Connecting Ideas | Strengthening Capacity | Innovation Solutions

 

 
 

 

Dr. Belay Begashaw
Director General

Prior to being appointed as Director General to the SDGC/A, Dr. Begashaw was the founding Director of the Columbia Global Centers for Africa. He joined Columbia University, Earth Institute (EI), in January 2009, where he served as Senior Agriculture Policy Specialist and Director of MDG center for Eastern and Southern Africa. He also has served as the Associate Director of the Agriculture and Food Security Center of the EI. Dr. Begashaw has over 20 years of experience in agriculture extension and rural development, ranging from a grass-roots development agent to the Minister of Agriculture for Ethiopia.

In the past ten years, Dr. Begashaw has done extensive consulting and advisory work to several public and international organizations in the area of food security, poverty reduction and investment, climate change and resilience building, development finance and governance. Dr. Begashaw earned his MPA degree from Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, M.Sc. from University of Reading and a B.Sc. from Addis Ababa University, Almay College of Agriculture. He also holds a Ph.D. in agricultural policy from Texas A&M University where he was a Borlaug Fellow.

BOARD MEMBERS

H.E. Paul Kagame

President of the Republic of Rwanda, Founding Board Chair
×
H.E. Paul Kagame

H.E. Paul Kagame

President of the Republic of Rwanda, Founding Board Chair

H.E. General Idriss Déby Itno

President of the Republic of Chad
×
H.E. General Idriss Déby Itno

H.E. General Idriss Déby Itno

President of the Republic of Chad

H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo

President of the Republic of Ghana
×
H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo

H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo

President of the Republic of Ghana

H.E. Filipe Jacinto Nyusi

President of the Republic of Mozambique
×
H.E. Filipe Jacinto Nyusi

H.E. Filipe Jacinto Nyusi

President of the Republic of Mozambique

H.E. Alassane Dramane Ouattara

President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire
×
H.E. Alassane Dramane Ouattara

H.E. Alassane Dramane Ouattara

President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire

H.E. Alpha Condé

President of the Republic of Guinea
×
H.E. Alpha Condé

H.E. Alpha Condé

President of the Republic of Guinea

H.E. Patrice Talon

President of the Republic of Benin
×
H.E. Patrice Talon

H.E. Patrice Talon

President of the Republic of Benin

H.E. George Manneh Weah

President of the Republic of Liberia
×
H.E. George Manneh Weah

H.E. George Manneh Weah

President of the Republic of Liberia

H.E. Edgar Chagwa Lungu

President of the Republic of Zambia
×
H.E. Edgar Chagwa Lungu

H.E. Edgar Chagwa Lungu

President of the Republic of Zambia

Mr. Aliko Dangote

Owner, Dangote Group, Board Co- Chair

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.

×
Mr. Aliko Dangote

Mr. Aliko Dangote

Owner, Dangote Group, Board Co- Chair

Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs

Director, Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs is a world-renowned professor of economics, leader in sustainable development, senior United Nations 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. Professor Sachs 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.

Professor Sachs is Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the Sustainable Development Goals, having held a similar position under former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and Kofi Annan. He is co-founder and Chief Strategist of Millennium Promise Alliance, and is director of the Millennium Villages Project.

×
Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs

Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs

Director, Sustainable Development Solutions Network

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.

×
Ms. Kerry Kennedy

Ms. Kerry Kennedy

President, The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights

Mr. Hendrik Jacobus du Toit

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Investec Asset Management

Mr. Hendrik Jacobus 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.

×
Mr. Hendrik Jacobus du Toit

Mr. Hendrik Jacobus du Toit

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Investec Asset Management

Mr. Börje Ekholm

President and Chief Executive Officer, Ericsson Group

Mr. Börje Ekholm is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Ericsson Group. Mr. Ekholm assumed this role on January 16, 2017. He knows the company and the industry well after being a Board member of Ericsson for nearly 10 years (first elected 2006). Most recently Mr. Ekholm was Chief Executive Officer of Patricia Industries, a division within Investor AB (2015 – January 15, 2017). Prior to assuming this position in 2015, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of Investor AB between 2005 and 2015. Previous positions also include Head of New Investments and President of Investor Growth Capital Inc. Ekholm has had various positions at Novare Kapital AB and McKinsey & Co Inc.

Mr. Ekholm holds a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, as well as a Master of Business Administration, from INSEAD, France. He is a board member of Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson and Alibaba, Inc.

×
Mr. Börje Ekholm

Mr. Börje Ekholm

President and Chief Executive Officer, Ericsson Group

Mrs. Graça Machel

Chancellor, University of Cape Town

Mrs. 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, Mrs. Machel 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.

×
Mrs. Graça Machel

Mrs. Graça Machel

Chancellor, University of Cape Town

Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki

Chief Executive Officer, NEPAD

Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki of the Republic of Niger is the Chief Executive Officer 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 Chief Executive Officer of the NEPAD Agency.

×
Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki

Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki

Chief Executive Officer, NEPAD

Dr. Hamadoun Touré

Executive Director, SMART Africa

Dr. Hamadoun Touré 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.

Dr. Touré 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. Hamadoun Touré

Dr. Hamadoun Touré

Executive Director, SMART Africa

H.E. Amina J. Mohammed

Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations
Her Excellency Ms. Amina J. Mohammed is the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations. Ms. Mohammed is also the CEO and Founder of the Center for Development Policy Solutions. Before joining the United Nations, Ms. Mohammed was the Minister of the Environment in the cabinet of President Muhammadu Buhari in Nigeria from November 2015 to December 2016. 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.
×
H.E. Amina J. Mohammed

H.E. Amina J. Mohammed

Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations

Dr. Betsee Parker

Philanthropist

Dr. Betsee Parker is a philanthropist who has worked with Professor 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.

Dr. Parker 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.

×
Dr. Betsee Parker

Dr. Betsee Parker

Philanthropist

Mr. Ashish Thakkar

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mara Group and Mara Foundation

Mr. 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, Mr. Thakkar 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.

×
Mr. Ashish Thakkar

Mr. Ashish Thakkar

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Mara Group and Mara Foundation

Mr. Niclas Kjellström Matseke

Chief Executive Officer, Perennis Africa

Mr. Niclas Kjellström Matseke is the Chief Executive Officer of Perennis Africa. Prior to this, Mr. Matseke was the Chief Executive Officer of Novamedia Nordics for 10 years, 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. Niclas Kjellström Matseke

Mr. Niclas Kjellström Matseke

Chief Executive Officer, Perennis Africa

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina

President, 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.

Dr. Adesina 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.

×
Dr. Akinwumi Adesina

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina

President, African Development Bank

Mr. James Mwangi

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Equity Bank Kenya Limited

Mr. 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.

Mr. Mwangi 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.

×
Mr. James Mwangi

Mr. James Mwangi

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Equity Bank Kenya Limited

Mr. Claudio Descalzi

Chief Executive Officer, ENI

Mr. Claudio Descalzi has been Eni’s Chief Executive Officer 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. Mr. Descalzi 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.

×
Mr. Claudio Descalzi

Mr. Claudio Descalzi

Chief Executive Officer, ENI

Mr. Shinichi Kitaoka

President, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

Mr. Shinichi Kitaoka is President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Before assuming the present post, he was President of the International University of Japan. Mr. Kitaoka’s career includes Professor of National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) (2012-), Professor of Graduate Schools for Law and Politics, the University of Tokyo (1997-2004, 2006-2012), Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations (2004-2006), Professor of College of Law and Politics, Rikkyo University (1985-1997). Mr. Kitaoka’s specialty is modern Japanese politics and diplomacy. He obtained his B.A. (1971) and his Ph.D. (1976) both from the University of Tokyo. He is Emeritus Professor of the University of Tokyo.

He has numerous books and articles in Japanese and English including A Political History of Modern Japan: Foreign Relations and Domestic Politics (Tokyo: Yuhikaku, 2011), Political Dynamics of the United Nations: Where Does Japan Stand? (Tokyo: Chuokoron-Shinsha, 2007) and Japan as a Global Player (Tokyo: NTT Publishing, 2010). He received many honors and awards including the Medal with Purple Ribbon for his academic achievements in 2011.

×
Mr. Shinichi Kitaoka

Mr. Shinichi Kitaoka

President, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

Ms. Jacqueline Corbelli

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, BrightLine

Jacqueline Corbelli is the Chief Executive Officer, Founder and Chairperson of BrightLine, the leading advanced television ad solution providing dynamic and interactive ads across the connected Over-The-Top landscape, working with all of America’s leading broadcasters.

Before BrightLine, Jacqueline served as President of Aston Associates, the leading advisory firm for financial institutions and their investors. At Aston, Jacqueline restructured underperforming companies into beacons of the investment community. Jacqueline served as Chairperson of the Board of Millennium Promise, overseeing the integrated economic development work that is the signature of Jeffrey Sachs’ efforts across Sub-Saharan Africa from 2005-2015. Millennium Promise is the leading international nonprofit organization committed to accelerating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the eradication of extreme poverty, hunger, and preventable disease and continues to serve on the Board of Directors.

Jacqueline is a Leadership Council Member of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. She is also a Governor of the New York Academy of Sciences, and plays a leading role for the Vatican and is a founding member of Pope Francis' Ethics in Action Forum created under the auspices of the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

×
Ms. Jacqueline Corbelli

Ms. Jacqueline Corbelli

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, BrightLine

Ms. Lee Mi-kyung

President, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA)

Ms. Lee Mi-kyung is the President of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) since November 2017. Based on her 20 years of legislative activities and field experience from her 20 years as a leader of a civic group, Ms. Mi-kyung is spearheading the development and change in KOICA, the lead body for South Korea's official development assistance.

Prior to this, Ms. Mi-kyung held a parliamentary seat for five consecutive terms from 1996 to 2006. She served in the parliamentary committee for diplomatic affairs and unification and led the Korean Women's Association United, an umbrella body for women's rights groups. In 2015 Ms. Mi-kyung served as the Co-Representative of the Korea Women Parliamentarian Network and a Visiting Professor of the Graduate School of Policy Sciences at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea. In addition, Ms. Mi-kyung has served as a Member of 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th National Assembly of the Republic of Korea. She was appointed the Chairman of Special Committee on Housing & Welfare for Low Income People in 2015. Ms. Mi-kyung has also served as the President of ROK-EU Inter-Parliamentary Council from 2012 to 2016. Appointed the Chairman of Special Committee on Sexual Violence & Harassment against Children & Women in 2012, she also served as the Co-Representative of Korean NGO Committee for the 4th UN World Conference on Women and the standing Vice-Chairperson and Representative of Korea Women’s Association United, as well as Korean Women Link.

In 2016 Ms. Mi-kyung received the Grand Prize Award for Grand Prize Award for ‘The Qualitative Evaluation on Legislation & Policy Development Parliamentarians’ by the Chairman of the National Assembly.

×
Ms. Lee Mi-kyung

Ms. Lee Mi-kyung

President, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA)

Dr. Benedict Okey Oramah

President and Chairman, African Export-Import Bank

Dr. Benedict Okey Oramah assumed the position of President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank) on 21 September 2015. He was previously the Executive Vice President in charge of Business Development and Corporate Banking from October 2008. Dr. Oramah joined Afreximbank as Chief Analyst in 1994 and was promoted to the position of Senior Director, Planning and Business Development in 2007. Prior to joining Afreximbank, he was an Assistant Research Manager at the Nigerian Export Import Bank from 1992.

Dr. Oramah holds M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in agricultural economics, obtained in 1987 and 1991 respectively, from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He received a B.Sc. degree, also in agricultural economics, from the University Of Ibadan, Nigeria, in 1983. He has published a book, “Foundations of Structured Trade Finance”, and has written more than 35 articles on a wide range of African economic, trade and trade finance issues. He is a regular speaker in trade and trade finance conferences around the world.

Dr. Oramah serves as Chairperson of the Africa Chapter of the International Factors Group (IFG) and is on the Board of the IFG and the Editorial Boards of Trade and Forfaiting Review and the Journal of African Trade. He is also a member of the Consultative Board on World Cocoa Economy of the International Cocoa Organization.

×
Dr. Benedict Okey Oramah

Dr. Benedict Okey Oramah

President and Chairman, African Export-Import Bank

Mr. Paul Polman

Chief Executive Officer, Unilever

Paul Polman was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of Unilever, a world leader in food and detergent products in 2009. Polman received his BBA and BA at the University of Groningen in 1977 and then his MBA in Finance and International Marketing in 1070 at the University of Cincinnati. Upon graduating, he immediately began working for Procter & Gamble as a cost analysis. He stayed at the company for the next 27 years, working his way up to the Managing Director and the Group President in Europe. In 2006 Polman joined Nestlé as chief financial officer and became vice president for the Americas in February 2008. In June 2014 Polman received his honorary doctorate during the 400th anniversary of the University of Groningen and on May 18, 2018, he received his Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from George Mason University.

Polman is a former Chair of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and sits on the board of directors of the Consumer Goods Forum, leading its sustainability efforts. He is also a member of board of the UN Global Compact. At the invitation of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Polman served as one of the 27 members of the UN High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. At the invitation of former Mexican President, Felipe Calderon, Polman served on the International Council of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. Polman has received several awards for business leadership related to sustainable development.

×
Mr. Paul Polman

Mr. Paul Polman

Chief Executive Officer, Unilever
 
Find us M. Peace Plaza, 8th Floor, Tower C | KN 4 Avenue, Nyarugenge, Kigali