Our Advisory Board

Thabo Mbeki

His Excellency Thabo Mbeki served the Republic of South Africa as the second president of the democratic South Africa from 14 June 1999 to September 2008. Prior to that he served as Executive Deputy President of the Republic during the President Mandela government from 1994 until 13 June 1999. A staunch pan-Africanist and a great thinker, HE Thabo Mbeki has since led numerous missions and commissions for the African Union, United Nations and numerous international organisations

Dr. Kandeh Yumkella

Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella was Director-General of UNIDO, having previously worked in various high-level policy positions in UNIDO, including as Special Adviser to two previous Directors-General and as Director of the Africa and Least Developed Countries Regional Bureau as well as Representative and Director of the first UNIDO Regional Office in Nigeria. He was re-appointed as Director-General of UNIDO for a second four-year term in December 2009. Prior to working for UNIDO, he was the Minister for Trade, Industry and State Enterprises of the Republic of Sierra Leone from 1994-1995. Between 1987 and 1996, while furthering his studies, he held various academic positions at Michigan State University and the University of Illinois. He is currently a Member of Parliament in Sierra Leone, where he now lives.

Ambassador Macharia Kamau

Macharia Kamau was Ambassador Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary and Permanent Representative, Kenya Mission to the United Nations. In addition to his diplomatic assignments, Ambassador Macharia Kamau was International Consultant to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Nations AIDS. He has vast experience at the United Nations where he served for over twenty five years mostly in senior management positions at the UNDP, UNICEF and UNTAG. During this period, he was deployed in various countries in Eastern and Southern Africa as well as the Caribbean.

Ambassador Amara Essy

Amara has had an extensive diplomatic career. He was elected Chair of the Interim African Union Commission at the organization’s Heads of States and Governments Summit on 10 July 2001. He also served as a First Counselor at the Embassy of Côte d’Ivoire in Brazil from 1971 to 1973, and from 1973 to 1975, Mr. Essy was a Counselor at the Permanent Mission of Côte d’Ivoire to the United Nations in New York. He had become the Chief of the Division of Economic Relations at the Central Department of the foreign ministry of Côte d’Ivoire in 1970. From 1978 to 1981, Mr. Essy was the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Côte d’Ivoire to the Swiss Confederation at Berne, and prior to that, he served as the Permanent Representative of Cote d’Ivoire to the United Nations Office in Geneva and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Vienna, positions to which he was appointed in 1978.

Dr Frannie Leautier

Dr Frannie Leautier is the current COO at Southbridge Capital, an investment and advisory firm founded by Lionel Zinsou, former PM of Benin and Dr Donald Kaberuka, former President of the African Development Bank and Finance Minister of Rwanda. She has helpd numerous senior roles at the World Bank, the African Development Bank and was the Executive Secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation. She has extensive private sector experience including her role as Partner & Chief Executive Officer, Mkoba Private Equity Fund in Tanzania. She holds a BSc in Civil Engineering, University of Dar es Salaam; an MSc in Transportation and a PhD in Infrastructure Systems, MIT; graduate, Executive Development Program, Harvard University. 1992-2007.

Evelyn Oputu

Dr. Evelyn Ndali Oputu is a nominee director for the United Nigerian Textiles Limited and has served as the Chief Executive Officer, Managing Director and Director of Bank of Industry Limited. from December, 2005 to April 17, 2014. Dr. Oputu began banking career in 1976 with ICON Merchant Bank Ltd. and joined International Merchant Bank (IMB) in 1982 where she was appointed General Manager IMB Securities in 1989 and Executive Director in 1990. Dr. Oputu served as Executive Director at First Bank of Nigeria Plc between 1991 and 1997 and later ran her manufacturing business until she was appointed to her present position in 2005. Dr. Oputu is a Nominee Director of United Nigerian Textiles Limited. Dr. Oputu is an alumnus of the University of Lagos and the Harvard Business School, was at Morgan Guaranty Trust Company of New York for her internship.

Dr. Nkosana Moyo

Dr Nkosana Moyo is the Founder of MINDS. He was until August 2011, the Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, African Development Bank. Nkosana Moyo is a national of Zimbabwe. Before joining the AfDB, Dr. Moyo worked at Actis Capital LLP as Managing Partner for the Africa Business. He also served on the boards of a number of companies in the cement, sugar, finance, tourism, mining, airline and food sectors. He also served as Minister of Industry & International Trade of Zimbabwe. For three years, Nkossana was the Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum – Africa Regional Agenda Council on the Future of Africa.

Dr. Oby Ezekwesili

Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili is a Nigerian chartered accountant. She was a co-founder of Transparency International, serving as one of the pioneer Directors of the global anti-corruption body based in Berlin, Germany. She served as Federal Minister of Solid Minerals and then as Federal Minister of Education during the second term presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo. She was the Vice President of the World Bank’s Africa division.

Amadou Mahtar Ba

Amadou Mahtar Ba was the Chief Executive of the African Media Initiative (AMI). Mr. Ba is also a Co-founder and Chairman of AllAfrica Global Media, Inc – owner and operator of http://allafrica.com – an international multi-media content service provider, systems technology developer and the largest distributor of African news and information worldwide. Prior to starting AllAfrica, Mr. Ba served from 1996 to 2000 as Director of Communications and Marketing for BICIS Bank, a subsidiary of the French banking group BNP Paribas. From 1993 to 1996, Mr. Ba helped lead the successful restructuring and privatization of the Panafrican News Agency (PANA).

Bright Simons

Bright Simons is a technology innovator, development activist and social entrepreneur. He is President of the mPedigree Network, a system that empowers consumers to instantly verify with a free text message whether their medicines are safe and not counterfeit. Prior, he was a Senior Fellow at the IMANI Centre for Policy and Education in Ghana. Bright is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Network of Global Agenda Councils and Technology Pioneers communities. He is also an Ashoka Fellow, TED Fellow, Tech Museum Laureate and a Brain Trust member of the Evian Group at IMD. In 2010, he was conferred with an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Award by the African Leadership Institute.

Thebe Ikalafeng

Thebe Ikalafeng is one of Africa’s foremost brand authorities. He has also held numerous directorships including vice-chairman of the Brand Council of South Africa, non-executive director of Mercantile Bank Holdings, Brand South Africa, WWF South Africa (WorldWideFund for Nature) and South African Tourism. He is the Founder and Chairman of Brand Africa and Public Sector Excellence. He has served on various leading corporate boards and many notable industry bodies.

Henry Bonsu

An Oxford graduate, Henry Bonsu has been a journalist since 1990, working as a staff researcher and producer on BBC radio and TV programmes like Today, World at One, Public Eye, and Black Britain. He became a freelance journalist and broadcaster in 1997, anchoring several programmes on BBC London 94.9FM, including Breakfast, Lunchtime, and Drivetime, interviewing leading politicians, businesspeople and a range of London personalities. Henry was also a popular panellist on Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff, and has appeared as a news commentator on Radio 5 Live and Sky News for several years. He is now an international MC and expert moderator at global events, his clients including numerous international organisations.

Ranveer S Chauhan

Ranveer S Chauhan has worked for 30 years in the Agribusiness sector, operating in Africa, India and South East Asia. Previously, Ranveer worked for Olam for 25 years before embarking on his current venture as Director of Akwaaba Ventures Pte Ltd.

Ranveer’s latest project for Akwaaba is Agroconnect, an initiative launched to attract Singapore investment in a farmer training platform in Ghana, in order to target food security and improve farmer incomes.