Women in Leadership
Madame Bineta Diop has been at the forefront of women’s rights in Africa with particular focus on issues of women, peace and security for over 30 years. In January 2014, she was appointed by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission as Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security with the mandate to ensure that the voices of the women and the vulnerable are heard much more clearly in peace building and conflict resolution. She played an instrumental role in achieving gender parity within the African Union Commission and in the adoption of the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa as well as the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. In 2011, Time Magazine named Ms. Diop one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Theo Sowa CBE is Chief Executive Officer of the African Women’s Development Fund. Theo’s work on women’s rights issues has had a special focus on the promotion and protection of women’s rights in armed conflict situations, strengthening women focused development programmes in Africa, advocacy related to HIV/AIDS issues and to the establishment of a United Nations women’s agency. She holds a public appointment as a board member of the Charity Commission for England and Wales and was awarded a CBE in 2010.
Dr. Agnes Kalibata, has been AGRA’s President since September 2014. Most recently, she was Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI). In this role, she was widely considered to be one of the most successful Agriculture Ministers in sub-Saharan Africa. Agnes has held several leadership positions including Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture and Deputy Vice Chancellor of University of Rwanda. Agnes also worked for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Uganda, and various other agricultural development organizations. She sits on various boards including the International Fertilizer Development Corporation (IFDC), Institute of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, the Strategic Advisory Council of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH). Agnes is an accomplished agricultural scientist and holds a doctorate in entomology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Dr Kalibata has a distinguished track record as an agricultural scientist, policy maker and thought leader.
Lord Dr Michael Hastings of Scarisbrick CBE is KPMG International’s Global Head of Corporate Citizenship. He was previously the BBC’s head of Public Affairs 1996 to 2003 then its first head of Corporate Social Responsibility from 2003 to 2006. In January 2003, Michael was awarded a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in recognition of his services to crime reduction, including 15 years as Chairman of Crime Concern and 21years as a Trustee. He served on the Commission for Racial Equality for nine years as a commissioner from 1993 to 2001. In 2014, Michael was conferred with a Doctorate in Civil Law from the University of Kent in recognition for his leadership at KPMG and the BBC on the work he has led on international development and corporate responsibility. Michael is Chairman of Millennium Promise UK and a member of the global Millennium Promise Board. In 2010 he was a leading adviser to the Chatham House enquiry into the Future Role of the UK in Foreign Affairs. Michael sat on the Council of the Overseas Development Institute in the UK and previously on the Centre for Global Development in the USA. In 2011 he became Vice President of UNICEF – the UN Children’s and Education Fund.
Yasmin Belo-Osagie is the co-founder of She Leads Africa, a social enterprise that supports the growth of African female business leaders. She graduated cum laude from Princeton University in 2011, majoring in history and minoring in finance. After this she attended the Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute in London and Paris before working as a trainee-chef in the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong. She then joined McKinsey & Co’s Lagos office. There, she focused primarily on developing long term, large scale growth strategies for local and international corporates. Yasmin co-founded SLA with a colleague from Mckinsey. The two were recently nominated by Forbes as two of the 20 youngest power women in Africa.
Sela Motshwane first started Touch of Africa after winning a grant with Cambridge University Entrepreneurs, while studying Archaeology. Touch of Africa is a British, London based brand showcasing bold, trendy, ethically sourced African fashion. Sela has a varied academic background of Plant Sciences, Archaeology and Enterprisers. She is passionate about business start-ups, financial literacy and economic equality for Africans.
Paul Payne is Operations Manager at ‘The Key is E’ a social investment fund which, identifies and invests African entrepreneurs and small businesses that will strongly benefit and impact the lives of children. Paul is also a dynamic public speaker and advocate for human rights and freedom. He works hard at encouraging and facilitating collaboration between stakeholders in various industries such as government, business and NGOS. Paul is also co-leader of the Dunamis Network – a network focused on the development and character building of young people, through mentorship and empowerment. With aim to build and grow the capacity of urban communities towards confidence and societal leadership. Paul is also official Aid and Parliamentary Researcher to Lord (Dr) Michael Hastings, CBE
Samuel Kasumu is a serial social entrepreneur and political commentator who has started and built up a number of successful enterprises, and continues to build a reputation in UK business and politics. He is currently the managing director of EN Campaigns Ltd, an organisation specialising in using technology to teach English Language, and the promotion of entrepreneurship. EN is now the 4th largest delivery partner of the government’s Start-Up Loans initiative. Samuel is also co founder of Engage Fundraising Ltd. Engage employs a large team of people in England and Scotland, helping to raise much needed funds for some of the world’s largest charities. Clients including World Vision, Red Cross, UNICEF, Cancer Research, and the National Death Children’s Society, have been signed up by Engage Fundraising. He is also the Founder of Elevation Networks, a youth employment charity operating primarily in London and the Midlands. Samuel is a member of the Conservative Party, and has previously sat on the board of the Tory Reform Group and the Bow Group.
Media and Perception
Osamede Okhomina studied Philosophy at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He has over 11 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry. He previously worked for Terra Energy Service and assisted it in the introduction of new deep water technologies developed in Norway into the Nigerian market. Osamede was instrumental in originating, structuring and eventually settling the 15-year legal battle between Shell and the Wiwa Plaintiffs in the New York District Court. In addition to this he has written on the Niger Delta difficulties in Nigeria. He was one of the founding partners of EER in 2004 and was the CEO of the company from 2008 until early 2014. He is responsible for business development in line with the company’s strategy of growing a portfolio of low risk, high return assets. Mr Okhomina is interested in Mass Media, philosophy, social anthropology, ethnography, political and religious history. He is also an amateur poet and essayist.
Dr Ike Anya is a public health specialist, physician and writer who has worked in Nigeria and the UK. For the last 6 years he has worked as a deputy director of public health in central London, and is currently on sabbatical writing a book and acting as principal consultant to EpiAfric, a West African public health research, training and consultancy outfit. With his colleague, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, he started the blog Nigeria Health Watch in 2007 and founded the Nigerian Public Health Network in 2002 and the TEDxEuston event in 2009. An honorary lecturer at Imperial College, he also teaches at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and served on the Advisory Board of Doctors of the World Project: London. A TEDGlobal Fellow (2007), he was founding secretary of the Abuja Literary Society and co-editor of the Weaverbird Collection of Nigerian Fiction. In January 2015, he was appointed to the Council of the Caine Prize for African Writing.
Solomon Mugera is in charge of BBC’s language services that broadcast to Africa on radio, TV, online, mobile and social media, reaching a weekly audience of more than 90 million. The languages include English, Hausa, Swahili, Somali, Kinyarwanda/Kirundi and French. BBC Africa has more than 200 employees based in London and on the continent where it operates bureaux in four key cities, Abuja, Dakar, Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. In addition, it has offices in Abidjan, Accra, Bujumbura, Kampala, Kigali and Kinshasa. Over the past four years, BBC Africa has transformed from being a heavily radio-focussed broadcaster to a multimedia operation, with daily news and current affairs TV bulletins in English (Focus on Africa), Swahili, French and Hausa. Prior to being appointed Editor for BBC Africa, Mr Mugera headed the BBC Swahili service. He began his journalism career in Kenya where he first worked for the state broadcaster KBC later joining privately owned TV station KTN. Mr Mugera holds an MA in Media Management and has more than 20 years of experience as a broadcast journalist.
Lanre Akinola is working with the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa, coordinating its inaugural pan-African business media convening. He is the former editor of the Financial Times' flagship Africa publication, This Is Africa, where he was also a founding team member. Lanre is a 2014 Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellow and sought after commentator on contemporary media and African affairs.
African Education Systems
Irene Tamajong is the founder and director of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) UK office, one of the key Advancement Chapters in the AIMS global network. With vast experience from the private sector, she made an effective transition to the development sector, contributing significantly to the rapid growth that AIMS is experiencing. Prior to joining AIMS-NEI, she was a product analyst and manager at Pershing Ltd, a BNY Mellon Company and Barclays, respectively. Irene holds a BSc (Hons) Applied Economics (UK), MSc Marketing from the University of Manchester (UK) and an Executive MBA from Cass Business School (City University London UK).
Dr. Pauline Essah is the Cambridge-Africa Programme Manager at the University of Cambridge, UK. This Programme is a key element in the University of Cambridge's international strategy, and incorporates the THRiVE, CAPREx and MUII initiatives, the Alborada Research Fund, and the Wellcome Trust-Cambridge Centre for Global Health Research. Ghanaian in origin, Pauline completed her BSc honours degree in agriculture at the University of Ghana, Legon. She then moved to the University of Cambridge to study for her MPhil and PhD degrees in biological sciences (at Pembroke and Churchill Colleges, respectively). This was followed by three and a half years of post-doctoral research at the Department of Plant Sciences in Cambridge. In 2006, Pauline redirected her career from laboratory to focus on office-based scientific research and project management. After a brief stint outside academia, Pauline returned to the University of Cambridge in 2008 to work temporarily in the School of Clinical Medicine, and also in the Department of Biological Anthropology. She then joined the Cambridge-Africa in 2009, to help initiate this unique and outstanding Programme at the University of Cambridge.'
Olugbenga Ogunbode is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Education Corporation Group (TEC), a diversified education group with operations and investments in Africa and the United Kingdom. He is also the founder of Global Education Foundation (GEF) a not-for profit organisation providing educational opportunities and affordable private education. GEF, currently operates two schools: Covenant College, Cambridge and Cambridge Training Institute (Abuja, Nigeria) and with future plans to establish more affordable private schools across Africa. He has consulted for governments and corporate organisations in Africa – focusing on education as a tool for change and the educated diaspora as ‘change-agents’. His other interests include: Hosting the annual Cambridge International Education Conference (CIEC) since 2011 and also hosted the Let’s Talk Africa programme in Cambridge from 2010-2013. Olugbenga obtained his Law degree from King’s College London and is a writer, speaker and columnist.
Yusuf Dirie is a PhD Researcher in Science, Technology Policy and Tutorial Fellow in Innovation at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex. His research interests include: understandings of progress, postcolonial and decolonial theory, critical pedagogy, power, pastoralism and policy processes. He is also a co-founder of, Multiplicities a social enterprise aimed at assisting communities articulate their problems and validate their knowledges, using research related processes.
Arts, Culture and Heritage
Nana Ayebia Clarke MBE is an award-winning Ghanaian Publisher based in Oxfordshire. She worked for twelve years on the Heinemann African & Caribbean Writers Series lists at Oxford as an Editor. She set up Ayebia Clarke Publishing Limited in 2003 with her husband David. Ayebia has established itself as a leading international publisher of quality African & Caribbean literature from both established and new authors. As Publisher, she has developed an acclaimed list of African & Caribbean writers as well as editing a wide range of authors including the Nigerian Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, the late Chinua Achebe, Ama Ata Aidoo, Tsitsi Dangaremgba, Jack Mapanje, Veronique Tadjo, Kofi Anyidoho, Elleke Boehmer, the late Ken Saro-Wiwa and commissioning award-winning scholarly essays by academics in the field of African Studies including Ato Quayson, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, Claudia Jones, Carole Boyce Davies, Vincent Odamtten, Boubacar Boris Diop, Anne Adams and Esi Sutherland-Addy et al. Ayebia has published over 40 books from African and African Diasporic writers since setting up in 2003 and Ayebia books are used on African studies courses internationally. In 2011, Nana Ayebia was awarded an Honorary MBE for services to the publishing industry.
Touria El Glaoui, born and raised in Morocco, completed her education in New York before beginning a career in the banking industry as a wealth management consultant. After ten years she relocated to London where she has since occupied various business development positions in the Telecom/IT industry in the Middle East and Africa. Parallel to her career, Touria has organised and co-curated exhibitions of her father’s work, Moroccan artist Hassan El Glaoui. In October 2013, Touria founded 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, which takes place annually at Somerset House, London. In 2015, the third edition of 1:54 will be held across the 15–18October in London, while the first ‘1:54 Pop-Up’ will be launched over the 15–17 May in New York taking place at Pioneer Works | Center for Art + Innovation in Brooklyn.
Yaba Badoe is an award-winning, Ghanaian-British, documentary filmmaker with over 30 years’ experience in radio and television. A graduate of King’s College Cambridge, she worked as a civil servant in Ghana before becoming a General Trainee with the BBC. Among her TV credits include a BAFTA-nominated documentary for BBC1, work featured on ITV, Channel 4 and BBC4. In 2014, Yaba Badoe was nominated for a Distinguished Woman of African Cinema Award. Alongside teaching in Spain, Jamaica and time as a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, Yaba has published short stories and in 2009 her debut novel, True Murder, was published by Jonathan Cape. In 2010, Yaba set up an NGO, Fadoa Films, through which she made, with the support of the women’s movement in Ghana, a documentary, The Witches of Gambaga. The Witches of Gambaga won the Best Documentary Award 2010 at the Black International Film Festival in Britain and 2nd Prize, Documentaries 2011 at FESPACO. Yaba has just finished a feature-length film, The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo.
Siana Bangura is a writer, blogger, journalist and spoken word performer from London, via Freetown, Sierra Leone. She graduated from Peterhouse, Cambridge in June 2013 with a degree in History. Siana has worked for Channel 4, BBC Radio 1, Keo Films, Sky TV, to name just a few, and has been published in a number of publications including Writers of Colour, VS Notebook, Gender Agenda, Huffington Post, Nu People, and more. She is poet-in-residence at the Versified Life collective and presenter of the show, as well as being the founder and editor of Intersectional Feminist blog No Fly on the WALL.
Master of Ceremony
Henry Bonsu is a broadcaster and conference host of Ghanaian-British origin. A graduate of Magdalen College Oxford, he has worked on many current affairs programmes, including BBC Radio 4's Today, BBC London 94.9, and BBC2's Black Britain. Henry has also presented shows on satellite channels Vox Africa, BET International, Press TV, and been an analyst on Sky News, Al Jazeera and Sky News. He started out as a print journalist writing initially for specialist newspapers such as The Voice, and the Caribbean Times, then The Times, Express, Guardian and The Evening Standard. For several years Henry was a major backer and investor in Colourful Radio, the former DAB and satellite station. He is now an international MC, specialising on global economic development with a particular focus on Africa. In the last year he has hosted summits at the UN General Assembly in New York, in Brussels, The Hague, Kigali, Mexico City and in Incheon, Korea. As well as development events, Bonsu facilitates business gatherings like the Cartier Women's Initiative Awards, the African Banker Awards, and the Global African Investment Summit. He is currently a member of the Equality and Diversity Committee of NHS England.