Development Economist and Civil Servant.
Carlos Lopes is a Bissau-Guinean development economist and civil servant. He was executive
secretary of the United Nations Economic Commision for Africa from September 2012 to
October 2016, and is a visiting fellow at the Oxford Martin School of the University of Oxford and a visiting professor at the Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance of the UNiversity
Of Cape Town.
In 2018 he was appointed High Representative of the Commission of the African Union.
UN Under-Secretary General
Vera Songwe is the UN Under-Secretary-General and 9th Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), becoming the first woman to lead the institution in its 60-year history.
As Executive Secretary, Songwe’s reforms, focusing on “ideas for a prosperous Africa”, have brought to the fore critical issues of macroeconomic stability, development finance, private sector growth, poverty and inequality, the digital transformation, trade and competitiveness.
Recently listed as one of Africa’s 50 most powerful women by Forbes, named as one of the ‘100 Most Influential Africans’ by Jeune Afrique in 2019, ‘100 Most Influential Africans’ by New African Magazine in 2017 and one of the ’25 African to watch’ by the FT in 2015, Songwe is acknowledged for her long-standing track record of providing policy advice and her wealth of experience in delivering development results for Africa. She has written extensively on development and economic issues including on debt, infrastructure development, fiscal and governance issues. She is well published and contributes to the development debate across a broad spectrum of platforms including in the Financial Times.
Prior to ECA, she held a number of senior leadership roles with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and World Bank.
Panel 1: Youth Panel
Dr. Jennifer Widner
Professor of Politics & International Affairs at Princeton University
Jennifer Widner is Professor of Politics & International Affairs at Princeton University. She directs Innovations for Successful Societies, a research program that supports practitioners who aim to build more effective, more accountable government. The program has worked in over 45 countries since its inception in 2008, and its research has spanned a variety of subjects, ranging from center-of-government coordination and public financial management to basic service delivery, land tenure, and natural resource use. Before joining the Princeton faculty in 2004-5, Professor Widner taught at Harvard and the University of Michigan.
She is author of several books and monographs, including The Case for Case Studies: Methods and Applications in International Development (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming); Responding to Global Health Crises: Lessons from the U.S. Response to the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola Outbreak (IBM 2018); and Building the Rule of Law (W. W. Norton), a study of courts and law in Africa, among others. She has published articles on a variety of topics in Democratization, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Development Studies, The William & Mary Law Review, Daedalus, the American Journal of International Law, and other publications.
She is completing work on a book about making government work in challenging settings, drawing on experiences in Africa, Asia, and parts of Latin America.
Dr. Vincent Ogutu
Vice Chancellor Designate, Strathmore University
Dr. Vincent Ogutu self-identifies as a teacher, a role that he says starts with treasure-hunting (identifying powerful ideas that could transform people and the world) and concludes with sharing those ideas with his audiences. He is a TEDx (Barcelona) Fellow and uses TV and social media to inspire people to live a life of purpose and impact.
In previous roles, Dr. Ogutu has been in charge of the university’s strategy and development, headed Executive Talent Development at the business school, and directed Strathmore’s Regional Academies in Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. He was the founding MBA Program Director at SBS and was at one point the Deputy Principal of Strathmore School.
Dr. Ogutu holds a PhD in Organisational Management from Rutgers University, specializing in the Psychology of Meaningful Work. He has an MSc Financial Economics from the University of London and a BA Economics from the University of Nairobi.
He sits on several boards including Strathmore University Foundation, B Lab East Africa (certifying companies for social impact), and Nafisika Trust (giving transformative lessons to inmates). He is also an advisor to several startups in Kenya and the US.
Founding Dean, African Leadership University
Veda Sunassee has spent 9+ years in several roles with the African Leadership (AL) Group, first as an Entrepreneurial Leadership Faculty at the African Leadership Academy before later serving as the Founding Dean of the African Leadership University, Rwanda for 2 years. In his role, he built a team of 30+, grew the campus to 600 students. The African Leadership University was listed as the Most Innovative Company in Africa (34th globally) by FastCompany in 2019.
Veda is also a Leadership Consultant, facilitator, emcee and moderator and has worked with the likes of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, MasterCard Foundation, ELMA Philanthropies and Facebook. Veda is a Princeton graduate Class of 2010 and was selected among the inaugural Obama Leaders in 2018.
Student and Writer
Rebecca Mqamelo is a student, writer and advocate for a reimagined global economy through sustainable currency design. She grew up in a small town in South Africa and challenges what it means to be a "global African", having lived in ten countries over the past three years while obtaining her degree in economics and data science.
She has worked for a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange, researched alternative currency systems in rural Kenya, mentored startups in Ghana and, most recently, headed up the Growth team at a company pioneering in the field of decentralized finance (DeFi).
Connectivity Program Manager, Facebook
Jinmi is a Connectivity Program Manager at Facebook, connecting the next billion people to the Internet in the Middle East and Africa through Express Wi-Fi. Before joining Facebook, he delivered the groundbreaking $300m Main One submarine cable to Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon. A former National Deputy Coordinator for the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI),
Jinmi published Nigeria's first ever National Broadband Plan and continues strong advocacy for Policy and Regulatory support and action. He holds an MEng and BEng in Systems Engineering both from Brunel University London.
Panel 2: AfCFTA Panel
Economist and Development Coordination officer for the United Nations in Namibia (UNN)
Eunice is the Economist and Development Coordination officer for the United Nations in Namibia (UNN). Prior to that, she was the Economic Affairs Officer with the Macroeconomics and Governance Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
She led and contributed to high-level policy development and programme implementation through instruments including the flagship Economic Report on Africa; the African Governance Report; and other non-recurrent policy studies. She also coordinated cooperation and analysis on public-private partnerships. Her work on economic policy advisory spans economic governance, development finance, and public sector management.
She regularly facilitates, lectures, and presents at capacity-building, high-level meetings, and events that include the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development; the Africa Trade and Investment Global Summit; the South America-Africa-Middle East-Asia Women Summit; and, the Economist Events Global Summit.
Eunice received her Masters in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and was a Public Policy and International Affairs’ Fellow through Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs.
Trade and Investment Policy Professional, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Rwanda
Antoine Kajangwe is a trade and investment policy professional with the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Rwanda. Antoine oversees the Ministry’s domestic and international trade and investment related matters, intellectual property rights, consumer protection and competition laws and policies. Antoine is also the Ministry’s chief trade negotiator and a senior trade official.
Antoine began his career as a paralegal at the New York County District Attorney’s Office, and gained project management experience working with economic and youth empowerment projects at Global Communities Rwanda and the Imbuto Foundation.
Antoine has a bachelors’ degree in History and minors in Political Science and General Business from Oklahoma Christian University and a Master’s of Science degree in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Pierre Guislain, a Belgian national, provides advisory services on private sector development, infrastructure, ICT and related matters in Emerging Markets.
Prior, he was the Vice-President of Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialisation at the African Development Bank Group; his areas of responsibility at the Bank also included the financial sector, trade, urban development and information and communication technologies. Before joining the Bank, Mr. Guislain held the position of Senior Director in charge of Transport and Information & Communication Technologies at the World Bank. He also served as Director of the Joint World Bank-IFC-MIGA Investment Climate Department and as Co-Director at IFC for Fragile and Conflict-Affected countries.
Mr. Guislain is author and editor of publications on private sector development, foreign direct investment, ICT, infrastructure reform and privatisation. He holds a Master's degree in Economics and Public Policy from Princeton University (USA) as well as a Graduate Degree in Law from the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium)
Panel 3: Green Panel
Dr. Chris Greig
Dr Chris Greig is the Theodora D. ’78 & William H. Walton III ’74 Senior Research Scientist, Andlinger Centre for Energy and the Environment, Princeton University. He has a PhD in Chemical Engineering and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.
Prior to becoming an academic in 2011, Chris spent more than 25 years in industry, initially as Founder and CEO of a process technology company and later, in senior executive and non-executive director roles in the resources and energy sectors.
Chris’s research covers energy transitions, CCS, industry decarbonization and clean energy investment and finance.
Ambassador Seyni Nafo
High Representative for Climate Change, Mali
Ambassador Nafo has made significant contributions to Africa, and the developing world, in the fields of climate change, renewable energy and sustainable development. In 2015, on behalf of the AGN, In 2015, Amb.
Nafo initiated the African Adaptation Initiative (AAI), a continental initiative that aims to strengthen adaptation to climate impacts, with endorsement of the AU Assembly. He also played a leading role in the formulation of related major African initiatives to combat climate change in the Sahel Region, the Congo Basin, and on African islands and its ocean economy.
He also currently serves as High Representative for Climate Change in Mali, to support his vision to enhance climate diplomacy in Africa and globally.
Prof Yacob Mulugetta
Professor of Energy and Development Policy, University College London
Yacob Mulugetta is a Professor of Energy and Development Policy at the University College London; and held an academic post at the Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey, UK. He is a founding member of the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) based in Ethiopia where he worked as Senior Climate & Energy Specialist (2010-2013).
He has 25 years of research, teaching and advisory experience specialising on the links between energy infrastructure provision and human welfare. His research is focused on three interconnected areas: energy systems and development; energy systems and climate change; and political economy of low carbon development.
He has served (and still active) in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as Coordinating Lead Author and Lead Author of the various Assessment Reports Mitigation). Yacob Mulugetta is a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS).
Dr Janice Golding
Janice Golding serves the United Nations Development Programme as its Focal Point for Nature, Climate and Energy in South Africa.
Given South Africa being an upper Middle Income African Country, her role is focussed on niche support to the Government of South Africa on environmental governance, clean energy access and nature-based solutions to enable shifts in structural inequality, poverty and unemployment. She has concurrently worked at the UNDP Headquarters in New York to strengthen global climate coordination and to raise global energy ambition in developing countries, under the UN Secretary General’s Climate Promise and Climate Investment Platform initiatives.
She was the division lead on sustainable development and green enterprise development at the Embassy of Switzerland in Pretoria from 2012-2016. Janice has 15 years of experience in government, and in bilateral and multilateral development cooperation in Africa, including advisory to development agencies of the United Kingdom and Germany.
Judges: Pitch Competition
Founder, LGL Growth Consulting International
Laurence Latimer is founder of LGL Growth Consulting International, a consulting firm that helps clients identify, build, and scale new business initiatives. Prior to returning to LGLG Consulting, Laurence was head of ventures for IEX Group which operates the Investors Exchange (IEX). During his 5 year tenure at IEX, he was responsible for corporate and business development, venture investments, and the launch of 4 new businesses.
Laurence Latimer is co-founder and co-chair of Princeton Alumni Angels of Greater NY. Princeton Alumni Angels (PAA) is an angel investment and education organization that is open to all alumni, parents and affiliated persons of Princeton University. Since 2018, PAA has invested in 15 startups and deployed over $5M.
Laurence is active in the broader startup community where he serves as a mentor with PEC's OfficeHours and Techstars. He is also an advisor to the Cavendish Impact Foundation and several technology startups.
Laurence received his B.A. in political science from The Ohio State University, and a Master in Public Affairs from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs where he was a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow. Laurence is a Fellow of the 2019 class of the Aspen Institute’s Finance Leaders Fellowship and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
Currently, Laurence serves on the National Annual Giving Committee, chair of Graduate Alumni Annual Giving Committee, and co-chair of the Connect Initiative.
Queen Chinyere Quinn
Co-Founder and Partner, Kupanda Capital
Queen Chinyere Quinn is a Co-Founder and Partner at Kupanda Capital, an investment platform established to create, capitalize and scale pan-African companies. In this capacity, Queen has worked to provide tailored advice and support to entrepreneurs, project developers, fund managers and corporations operating in Africa. She has worked on deals in various sectors across Africa, including media, consumer and energy; and leads the platform on issues related to impact investing. Queen has helped to found several new companies and ventures, including Fraym.io, a geospatial data platform and Nithio Holdings, Inc, an energy finance platform for the off grid solar sector in Africa. She serves on the boards of both Fraym and Nithio. Across the Kupanda Capital platform, she is also responsible for operations, business building systems, and portfolio management.
Prior to joining Kupanda Capital, Queen was an Investment Officer in the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Private Sector Department, originating transactions in manufacturing, agribusiness and private equity. While at the AfDB, Queen also served as Chief of Staff in the Office of the Vice President for Infrastructure and Private Sector Development where she advised the Vice-President on emerging issues of corporate significance, ensured efficient coordination across a complex of five departments with yearly lending operations of approximately US$ 8 billion, and contributed to the effective implementation of key decisions and strategy to manage a US$25 billion portfolio of public and private sector investments.
Prior to joining the AfDB, Queen was a management associate with the Citigroup Corporate and Investment Bank working within the Institutional Clients Group, where she contributed to new business development across securities and fund services.
Queen is a graduate of Penn State University with a B.A. in International Politics and received her Master’s in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, with a concentration in International Trade and Finance. She also holds a PhD from the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge where she attended as a Gates-Cambridge Scholar and focused her research on institutional theory, market categorization, impact investing and the social structure of markets.
Co-Founder and Managing Partner, CRE Venture Capital
Mr. Pardon Makumbe is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of CRE Venture Capital. CRE invests in category-defining early-stage technology-driven companies that are levered to Africa. CRE is widely recognized as a pioneer and market leader in Africa’s technology and venture capital ecosystem.
Prior to CRE, Mr. Makumbe worked for EL Rothschild, a Rothschild family private investment holding company based out of New York and London, overseeing a portfolio of early and late-stage investments and holdings in Asia, Europe and Africa. Earlier on, he worked at Temasek Holdings in Singapore, at Emerging Capital Partners in Johannesburg, and at Bain & Company in New York.
Mr. Makumbe graduated with a BSE in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University, and from the Wharton School of Business in the top 5% of his class. He has served on the Boards of various leading African tech companies including Flutterwave, Smile Identity, Carry1st, Rensource, Flow Living, and FlexClub. He is a Trustee of the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance and sits on the Investment Committee of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners.
Kamil Ali-Jackson, Esq
Chief Legal Officer, Chief Compliance Officer and Corporate Secretary, Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc.
Kamil Ali-Jackson, Esquire, is a co-founder of Aclaris and has served as Chief Legal Officer, Chief Compliance Officer and Corporate Secretary since its inception in 2012.
Kamil has more than 35 years of experience in the legal and pharmaceutical industries. In addition, from 2011 to 2020, she served as Chief Legal Officer of Nexeption, Inc. and its affiliates. Previously, she served as legal counsel and as a licensing business executive for a number of pharmaceutical companies, including Merck & Co. Inc., Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd., and Endo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Kamil received her Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School and Bachelor of Arts in politics from Princeton University. She was a 2011 Philadelphia Business Journal Woman of Distinction winner and a 2015 Pepper Hamilton, LLP remarkable alumna.
Kamil currently serves on the board of PDS Biotechnology Corporation, a publicly-held clinical-stage immuno-oncology company and is the chair of the Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee and a member of the Audit and Compensation Committees. Kamil has also served on several nonprofit boards and is currently on the board of Rosemont College, a private liberal arts college located in Pennsylvania.
Executive Director of Williams & Associates Investments Limited
Leo Williams is the Executive Director of Williams & Associates Investments Limited, an investment advisory firm that seeks to attract capital to businesses in Jamaica and the Caribbean region. The firm assisted in the conceptualization and capitalization of the first REIT in the Caribbean that now trades on the Jamaica Stock Exchange, being Kingston Properties Limited.
Prior to starting his firm, Mr. Williams was the International Business Development Manager of JMMB Limited and the founding Managing Director of JMMB Securities Limited. Mr. Williams has considerable experience of the Jamaican stock market, and as a portfolio manager, market analyst, business strategist and management consultant. Mr. Williams is a graduate of Princeton University. He has studied the Jamaican stock market from as early as 1988 with his Wharton final study covering the IPO of Telecommunications Of Jamaica in that year. Mr. Williams holds an MBA in finance from the Wharton School, a M.Sc. in Systems Engineering and a M.A. in International Studies (all from the University of Pennsylvania).
Mr. Williams is a former director of the JSE. He currently serves on the board of directors of its subsidiary company, the JCSD, and he is also the Chairman of the Princeton Alumni Association for Jamaica.
Growth Track Partners: Pitch Competition
Investor, Pajoma Capital
Dozie Ibekwe is an investor at Pamoja Capital, the Geneva-based investment office of the McCall MacBain Foundation. Previously, he was a management consultant at Boston Consulting Group, where he worked in the Houston, London and Lagos offices.
Dozie earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Master of Public Policy (MPP) from University of Cambridge as a Gates Cambridge Scholar.
Founder and CEO, EarlyBird Venture Lab
EarlyBird is a Nairobi based Venture Lab that focuses on providing early-stage startup interventions to catalyze the ecosystem to produce more investment quality ready businesses. They focus on Tech-enabled startups with a clear path to revenue and scale.
EarlyBird Venture lab’s founder and CEO is Peter Ngunyi, former President at BRCK (2018 TIME magazine top 50 most genius companies).