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For the 12th Annual Africa Innovate Conference, our theme is “The Next Frontier: Building Resilient and Strategic Leadership in Africa.” We plan to highlight the innovative approaches that companies and governments are using to propel the longterm growth and prosperity of the continent. We will assemble eight panels spanning Agriculture, Education, Entertainment, Art & Culture, Finance & Investment, Healthcare, Mobility, Real Estate, Startup and various keynote speeches to give life to the theme. Please join us!

DATE: April 14th – 15th, 2023

VENUE: E14 – 75 Amherst St. Cambridge, 02142

Keynote Speakers

Kwasi Donkor

Chief Strategy Officer, United States African Development Foundation

Kwasi Donkor joined the US African Development Foundation (USADF) as the Chief Strategy Officer in April 2020.  In this role, he is responsible for driving efforts to incorporate digitization and innovative finance across USADF’s 20+ country programs and strategic focus areas, including the energy, entrepreneurship and agriculture portfolios. Kwasi brings a wealth of knowledge gained over 20 years working in the private, non-profit and government policy sectors to address a wide range of enterprise development and socially responsible investment issues…


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Michael Joseph

Chairman, Kenya Airways

Michael Joseph is currently Chairman of Kenya Airways and Safaricom PLC board, a position he has held since 2016 and 2020, respectively. Previously, he served as the CEO of Safaricom, where he oversaw the launch of many innovative products and services and played a critical role in the success of M-PESA, the company’s mobile money transfer service. Michael is also a passionate conservationist and serves as Chairman of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. He has received many awards including the CEO of the Year Award from the Kenya Institute of Management and the Elder of the Order of the Burning Spear from the President of Kenya.


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H.E. Amb. Arikana Chihombori Quao

Founder & President, African Diaspora Development Institute (ADDI)

H.E. Arikana Chihombori Quao is the Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of ADDI. She is a medical doctor (having practiced medicine for over twenty-five years), founder and owner of medical clinics, diplomat, public speaker, educator and an entrepreneur. She is also an author and her recently published book Africa 101: The Wake-Up Call is a best seller on Amazon. Her Excellency also recently led over 200 African Diaspora from around the globe to a successful Trade Expo and Cultural Pilgrimage in Ghana in December 2021.


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Hon. Seth Terkper

Former Minister of Finance, Ghana

Seth Terkper was Ghana’s  Minister for Finance and Economic Planning from 2013 to 2017. He is presently the Executive Director of PFM Tax Africa Network and also  advises the  African Development Institute of the African Development Bank on the Institute’s strategic goal of restructuring the organization to assist governments and Pan-African organizations on its ongoing transformational trends that affect African economies. Mr. Terpkeh also served as the Chair of the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability Advisory Committee (PEFA) of the World Bank as well as Senior Economist in the Fiscal Affairs Dept. of the IMF. 


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Dr. Joe Abah

Country Director – Nigeria, Development Alternatives Incorporated

Joe Abah is currently the Director of Development Alternatives Incorporated in Nigeria. He is a development and public reforms expert, committed to driving excellence across Nigeria’s public sector. Prior to his work at DAI, he was the Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms in Nigeria. He successfully helped make driver’s licenses, tax clearance certificates and National ID numbers easy to obtain for better documentation of Nigerian citizens.


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Education Panel

Ari Jacobovits (Moderator)

Managing Director, MIT-Africa

Ari Jacobovits is the All Africa Managing Director, responsible for connecting MIT students, staff, and faculty to internships, research projects, and teaching opportunities in Africa. His background includes music, human and economic development, humanitarian affairs, and digital technologies. During his undergraduate studies, Ari developed a fascination for African studies and subsequently studied abroad at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. After working in marketing with Zipcar, he served in the United States Peace Corps – Kenya, working…


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Dr. David Moinina Senegh

Minister of Education, Sierra Leone

David Moinina Sengeh is Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education and Chief Innovation Officer in the Government of Sierra Leone. In addition, he serves as the chair of the Advisory Board of UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report, as board member of the Global Partnership for Education and member of the High-Level Steering Committee for Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education, which is the highest body in the UN related to SDG 4…


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Veda Sunassee

CEO, The African Leadership University

Veda Sunassee has spent over a decade in several roles within the African Leadership (AL) Group. He has been part of the founding teams of several entities within the group, starting at the African Leadership Academy in 2010. An educator at heart, he has helped develop and design the leadership model central to the mandate of the AL Group – to develop 2 million African leaders by 2035. Veda helped set up the African Leadership College (ALC) in Mauritius in 2015 before later serving as the Founding Dean of the African Leadership University (ALU), Rwanda, from 2017…


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Wambura Kimunyu

CEO, Eneza Education

Wambura Kimunyu is a seasoned business leader and entrepreneur with experience in publishing, fintech and digital marketplaces across sub-Saharan Africa. She is the CEO of Eneza Education, an Edtech company that provides hardware agnostic, lowtech first, digital education curricula to K-12 students in Africa. Eneza Education’s ambition is to leverage technology to build Africa’s largest classroom, with 50 million learners. Eneza Education has won several global and regional accolades including the…


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Christina Bwana

Chief Product and Operating Officer, Ubongo

Christina is a global citizen with a passion for people and a passion for the positive development of all communities and demographics globally. She has focused her career on working on global social change campaigns. She currently serves as Chief Product-and-Operating Officer at Ubongo, a pan-African NGO creating edutainment content for the African child in order to equip Africa’s next generation with the educational foundation, critical skills and positive mindsets to change their own lives and communities for the better. She is a board member of…


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Dr. Lydiah Kemunto Bosire

Founder / CEO, 8B Education Investments

Dr. Lydiah Kemunto Bosire is the Founder and CEO of 8B Education Investments, first VC-backed education loans platform for African students attending university outside the continent. 8B provides tools to enable African students to identify best-fit global universities and level up their applications, access affordable financing and connect with career support for job placement, thereby providing colleges and employers access to the world’s fastest-growing talent pool…


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View Panel Agenda

Theme: Leapfrogging education: The role of technology  


Overview: Technology, data and digitization have transformed industries in Africa, from mobile banking and fintech to retail. Education is an area ripe for disruption. It is both a grand challenge and grand opportunity to leverage digital technology to improve quality of education, increase access, re-imagine curriculum and build schools of the future. The focus of this panel is to explore the big strides that are already happening to disrupt and improve education, discuss what more is needed to accelerate these developments and what are the big roadblocks that need to be overcome.


Time and location: April 15th, 3:15 - 4:00 PM @ 75 Amherst St. (Silveman Skyline)


Lead: Dragana Marinkovic

Agriculture Panel

Joshua Reed-Diawuoh (Moderator)

Founder & CEO, Gria Foods Co.

Joshua Reed-Diawuoh is the founder of GRIA Food Co., a venture dedicated to bringing premium African snacks to consumers around the world. He is a graduate of the MIT Sloan School of Management where he focused on finance, entrepreneurship in emerging markets, and agriculture innovation; he was also a Fellow at the MIT Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship, where he founded GRIA Food Co. Joshua has a diverse range of experience as an operator and consultant, leading projects across agriculture, public health, healthcare IT, fintech, and workforce development. He currently works at Danaher within their rotational management program and serves on the Board of Roca Inc.

Philip Gasaatura

Country Director –  Rwanda, Katapult Africa VC

Philip started out his career in financial services working at ABN AMRO and Citi. He then went on to become the founder and CEO of the New Food Company based in Uganda with operations in the United Kingdom. He relocated to Rwanda and worked as Project Director at the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and eventually became the Country Director at Katapult in 2021. He received his BSc in Computer Science from Makerere University, his MSc from University of Witwatersrand and his Masters in VC Finance and Private Equity from the London Business School.

Yann Le Beux

Co-Founder & General Manager, Yux Design

Yann Le Beux is a co-founder and investor at LOOKA, an independent business unit of YUX, building a fast-growing market research Saas dedicated to African SMEs. Yann is also a co-founder and investor in KAYFO, the first Senegalese video game studio, building casual mobile games inspired by the African context. He is a former Catalyst at CTIC Dakar, a leading Startups Incubator in Senegal (+75 companies supported with a total turnover of $5 millions in 4 years). Yann has a breadth of work experience and networks within the US, West-Africa, France, UK and Germany.

Simbarashe Mhungu

Chief Operating Officer, CBZ Agro Yield

Simbarashe is the COO of CBZ Agro Yield, one of the largest agriculture financing institutions in Africa. CBZ Agro Yield is a subsidiary of listed CBZ Holdings, the largest financial services group in Zimbabwe.  Simbarashe began his career in the equities division at Goldman Sachs in New York where he advised global multi strategy hedge funds managing up to USD 2 billion in assets. In Africa, he went on to advise on several significant transactions involving fortune 500 companies in the agribusiness, telecoms, finance and FMCG sectors.  Simbarashe has been a keynote speaker at the World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington DC. He is a regular on BBC World Business News commenting on African Capital Markets and Africa – China Trade and Debt dynamics. Simbarashe sits on several boards in Africa and was educated at Howard University and London Business School.  

View Panel Agenda

Theme: Building Sustainable Agrifood Systems: A focus on climate resilience and nutrition



  1. Climate Resilience: What operational and investment adaptation strategies do we need to implement to build climate resilience into the continent's Agrifood systems?
  2. Nutrition: Africa is the only continent in the world where poverty and malnutrition are on the rise. How can we make sure Agriculture is a source of nutritious food and income, enabling families, especially women, to afford diverse foods and services, such as better healthcare?


Time and location: April 14th, 5:10 - 5:55 PM @75 Amherst St. (Silverman Skyline)


Lead: Ayodele Owopetu

Finance & Investment Panel

Dina H. Sherif (Moderator)

Executive Director, MIT Legatum Center & Senior Lecturer at MIT Sloan

Dina Sherif is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management where she also acts as Executive Director of the MIT Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship. She is also a Founding Partner of Cairo based Ahead of the Curve, which is the Arab region’s leading firm on issues related to sustainable business growth and impact driven entrepreneurship. Dina is also a Partner in Disruptech, Egypt’s first Fintech focused venture capital fund as a Partner, pursuing her passion in building a fund that will support technology being used as a critical tool in creating financial inclusion for a largely unbanked population, most specifically women.

Alex Asiedu

Head of Africa Regions Investment (excl. South Africa), Standard Bank

Emmanuel Alex Y Asiedu heads Standard Bank’s Africa Regions (excl. South Africa) investment portfolio. Prior to this, Alex was the Managing Director of Stanlib Ghana Limited (now SIMS), leading the team to build Ghana’s second largest money management firm. Before joining SIMS, he was CEO at EDC Investments Ltd, the Ghanaian asset management subsidiary of Ecobank. Alex is currently the chairman of the National Advisory Board of Impact Investment Ghana (IIGh), the first sub-Saharan African subsidiary of the Global steering group for Impact investing. He has, amongst other roles, served as President of the Ghana Securities Industry (GSIA) and President of the CFA Society in Ghana. He also served on the steering committee of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Capital Market Plan…

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Minoush Abdelmeguid

Founding Partner & Managing Director, Mezzan

Minoush is a founding partner at Mezzan. Mezzan, which means “balance” in Arabic, is an investment management firm with a portfolio of small-to-medium-sized companies dedicated to sustainability, green living and gender diversity. Minoush leads its fundraising, deal-sourcing and investment strategies. Although women constitute 50 percent of university graduates in Egypt, they make up just 23 percent of the country’s workforce and are five times more likely to be unemployed than their male counterparts. On fellowship, Minoush wants to launch a “gender-smart” private equity fund to take better advantage of the economic power of Egyptian women.

Salim Suleman

Founder & Managing Partner, The Continent Venture Partners

Salim is an experienced CEO with a demonstrated history of working in the telecommunications, aviation, real estate development and agricultural industries. He is also founder of various successful businesses in Africa including the largest VSAT based Internet Service provider in Africa with service provision in 26 countries with 6 subsidiaries and 42 distributors in 26 countries In Africa. 1994 – 2009; two very successful tree farms to reduce the harvest of indigenous trees in Kenya; aviation operation of fixed and rotary wing aircraft for relief services in Africa from 1993 – 2004; board member of Simba Corporation Ltd; development of Golden Mile Park in Nairobi Kenya. More recently, Salim co-founded The Continent Venture Partners – a venture capital firm that is seeking to empower…

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View Panel Agenda

Theme: Unlocking growth: the value chain of capital in African businesses


Overview: The finance panel is seeking to capture the value chain of capital for businesses in Africa. In particular, it is seeking to explore the challenges faced by startups and SMEs as they scale into larger enterprises and will invite discussions from players across the value chain to provide a more informed view to our audience.


Time and location: April 15th, 10:10 - 10:55 AM @ 75 Amherst St. (Multi Purpose Room)


Lead: Kishan Popat

Startups Panel

Dr. Shikoh Gitau (Moderator)

CEO at Qhala Ltd & Co-founder and Managing Partner, Q-Ventures

Shikoh is the CEO of Qhala Ltd, a Digital Innovation company that catalyzes digital transformation capabilities for African organizations. She is also the Co-founder and Managing Partner at Q-Ventures, a human capital fund with a portfolio of 12 ventures in the early stages targeted towards women first-time founders. She has over 15 years of experience in Venture Building, Research, Design, Implementation, and Mgmt of Digital Technologies. She is responsible for setting up Safaricom Alpha, Africa’s first-of-the-kind corporate innovation hub. Shikoh sits on various boards in ICT companies and contributes to several steering committees and think tanks on Africa and tech. She holds a Ph.D. and MSc in CS from the University of Cape Town, SA.

Genevieve Barnard Oni

Co-Founder / CFO, MDaaS Global

Genevieve is the co-founder and CFO of MDaaS Global, a health-tech company with the goal of providing convenient, affordable, and high-quality diagnostics for Africa’s next billion. Since its launch in 2017, MDaaS has delivered critical healthcare services to over 160,000 patients across Nigeria through its fast-growing network of technology-enabled clinics. Genevieve brings over a decade of experience in finance, operations, and public health to her role as CFO, as well as her passion for increasing access to quality healthcare…


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Ifeoluwa Dare-Johnson

CEO / Co-founder, Healthtracka

Ifeoluwa Dare-Johnson is the Founder / CEO at Healthtracka, a health tech company making medical diagnostics accessible and affordable with at-home lab testing. She is a scientist with over 10 years of experience in both the clinical and business sides of healthcare. Ifeoluwa is one of the few female founders from Africa that has gotten into Techstars- the global accelerator program, She is also a recipient of the Google for Black Founders Fund.’ She was nominated as one of the top 3 Bold women in Nigeria by Veuve Cliquot. Ifeoluwa believes strongly that women already have all it takes to create, sustain, and scale businesses.

Olamide Oladeji

Co-founder / Chief Product Officer, Pastel

Olamide co-founded Pastel, a venture-backed financial technology startup that leverages data science to provide digital solutions to businesses in Africa. Today, Pastel has helped over 140,000 small businesses in over 40 countries access software to manage their business, make payments and receive low-cost financing. He is also a doctoral researcher at Stanford School of Engineering, where his research focuses on Artificial Intelligence for Climate Change Mitigation. He previously studied AI and sustainability at MIT obtaining dual masters degrees in computer science and tech policy. He is recognized in the Forbes 30 under 30 list for Social Impact, and by the government of Nigeria as an advisor on its artificial intelligence policy.

Omar Laalej

Managing Director, Al Mada Venture Capital

Omar is an experienced cross-border investment professional with deep knowledge of early and growth-stage corporate finance, leveraged buyouts, corporate development, strategy, and operations. Omar is a Managing Director at Al Mada Ventures, overseeing the Al Mada Venture Capital Fund (the “Fund”) as a member of the Investment Committee. Before joining Al Mada Ventures, Omar co-founded and co-led the Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund, where he closed 10+ transactions with total committed capital exceeding $170m in value, including 5 exits.  Before AfricInvest, Omar worked at


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View Panel Agenda

Theme: Innovating through Entropy 


Overview: As the continent faces many challenges from climate, leadership, political, and economic instability, how are founders and startups innovating through chaos and disorder. Startups generally get more complicated as they grow but adding context of the continent adds more complexity. The discussion of the panel will focus on navigating those challenges and the lessons learned.


Time and location: April 15th, 3:15 - 4:00 PM @ 75 Amherst St. (Multi Purpose Room)


Lead: Yaphet Tedla

Mobility Panel

Corazon Wamakima (Moderator)

Analyst, Structured Development Finance, Grosvenor

Corazon Wamakima is the newest analyst for the Grosvenor’s Structured Development Finance Programme in the Washington D.C. office. She recently completed MIT’s Master of Science, Real Estate Development program, with a concentration in Finance. While at MIT, Corazon held leadership roles as an AFIRE Fellow and an Etkin Johnson Scholar with ULI’s Boston/New England Council. She also was Vice President of MIT’s Real Estate Club & Black Business Students Association…


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Sherif Nessim

Managing Partner, Jedar Capital

Sherif Nessim is a technology professional with 24+ years of experience in providing solutions and products to enterprises, mobile carriers and service providers (B2B) as well as consumer services (B2C) in Egypt & Middle East & Africa region. He is a Tech operator turned Tech investor who moved from Egypt to the USA in June of 2020. He later founded Jedar Capital, an emerging VC firm focusing on early stage startups from Pre-Seed to Series A with focus on Africa & Middle East. Sherif also helps companies in the USA and Europe looking to expand into Egypt, Middle East & Africa and vice versa.

Boum III Jr

co-Founder / CEO, Daba

Boum is an entrepreneur who considers himself as an aspiring agent of positive transformation, betterment and empowerment driven by his passion for Africa. Prior to coming to the US to complete his BSc in Computer Science, Boum lived in Cameroon for 14 years. He has a knack for challenges at the intersection of finance, technology and impact. He worked at Nasdaq for about 5 years and holds an MBA in strategic management, entrepreneurship and innovation from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He co- founded Afrika Startup Lab…


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Marc Holtzman

Chairman of the Board of Directors, Bank of Kigali

Marc Holtzman is the current Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Kigali, Rwanda’s largest financial institution. Previously, Marc served as Vice Chairman of Barclays Capital and as Vice Chairman of ABN Amro Bank and as co-founder and President of MeesPierson EurAmerica (a firm which was acquired by ABN Amro) and as a Senior Advisor to Salomon Brothers. Marc also currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of TeleTech, the world’s leading provider of analytics-driven technology-enabled services. He has served on the Board of Directors of FTI Consulting, Inc..


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Samah Salman

Director – Advisory, Sudan & East Africa Private Sector Development

Samah Salman is a graduate of the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, with a degree in Finance and Management. She has lived and worked in the US, Italy, London, Dubai, and Sudan. More recently she has been an executive leader in Sudan’s private sector with corporate experience in the renewable energy, agriculture, food processing, food security, livestock, oiland gas and telecom industries. Samah has led the planning, funding proposals and implementation of large private sector projects through strategic partnerships with various investment banks and…


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View Panel Agenda

Theme: Borderless Africa: Mobility beyond Goods


Overview: As Africa moves to become more integrated through AfCFTA and increased globalization, this panel sees to discuss and explore avenues through which African businesses can utilize AfCFTA to enhance mobility beyond just the movement of physical good. This includes the mobility of capital, people and services not just on the content but with the large active diaspora.


Time and location: April 15th, 11:10- 11:55 AM @ 75 Amherst St. (Silverman Skyline)


Lead: Kundai Gurundoro Chifamba

Healthcare Panel

Anjali Sastry (Moderator)

Senior Faculty, MIT

Anjali Sastry is a senior faculty at MIT Sloan. Her work and research focuses on organizational change, system dynamics, and action learning, drawing on her grounding in system dynamics, organizational theory, and sustainability. She uses her expertise to explore practical aspects of organizational and managerial effectiveness in settings facing complex challenges and pressing needs, where her background in system dynamics offers insights for innovation and improvement. In 2007, she developed MIT Sloan’s Global Health Lab, which has paired 70 faculty-mentored teams of MIT graduate students with organizations on the front lines of health care delivery in Africa and Asia to tackle pressing challenges and yield new insights about improving health care delivery in low-resource settings.

Amir Barsoum

Founder & CEO, Vezeeta

Amir is the Founder and CEO of Vezeeta, a leading digital healthcare platform that offers patients a personalized, end-to-end healthcare experience. Recognized as a Fortune’s 40 under 40 global healthcare leader in 2020, Amir helped guide Vezeeta to become one of the fastest-growing health tech start-ups in the Middle East and Africa region and guided the expansion within the B2B landscape, with a growing footprint in North America, & SE Asia. Amir currently sits on the boards of three digital healthcare start-ups in the US, that focus on long-term care, revenue cycle mgmt, and AI diagnostics. He is also on the boards of Endeavor Egypt and Entrepreneurs’ Org, and offers guidance and consultations to major institutions including MIT Legatum Centre. Amir holds an MBA from MIT Sloan.

Folake Odowunni

Founder, Emergency Response Africa

Folake Owodunni is the co-founder of Emergency Response Africa, a healthcare technology company that connects individuals experiencing medical emergencies to the largest network of Community First Responders, ambulances, and hospitals to deliver care in minutes. Folake is dedicated to making healthcare accessible in Africa. She is a skilled communicator and Prosci-certified Change Management Practitioner with over 9 years of experience in healthcare, nonprofit, consulting and higher education sectors in US, Nigeria and Canada.

Emily Young

Co-Founder / Executive Director, Moving Health

Emily Young is the co-founder and CEO of Moving Health. She started Moving Health with the idea that every family should be connected to medical care when they need it most, after being introduced to a Tanzanian NGO Partner by MIT’s D-Lab. Over the past 7 years she has been using human centered design to redefine emergency healthcare, specifically for pregnant women and new mothers. Emily holds a bachelor of science degree from MIT in Mechanical Engineering, with a concentration on global product development. Her previous work includes designing low cost prosthetics in Haiti.

Brittany Hume Charm

Head of Growth of Global Health, Macro Eyes

Brittany leads global health growth at Macro Eyes, where she works with mission-driven entrepreneurial teams to execute, promote, and scale promising innovations in health access and equity. Brittany previously led global health growth and partnerships at Zipline, where she developed partnerships involving ministries of health, corporations, foundations, and development agencies. She was a member of the inaugural 2020 US cohort of WomenLift Health, a leadership initiative by Stanford and the Gates Foundation for women who are on the cutting edge of health practice, policy and research. Brittany holds a BA from Princeton and an MBA from the Haas School of Business.

View Panel Agenda

Theme: Healthcare Logistics: Reaching the Underserved


Overview: Today's health care organizations need leaders who can respond to the challenge of delivering greater value through a combination of higher quality, lower cost, safe and broader access. Managing health care delivery, logistics and infrastructure will help companies innovate and build the capabilities to provide quality and compassionate care in a cost-effective and integrated manner—even in the face of rising expectations, shifting health policies, and constrained resources. 


Time and location: April 14th, 5:10 - 5:55 PM @ 75 Amherst St. (Multi Purpose Room)


Lead: Lili Wondwossen

Real Estate & Infrastructure Panel

Akintola Adesanmi (Moderator)

Co-founder / CEO, Spleet

Tola is the co-founder and CEO at Spleet, a financial services and prop-tech startup fractionalizing rent into monthly payments. Tola is an accomplished product manager and designer with over 11 years of experience working on products in the fintech, real estate and banking industry. In addition to product management and design, Tola has experience in operations management and project coordination.

His passion for solving problems in Africa and for social impact led him to create Spleet: a property tech company that is changing the way people rent homes in Nigeria and beyond. Tola is an avid chess player, collector, and enthusiast of contemporary African art.

Kofi Anku

Lead, Pokuase Heights

Kofi leads Pokuase Heights, a sustainably built, middle income housing development in Accra.  Pokuase Heights features back up solar power, insulated walls and ceilings, energy saving UPVC roofing, biodigesters and community scale water supply.   Two Bedroom Two bathroom expandable bungalows in these gated enclaves starts at 42k USD. 

Previously Kofi partnered with a US firm to develop Ayi Mensah Park, a 200 unit townhouse community also in a burgeoning Accra suburb. He is a graduate of Columbia University in New York City.

Teju Abimbola

Regional Climate Business Lead for Africa Infrastructure, IFC

Teju Abimbola-Balogun is the Regional Climate Business Lead for Africa Infrastructure at IFC. She has spent the past 11 years at IFC’s Singapore, Hong-Kong, and DC HQ offices, leading several landmark corporate and project finance investments in sustainable infrastructure and natural resource projects. She also held many strategic roles within IFC leading business development initiatives and portfolio management, including as the Special Assistant to the Global Director for Infrastructure.

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Jon Vandenheuvel

Founder, Small Farm Cities Africa

Jon is founder of Small Farm Cities Africa, a developer of agribusiness enterprises, municipal infrastructure, and applied technology systems. He also serves as Senior Advisor for Africa for the Charter Cities Institute. Previously, he was executive director of E-Commerce Africa at Dubai Ports World. Jon has organized infrastructure, agribusiness, and e-commerce initiatives in Ghana, Nigeria, Somalia, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Malawi. Jon has co-authored a book with Dubai multimodal transport pioneer, Issa Baluch, entitled, Africa Risk Dashboard and has been a visiting scholar for African urbanism at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

View Panel Agenda

Theme:The Infrastructure Leap: Challenges and Opportunities


Overview: Exploring the challenges and opportunities in providing affordable housing in Africa. The panel intends to delve into the bottlenecks of financing facing investors and developers of real estate and infrastructure projects while highlighting some of the innovative solutions, emerging technologies and policies that can alleviate such issues. Beyond these, the panel will also dig into the environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors that investors and developers should consider when investing in real estate and infrastructure projects in Africa.


Time and location: April 15th, 10:10 - 10:55 AM @ 75 Amherst St. (Silveman Skyline)


Lead: Obianuju Nsofor

Entertainment, Arts & Culture Panel

Jackson Mvunganyi (Moderator)

Host-Producer-Editor, VOA’s UpFront

Jackson Mvunganyi is an award-winning Multimedia reporter and broadcaster. He is the host of Voice of America’s UpFront radio program since 2007 and The Red Carpet Television show since 2018. Each week, UpFront reaches over 35 million listeners around the African continent and beyond on radio, television, and digital platforms.  Jackson interacts with Africans, mostly youth on issues ranging from education, Entrepreneurship, culture, leadership and innovation. In 2016, Jackson was named one of the 20 young African influencers in the diaspora. He has a BA in Multimedia Design and Development from the American University in D.C., and a MA in information management at the University of Maryland College Park.

Anj Fayemi

Founder & CEO, Rivet

Anj Fayemi is the founder and CEO of Rivet, a platform that utilizes artificial intelligence to generate tools and recommendations that make fan engagement easy for artists and creators. Anj studied Chemical Engineering at MIT and Imperial College and is an active recording and performing musician. He also has a Theater Arts Minor. He is Nigerian and comes from a family of artists, which explains his dedication to working on creating tools for content creators to do what they love and build sustainable careers.

Wandia Gichuru

Founder, Vivo Active Wear

Wandia Gichuru is the Co-Founder and CEO of Vivo Fashion Group, a retail fashion business that started in 2011. Vivo’s flagship brands (Vivo Woman, Safari & Zoya) are specifically tailored to suit and compliment modern Africans, and are known for being stylish yet comfortable, functional and affordable. Vivo currently runs 22 physical stores across Kenya and Rwanda, as well as a manufacturing facility where the majority of Vivo products are made. Separately, Wandia Co-founded ShopZetu, a multi-brand e-commerce platform dedicated to trendy and affordable fashion, beauty and accessories brands.

Seyi Ladele

Head of Music, Bombshelter Digital Services

Oluwaseyi Ladele is a music distributor and publishing administrator who specializes in copyright law, registration, and royalty collection. He assists artists and labels to register their music with PROs and collect royalties. Seyi also specializes in helping independent artists and labels distribute their music to major streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. He is a co-founder of Bombshelter, a distribution/publishing company that caters to the development of niche independent creatives. Bombshelter’s goal is to provide a comprehensive and professional music distribution service that helps independent artists and labels succeed in the competitive world of digital music.

Osita F Ugeh

Music Promoter, Duke Concept

Osita F Ugeh (AKA Duke), is the Founder and CEO of Duke Concept, a US-based company that specializes in event planning, production,  concerts and artist management. Although Duke is a seasoned telecom engineer by education and training, he transitioned 3 years ago to focus on growing his company. Duke Concept has become  the biggest Afro-Caribbean Live Event and Artist Touring company in North America, hosting concerts in most major venues and cities in North America and the Caribbeans. The company has successfully toured the biggest names in Afro Space; Burna Boy, Wizkid, Davido, Omah Lay, Diamond Platnumz,Fireboy DML,Tiwa savage, Simi and many more.

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View Panel Agenda

Theme: Leveraging creative space in Africa for economic development


Overview: Africa has over the past decades been an emerging global powerhouse in the creative space (culture, music, tourism). However, there seems to be a disconnect between this boom and the creative economy in-continent. The focus of this panel is to explore how the continent can fully leverage its contribution to global pop culture for economic growth and empowerment. The panel will discuss the challenges and way forward.


Time and location: April 15th, 11:10- 11:55 AM @ 75 Amherst St. (Multi Purpose Room)


Lead: Amos Adu Akoto

AIC 2023 Pitch Competition Finalists


Souleymane Gning

Assuraf is an insurtech offering flexible and instant insurance coverage for the vast majority of the population in Africa without any access to insurance which leaves them at risk of further financial devastation. Established in 2019 and headquartered in Dakar-Senegal, our secret sauce is to offer most types of insurance (including tailored micro-insurance) through a tech-powered omnichannel insurance infrastructure. Assuraf is 100% African-founded and committed to fostering financial inclusion and resilience on the continent through insurance, starting with Francophone Africa.

Emergency Response Africa

Folake Owodunni

Emergency Response Africa (ERA) is a healthcare technology company that is changing how medical emergencies are managed in Africa, beginning in Nigeria. ERA saves lives by connecting individuals experiencing a medical emergency to the largest network of Community First Responders, ambulances, and hospitals to deliver care in minutes using technology. ERA has been recognized for the work it is doing in providing technology-enabled care, including features in national newspapers and leading technology publications.


Stanley Anigbogu

LightEd is a company that designs, manufactures, and sells solar home systems, solar-powered lamps, and other sustainable energy solutions. Our products are designed to provide access to clean and affordable energy to households, small businesses, and communities currently underserved or off-grid. Our solar home systems are built using electronic waste, and we utilize e-waste to reduce electronic waste pollution. Our solar-powered lamps are made from single-use plastic bottles and electronic waste.


Karim Amer

VAIS is bringing the power of geospatial intelligence and AI to the hands of farmers across Africa. The deep tech-focused company developed a proprietary technology using satellite data to provide farmers, and other actors such as insurers, traders, or governments with accurate information on field water levels and timely recommendations that significantly save irrigation water consumption, increase yield and alleviate the impacts of droughts and crop diseases. VAIS platform is highly scalable and accessible via mobile app or web. VAIS differentiates its technological solution by utilizing ZERO in-field hardware equipment. Designed as a SaaS product, farmers pay based on the size of the land being monitored on a monthly subscription.

Neural Labs Africa

Tom Njoroge

Neural Labs Africa is a medical technology company that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve medical diagnosis by screening medical images for radiologists and hospitals in real-time. Their technology, NeuralSight™, uses deep learning and computer vision to identify over 13 respiratory diseases and pathologies, including tuberculosis, pneumonia, COVID-19, and lung, breast, and prostate cancer. The company’s mission is to democratize access to diagnostic healthcare and positively impact healthcare through AI. It has a unique value proposition that leverages demographic data to solve health problems. Their technology can ensure early and accurate disease detection and play a crucial role in reducing disease costs in Africa.