Panels Profiles

Women In Business

Aniekeme Umoh (Moderator)

Aniekeme graduated from Columbia University in 2015 with honors in chemical engineering. She works as a technology consultant at PwC and has record of involvement in education initiatives for underprivileged kids, most recently as the Director of Operations of the nonprofit organization, weCare Initiative for Africa. She also models part time and runs a fashion blog, TFLA: This Fashion Love Affair.

Temilola Sobowale

A Harvard College and Columbia Law Alumna, making great strides at the intersection of technology and business. Currently, Temilola is part of the regulatory and compliance office at Lyft – the San Francisco based transportation network company.

Chi Achebe

A UPenn alum, the tech entrepreneur and business development consultant is the Founder and CEO of ResSpot, the first global “911” emergency response mobile platform. She is also the creator of the Anzisha Prize, a $100,000 African entrepreneurship award in partnership with MasterCard Foundation.

Yoli Chisholm

Senior Director of Digital Marketing at Microsoft, founder of, and author of Crushing Corporate. Yoli Chisholm has a 20-year record of corporate entrepreneurship having worked for Fortune 100 companies as well as startups that have grown into corporations like eBay, and

Adeola Adejobi

After receiving a B.A. in Political Science from Spelman College, and a J.D. with a specialization in International Legal Affairs from Cornell Law School, Adeola Adejobi founded the Avant-Garde Network (, a group comprised of professionals of color focused on networking, diversity and inclusion, entrepreneurship, career advancement, and civic engagement. She has also created initiatives such as Africa 2030, Law Tech and Innovation, and the Dealmakers Roundtable. These events and discussions provide specific insight and information around different sectors and industries.

Temi Adeniji

Temi Adeniji graduated from Princeton University in 2009 and received a joint JD from Columbia Law School and an LLM in International Commercial Law from University College London in 2012. She was an associate in the Finance Group at Shearman & Sterling LLP from September 2012 – February 2015 before moving to the Debt Finance Group at Kirkland & Ellis LLP from February 2015 – July 2016. She is currently a Director, International Strategy & Operations at Warner Music Group.

African Narratives

Lolade Olayokun

Lolade Olayokun is the second to last of 5 children in her family. As fate would have it, the pressure for her to be a doctor or lawyer had faded away by the time her parents were ready to raise her. She is the creator of MC Lolahstic, producer, and On Air Personality. Shortly after her reign as Miss.Nigeria Independence 2011-12, she kicked off her career in entertainment and Journalism. She has hosted events in London, guest appeared on Radio Continental 102.3FM in Lagos Nigeria, and captivated many with her presence as a Red carpet host at the annual Nigerian Entertainment Awards (NEA). When Lolade is passionate about something, she goes the extra mile to make sure everyone in her network knows about it. Through these milestones, Lolade became the first USA correspondent for, an Online entertainment Television station based in Lagos,Nigeria. BattaBox provided a platform where she could fully present stories, as a video journalist.

Timothyna Duncan (Moderator)

Timothyna Duncan is a News Features Reporter at the Daily Mail and Co-Founder of Abrekna, a New York based African fashion line. She has covered stories in Johannesburg, Birmingham (UK), Chicago and New York. She graduated from The Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and is from Ghana.

Amy Sall

A graduate from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Amy Sall, holds a master’s degree in Human Rights Studies, concentrating on the right to development and youth empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa. She received her BA in 2012 from The New School University in Culture and Media Studies, with a concentration in Cultural Studies and a minor in journalism.

Sall is Founder and Editor of SUNU: Journal of African Affairs, Critical Thought + Aesthetics, a forthcoming online platform and print journal seeking to amplify the youth voice and perspective on matters and ideas concerning Africa and the diaspora.

With a keen interest in cultural studies, African affairs and artistic expression, Amy Sall is interested in the ways in which media, visual culture and critical theory inform, shape and encourage discourses surrounding the socioeconomic, political and cultural.

Currently she is a part-time lecturer in the Culture and Media Studies department of The New School University's Eugene Lang College.

Michael Rain

Michael Rain is the co-founder of ZNews Africa, a mobile-first media+tech company delivering the best news and stories to the global Pan-African community via mobile app, website and newsletter products. The company is a selected member of Facebook, Google and Microsoft’s accelerator programs for startups. He is currently a fellow at the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism.

Michael is a content developer and product manager with a background in strategic communications and has worked with some of the world’s largest and best-known brands including TimeWarner, Toyota, and The Wall Street Journal.

He earned a B.A. degree in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations from Columbia University. He serves on the boards of Public Allies of New York and the Columbia University Black Alumni Council. He is Ghanaian-American, a lifelong New Yorker and Brooklyn native.

Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond

Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond is the author of Powder Necklace, which Publishers Weekly hailed 'a winning debut.' Named among 39 of the most promising African writers under 39, her short fiction was included in the anthology Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of Sahara.

She was shortlisted for a Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2014 and 2015 and has contributed fiction to African Writing, Los Angeles Review of Books, Sunday Salon, the short story collection Woman's Work, and a forthcoming anthology from Atria Books.

She has shared commentary on everything from Michelle Obama's role in the presidential campaign to Nelson Mandela's legacy on MSNBC, NY1, Sahara TV and ARISE TV and online at destinations including and

In April 2015, she was the opening speaker at TEDxAccra. Also noted for her personal style, a host of photographers have captured her sartorial choices for outlets including New York Magazine, Essence Magazine,, and The New York Times. Brew-Hammond co-leads a monthly writing fellowship at the Center for Faith and Work and is currently at work on a new novel.

Karen Ruggles

Karen coordinates and delivers original content for DreamAfrica, a digital platform that seeks to increase diversity in digital content for children throughout the world. Karen Ruggles is a member of the faculty at DeSales University in Center Valley, PA and has been teaching Digital Art and 3D Animation since 2013. Karen is passionate about storytelling and seeks to support education–whether personal or formal–through multicultural representation.

Invest Africa!

Murray B. Low (moderator)

Adjunct Professor - Columbia Business School

Professor Low is an experienced entrepreneur and a leading authority on entrepreneurship in independent, corporate and not-for-profit settings.

As the founder of the Columbia Entrepreneurship Program, he has worked to make entrepreneurship a viable career option for MBA graduates. As the Co-Director of IE@Columbia, he has worked with faculty, students and staff across the University to spread innovation and entrepreneurship. He has also lead initiatives to improve business education in developing countries, particularly in Africa.

Low consults to both small and large companies, family businesses and not-for-profits. He teaches executive seminars in the areas of entrepreneurship and innovation and makes frequent presentations to academic and industry groups.

He has published widely in academic and practitioner journals and is a regular commentator in the media. He is an active advisor, board member and angel investor.

Kwame L. Dougan

Managing Partner at Scotch & Palm

Kwame L. Dougan, Esq. (LAW ‘10) is an attorney and Managing Partner of Scotch & Palm, the only law practice in the United States focused exclusively on transactional matters with a nexus to Africa.

Kwame is drawn to technology-based solutions that create positive, practical and profitable outcomes for communities and investors. For over a decade, he has been connecting global investors with promising young companies in Africa and counseling emerging companies seeking capital. Previously, Kwame managed Africa projects for the Community Development Venture Capital Alliance, a $100MM Fund of Funds. With assistance from MARs Canada and the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), Kwame launched the African Technology, Impact and Opportunity Fund to invest in Ghana and Nigeria.

Previously, Kwame practiced securities litigation with global law firm Shearman & Sterling LLP. Kwame earned his J.D. from Columbia Law School and holds master’s degrees from the London School of Economics, attending as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, and from the University of Amsterdam. He also a graduate of York University and Tsinghua University, where he studied Mandarin Chinese. In 2015, he was awarded the Trailblazer Award by the National Bar Association. He is a Millennium Fellow at the Atlantic Council and an advisor at Princeton University’s Keller Center for Entrepreneurship.

Stephen Murray

Aldwych Capital Partners Managing Director / CO-Head, Africa

Stephen is an experienced finance professional bringing over 20 years of experience as a banker, investor, manager and operator in the United States and Emerging & Frontier Markets, including over a decade of overseeing investments, financial management and the execution of strategic plans for portfolio companies in Sub-Saharan Africa. 


Stephen joined Aldwych in 2016 to lead the firm's initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Previously, Stephen was with Pan African Capital Group, LLC, where he managed investment opportunities, philanthropic initiatives, and political advocacy in Sub-Saharan Africa. Stephen co-managed the group’s investment portfolio, with particular emphasis on investments in the financial services sectors of West Africa, and provided advisory and investment banking services to PACG’s diverse portfolio of clients in the United States and Africa. From 2000 to 2002, Stephen worked for Modern Africa Fund Managers, LCC identifying and evaluating investment opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa.


Prior to joining Pan African Capital Group, Stephen worked for The Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the Emerging Markets and International Affairs group, where he was responsible for assessing economic, financial, and political developments affecting global capital markets and financial institutions in a number of emerging market countries. He authored a number of analytical briefings for Senior Federal Reserve officials including the implications of rising household credit in emerging markets, the development of Islamic banking and Shari’ah-compliant financial products, and the implications of foreign exchange reserve accumulation and diversification on the U.S. economy and global financial markets. 


Stephen started his professional career as a Credit Analyst at Summit Bank (New Jersey) and a Senior Associate at Credit Lyonnais (New York). He graduated with honors from Villanova University with a degree in International Business and received his MBA from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. Stephen is a British national and has traveled extensively through Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Ashley Bendell

Founder and CEO, Africa Investment Advisors

Africa Investment Advisors is a consulting firm that provides strategic advice to African Stock Exchanges, Governments, and Corporations on their international engagement with institutional investors and partners. We also work closely with international companies and institutional investors to better understand opportunities across Africa's investment and business landscape. Our New York base provides a unique vantage point from the world's financial capital. We maintain relationships with a variety of major sources of capital and a vast, thriving US diaspora. In addition, we often interact with the United States Government, as well as various African embassy and United Nations offices. This compliments our long established network across the continent.

Ashley Bendell is a leading authority across Africa’s capital markets with experience in Public Equity (Research, Sales, Trading), Investment Banking, and Private Equity. He also maintains extensive, personal, and high level relationships across Africa and within the global Emerging Market investment community. Mr. Bendell has built a reputation for his engaging and unique take on developments across Africa and is regularly invited to share his experiences as an event host, moderator, and speaker.

Mr Bendell moved to New York in 2006 with Credit Suisse. Since 2007 he has spearheaded the international expansion of three leading Frontier and African focussed investment banking platforms in the USA; Exotix, Renaissance Capital, and African Alliance. His clients included major institutional public and private equity funds based in the USA, Europe, and Africa.

He has cultivated strong relationships with governments, stock exchanges, and senior company management in Africa, and has visited the continent on many occasions alongside some of world's largest financial institutions. In addition, Ashley has secured and hosted numerous investor roundtables with Presidents (Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana) and major corporate CEOs.

Ashley received his undergraduate degree from the University of Edinburgh and a Masters in Investment Analysis from Stirling University. He is honored to be a 'council member' of the Gerson Lehrman Group (GLG), the world's largest network of thought leaders and practitioners for 1-1 professional learning.

Dana M. Reed

Interim CEO of The Africa Center

Dana Reed is the Interim CEO of The Africa Center. Most recently, Dana was the CEO of PanAfrican Investment Co., a private investment company that made impact investments in SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa. She grew the company from inception to ten employees with a portfolio of seven SMEs.

Prior to joining PIC, Dana was a Managing Director at Semper Capital, a structured credit asset management company with $1.5 billion AUM. Her responsibilities included marketing, product development, and strategic growth of the firm. Before Semper, she was an investment banker at JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.

Dana began her career as a Fellow at the Export-Import Bank of the United States. She received a BBA in International Business from Howard University and a MBA from Howard University. She is a Trustee at BrightPoint Health and Randall’s Island Park Alliance. Dana was appointed by New York Governor Paterson to serve as a Director of the Harlem Community Development Corp. and continues to serve in that capacity today. She is an active member of the African Leadership Network and received the 2013 CUP Catalyst for Change: Finance Award. Dana is a frequent speaker at industry events in both the US and in Africa and has appeared on and Arise TV.

Strengthening Africa’s Legal Frameworks

Daniel Agbor

Mr. Agbor is the Managing Partner, current co-head of the private equity team and one time head of the banking and finance, power and taxation teams at Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie, one of Nigeria’s leading law firms.

He has pioneering experience and has advised on a range of matters including Nigeria’s earliest global depositary receipt programme, its first independent power project; the establishment of its first discount house; its first Eurobond transaction and the structuring of an international debt fund listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. His experience also extends to drafting regulations for the Nigerian power sector regulator.

He is ranked as a leading lawyer in the Corporate/M&A sections of Chambers Global Directory and the Practical Law Review. He is also featured in the International Financial Law Review (Expert Guides), the Practical Law Company Which Lawyer Guides, the Legal 500 and Who’s Who Legal.

Mr. Agbor holds B.Sc. and M.P.A. degrees from the University of Calabar and LL.B. and B.L. degrees from the University of Benin and Nigerian Law School respectively.

Ejim Achi

Mr. Achi represents private equity sponsors, strategic buyers and sellers, and venture capital investors in connection with buyouts, mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, restructurings and other investments spanning a wide range of industries and sectors, with particular emphasis on technology, consumer packaged goods, hospitality and infrastructure.

Mr. Achi also has significant experience representing institutional buyers and sellers in connection with secondary market transactions involving privately-held interests in investment funds and emerging companies.

Mr. Achi received his M.B.A. from Yale School of Management, his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. He is on the board of the Harlem Symphony Orchestra and The Angaza Foundation for Africa Reporting. Mr. Achi was listed as a New York Super Lawyer “Rising Star” from 2015 to 2016, and he was the recipient of the “Accelerator Award” at the MIT Sloan School of Business Africa Innovate Business Plan Competition.

Emeka Chinwuba

Mr. Chinwuba is of Counsel at Norton Rose Fulbright’s New York office. His practice focuses on project finance transactions primarily in the power and infrastructure sectors.

His experience includes general bank finance transactions and project development including wind power projects, asset acquisition transactions, parking and toll road concession transactions and US P3 transactions. Mr. Chinwuba’s experience in project financing spans the United States, South America, Middle East Asia and Africa.

He has also served as a volunteer prosecution attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, where he assisted on the trial of genocidaires in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.  He was also awarded the New York Metro “Rising Star” award in the field of Securities and Corporate Finance Litigation in 2016 by Thomson Reuters.

Mr. Chinwuba received his LL.B. from the University of Nigeria, his B.L. from Nigeria Law School and LL.M. from Columbia University, Columbia Law School.

Clare Karabarinde

Ms. Karabarinde is an Associate in the New York office of Chadbourne & Parke. She represents lenders, equity investors, sponsors, borrowers, and developers in connection with the development, project financing, acquisition and divesture of power, energy, transportation and other major infrastructure projects in the United States, Africa, Europe and Latin America.

Her experience includes the representation of the Africa Integras Fund in the negotiation of a PPP/concession to develop, finance, construct and operate university infrastructure on various National University of Rwanda sites; the Government of Uganda in connection with developing a structure for the redevelopment of the Kilembe Copper Mines and preparing a tender for a public private partnership; and a US private equity sponsor with respect to the project development and construction of one wind and two solar powered electricity generation facilities in South Africa.

Ms. Karabarinde, a Ugandan national received her B.A. from Middlebury College and her J.D. from the Boston University School of Law. In addition to English, Ms. Karabarinde is fluent in Luganda and Lunyankole.

Ms. Karabarinde is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors for African Dream Initiative (ADI). ADI transforms the lives of forgotten children in East Africa by finding bright children living on the edges of society – including refugees, AIDS orphans, former child soldiers, abducted girls, and child laborers – and providing them with long-term, quality education in Uganda; leadership and critical thinking skills; and other resources they need to become leaders.

Jenik Radon Esq.

Radon is an Adjunct Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University and was a Fulbright at Makerere University in Uganda. He teaches sustainable natural resource development with a focus on risk and strategic management, sovereignty and human rights, specifically environmental, minority rights and anti-corruption. He has facilitated Capstone Workshops examining the “resource curse” and its impact in Colombia, Mozambique, Namibia, Peru, Tanzania and Uganda. In 2016, he taught the inaugural class on the Panama Papers.

He served as Georgia’s key advisor/negotiator in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil and gas pipeline projects and was awarded that country’s highest civilian award. He also served as an advisor during Estonia’s independence struggle, where he co-authored its foreign investment, privatization, corporate and mortgage/pledge laws. The President of Estonia awarded him the Order of the Cross Terra Mariana. He drafted Nepal’s 2006 Constitution, which restored peace to Nepal.

Radon has lectured and worked in over 60 countries including Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda and South Sudan. He was honored, as a non-African expert, to address the Southern African Development Community’s Southern African Forum Against Corruption. He also addressed the first annual meeting of the Anti-Corruption Commission of Namibia.

He obtained his B.A. from Columbia University, his M.C.P. from the University of California, Berkeley, and J.D. from Stanford Law School.

Witney Schneidman

Schneidman is a Senior International Advisor for Africa at Covington and Burling. He leads Covington and Burling’s Africa initiative and is a senior member of the firm’s Public Policy and Government Affairs Practice Group, International Strategy and International Trade and Finance Groups.

He has nearly 40 years of experience working across sub-Saharan Africa. Drawing on his experience in the State Department, World Bank, think tanks and his own consulting practice, he has advised energy, technology, consumer and health companies, among others, on projects in more than 30 African countries.

He provides strategic advice on the varied political, economic, social and regulatory issues that are critical to companies’ success in Africa. This includes corporate social responsibility, compliance, market entry and risk mitigation. He played a leading role in the passage and reauthorization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act and was a delegate to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit co-hosted by President Obama during his visit to Kenya.

Schneidman received his B.A. (cum laude) from Temple University, his M.A. from the University of Dar es Salaam and his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, School of International Relations.

Media, Fashion & Arts Panel

Abiola Oke (Moderator)

Abiola Oke is the CEO and Publisher of OkayAfrica, the leading media company of its kind connecting a global audience to Africa. Under Oke's leadership, OkayAfrica, founded in 2011 as a sister site to The Roots frontman QuestLove’s Okayplayer continues to grow to become the world’s leading youth media company for African content. OkayAfrica is a community of readers, artists, and creators that use the Okayafrica platform to bridge Africa and its diasporas. The company’s Headquarters are in the US with operations in South Africa, Nigeria and the U.K. with music marketing and distribution service, a creative services agency, and events producers.

Oke is an avid traveler, music producer, radio host, painter and more. He is also the founder of The Book Club That Ended All Book Clubs, a four-year-old organization with over 350 members. Abiola is currently working on a book about youth in African boarding schools and a contributing writer for various online publications, including CNN and of course OkayAfrica.

Oke graduated from City University of New York’s City College., with a BA in Economics.

Prior to joining Okayafrica, Abiola spent over ten years in the financial services industry holding senior executive positions at Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, TD Ameritrade, and Barclays PLC.

Laolu Senbanjo

Laolu was born and raised in Ilorin, Nigeria to Yoruba Parents and is based in Brooklyn, NY. He’s a Visual Artist, Musician, Human Rights Lawyer and Activist. His motto is: “Everything is my Canvas” and takes it to heart. He puts his mark on everything from canvas, to shoes, to walls and buildings, to clothing and even the body with his Sacred Art of the Ori (trademark).

There’s no separating Laolu from his Yoruba heritage, it is ever present in all his work. A strong advocate of holding onto your culture and spreading its glory he finds a way to marry his modern detail and ornate style with his Yoruba heritage by being one of the leaders in Afrofuturism Art. His preferred mediums are charcoal because it’s something as natural as life and death and he also likes to dabble in acrylics, inks and even wood.

Laolu worked with ‪Beyonce‬‬‬ on “Lemonade,” Equinox Fitness, Nike, Angelique Kidjo, Black Coffee, Vice, Essence, Kenneth Cole, ‪Alicia Keys‬‬‬, BET, the Grammy Museum, Axel Audio, ‪Usher‬‬‬, Seun Kuti, Davido, Sound Sultan, Tony Allen and ‪Swizz Beatz‬‬‬. He’s been featured in the New York Times, made the front page of the Sunday Washington Post, the cover of the Smithsonian Magazine, to name a few.

Nicholas Macauley

Nicholas has been a consumer advocate since the start of his decade-long career in technology, applying both design thinking and data analysis to deliver innovative products that offer unique experiences. He’s turned his expertise in product management, user engagement, e-commerce, and strategy to the world of art, starting Ayanmo Media in 2016. Designed with the unique challenges of African creatives in mind, Ayanmo's ecosystem empowers African artists to better brand themselves, engage their fans, and monetize their content.

Born in Monrovia, Liberia and raised in various other countries, Nicholas earned a degree in Finance from Virginia Commonwealth University. Throughout his career, he has helped some of the world’s largest fintech and e-commerce companies create engaging products that add value to everyday consumers. Ayanmo combines Nicholas' passion and expertise to offer a valuable digital landscape for musicians, artists, and anyone else creative.

Yolanda Sangweni

Yolanda Sangweni is a South African-born journalist and deputy editor of ESSENCE magazine. She is also co-founder and editor-in-chief of AfriPOP!, an online magazine focused on sharing the modern African perspective through curating African pop culture, fashion, art and music.

She has worked as a Features editor at TRACE magazine and has written for O: The Oprah Magazine (South Africa), Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar and Time Out New York covering music, fashion and culture.

Ms. Sangweni holds a B.A. degree in English Language and Literature from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and completed the Summer Publishing Institute at New York University.

Kibonen Nfi

Inspired by traditional Cameroonian garments, West African fabric and New York’s vibrant fashion scene, Kibonen delved into the fashion world with ingenious ideas of producing modern interpretations of one of the most delicate and intricate hand woven traditional garments of Cameroon western highlands region, the "toghu”.

Although the pursuit of a fashion career is routinely frowned upon in Cameroon where Kibonen was born and its success deemed unfathomable, she pursued her dreams and formed a label Kibonen NY In 2013 she was nominated for Africa Fashion International's Emerging Designer award in 2013. She's successfully showcased her talents at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York, South Africa and had been profiled in international media. Her work was also displayed at the Smithsonian Museum of African Art in Washington, DC. To further fine-tune her fashion skills, Kibonen recently graduated from The Art Institute of New York City where she learned how to narrow down her research process and better interpret design inspiration and she obtained a degree in Fashion Design. "I learned how to give life to my inspirations, put my ideas down on paper, interact with the right audience and market my products. I learned how to take fashion to the next level.” She explains

In 2015 Kibonen NY was one of the 200 designers around the world featured in the September issue of Vogue Italia as part of their Vogue Talents 2015 Fashion Designers edit. She was later featured on the popular Humans of New York blog and its social media on which her story amassed an astonishing near 100.000 new social media followers, 500.000 comments, near 6000 shares, thousands of orders and her website eventually crashed. To top it all Blake Lively, America’s sweet heart stumbled on Kibonen’s story on her Humans of New York post and had this to say “Just read the story of@kibonen_ny --the designer of this rad jumpsuit-- on @humansofny . She's amazing and has a story to tell in her work and in her life. I love learning about hidden treasures! “

This was such a huge recognition and endorsement. Kibonen has since raised money through crowdfunding and other investing partners, and they have put together a fair trade garment manufacturing plant Made In Camer, in Bamenda Cameroon. The goal for Made In Camer is to collaborate with the biggest fashion houses in need of an ethical sourcing throughout the world in order to continuously provide jobs for the workers as well as improve their lives, empower them and alleviate poverty. Through Kibonen’s designs she aims to provide a confluence of cultures through beautifully crafted and stylish garments with a social stand.

Kibonen made History with the Oscar Award Winner and star of Disney movie “Queen of Katwe”, Lupita Nyong’o, where within a week Lupita wore Kibonen’s designs on two of the biggest TV platforms - The Ellen Degeneres show and Good Morning America during her Media tour for the new movie. These garments are all products from the Made in Camer Fair trade plant recently set up in Bamenda.

Aina Fadina

Aina Fadina is a boundary-breaking fashion model and creative entrepreneur. With over a decade of experience in the international fashion industry, meeting at the intersection of business and creativity, Aina emerges as a new breed of global entrepreneur, squarely focused on empowering through knowledge across multimedia platforms. Aina was born in Lagos, Nigeria and raised in America. Her life and work, are both informed and inspired, by her rich African identity and her global education.

A high fashion and commercial model, Aina has worked as an in-house muse with American, European and African Ateliers and luxury retailers including Oscar De La Renta, Alexander McQueen, Fendi, Duro Olowu, Akris, Armani, J.Mendel, Carolina Herrera, Mimi Plange, Versace, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Barney's and has appeared in Harper's Bazaar, and Italian Vogue.

'I Of Africa' is an original multimedia series focused on cultural dialogues, inspired by Africa around the world. Spanning the role of both creator, executive producer and host, Aina Fadina explores and celebrates the stories of Africa and friends of Africa, on the continent and in the Diaspora, who are innovating across various industries, from fashion and art to music and film, to entrepreneurship and tech providing an exclusive insight into what is means to be inspired by Africa. 'I of Africa', was launched to change the narrative of the continent globally.

Aina has taken 'I of Africa' on her own global journey through Lagos, Cape Town, Brussels. New York, Paris and London, where she has interviewed trailblazing creatives across industries, revering in the expanse of evolving African cultures. Poised to document the global relationship of this incredible continent, 'I of Africa' was named one of CNN's top web series and most recently secured a licensing deal with South African Airways in 2016.

Combining her business savvy and creativity, Aina is at the helm of Afad & Co., a creative consulting agency that focuses on the continued innovation and reinvention of the ever-evolving creative industry.


Ayoinmotion is a uniquely dynamic performer whose high octane delivery and mastery of the stage has garnered him notable accolades and opportunities. Recently, he opened for Afrobeats superstar Wande Cole at University of Pennsylvania, Talib Kweli at the legendary J.Dilla's tribute hosted by Jairobi of the iconic hip-hop group, A Tribe Called Quest. Besides completing a successful European tour, he has interviewed Russell Simmons for MTV and was invited by Lupe Fiasco to join his event panel on Hip-Hop & Society. Ayo is also a contributing writer for Huffington Post and a proponent of using his artistic platform as an avenue for social action; he organized/performed at a benefit for the kidnapped Chibok girls and a much more recent fundraiser for children affected by contaminated lead water in Flint, Michigan.

Ayo was born in Ibadan but grew up in Lagos, Nigeria and migrated to Flint, Michigan as a teenager. Shortly after at 16, he enrolled at the University of Michigan, where he obtained both h is undergraduate and graduate degrees. Ayo's performance style is steeped in the vibrancy of an African musical sound (fused with other genres), an infectious energy and dance that pulsates his live concerts . For more on Ayoinmotion's music , upcoming shows and updates, you can connect with him via Spotify & Instagram

Young African MBA's Presents:
Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Jibolu "J.G." Ayodele

Jibolu “J.G.” Ayodele co-founded Thando’s, a Lagos and NY based fashion company that provides a platform for African artists to design for a global audience. Thando’s utilizes design competitions to crowdsource its designs from aspiring African artists. Each competition highlights a social cause in Africa and drives the inspiration behind the designs. The community of fans/followers to vote on their favorite designs and profits are shared with the artists that designed the winning print. In addition, a portion of the sales is used to support the social cause that influenced the design competition via partnerships with NGOs. Our first product is a vegan, machine washable foldable ballerina flat.

Mr. Ayodele holds an MBA specializing in Finance, Entertainment, Media, and Technology from NYU - Stern School of Business, a Masters in Accounting from NC State University, and a Bachelors in Business Administration from the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Prior to Thando’s, he led the business development efforts of Viacom International Media Networks in Nigeria where he co-created partnerships with brands such as Hewlett Packard and Lufthansa. While at Viacom, Mr. Ayodele established relationships with music artists, producers, managers, and corporate executives. These relationships were very helpful during the early stages of Thando’s as they helped in creating brand awareness.

Mr. Ayodele is married to his co-founder, Taffi Ayodele.

Nadia Shash

Nadia Shash is the Founder of a social enterprise movement Made 4 Change/Made in. The company provides high quality heritage or hometown pride apparel for adults and children to American consumers. In turn, all the profits supports the mission of linking orphans and vulnerable children to educational resources needed to help them thrive and improve their quality of life in Ethiopia.

Ms. Shash is also the Chief Executive Officer of PolyCon Solutions. She brings over a decade of professional and federal acquisitions business services experience to PolyCon. In her many roles, Ms. Shash has prepared and managed various types of contracts totaling over a billion dollars in support of national technical and systems programs. She has briefed and advised programs on pre- and post-award procurement guidelines/regulations, managed source selection teams and provided audit, policy and oversight support. In addition to her direct acquisition professional work, Ms. Shash was a member of a large-scale civil and criminal litigation team in Washington, D.C. She was responsible for analyzing, researching and advising others on complex case documents, reviewing case materials and presenting findings and evidence at strategy meetings. Ms. Shash is a licensed attorney and member of the State Bar of Georgia and the District of Columbia Bar. While with the federal government, she held a Level III Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting and an Unlimited Warrant. Ms. Shash obtained her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and her B.S. from University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business.

Nekpen Osuan (@NOsuan)

Nekpen Osuan is a seasoned project management and analytics professional, and Vice President at Morgan Stanley leading firmwide business development and strategic wealth management policy.

She is also the co-founder of WomenWerk, a women's empowerment non-profit based in New York City.

Her prior roles including presenting at the 2016 South by South Lawn Conference at the White House, leading data strategy for President Obama's re-election campaign in Florida and co-launching R&D for Beni American University, better known as Nigeria's Coursera. In addition, Nekpen is a 2017 Above and Beyond Women by City and State and 2017 Council of Urban Professionals Fellow. She enjoys travel and serves on local non-profit Boards including Sponsors for Educational Opportunity's Junior Leadership Board (SEO JLB), The College Initiative, Manhattan's Community Education Council 6 and Community Board 9 in Manhattan. Nekpen earned her Masters in Economics and Education Policy from Columbia University and her Bachelors with Honors at Baylor University.

Tomiwa Igun

Tomiwa is passionate about electrifying Africa, as depicted in his Harvard Business School Annual Portrait project where he was selected for this passion. His professional career has revolved around this goal of improving the electrification around Africa, primarily Nigeria. He recently co-founded Aspire Power Solutions, a renewable energy company focused on providing clean, affordable, and reliable electricity in Africa. He is currently a member of the Grow Africa Team (Recruiting) at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) where he has served several clients providing strategic advisory and executing on power projects globally, including in Nigeria and other African countries. Before this, Tomiwa worked at Africa Finance Corporation. He is co-founder and President of Young African MBAs, a non-profit helping bridge the gap in Africa's management talent.

Tomiwa holds an MBA with Honors from Harvard Business School, M.Sc. Electrical Engineering from University of Michigan, and B.Sc. Electrical Engineering from Howard University. During his time at HBS, he co-chaired the Africa Business Conference, the largest student-run conference focused on Africa. He also co-authored a published Harvard Business School case study on the Privatization of Nigeria's Power Sector.

Harnessing Regional Integration

Akbar Noman

Faridah Ibrahim

Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs

Faridah Ibrahim is a Masters degree candidate at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). Prior to graduate school, she worked in agricultural impact investing in Nigeria, focusing on innovative models for delivering finance and services to smallholder farmers. She received a BA in Economics from the American University of Nigeria, and is an alumna of the inaugural class of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

Akbar Noman

Nicholas Githuku

Ph.D., Professor of African History at York College

Nicholas Githuku holds a Ph.D. from West Virginia University in African history with a focus on Eastern Africa in general, and contemporary political history in Kenya in particular; a Rotary International Mid-professional Certificate in Peace, Development and Conflict Studies, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok-Thailand (2008); a Master of Arts in Armed Conflict and Peace Studies from the University of Nairobi (2004); and a Bachelor of Arts (1st Class Honors) Degree in History and Political Science & Public Administration, University of Nairobi (2001).

His research interests include cross-cutting themes in the making and evolution of the generic colonial and postcolonial African state such as the political economy of race and ethnicity and emergent politics; gender & women history; class; and social movements. He is also a student of the history of science and technology; the history of capitalism; British national and imperial history; both the Indian Ocean and the Transatlantic Trade; the intricate, inescapable and dialectical link between power or government legitimacy and resistance in the generic African state; human rights, development and democratic governance issues in Africa south of the Sahara; auto/biography theory and history; counterterrorism & security issues in Africa and beyond; justice, war & structural peace; peace-building, peace-keeping, postwar reconstruction and nation-building in Africa; structural/latent conflict, negotiation and mediation; African Regional Economic Communities in general and the East African Community in particular and contemporary politics and political trends in the Great Lakes and Horn Regions of Africa; memory and memorialization of war; electioneering and elections; comparative missionary history in Eastern Africa; and military, and (colonial and postcolonial) legal, history.

Githuku’s first book, Mau Mau Crucible of War: Statehood, National Identity, and Politics of Postcolonial Kenya (2015) is a study of the social and cultural history of the mentalité of struggle in Kenya, which reached a high-water mark during the Mau Mau war of the 1950s, but which continues to resonate in Kenya today in the ongoing demand for a decent standard of living and social justice for all.

His current book project, Jomo Kenyatta, a Man for All Seasons: Radical Rebel, Arbiter, Detainee and Conservative Statesman?, is an analysis of the creation and reproduction of the Kenyan capitalist social system that scrutinizes both this structure, and various individual agencies through time and space in general, and that of Kenyatta in particular.

Nicholas Githuku

Kwadwo Sarpong

Co-founder and CEO of African Research Academies for Women.

Kwadwo Sarpong is the cofounder and Chief Executive Officer of African Research Academies for Women – a non-profit organization that aims to bridge the gender gap in Africa’s STEM research pipeline by creating opportunities for young women who are interested in discovering solutions to health problems in the developing world. Sarpong is a current PREP Scholar at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and hopes to one day become a physician scientist specializing in neuropsychiatric disorders.

Kwadwo serves on numerous non-profit boards and is the recent recipient of the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama. He has spoken at several conferences including the 2016 White House United State of Women Summit, Clinton Global Initiative, US-Africa Leaders’ Summit and The Next Einstein Forum in Senegal.

Kwadwo is a Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II Young Leader and also the recipient of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) Youth Leader Award. As an avid proponent of health equity across the globe, Sarpong merges his love and passion for medicine, scientific research and advocacy for gender parity in STEM to address global health challenges.

Akbar Noman

Nicolas Maennling

Senior Economics and Policy Researcher, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment

Nicolas Maennling leads the economics and policy research at CCSI and is a development economist with experience in the public and private sectors. His focus is on designing strategies and tools to maximize the benefits and minimize the negative externalities of extractive industry investments.

He has led trainings and advisory projects in various countries on taxation systems, financial modeling, economic and infrastructure linkages to extractive industry projects, macroeconomic and revenue management in resource rich countries, and risk analysis. Prior to joining CCSI, Nicolas advised the Ministry of Finance in Timor-Leste on issues including inflation, macroeconomic forecasting and fiscal sustainability. He also spent three years in Mozambique, first as the resident Overseas Development Institute fellow in the Ministry of Industry and Trade working on the design and implementation of Mozambique’s industrial policy.

He then served as a consultant for a private bulk commodity shipping company, LBH Group, and the UK Department for International Development (DfID) on resource extraction projects in northern Mozambique. He received a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Birmingham (UK) and a Master of Science in Economics from the University of Warwick (UK).

We are excited to announce the 15th annual African Economic Forum (AEF) at Columbia University. We look forward to having you join us and our distinguished speakers while we explore this year’s theme — African Innovation: Leveraging the Present to Shape the Future.

07 April '18
Jerome Greene Hall
Columbia Law School
New York
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