Nicholas M. Bassey is Division Chief, Frontier Partnerships for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Global Development Lab (the Lab). This new team will strategically foster the Lab’s Center for Transformational Partnerships’ “disrupt” portfolio through alliances with non-traditional stakeholders. The team also seeks to develop innovative ways to leverage and unlock private sector capital for international development. Prior to this role he led the Research and Innovation Fellowships program also at USAID, which builds models for knowledge exchange by connecting Americans with key organizations in developing countries to collaboratively apply science, technology, and innovation to complex development challenges.
Emeka Afigbo leads Facebook’s Product Partnership efforts in the Middle East and Africa focused on driving Facebook strategy through global programs and strategic product integrations with partners. Prior to Facebook, Emeka led Google developer community initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa as part of the Africa and the Middle East Developer Relations team. He started his career as a software engineer at Socketworks and also led strategic initiatives at Parkway Projects both in Nigeria.
Wale Ayeni leads venture capital investments in Africa on behalf of the IFC, the International Finance Organization is part of the World Bank Group. He has over a decade of global technology experience spanning several roles including Venture Capital, Investment Banking, Corporate Development, and Microprocessor & ASIC chip design. Prior to the IFC, Wale led venture capital early-stage investments in disruptive startups across various technology sectors for Orange in Silicon Valley with representative investments in the US including PayJoy(FinTech), Veniam(Mesh Networks), Chain (Blockchain), WEVR (Virtual Reality). He also led transactions on behalf of EchoVC in Hotels.ng, and Primitivo.
Taffi Ayodele co-founded Thando’s, a Lagos and NY based footwear design and distribution company that provides a platform for African artists’ to co-design shoes for women that are comfortable, convenient, stylish and affordable. Thando’s seeks to have a positive impact on the image of the African continent across the globe. Mrs. Ayodele was the 3rd place winner for the inaugural She Leads Africa Startup Competition in Lagos and was listed in Forbes as one of the 10 Emerging Women Entrepreneurs to Watch in Africa. Mrs. Ayodele holds an MBA specializing in Global Business and Entrepreneurship and a BA in Economics from NYU.
Chinedu Echeruo is the Founder and CEO of Gigameet.com, a platform that streamlines and facilitates meetings between people globally. Prior to starting Gigameet, Mr. Echeruo founded two U.S-based internet companies; HopStop.com and Tripology.com. Tripology.com was acquired in 2010 by Rand McNally and is now owned by USA Today. HopStop was acquired by Apple in 2013. He was also named Black Enterprise Magazine’s Small Business Innovator of the Year and listed in the magazine’s Top 40 under 40. He holds an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and B.S in Finance and Accounting (Honors) from Syracuse University.
Paul Mbugua a well-known banking ICT professional in Africa, founded Eclectics International Ltd to provide affordable locally made and supported banking automation systems. Within 6 years, the company has had over 122 employees, 200+ bank client across 21 countries. Eclectics has pioneered the introduction of profitable financial inclusion projects across many parts of Africa using low cost wide reach technologies like mobile wallet and agency device agnostic agency banking. He has been an advisor to many customers in the introduction of the same right from product design, departmental structures set up, product pricing, ICT systems implementation, Go To Market strategies.