Dinner Gala Keynote

Acha Leke

Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company Johannesburg & Co-founder, African Leadership Network

A Senior Partner in the Johannesburg office, Dr. Acha Leke started his career at McKinsey & Company as a Summer Associate in South Africa in 1998. He rejoined the Firm in Atlanta in 1999 and transferred back to Johannesburg in 2002 to help expand the Firm’s activities across Sub- Saharan Africa. Acha relocated to Lagos in 2010 to open up the Firm’s newly established office in Nigeria, and returned to SA in 2014. He leads the Firm’s Public and Social Sector Practice in Africa, and is a member of the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) Council.

Acha serves governments, multinational, and private sector institutions across Africa on issues of economic development, tax administration, growth strategies, holistic transformations, and investment decisions. He has worked across over 20 African countries to date.

Prior to McKinsey, Acha worked as a part-time Consultant on novel techniques to linearize High Power Amplifiers for wireless applications, while completing a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. He also received an M.S. in Electrical Engineering and an M.S. in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management from Stanford University, as well as a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering summa cum laude, with a minor in Economics, from the Georgia Institute of Technology where he graduated as Valedictorian (first Black Valedictorian in the School’s history).

Acha is a co-founder and member of the Board of the African Leadership Academy, a co-educational boarding school which aims to develop the next generation of African leaders.  He is also a co-founder of the African Leadership Network, an invitation-only network of young African leaders who aspire to bring prosperity to the Continent. He is currently a member of the WEF’s Global Agenda Council on Africa, ONE’s Africa Policy Advisory Board, and the Lagos Business School Advisory Board. Acha is from Cameroon, and is fluent in both English and French.

He was one of the lead authors of McKinsey’s first, highly acclaimed Lions on the Move report and is co-author of the new Lions on the move II: realising the potential of Africa’s economies.

Lunch Keynote

Sacha Poignonnec

Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Jumia

Sacha Poignonnec is the Co-CEO of Jumia (formerly Africa Internet Group), Africa’s leading Internet platform, a group that operates online and mobile e-commerce retail, marketplaces, classifieds and services companies and facilitatory services such as booking agencies. Since starting in 2012, he has overseen with Jeremy Hodara the launch and expansion of nine companies in more than 30 countries across Africa. Previously, Sacha worked for McKinsey in Paris and New York, focusing on Consumer Goods and Retail. He started his career with Arthur Andersen, and then participated in the creation of Accuracy, a corporate finance boutique based in Paris. Sacha holds a master’s degree in business administration from EDHEC Business School, France, where he majored in Finance.

In 2004 the German President awarded him the German-Afrika Prize for Leadership. He was awarded the Africa Center for Strategic Studies/National Defense University Visionary Award, in 2009. In 2011 he was selected as one of the world’s 100 most influential Africans by New African magazine and one of the world’s top 100 global thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine. In 2012 he was short-listed, alongside US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton for the prestigious Tipperary International Peace Award. In October, 2013 he was awarded the OXI! Award by the Washington Oxi Day Foundation that marks heroism and the defense of freedom. In 2015 he was appointed Mimi and Peter E. Haas, Distinguished Visitor at Stanford University. He delivered the 2015 Yale University Annual Coca Cola lecture. In 2015 together with the Angolan journalist and activist Rafael Maques he was awarded the prestigious University of British Columbia, Peter A. Allard School of Law Prize for international Integrity. John is also a Senior Advisor to the Office of the President of South Sudan on governance.  He holds an honours degree in Economics and Philosophy from the University of Wales and an Honorary Doctorate from the Open University.

Morning Keynote

Ambassador Herman Cohen

Former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs & President & CEO, Cohen and Woods International

As an ambassador, advisor to Presidents, and a 38-year veteran of the Foreign Service, Ambassador Herman J. Cohen has devoted his entire professional career to African and European affairs. Over the years, Cohen grew to know every first-generation African leader – from Mandela, to Mobutu, to Moammar Gaddafi. During his tenure as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during the first Bush Administration, and through his role at the NSC in the Reagan White House, Cohen worked to bring about peaceful transitions of power in South Africa and Namibia, and helped to end conflicts in Angola, Ethiopia, and Mozambique.

Current Engagements

  • President and CEO, Cohen and Woods International (1994-present)
  • Consultant on Africa, ContourGlobal Electric Power (2008-present)

Previous Experience

  • Board of Directors, Hyperdynamics Oil and Gas (2009-2015)
  • Professorial lecturer, Africa Studies, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (1998-2010)
  • Senior Advisor, Global Coalition for Africa (1993-1998)
  • Assistant Secretary of State for Africa (1989-1993)
  • Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Africa, National Security Council (1987-1989)
  • Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research (1980-1984)
  • U.S. Ambassador to Senegal, Gambia (1977-1980)
  • Director for Central African Affairs (Department of State) (1969-1974)
  • Chief of Mission, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (1968-1969)


  • Career Ambassador, U.S. Foreign Service
  • French Legion of Honor
  • Belgian Order of Leopold II
  • 2000 Douglas Dillon Award for Best Writing On Diplomatic Practice
  • Townsend Harris Award for Outstanding Career Achievement, CCNY Alumni Association


Lunch Keynote

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji

Co-Founder, Andela & Co-Founder, Flutterwave

Iyinoluwa is an impact entrepreneur with a passion for building the future of Africa. He’s spent the past 7 years building ventures in the education, technology, youth employment, publishing and finance spaces. At 18, he interned for the World Youth Alliance at the United Nations Headquarters, New York. He then went on to lead Imprint Publications, one of Canada’s largest student-owned publishing houses, as  President of the Board in 2010. Iyinoluwa helped found and run Bookneto Inc, a social e-learning platform which was acquired in 2013 by the Canadian Innovation Centre. In 2014, He co-founded Andela to find the brightest young people in Africa and prepare them to become Africa’s next generation of technology leader through deep immersive remote-work experience with global technology companies like Facebook, IBM, Microsoft and Google amongst others. Andela was named by CNN as one of top 10 African Startups of 2014, and has raised investments from to Silicon Valley VC’s and Angel Investors like Spark, Google Ventures and Mark Zuckerberg. In May 2016, Iyinoluwa left Andela to co-found Flutterwave, a payments technology company connecting Africa to the global economy with one API for processing any payment across Africa. Flutterwave is a Y Combinator company backed by several notable angels and VC’s around the world.

Iyinoluwa holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Studies from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He’s received several awards and honors including the John C Holland Award for Youth Leadership from JC Holland Foundation in 2010, Nigeria’s top 20 under 20 from by Ynaija in 2011, World Economic Forum Global Shaper in 2012, and Forbes 30 under 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs in Africa in 2015.

Lunch Keynote

Fred Swaniker

Co-Founder, African Leadership Network

Fred Swaniker is deeply passionate about Africa and believes that the missing ingredient on the continent is good leadership. In line with this, he has successfully founded three organizations that aim to catalyze a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial African leaders: African Leadership Academy, African Leadership Network, and African Leadership University. Collectively, these institutions aim to groom 3 million leaders for Africa over a 50 year period. Swaniker has been recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and was listed by Forbes Magazine among the top ten young ‘power men’ in Africa. Fred has an MBA from Stanford Business School, where he was named an Arjay Miller Scholar, a distinction awarded to the top 10% of each graduating class at the business school. He was born in Ghana but has lived and worked in about 10 different African countries.