Keynote Speakers


Hakeem Belo-Osagie

Hakeem Belo-Osagie is a well respected Nigerian entrepreneur with a track record of leading and backing highly successful private investments in various sectors of the Nigerian economy. He is an investor in and chairs the board of Emerging Markets Telecommunications Ltd which trades in Nigeria under the Etisalat brand. He is also the main stakeholder in and chair of the Board of Duval Properties Ltd, a real estate company engaged in a mixed use development in Abuja, Nigeria.

Mr. Belo-Osagie chairs the Board of Vitol Nigeria, the Nigerian subsidiary of Vitol Group, and Chocolate City Group, a leading entertainment company in Nigeria. He is a member of both the global board of advisers for the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and the International Advisory Council of the Brookings Institute. Mr. Belo-Osagie has an MA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University, a law degree from Cambridge University and a MBA from Harvard Business School."


Adebola Williams

Recently selected for President Obama’s Mandela Washington fellow and profiled by Forbes as the man who helped three Presidents win elections consecutively in Africa, Adebola Williams is Co-Founder of RED, which is home to several well-known brands including The Future Awards Africa,, amongst others. RED's impressive client list over the years includes the British Council, Nigeria LNG, Union Bank, Facebook, Uber and Intel.

Under the RED network, he is chief executive officer of communication company, Red Media Africa and nation-building company, StateCraft Inc. he has been named CNBC Young Business Leader of the year, Forbes 30 Under 30, and Businessday 40 Under 40. In 2017, he was named "Evangelist of The Future" at the C4F Davos Award and 100 Most Influential People of African Descent by the United Nations.

Adebola is a member of the African Leadership Network, a British Council Global Changemaker and sits on the boards of Slum to School Africa and the Young Entrepreneurs Network where he is chairman.


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.

We are excited to announce the 14th 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 - Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers: Harnessing the Power of an Open Africa.

01 April '17
Jerome Greene Hall
Columbia Law School
New York
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