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.
Michael Kuntz CFA is President/COO of Simusolar, an equipment financier and distributor of productive use systems for agriculture, small business, and the home. He believes that the private sector will drive energy access in East Africa, from off-grid to micro-grids, and has seen the importance that energy-access serves in enabling SME growth, having led Lagos’ leading social enterprise incubator, Generation Enterprise. His focus at Simusolar is on the economic potential of energy in smallholder agriculture. In 2013, his work on agricultural supply chains was awarded grant from IDEO and the Gates Foundation via the HCD Connect initiative.
Mary Olushoga is the founder of awpnetwork.com, a platform powering small business success for African entrepreneurs. A multi-tasking networker, mentor, writer, small business advocate and change agent. Olushoga holds a bachelor’s degree from Union College in Schenectady, New York, a Master of Science Degree from Baruch College and has served as a public policy fellow at the University at Albany, Center for Women in Government and Civil Society. A mix between a PR consultancy and small business development service, The AWP Network shares startup stories of African entrepreneurs, organizes events, webinars, and clinics, and creates opportunities to connect with business experts in marketing, tech and HR fields.
Toro Orero is the Managing Partner of DraperDarkFlow, a Silicon Valley-based VC (backed by Tim Draper; Founder, DFJ) for African startups that can change the world. He is considered one of Silicon Valley’s and Africa’s youngest VCs. He is a curious and open explorer, plays too much, and wants to be the first human to high five an alien. DraperDarkFlow.com | ToroOrero.com.
Eric Osiakwan is the Managing Partner of Chanzo Capital, and a Tech Entrepreneur and Angel investor with 15 years of ICT industry leadership across Africa and the world. He has worked in 32 African countries setting up ISPs, ISPAs, IXPs and high-tech startups. He Co-Foundered Angel Africa List, Angel Fair Africa and currently serves on the board of Farmerline, Forhey, Teranga Solutions, Siqueries, BisaApp, Wanjo Foods, Ghana Cyber City, WABco, Amp.it and SameLogic – some of which are his investment. He has founded and built companies and organizations including GNVC, GISPA, AfrISPA, Internet Research, InHand, PenPlusBytes, African Elections Portal, FOSSFA and Ghana Connect.
Hafeeza E. Rashed is the Senior Advisor, Communications and Outreach at the King Baudouin Foundation United States. At KBFUS, she is responsible for the outreach to individual donors and the development of our partnerships with African nonprofit organizations. Hafeeza joined KBFUS in 2015 from the Gbowee Peace Foundation USA where she spent three years as an Officer of Strategic Partnerships. She worked closely with Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee and oversaw the establishment of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, a nonprofit based in Liberia. Hafeeza earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Spelman College, and her JD from the University of Richmond.
Akin Sawyerr is the Managing Director of Feleman Limited, an impact investment and advisory firm that is focused on fin-tech across Africa and African diaspora communities. Feleman invests in and advises early stage companies in the payments, lending, investment, and remittance space. Akin founded Market Atlas, Market Atlas provides market and Investment research, and risk management solutions for underserved markets in Africa. He serves as Director of Splash Mobile Money, a mobile payments company in Sierra Leone where he provides strategic guidance on all matters concerning the company. Prior to Feleman, Mr. Sawyerr spent fifteen years in management consulting and the corporate world.
Dan Smaller is a veteran emerging and frontier markets investor and banker. He worked successfully for 20 years on the trading and sell-side around the world and the following 15 years on the buy-side in Asia and the Middle East. In investment banking, Dan built and led sales and marketing teams for Citibank, Lehman and UBS. He identified and increasingly focused on the opportunities in Emerging Markets. He was first to introduce Public Equity investors to markets from Pakistan to Peru and Croatia to Egypt. His career to date has included assignments in Bahrain, Dubai, Zurich, London, Singapore, Sydney and Hong Kong.
Kendal Tyre is a Partner at Nixon Peabody and is based in their Washington, DC office. He counsels franchise, manufacturing, food and beverage, retail and financial services companies on international business transactions. Kendal represents clients in mergers and acquisitions, private equity, venture capital, joint ventures and strategic alliances, licensing and franchise matters as well as corporate law matters. Kendal is the author and editor of Franchising in Africa published by LexNoir Foundation. He serves as co-chair of Nixon Peabody’s Africa group. Kendal received his J.D. from University of Minnesota Law School and a B.A., with honors, from Brown University.
Ammin Youssouf started his tech career in the late 90’s and is the founder of the multi-awarded digital agency Big Youth. His clients were brands like Ferrari, Kenzo, Mugler, Société Générale, NRJ, Citroën, Kronenbourg. He is now Co founder of Afrobytes, the 1st Hub dedicated to African Tech in Europe. Afrobytes is a bridge between African and European tech. With its open innovation lab called “Fair Digital”, Afrobytes promotes fair trade in digital activities with African actors. He deeply believes the new raw material of Africa is the Data. For him, the future of our sustainable usages is shaped on the “Mobile First continent”.