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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

Travis Adkins

President & CEO, United States African Development Foundation

Travis Adkins is President and CEO of USADF. Prior to this, he was the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Adkins is also a Lecturer of African and Security Studies at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service and teaches in the Prison Scholars Program of Georgetown’s Prisons and Justice Initiative. He is a Life Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has spent over twenty years working in international development across more than 50 countries in Africa and the Middle East. 


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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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Joe Abah

Country Director – Nigeria, Development Alternatives Incorporated

Joe Abah is currently the Director of Development Alternatives Incorporated in Nigeria. DAI is an international development company that works on a range of clients from national governments, private corporations and philanthropies in over 100 countries. Prior to his work at DAI, Joe 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 with a fishing collective to build the country’s first community-managed marine park. He later spent four years working with the State Department’s Refugee Admissions Program across Africa and in Washington, DC. Ari holds a Master of International Business from The Fletcher School at Tufts University and a BA in Journalism and Music from Indiana University – Bloomington.

David Moinina Senegh

Minister of Education, Sierra Leone

Dr. David Moinina Sengeh is Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, and the Chief Innovation Officer for the Government of Sierra Leone. As part of his duties, Dr. Sengeh provides strategic and policy leadership for both the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) and the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI). Dr. Sengeh is also a biomechatronics engineer and data scientist who holds several patents and is widely published across the education, healthcare, AI and policy domains as well as an afrobeat music rapper, and clothing. designer.

Veda Sunassee

CEO, Africa Leadership University

​​​​Veda is the CEO of Africa Leadership University, a position he rose to in 2022. He began his career at Africa Leadership Academy in South Africa as an Admissions Officer and eventually became the Leadership & Entrepreneurship Faculty before leaving in 2015. Veda then moved on to the African Leadership University where he started as the Director of Student Life.  Veda graduated from Princeton University with a BA in Political Science and a certificate in Political Economy. Originally from the island of Mauritius, Veda has always been active in the international community at Princeton. During his sophomore and junior years, he founded the Young Volunteers Association in Mauritius. He later explored social entrepreneurship and interned at Ashoka in Washington DC. He is excited to go work with the young folks at the African Leadership Academy and be the world traveler and the citizen of the World that he wants to be.

Wambura Kimunyu

CEO, Eneza Education

Wambura Kimunyu is skilled in strategy, operations & turnaround management. She spent multiple years experience managing distributed teams across Africa, building business operations from scratch, market scoping and in startup strategy. She has worked in a variety of companies like Biblica, Cellulant and ROAM. She received her MBA from Strathmore Business School and her Masters in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Wambura is the CEO of Eneza Education, an educational platform that  runs a subscription-based service providing SMS-based educational content (including lessons and assessments) for primary and secondary school students on any mobile phone. Eneza’s mission is to make 50 million youth across rural Africa smarter by providing universal access to affordable, quality and lifelong learning through mobile technology.

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.

Rotimi Williams

CEO, Kerekshuk Rice Farms

Rotimi Williams is a journalist and a farmer, the owner of the second largest commercial rice farm in Nigeria by land mass – Kereksuk Rice Farm. Trained in Economics, Finance and Development, he has utilized his educational background to create solutions to problems that impede development in African economies. Before venturing into farming, Rotimi set up a trade and commodity finance company and consulted for small agricultural startups seeking to raise capital both locally and internationally. Rotimi is also the founder of Resolute 4.0, a technology based solution that aims to bridge the communication gap between rural farming communities and security Agencies. Continuing on his efforts for peace, he also created The Humanity Square Foundation that focuses on the welfare of victims of conflict.

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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 H. Sherif has over twenty years of international and regional experience in integrated sustainable development across various sectors. Her primary interest in the role of the private sector in sustainable development made her an avid supporter of social entrepreneurship as a pathway to solving some of the MENA region’s most pressing challenges and that led her to  found her social enterprise, Ahead of the Curve, in 2012. Dina is also a Senior Advisor to Ashoka, providing support to their Global Venture/Fellowship Support arm and helping them reimagine new ways to identify the world’s leading social innovators. Dina formerly held the endowed Willard Brown Chair for International Business at the American University in Cairo (AUC)…

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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; developement of Golden Mile Park in Nairobi Kenya.

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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 than 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. (Multipurpose Room)


Lead: Kishan Popat

Startups Panel

Dr. Shikoh Gitau (Moderator)

CEO at Qhala Ltd & Co-founder and Managing Partner at 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.

Oluwasoga Oni

CEO / Founder MDaaS Global

Oluwasoga is an entrepreneur & System Design and Management Fellow at MIT. He is the founder and CEO of MDaaS Global, a Techstars-backed company building Africa’s largest network of private diagnostic facilities, providing convenient, high-quality, and affordable care. MDaaS Global operates two units that aim to provide better healthcare. BeaconHealth Diagnostics, which makes modern diagnostics more affordable and accessible, enabling low and middle-income patients to identify health issues earlier, gain access to medical specialists and treatment option,; SentinelX, which leverages our brick-and-mortar clinics and mobile technology to help patients track their health over time, easily access primary care both in-person and virtually.

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

CEO / Co-founder, 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.

Ismael Belkhayat

CEO / Co-founder, Chari.co 

Ismael is a serial founder in the tech ecosystem who has founded several companies. He founded the Venture Builder Wib.co, a startup studio, and VotreChauffeur, a leading ground transportation company in Morocco later acquired by Avis Car Rental. After gaining significant traction and recognition, Ismael went on to found Sarouty, a marketplace that facilitates real estate deals, helping people to rent or buy property across Morocco. In 2020, Ismael and his wife co-founded Chari, a B2B e-commerce fintech app for retailers. Leaning on his deep expertise in logistics and marketplace, Ismael has grown Chari in size, users, and markets. Chari has succeeded in making its mark as a “Disruptor of the Year” from the Africa CEO Forum.

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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. (Multipurpose Room)


Lead: Yaphet Tedla

Mobility Panel

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 – a non profit whose mission is to empower entrepreneurs building brighter African futures. He is now the co-founder and CEO of Daba – a unified financial platform helping individuals and businesses make high quality investments in Africa and emerging markets in a manner never possible before. in a manner never possible before.

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. and as President of the University of Denver from 2003 to 2005 and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the United States Space Foundation from 2004 to 2010. Mark holds a BA in Economics from Lehigh University.

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: 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.

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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, 10:10 - 10:55 AM @ 75 Amherst St. (Silveman Skyline)


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.

Folaseto Akin-Olugbade

Principal, Actis

Folaseto Akin-Olugbade serves as Principal at Actis, where she is responsible for originating and executing on transactions. She also manages and creates value for investments worth over $3b. Folake served on several boards including Sigma Pensions, Mouka Foam, which is Nigeria’s largest mattress producer, and as an Observer on the Board of Seven Energy Limited, a Nigerian oil and gas producer. Prior to joining Actis, she worked at DPI LLP, a $1.1bn private equity fund in London. Previously, Folaseto worked as a Manager in the transactions team at PwC with stints at KPMG and Afrinvest West Africa. She holds an MBA from LBS and a BSc in Computational Mathematics from the University of Leicester.

Kofi Anku

Board Member, Ayi Mensah Park

Kofi Anku is a shareholder and board member of Ayi Mensah Park, a vibrant, 200-unit townhouse community at the base of at the foot of the Aburi Hills in Ghana. Kofi is an Executive Director of Volta Ghana Investment Company, where he has overseen land development in Pokuase, Aburi, and Batsonaa for more than a decade. In 2015, Kofi pioneered Premium Vegetable, Ghana’s largest commercial-scale tomato greenhouse, which grows high quality tomatoes, cucumbers and sweet peppers in a 5,000 square meter, commercial greenhouse. Kofi also serves on the Board of Advisors for the Right to Dream Football Academy and on the Board of Directors of the Ghana Wildlife Society. He graduated from Columbia University in 2001.

Teju Abimbola

Climate Business Lead for Africa Infrastructure, IFC

Teju Abimbola is a Senior Investment Officer & Climate Business Lead for Africa Infrastructure at the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Prior to this role, she served as Regional Portfolio Oversight for Africa Infrastructure as well as the Special Assistant to the Global Director for Infrastructure. From 2014 to 2021, Teju served as an Investment Officer at IFC, focusing on new investments (Debt, Mezz & Equity), Portfolio Management and Business Development in Infrastructure and Natural Resources, including projects spanning power supply, water supply, transportation, shipping & logistics, technology and mining. She holds a dual degree in MBA from MIT and MPA from HKS.

Jon Vandenheuvel

Senior Advisor, Charter Cities Institute

Jon Vandenheuvel is Senior Advisor for Africa for the Charter Cities Institute. He is also CEO of Small Farm Cities Africa, an investor-operator of new agribusiness towns & subdivisions. Most recently, Jon was Executive Director for Africa E-Commerce for Dubai Ports World. He has been private sector advisor for e-Commerce for Africa for the Universal Postal Union in Ethiopia and has co-founded a laboratory farm on the shores of Lake Volta in Ghana & co-authored a book based on the lab, Africa Risk Dashboard. He has served as a visiting scholar for African urbanism at MIT’s Center for Advanced Urbanism. Jon is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Johannesburg, writing on Somalia’s protracted conflict, & holds a masters from John Hopkins.

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

Co-founder, 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. Duke Concept hosted over 200 Concerts in 2022 and have gained features from Major Publications such as Billboard, Forbes, Pollstar, Pitch Fork, Rolling Stone, Pulse Ng, Vibes.

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. (Multipurpose Room)


Lead: Amos Adu Akoto

AIC 2023 Pitch Competition Finalists

Assuraf - 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.

LightEd - 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.

VAIS - 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 - Chinezi Chijioke

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. Neural Labs Africa has a unique value proposition that leverages African demographic data to solve African health problems. Their technology can ensure early and accurate disease detection, playing a crucial role in reducing disease costs in Africa.