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Mr. Claudio Descalzi
Chief Executive Officer, ENI
Born in Milan, he has been Eni’s CEO since May 2014. He is a member of the General Board and of the Advisory Board of Confindustria and Director of Fondazione Teatro alla Scala. He is a member of the National Petroleum Council for 2016/2017.
He joined Eni in 1981 as Oil & Gas field petroleum engineer and then became project manager for the development of North Sea, Libya, Nigeria and Congo. In 1990 he was appointed Head of Reservoir and operating activities for Italy.
In 1994, he was appointed Managing Director of Eni’s subsidiary in Congo and in 1998 he became Vice President & Managing Director of Naoc, a subsidiary of Eni in Nigeria. From 2000 to 2001 he held the position of Executive Vice President for Africa, Middle East and China. From 2002 to 2005 he was Executive Vice President for Italy, Africa, Middle East, covering also the role of member of the board of several Eni subsidiaries in the area.
In 2005, he was appointed Deputy Chief Operating Officer of the Exploration & Production Division in Eni. From 2006 to 2014 he was President of Assomineraria and from 2008 to 2014 he was Chief Operating Officer in the Exploration & Production Division of Eni. From 2010 to 2014 he held the position of Chairman of Eni UK.
In 2012, Claudio Descalzi was the first European in the field of Oil&Gas to receive the prestigious “Charles F. Rand Memorial Gold Medal 2012” award from the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the American Institute of Mining Engineers. He is a Visiting Fellow at The University of Oxford. In December 2015 he was made a member of the “Global Board of Advisors of the Council on Foreign Relations”.
He graduated in physics in 1979 from the University of Milan..
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Equity Bank Kenya Limited
James Mwangi is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Equity Bank Kenya Limited. He is currently the Chairman of Kenya’s Vision 2030 Delivery Board charged with the responsibility of ensuring Kenya becomes a middle income country with global high standards of living by the year 2030. James was vested the First Class Chief of the Order of the Burning Spear (CBS) national decoration for outstanding contribution in economic development, as well as the Moran of the Burning Spear.
He was named the World Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young in 2012, the Forbes Africa Person of the Year in 2012 and is a holder of the 2007 Global Vision Award. He serves on several international bodies as an advisor, such as the Africa Leadership Academy in South Africa, the Global Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition among others and is the Chancellor Meru University College of Science and Technology.
Dr. Hamadoun Touré
President of the African Development Bank
Dr. Akinwumi Adesina is a development economist and the current President of the African Development Bank. Before joining the Bank he served as the Nigerian Agriculture Minister from 2010 to 2015. From 2008 to 2010 he was the Vice President of Policy and Partnerships for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). And prior to this he worked as Associate Director for the Rockefeller Foundation for 10 years.
He has written over 70 scholarly publications on policy, agricultural development and African development issues, and identifies as a practitioner with an “on-the-ground people focus” that is geared towards inclusive growth for Africa.
Mr. Niclas Kjellström-Matseke
Chief Executive Officer, Novamedia Nordics
For the last 10 years Niclas Kjellström-Matseke has been the Chief Executive Officer of Novamedia Nordics, which produces television shows and owns and operates the Swedish Postcode Lottery. It is a pioneer of market driven charity – using commercial methods to generate funding for charities, making it the third largest private donor in the world with over 6.1 billion Euros in donations.
He is a member of the Elders’ Advisory Board, the global business network of the Young President Organisation, and serves on the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network Leadership Council. Previously Mr. Kjellström-Matseke held senior management positions in various companies and was the CEO of Spero, a retail company. He is Swedish and South African, and in 2016 relocated to South Africa to focus on developing business and sustainable solutions in Southern Africa.
Mr. Ashish Thakkar
Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Mara Group and Mara Foundation
Ashish Thakkar is a Fourth Generation African and entrepreneur. He is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mara Group and Mara Foundation, and Co-Founder of Atlas Mara. He founded Mara Group, a conglomerate that spans 22 African countries, In Uganda in 1996 when he was 15 years old. It originated as a small IT business and has expanded to include manufacturing, real estate, and agriculture.
In 2013 he co-founded Atlas Mara, a company that invests in commercial banking institutions across Africa. And in 2009 he founded Mara Foundation, a non-profit company that mentors and supports young African entrepreneurs. He is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders.
Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki
Chief Executive Office, NEPAD
Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki of the Republic of Niger is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Planning and Coordinating Agency. Between 1996 and 1997 he was successively appointed Minister in charge of African Integration and Cooperation and Minister of Foreign Affairs. From November 1997-January 2000, he served as Prime Minister. In August 2000, he set up the Analysis Center for Public Policy. From 2000 to 2004, Dr Mayaki was a guest Professor at the University of Paris XI where he led research at the Research Center on Europe and the Contemporary World.
He has also worked as a Professor of Public Administration in Niger and Venezuela. In 2004, he was appointed as the Executive Director of the Platform in support of Rural Development in West and Central Africa, the Rural Hub, based in Dakar, Senegal, from where he was recruited as CEO of the NEPAD Agency.
Hamadoun Touré from Mali is the Executive Director of SMART Africa, an innovative commitment by African leaders to jointly accelerate socio-economic development through ICTs. He served as the Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) from 2007 to 2014, which helped aid the Millennium Development Goals and raised US$55 billion in investment pledges to telecommunications infrastructure.
He is the co-vice-chair of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development and also serves on the International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threats (IMPACT) International Advisory Board.
Dr. Betsee Parker
Dr. Betsee Parker is a philanthropist who has worked with Jeffrey Sachs on a number of initiatives to scale efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in East and West Africa. She has served on the advisory board of the One Million Community Health Workers Campaign and has contributed to programs in public health, agriculture, poverty reduction and economic development across Sub-Saharan Africa.
She is a patron of the arts, a conservationist, a historic preservationist, and a major sponsor of youth engagement in the United States. Additionally, she is an Episcopalian priest and is a professional equestrian at the national level.
Honorable Amina J. Mohammed
Minister of Environment, Government of Nigeria
Amina J. Mohammed is Minister of the Environment in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari in Nigeria. She is also the CEO and Founder of the Center for Development Policy Solutions. Prior to that, Ms. Mohammed served as the Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on the Millennium Development Goals. In 2005 she coordinated the debt relief funds ($1 billion per annum) towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in Nigeria, in which she designed a Virtual Poverty Fund with innovative approaches to poverty reduction, budget coordination and monitoring.
From 2002-2005, Ms. Mohammed served as coordinator of the Task Force on Gender and Education for the United Nations Millennium Project. From 1991 to 2001 she served as Founder and Executive Director of Afri-Projects Consortium, a multidisciplinary firm of Engineers and Quantity Surveyors, and from 1981 to 1991 she worked with the architectural engineering firm of Archcon Nigeria in association with Norman and Dawbarn UK.
Mr. Hans Vestberg
Hans Vestberg is a Swedish businessman and the former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Ericsson Group, the world’s leading provider of telecommunications technology. He has worked with Ericsson since 1988, gaining substantial international business and advisory experience.
He is focused on advancing the company through sustainable business solutions, and advocates on behalf of the use of mobility and broadband to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Additionally, he is the founding member of the UN’s Broadband Commission for Digital Development, in which he chairs the task group on the post-2015 development agenda.
Mrs. Graça Machel
Chancellor, University of Cape Town
Graça Machel is a Mozambican politician and humanitarian, most recognizable as the widow of former South African President Nelson Mandela and of Mozambican President Samor Machel. Since 1999 she has been the Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, currently serving her second term. She plays an active governance role in many organizations and has received numerous awards for her humanitarian work and international advocacy on behalf of women’s and children’s rights, such as being made a British dame in 1997.
In 2007, she co-founded the formation of The Elders with Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, an initiative that works globally on issues related to sustainable development, such as peace negotiations and human rights. And since 2013 she has been a Board Chair of The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health hosted by the World Health Organization.
Ms. Kerry Kennedy
President, The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights
Kerry Kennedy is a human rights activist and writer. Since 1988, she has been the President of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights center and was the Executive Director of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial until 1995. Since 1981 she has worked in over 60 countries serving as a champion for international human rights, with a focus on basic rights and justice for all, preservation of the rule of law, and women’s rights.
Through her work she regularly appears in the media and has been published in The Boston Globe, The Chicago Sun-Times, and The New York Times. She is the Honorary President of the Robert F. Kennedy Foundation of Europe, and is daughter of Robert F. Kennedy.
Mr. Hendrik Jacobus du Toit
Chief Executive Officer, Investec Asset Management
Hendrik du Toit is the Chief Executive Officer at Investec Asset Management Pty Ltd., and Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Investec Asset Management Ltd. In 1992 he became the Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer of Investec Asset Management and through his leadership grew the company from a small South African start-up to an international specialist fund management firm. He is an investor with an eye towards Africa, and because he is from Cape Town his business understands the vulnerabilities and opportunities of the African financial market.
Mr. du Toit holds an M.Phil. in Economics and Politics of Development from Cambridge University, an M.Com. in Economics and International Finance (Cum Laude), and a B.Com. Honors in Economics (Cum Laude) and Law from the Stellenbosch University.
Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs
Director, Sustainable Development Solutions Network and the Earth Institute
Jeffrey Sachs is a world-renowned professor of economics, leader in sustainable development, senior UN advisor, bestselling author, and syndicated columnist whose monthly newspaper columns appear in more than 80 countries. He has twice been named among Time Magazine‘s 100 most influential world leaders. He is the Director of the Earth Institute’s Center for Sustainable Development after serving as the Director of The Earth Institute since 1995. He is a Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development and Health Policy and Management at Columbia University.
He is Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Sustainable Development Goals, having held a similar position under former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He is co-founder and Chief Strategist of Millennium Promise Alliance, and is director of the Millennium Villages Project
Mr. Aliko Dangote
Owner, Dangote Group
Aliko Dangote is the owner of The Dangote Group, a West African conglomerate that includes the Dangote Sugar Refinery, Dangote Cement, and Dangote Flour. It has operations in Benin, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo. His success with The Dangote Group has warranted him the title of Africa’s wealthiest businessman.
He was named the Forbes Africa Person of the Year 2014. And in 2011 he was awarded Nigeria’s second highest honor, the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger by President Jonathan. In 2014 he assisted the Nigerian government in their fight against the spread of Ebola through a generous donation to support efforts.