Panel Sessions

Platforms for Prosperity: The Future of Venture Capital in Africa

This panel explores the most relevant trends in sectors that have been attracting significant venture capital such as FinTech and eCommerce. Panelists will discuss the risk factors important to them when evaluating opportunities on the continent and how founders can mitigate them. They will also discuss the benefits and drawbacks of going through an incubator or accelerator.

  • Moderator: Akin Sawyerr - Co-Founder, Market Atlas
  • Patricia Chin-Sweeney - COO & Senior Partner, I-DEV International
  • Julienne Oyler - Co-Founder & CEO, African Entrepreneur Collective
  • Rob Eloff - Managing Partner, Lateral Capital
  • Queen Nworisara Quinn - Founding Partner, Kupanda Capital

Private Equity: Where's All the Dry Powder Going?

In recent years, record levels of private funds have been raised for Africa-focused investments. Panelists will discuss which sectors and opportunities are most attractive to them, their outlook on fundraising, and how they approach mitigating risks such as those posed by currency fluctuations, convertibility, and commodity cycles.

  • Moderator: Allan Cunningham - CEO & Founder, Africa Capital Digest
  • Saqib Rashid - Director, The Abraaj Group
  • Stephane Le Bouder - Managing Director, AFIG Funds
  • Adam Ikdal - Senior Partner & Managing Director, BCG Johannesburg

Impact Investing: Mobilizing Mainstream Capital

Over the last few years, impact investing has evolved from a niche industry of socially-conscious investors to a mainstream industry attracting more diverse investors. According to Wharton’s October 2015 impact investing report, “Great Expectations: Mission Preservation and Financial Performance in Impact Investments,” the impact investing field still accepts below-market returns as compared to their traditional investment peers. Is it possible to achieve impact and adequate returns simultaneously across the industry? In this panel, leaders from impact investing funds, development finance institutions, and private investors alike will share their thoughts on the ever-changing landscape of impact investing.

  • Moderator: Derek Saleeby - Founding Partner, TOTAL Impact Capital
  • Richard Greenberg - Managing Director, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)
  • Blair Miller - Impact Investing, Office of Ray Chambers
  • Heather Strachan - Global Program Operations Manager, Village Capital
  • Thomas Verghese - Associate Director, LeapFrog Investments

Consumer Products: The Ride and Rise of Africa's Consumer

McKinsey estimates Africa’s consumer-facing industries are expected to grow by $400 billion by 2020, representing the continent’s largest business opportunity. However, as the middle class continues to grow in size and wealth, their taste for consumer and retail products is rapidly changing. So how do businesses capture this market? From experienced multinational CPG firms to scrappy entrepreneurs, this panel explores how domestic and international firms are adapting their strategies to cater to shifting consumer preferences and purchasing power in order to translate the power of the African consumer into action.

  • Moderator: Adwoa Perbi - Co-Founder, Afrochic
  • Ngozi Dozie - CEO, Cafe Neo
  • Siyabonga Beyile - Founder, The Threaded Man and Siya Beyile Holdings
  • Brian Heese - Senior Manager Investor Relations, One Acre Fund
  • Hayat Adem - Co-Founder, Marzam LLC

Product Design: Designing for and Adapting to African Markets

Product design: the art and science of tailoring a product to the customer experience. When many think of the product design industry, the tech industry is often top-of-mind along with how functionality and user interfaces of new apps make our lives more convenient. In this panel, we explore how companies have utilized product design in their thinking to tackle commercialization challenges in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Moderator: Mia Kimani - Principal, BCG Johannesburg and Nairobi
  • Matt Devlin - Global Lead for International Relations, Uber
  • Chad Larson - Co-Founder & Chief Credit Officer, M-KOPA Solar

Social Enterprise: Sustainable Models for Development through Partnerships

This panel explores the ways in which businesses are filling the gaps left by decades of foreign aid and grants in many parts of the continent. This diverse set of panelists will discuss the ways in which non-profits, local and national governments, and for-profit enterprises can collaborate to support enterprises that simultaneously achieve multiple bottom lines and promote prosperity across income levels.

  • Moderator: Nick Ashburn - Director for Emerging Market Strategies, Wharton Social Impact Initiative
  • Kwami Williams - Co-Founder & CEO, MoringaConnect
  • Babatunde Onitiri - Senior Manager, International Finance Corporation (IFC)
  • Afam Onyema - Co-Founder, GEANCO
  • Van Jones - Co-Founder & Head of Marketing, Hello Tractor

Healthcare: The Rising Burden of NCDs in SSA and Potential Solutions

Africa hosts 11% of the world’s population and 24% of the world’s disease burden, yet only accounts for 1% of the world’s global health expenditure. While diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, yellow fever, and tuberculosis are top of mind, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are on the rise. Socioeconomic trends have increased morbidity and mortality from NCDs in the last decade, but health systems and infrastructure are ill-equipped to manage the increasing NCD burden. What should governments, investors, and implementors focus on first – data collection, infrastructure needs, or educating additional healthcare workers? How do you begin to bridge the gap between public and private healthcare systems? Our panelists will share their experiences in addressing healthcare challenges from investing in hospitals to building cancer centers to designing new technological innovations to diagnosing diseases.

  • Moderator: Chris Dickey, DrPH, MBA - Director of Global Health, NYU's College of Global Public Health
  • Timothy Rebbeck, PhD - Professor of Epidemiology, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health
  • Thomas Verghese - Associate Director, LeapFrog Investments
  • John Nevergole - CEO, ABD Group

Education: Too Little Access, Not Enough Learning - Leveraging Technology to Educate Our Youth

With nearly 50% of its population under the age of 15, Africa has proven to be the world’s most youthful continent. These youth will be our future leaders who will drive sustainable growth forward. However, education gaps are prevalent across the continent. The solutions that have been devised to address these gaps are many and diverse. In the last few years, a number of new initiatives, especially those based in technology, have enjoyed marked success and popularity. But has the investment in education proven to be enough? What else can be done? Our panelists will share their experiences and challenges, provide insights into potential solutions, and discuss the merits and limitations of these models.

  • Moderator: Chenjerai Katanda - Programs Manager, Education Matters
  • Adam Lupu - VP of Learning, Andela
  • Brian Asingia - Co-Founder & CEO, DreamAfrica™
  • Geordie Brackin - Director of Global Innovation, Bridge International Academies
  • Elizabeth Ngonzi - CEO, Afrika Tikkun USA

From Farm to Market: How Technology is Revolutionizing Agribusiness

According to the AfDB, sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest prevalence of hunger even though it has 65% of the world’s available arable land. However, deep mobile penetration is revolutionizing agribusiness on the continent by providing smallholder farmers with access to critical information and markets for the first time. Hear from players across the industry who are at the forefront of this revolution.

  • Moderator: Angela Hansen - Partner, Dalberg Global Development Advisors
  • Ayodeji Balogun - Country Manager, AFEX Nigeria Limited
  • Stewart Collis - Co-Founder & Chief Technical Officer, aWhere
  • Tiffany Shi - Growth Manager, Gro Intelligence

Engaging the Underserved: FinTech Innovators and Collaborators

80% of the world’s financially underserved adults live in sub-Saharan Africa. This unserved population represents an enormous opportunity for entrepreneurs, microfinance providers, app developers, and major financial institutions eager to take on the FinTech space. Indeed, Accenture estimates that over one-third of mainstream financial services’ revenue is at risk due to disruption from the FinTech industry. This panel will focus on how FinTech is revolutionizing access to credit and insurance on the continent as well as the role that major banks and financial institutions should play in driving innovation.

  • Moderator: Robin Miller - Partner, Dalberg Global Development Advisers
  • John Plaisted - Portfolio Manager, Accion Venture Lab
  • Iyinoluwa Aboyeji - Co-Founder, Flutterwave
  • Jeanne Chen - Project Leader, BCG
  • Buhle Miranda Goslar - Director of Consumer Intelligence, JUMO
  • Ngozi Dozie - Director, OneFi

Electricity Infrastructure: How to Bridge the Gaps Sustainably

Only 35% of people living in sub-Saharan Africa have access to electricity. Power project developers, investors, and governments must balance the long-term goal of connecting Africa’s 1.2 billion to the grid with the urgency of providing power today. Hear from a range of industry experts who are working to bridge Africa’s power infrastructure gap.

  • Moderator: Marcus Watson - Senior Manager, Dalberg Global Development Advisors
  • Chad Larson - Co-Founder & Chief Credit Officer, M-KOPA Solar
  • Femi Akinrebiyo - Principal Investment Officer, International Finance Corporation (IFC)
  • Chinedu Igbokwe - Head of Africa and Middle East Region Energy Storage Development, NEC Energy Solutions, Inc.
  • Pat Bydume - Director, Endeavor Energy
  • Clement Onyemelukwe - Chairman, Colechurch International; Chairman, KOKO Free Trade Zone

From 2G to 3G to 4G: What's Next for African Telecommunications?

From Silicon Savannah to Silicon Cape and Silicon Mountain, technology and innovation in ICT have contributed to Africa’s development and promise years of continued benefits. Much of the infrastructure needed to connect the billion people on the continent with each other and the rest of the world is in place, though there is still more to do. This infrastructure provides a platform for additional growth and innovation. Come learn about these opportunities and what the path ahead looks like.

  • Moderator: Onu Ocholi - Program Manager, Bain Africa
  • Jorge Favita - Senior Vice President, McKinsey & Company
  • Brian Kirungi - Legal & Regulatory Head, Airtel Rwanda
  • Leonard Mungarulire - Regional Integration Advisor, Ministry of Trade, Industry & East African Community (Kigali, Rwanda)

Real Estate: The Building of Nations

A rising middle class, rapid population growth, and urbanization in Africa’s major cities have created unprecedented demand for real estate development and finance. From mega-projects to apartment blocks, real estate is critical to ensuring Africa has the physical infrastructure necessary to be globally competitive in the 21st century. In this session, our speakers will challenge market consensus, share insights and key learnings from their careers, and provide perspective on the evolution of African real estate and the current and future threats and opportunities.

  • Moderator: Frederick N. Cooper - SVP Finance, International Development, & Investor Relations, Toll Brothers
  • Hafeez Giwa - Managing Partner, HC Capital Properties
  • Robert Hornsby - Co-Founder & CFO, American Homebuilders of West Africa

Media: Growing Audiences at Home and Around the World

In addition to growing domestic demand, African media companies are also experiencing demand from the diaspora community. Growing audiences at home and abroad present these companies with a multitude of opportunities and difficult decisions. The panelists will discuss these two audiences and their engagement with them.

  • Moderator: Jackson Muneza Mvuganyi - Host & Producer, Voice of America
  • Hellen Kassa - Chief of Staff, Kana TV
  • Alpha Bah - Founder & CEO, ZMedia Tech Group
  • Nnenna Kalu Makanjuola - Founder & Editor in Chief, Radiant Health Magazine
  • Aina Fadina - Founder, Executive Producer & Host, I of Africa

WABF Venture Competition

All over the continent, entrepreneurs are creating businesses, social enterprises, and non-profits. In this session, we will hear from the leaders behind six of these organizations – Aspire Power Solutions, Dechets a L’Or , Dot Learn, Ginjan Bros, iludio and OZÉ. They will tell us their stories, explain their business models, and navigate a Q+A session in this final stage of a competition that began with the largest application pool in WABF history. Judging them will be a panel of venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, who will select one organization to take home $10,000 of venture funding.

    Sponsor Sessions

    BCG State of the Continent: BCG's View On Why Africa Remains Ripe for Private Equity

    Despite economic challenges in many of its economies, Africa remains one of the greatest growth opportunities for Private Equity investors. But to fully capture the opportunities and earn high returns, private equity funds must adapt to the rapidly-evolving market, consider more flexible investment strategies, and build on-the-ground capabilities. So, is Africa’s private equity boom really being driven by economic fundamentals? Or is it a bubble building up to burst? Is too much money chasing too few sound investments? Join us for a presentation that illustrates the right concerns about the industry in Africa and offers insights on how Private Equity players can adapt to take advantage of the African growth opportunities.

    • Seddik El Fihri - Principal, BCG Casablanca
    • Adam Ikdal - Senior Partner & Managing Director, BCG Johannesburg

    McKinsey State of the Continent: The African Consumer - Why What You've Heard is Probably Wrong

    You’ve seen the statistics and read about consumer companies making billions in Africa. What if you’re wrong about why and where and what consumers buy? Join an open conversation where we explore questions on your mind: who is really king – Big Data or Little Data? Who will win the retail war – supermarkets or open market? What’s one sure way to make consumer products recession-proof? Is the future really female?

    • Yaw Boateng - Associate Principal, McKinsey & Company

    Young African MBAs: African Entrepreneurs in the Diaspora - Ideas in Action

    The African entrepreneurs on this panel represent leadership from a range of small businesses and organizations innovating in technology, power and energy, fashion, and trade and investment on the continent. Panelists will discuss the day-to-day challenges and opportunities which arise as they juggle life in the US and business on the continent, and offer advice for those interested in starting and growing their own businesses.

    • Moderator: Yinka Akinyemi - Co-Founder, Young African MBAs (Y.A.M.) & Associate, Loop Capital Markets
    • Christine Martey-Ochola - Co-Founder & President, Sub-Saharan Africa Chamber of Commerce
    • Rotimi Thomas - Co-Founder, Aspire Power Solutions
    • Akin Sawyerr - Co-Founder, Market Atlas
    • Amir Yusuf - Managing Director, ICorp Capital Ltd.

    Swiss Re Direct Investments State of the Continent: Principal Investments in Africa - Evolution, Advantages, and Challenges

    What are the drivers of the significant growth that principal investments is experiencing in Africa? What is the impact on private equity funds and strategic players?
    Principal investments are perceived to provide an attractive value proposition for many target companies: patient capital and flexible investment duration. However, investments like private equity face challenges that include time horizon pressure and competitive tensions from strategics. In this session, we will discuss challenges that we see in the markets and how to mitigate them.
    • Yann Pambou - Head of Africa, Principal Investments and Private Equity, Swiss Re Direct Investments

    KOKO Free Trade Zone, Nigeria: Gateway to the West African Economic Region and the World - Gateway Opportunity for Globalizing Africa

    Africa’s economic fate has up to now depended on the export of commodity raw materials and minerals and import of manufactured goods from the West and East Asia. Commodity prices have dropped over the years. KOKO Free Trade Zone as part of Free Trade Strategy is intended to install FDI’s in the Zone given all necessary infrastructure and tax advantages and using abundant cheap raw materials and cheap trained labor. KFRZ will not only act as a manufacturing gateway to the West African Common market but to export to Europe and the U.S. more cheaply than the present East Asian countries, being also physically a shorter distance to Europe and U.S.

    • Clement Onyemelukwe - Chairman, Colechurch International Ltd; Chairman, KOKO Free Trade Zone