African film studio and soundstage initiative focused on establishing and expanding the creative industry and its ancillary job market in Africa and the Caribbean. Pixel Ray Studios signed an MOU in May 2022 with the National Film Authority of Ghana to establish 10 Soundstages in Ghana to position it as the predominant film production hub in West Africa.
Audu is globally recognized one of the most influential people in the African entertainment industry, particularly for his advocacy for creative industry policy development and copyright reform in Nigeria. He also chaired the Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property and E-commerce Reforms, in partnership with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group. He is founder of the Music Week Africa and Music Week Nigeria business conferences that attracted over 1,700 virtual attendees in August 2020.
In 2018, Audu joined the board of Unanimous Games, LLC (a 360 E-sports digital company based in New York) that focuses on mobile game development, E-sports activations, content creation, STEM Education, and talent management. He currently serves as the president for business development at Unanimous Games, where his portfolio includes companies like Rocnation, BET Networks, PUMA, and AfroIsland. He also works closely with the Government of Barbados on its E-sports and game development strategy.
Audu sits on several boards, including Unanimous Games( a 360 E-sports digital company based in New York ) ,Syndicate Limited (an impact investment company powered by Co Creation Hub), Recycle Points (a recycling and waste management company), Global Rights Africa, (a human rights and advocacy NGO), Esaiyo, LLC (a blockchain tech company), and Limitless Studios (a gaming and animation company).
A highly sought-after speaker, Audu has been a regular resource person at numerous global conferences and educational institutions, including the Pan African University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University, the University of Michigan, and Oxford University, among others.
CEO - The Plug Management
Andrew M. Herscowitz, Chief Development Officer – Andrew M. Herscowitz is the first Chief Development Officer (CDO) at U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). As CDO, Herscowitz leads the DFC’s efforts to pursue the most highly developmental projects in less developed countries. He reports directly to the Board of Directors, is a member of the Investment Committee, and is responsible for setting DFC’s overall development strategy in coordination with the CEO. He oversees interagency coordination on development, creates and implements metrics for evaluating the development performance of DFC’s portfolio, manages strategic relationships with private sector entities at the nexus of business and development, and serves as an ex officio member of DFC’s Development Advisory Council.
Prior to his appointment as CDO, Mr. Herscowitz was the Coordinator of the U.S. Government’s Power Africa program from 2013-2020, where he grew the initiative to become the world’s largest partnership for development with 170 partners and $56 billion in commitments. Mr. Herscowitz is a Career Minister in the Senior Foreign Service and served overseas as Mission Director, Deputy Mission Director, and Regional Legal Advisor for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in multiple countries in Latin America and the Caribbean from 2002-2013.
Upon joining USAID in 2001, Herscowitz served as the lawyer for USAID’s Office of Development Credit, which has leveraged hundreds of millions of dollars in private sector funds through its loan guarantee program—an office that now is part of the DFC. He also worked with the USAID legal team that designed the original framework for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. He began his career in international development as a consultant with Probe International.
Following graduation from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Herscowitz spent a year as a Georgetown volunteer in Nicaragua. After earning a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center, he worked for two law firms in Washington, D.C.
In 2018, Herscowitz was awarded the “Service to Americas” medal, given to the U.S. Government officials who have provided the greatest benefit to the American people. In 2005, the Federal Bar Association recognized Herscowitz as one of the five most outstanding lawyers under the age of 35 in the U.S. Government. He has been named as an “African Energy Elite,” as one of the 60 Most Influential Figures in East and West African Power and one of the Top 50 Most Influential Figures in Southern Africa Power. He also has been named as an MIT/Rockefeller “Global Commissioner for Ending Energy Poverty” and has served on three different World Economic Forum Global Future Councils since 2013.
VP, Global Marketing - Chipper Cash
Hasan joined Chipper in 2019 and currently serves as Vice President of Global Marketing, leading strategic marketing across brand and growth, and working closely with regional teams across the continent.
Prior to joining Chipper, Hasan helped build and grow high growth B2C, and B2B, technology companies, such as Voicea (acquired by Cisco 2019), Honey (acquired PayPal 2019), YourMechanic, Homejoy and TuneUp Media, as well as some not so successful(failed) startups along the way.
Hasan is generally passionate about life, but most specifically about serving and enjoying coffee, playing tennis, and hanging out with family. Currently, Hasan splits his time living and working between Los Angeles and Cape Town.
Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer - Ilara Health
CEO & Founder - Akoma Health
Melanie is co-founder of Akoma Health, which improves access to culturally conscious and high quality mental healthcare for Africans via tele-therapy. Melanie is passionate about enabling others to fulfil their potential, thus working with individuals to be there best selves and thus impactful in their communities.
Most recently, Melanie worked at Bain creating solutions for Entertainment clients, including a high-growth video gaming company and the largest global music label. Prior to this, Melanie was a Vice President level financial advisor, serving the needs of global family offices and ultra-high net worth individuals. At Goldman, Melanie served as a member of the PWM Advisory Council that seeks to narrow the gender and ethnic investing gap. She worked with Goldman Sachs both in London and New York.
Melanie received her MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and undergraduate degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from the University of York in the UK. In line with her passion for enabling others to fulfil their potential, Melanie invests in founders, mentors young black women towards financial literacy and those seeking careers in Finance. In her free time, Melanie enjoys singing, producing music, travelling and playing sports.
DR. Margaret Mutumba
CEO & Founder - Medatlas
Margaret Mutumba is passionate public health scholar and global health innovator with over 10 years of experience in maternal, child and sexual & reproductive health in Sub-Saharan Africa. Some of her work includes initiatives focused on reduction of maternal mortality, youth impacted/orphaned by the HIV epidemic, sexual & reproductive health advocacy and more recently, addressing barriers to family forming due to infertility including digital healthcare technologies.
Margaret is the CEO/co-founder of MedAtlas; a digital health start-up whose goal is to simplify access to specialist healthcare in Africa. MedAtlas has won innovation awards and aims to leverage technology advances to deliver fast, affordable, quality specialist care to the continent.
Margaret’s educational background includes a BSc Pharmacology from Kings College London, a Master of Public Health from Imperial College London and PhD Public Health Sciences from the University of Waterloo, Canada.
As an innovator and scholar-advocate, Margaret hopes her work will offer a roadmap for health institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa and other developing regions in providing affordable specialist healthcare for the millions of people who struggle to access it.
Bobby J. Pittman
CEO & Founder - Akoma Health
Bobby J. Pittman is the Managing Director of Kupanda Capital, a boutique investment platform focused on Africa. He has helped found numerous companies, including Nithio and Fraym, where he serves as Chairman. In 2018, Kupanda partnered with famed record producer Don Jazzy to create Mavin Global, a multifaceted entertainment company to promote African creatives to the world.
Bobby also currently serves as Chairman of the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD).
Previously, he was Vice President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), where he managed one of the largest portfolios in Africa, including more than $25 billion in active projects across 52 African countries.
From 2006 to 2009, he served as the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs in the White House. In that capacity, he was the President’s lead advisor on Africa issues as well as the President’s Africa Personal Representative (APR) to the G8. During his tenure, Mr. Pittman was part of a White House team which oversaw the design and execution of key initiatives such as the Africa Financial Sector Initiative, President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR), Africa Education Initiative, and Millennium Challenge Account (MCA).
Antoinette Monsio Sayeh
Deputy Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Before assuming her new role at the IMF, Antoinette Monsio Sayeh was a Distinguished Visiting
Fellow at the Center for Global Development (CGD) and Co‐Chair for the recently concluded 19th Replenishment of the International Development Association (IDA19), the World Bank’s Fund for the poorest. She previously oversaw and significantly enhanced the International Monetary Fund’s engagement with its sub‐Saharan African members as Director of the African Department between July 2008 and August 2016.
As Minister of Finance in post conflict Liberia (January 2006 through June 2008), she led the country through the clearance of its long‐standing multilateral debt arrears, the HIPC Decision Point, the Paris Club, and its first Poverty Reduction Strategy, significantly strengthening its
public finances and championing public financial management reform. Before joining President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Cabinet, Ms. Sayeh worked for the World Bank for 17 years, including as Country Director for Benin, Niger, and Togo; Senior Country Economist for Pakistan and
Afghanistan, as well as an Advisor in the Bank’s Operations Policy Vice Presidency and as Assistant to its principal Managing Director. Before joining the Bank, Ms. Sayeh worked in economic advisory positions in Liberia’s Ministries of Finance and Planning.
Ms. Sayeh graduated with a bachelor’s degree with honors in economics from Swarthmore
College and a PhD in International Economic Relations from the Fletcher School at Tufts
University. While at CGD, Ms. Sayeh has also served on the Board of Managers of Swarthmore
College; Board of Directors of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and
Development; and Board of Directors of Emerging Public Leaders.
CEO & President, United States African Development Foundation (USADF)
Travis Adkins is USADF’s 10th President and CEO. Previously, he served as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
As an international development leader, he has over two decades of experience working in governance, education, humanitarian affairs, and women’s and youth empowerment in over 50 nations throughout Africa and the Middle East. This includes serving as Staff Director of the House Subcommittee on Africa, working with leading international NGOs and think tanks, as well as within several branches of the United Nations system.
He is an alumnus of the International Affairs Fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations, a former Senior Fellow of the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and a recipient of academic appointments from Carnegie Mellon and New York Universities.
Mr. Adkins has served in numerous international election observation missions in Africa and the Middle East with the National Democratic Institute, is a regular contributor to national and international media outlets on African affairs and is a Life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He holds Master’s degrees in International Affairs and Education from The New School and Lehman College, and is a graduate of Fisk University, one of our nation’s illustrious Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
CEO at DrugStoc
Chibuzor Opara is the Co-Founder of Integra health and CEO of DrugStoc, a technology-enabled, internationally accredited pharmaceutical procurement platform that provides healthcare providers, hospitals, pharmacies, doctors, and pharmacists with access to high-quality pharmaceutical products. To improve healthcare delivery quality, the platform works to improve access, supply chain fragmentation, financing, and counterfeit drug challenges in the Sub-Saharan pharmaceutical space.
Founder and president of SALTUS LLC
Nenad Dordevic is a seasoned and resourceful investment professional and financial visionary with over twenty years of experience in law, banking, capital sourcing, and international enterprise development. His mission is to provide access to finance for small and medium-sized businesses in emerging markets through a mix of traditional and innovative financing techniques.
As the founder and president of SALTUS LLC, an investment, finance, and business advisory services company in Washington DC, Mr. Dordevic offers expert guidance to U.S.-based and international companies seeking to establish or expand foreign operations and obtain necessary funding for those purposes through various government programs, multilateral lending institutions, development banks, and private sources of capital. His focus has been on arranging financing for development projects and U.S.-based small and medium-sized companies doing business in Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, East Europe, and the Caribbean.
Mr. Dordevic also serves as President of International Operations of ImagineBC. This revolutionary new media company is spearheading a movement to make digital content experiences safe and equitable for all. With operations across the African continent, ImagineBC aims to create a New Economy that redistributes funds from Big Tech to individuals, creating a new source of income for African citizens.