Panels

Art, Entertainment, and the African Diaspora

Africa’s rich history has often manifested itself in the creative arts. Through literature, music, and theater, Africans across the continent and throughout the diaspora have managed to share unique stories, experiences, and cultures that combat stereotypes and misconceptions. This panel explores how contemporary African expressions of art have influenced the diaspora and the wider global perception of Africa and Africans.

Eyitemi Popo
Founder, Ayiba Magazine

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Jocelyn Bioh
Writer/Performer

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Dee Poku
Founder, WIE Network/The Other Festival

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Ugo Mozie
Fashion Editor and Stylist

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Duckie Thot
Supermodel

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Fatima Sesay
Host, Sahara Reporters/SaharaTV
Moderator

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Technology & Entrepreneurship

Africa has the world’s youngest population, with a median age of 19.5 years. This population is well attuned to technology, making the technology adoption growth rate exponential. The panel will discuss how technology is shaping traditional and nontraditional industries, outlook, and fostering entrepreneurship.

Shola Akinlade
Co-Founder and CEO, Paystack

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Chike Ukaegbu
Founder, Startup 52

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Greg Cohen
Co-Founder & Executive Director, Asoko Insight

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Tarneem Saeed
Head of strategy, Saeed Industrial & Commercial Group

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Oluwaseun Oyinsan
Vice President of Investments, Ingressive Capital

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Edmund Olotu
Founder & CEO, Tech Advance
Moderator

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Investment in Africa

Africa has the fastest growing population and economy. With a population of 1.1 billion, the population is expected to double by 2050. These factors make Africa suitable for investment. The panel will explore the existing investment tools used in Africa, the challenges investors face, and the outlook on how these tools will shape investment in Africa.

Michael Tsan
Partner, Dalberg

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Temidayo Adebayo
Investment Principal, Kuramo Capital Management

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Nekpen Osuan
Co-Founder, WomenWerk
Moderator

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Jenya Shandina
Senior Manager, One Acre Fund

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Yamandou Alexander
CEO & Chairman, makeba.money

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Youth Unemployment

Youth unemployment is one of Africa’s greatest challenges. Unemployment among young people aged 15–24 years old in sub-Saharan Africa has hovered between 12% and 14% since the 2008 global financial crisis. The data does not include youth in vulnerable employment and those underemployed in informal sectors, who make up at least 70% of the workforce. Although these statistics may seem daunting, African policymakers, entrepreneurs, and private businesses have been working to mitigate unemployment among African youth in their respective countries by tapping into innovation. This panel will focus on the complexities of unemployment, expand on the roles of actors on the ground who are working to solve this problem, and give exposure to budding programs and innovations that have been successful in alleviating unemployment throughout the continent.

Mpho Sekwele
Co-Founder, Bantu Hikers

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Samantha Taylor
Founder and President, Reputation Dynamics

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Devang Vussonji
Partner, Dalberg

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Faith McCollister
Associate Director of Business and Program Development, Innovations for Poverty Action

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Tomiwa Igun
Managing Partner for an Africa-focused power solutions start-up, BCG

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Belinda Archibong
Assistant Professor of Economics at Barnard College, Columbia University
Moderator

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Law and Development: Leveraging Africa’s Strengths

Africa is headed towards tremendous growth in the next few decades. Leveraging the present to shape the future through African Innovation requires legal structures that take into account law and development within the continent. Strengthening legal systems ensures that resources are used to best develop the continent in a way that takes into account Africa’s unique needs. In considering the importance of international law, project financing, and trade law in the growth and development on the continent, this panel will acknowledge the continent’s diverse intersection of common law, civil law, and customary tradition whilst addressing the use of law as an instrument to promote economic and social development in Africa.

Inosi Nyatta
Partner, Sullivan & Cromwell

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Paolo Galizzi
Professor, Fordham Law School

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Dr. Mouhamadou Kane
Lead Legal Counsel, Islamic Development Bank

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Shalini Soopramanien
Associate, Baker & McKenzie

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Ravi Soopramanien
Associate, Hughes Hubbard & Reed
Moderator

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Energy

Over 604 million Africans have no access to energy, with African countries on average having an energy access rate of 40%, one of the lowest rates in the world. Excluding South Africa, sub-Saharan Africa’s energy consumption per capita stands at 180kwh, a stark contrast to the U.S.’s 13,000kwh and Europe’s 6,500kwh per capita consumption. Increasing access to power is critical in the continent’s sustainable economic transformation, with power generation playing a central role in industrialization and bolstering ICT, educational, and health care services across the continent. This panel will explore current projects, emerging business opportunities, and challenges in the continent’s energy sector. It will also address how power demand will evolve, what kind of innovative energy financing tools will be needed, and what role renewable energy will play in Africa’s development.

Linda Mabhena-Olagunju
Managing Director, DLO Energy Resources Group

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Akinwole Omoboriowo II
Chairman and CEO, Genesis Energy Holdings

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Tom Flahive
Partner, CrossBoundary

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Thione Niang
Co-Founder, Akon Lighting Africa

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Moses Esema
Vice President, Energy Financial Services at GE Capital

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Onyeka Obasi
CEO, Hemisphere Frontiers Consulting LLC
Moderator

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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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