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The Business Council for Africa and Invest Africa’s flagship event, The Annual Debate 2018 returns 24th April for its forth edition. It has established itself as an important platform for everyone interested in and committed to African business.



Arnold Ekpe is the Chairman of Atlas Mara and Honorary President of the Business Council for Africa.  Mr. Ekpe has over 30 years of African and international banking andcurrently he holds Non-Executive Directorships at the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority  and  Cellular Systems International, Africa Strategic Impact Fund, Dangote Flour Mills plc and Multiverse Plc.

He served as Group CEO and Executive Director of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, transforming the bank from a small, five-country operation into a truly pan-African bank.

OnLinkedIn|Atlas Mara

Ashish J. Thakkar is the  Founder of Mara Group. Ashish has driven the growth of the Mara Group from a small IT business in Uganda to the globally recognized multi-sector investment group that exists today. Through its investments, Mara Group now employs over 11,000 people across 25 African countries in sectors spanning technology, banking, real estate and infrastructure. Ashish serves as Chair of the United Nations Foundation, Global Entrepreneurship Council and is the author of The Lion Awakes: Adventures in Africa’s Economic Miracle.

@AshishJThakkar|On LinkedIn|Mara Sokoni|Mara Group|Mara Foundation

Dr. Carlos Lopes is the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa at the level of UN Under Secretary-General. He has more than 24 years of senior leadership experience at the United Nations that include serving as Executive Director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, Director of the UN System Staff College, Director for Political Affairs in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General, all at the level of Assistant Secretary-General; and UN Resident Coordinator in Zimbabwe and Brazil. Specialized in development and strategic planning, he has been an author or editor for over 22 books and has also taught at various academic institutions.

@ECA_Lopes|United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

sir p.jpg

Sir Paul Collier is the Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford and a Professorial Fellow of St Antony’s College. From 1998–2003 he took a five-year Public Service leave during which he was Director of the Research Development Department of the World Bank. He is currently a Professeur invité at Sciences Po and a Director of the International Growth Centre.  

 @Oxford_CSAE |Centre for the Study of African Economies|Watch Paul Collier at TED  

Mthuli Ncube is a Professor of Public Policy and Project Leader at Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford leading a multi-disciplinary project on the Economics of HIV (Rethink HIV), and sponsored by the Rush Foundation. He is former, Chief Economist and Vice President, African Development Bank Group (AfDB). As Vice President, and Chief Economist of the AfDB he led the strategic thinking within the bank on development issues, and directly supervised the development Research, Statistics, and capacity development. and general knowledge management, and strategy. He is currently Chairman of Board of the African Economic Research Consortium(AERC) based in Nairobi, Kenya.

@MthuliNcube|On LinkedIn

Lanre Akinola  was born and raised in Nigeria and is the Editor of African Business, IC Publications. He helped found and later served as the Editor of This Is Africa at the Financial Times. Lanre is a 2014 Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellow and has worked with the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa.

@AkinolaLanre| OnLinkedIn|       


Akosua Annobil is creator of AB2020, a digital media, PR advisory and communications business for investors and entrepreneurs focused on the social and economic development of Sub-Saharan Africa. She is also a steering group member of the TLA Africa (a subsidiary of the Tech London Advocates), a network of individuals and organisations in the private sector working together to develop stronger links between the tech ecosystem in London and key African markets. 

@AkosuaAnnobil|On LinkedIn|AB2020

Simon Bransfield-Garth is the CEO of Azuri Technologies  since its inception in 2012, and has 30 years global experience building rapid growth, technology-based businesses in sectors including Semiconductor, Automotive and Mobile Phones. He currently sits on the Governing Council of the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), and his career includes 7 years at Symbian, the phone OS maker, where he was a member of the Leadership Team and VP Global Marketing. Named a “Technology Pioneer” by the World Economic Forum in 2012, Simon is also founder of Myriad Solutions Ltd.

@azuri_tech|Azuri Technologies|On LinkedIn|Energizing rural Africa: Simon Bransfield-Garth at TEDxImperialCollege

David Cowan is the Managing Director and Africa Economist at Citi. Prior to joining Citi in July 2007, David held two posts at the Economist Intelligence Unit in London for a total of eight years. As a Senior Economist for Africa, he was responsible for the coverage of Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and the overall forecast for Sub-Saharan Africa.


Dr Edward George is head of group research at Ecobank, managing a team of nine analysts covering the fixed-income, currencies and commodities space in Middle Africa. Prior to being head of research, Edward headed the soft commodities desk, with a focus on cocoa, coffee, cotton, sugar and grains. Edward is also a specialist on Francophone West Africa and Lusophone Africa, and is the bank's expert on intra-African trade and trade finance. Edward works closely with the corporate bank and trade finance teams, and regularly visits soft commodity producers, processers and traders across Ecobank's 36-country African footprint. Prior to joining Ecobank in March 2011 Edward worked for The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) for seven years as a Senior Editor in both the Commodities and Africa Departments. 

@EcobankResearch |Ecobank

Dr Amy Jadesimi is the Managing Director of LADOL, an oil and gas fabrication and multi-logistics services base in Nigeria. Beyond LADOL, Amy contributes to Forbes and recently joined the 2015 Advisory Board for the UN Development Programme’s “Africa Human Development Report”. In  July 2015, the Financial Times named her one of top 25 Africans To Watch.

LADOL|On LinkedIn

Adrienne Klasa is editor of This is Africa at the Financial Times Group, with a particular interest in the intersection between politics, business and international currents in sub-Saharan Africa. Her writing has also appeared in the Financial Times, the Guardian, Forbes, Slate and Foreign Policy, among others. As well as being invited to speak and moderate at events worldwide, her filmed interviews have been featured across the FT group and by organisations including the Rockefeller Foundation and the Skoll Foundation. She holds two first class degrees in political science - a BA from McGill University, and an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

@adrienneklasa|This is Africa

Michael Mabuyakhulu began his career in 1982 as a Production Manager for Mintex on the North Coast, where he was later elected President of the Engineering Sector of the Metal and Allied Workers Union of South Africa.  In 1984 he was appointed as the Regional Secretary of the powerful National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) in Northern KwaZulu-Natal – a position he held until 1994. His role in the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) saw him play an increasingly active role in the African National Congress.Between 1994 and 1999, he was Convenor of the ANC Caucus within the Economic Development and Tourism Portfolio Committee. In 1999 he was appointed to the Cabinet of KwaZulu-Natal as MEC for Economic Development and Tourism – becoming the youngest Member of the Executive Council. 

Peter Okwoche is a broadcaster for  from Nigeria. In 2004 Peter’s talents were snapped up by the world’s leading broadcasting organisation the British Broadcasting Organisation (BBC). He moved to London where he is a regular presenter on the World Service, presenting such flagship programmes as Focus on Africa, Network Africa, The World Today and Fast Track, amongst others.
Peter Okwoche is known for his laidback but probing interviewing style, prising answers out of his guests that they would rather not have divulged. On a daily basis he interviews Presidents and Heads of State, leaders of industry, politicians and other newsmakers. He constantly travels to different parts of the world to cover events for the BBC.


Akinwole Omoboriowo II (AOII) top management work-profile includes being the Chairman and CEO of Genesis Energy Group , Chairman and CEO of Genesis Electricity Limited, Chairman Board of Directors GEL Utility (Co- Sponsored by General Electric and Engro Corp), Member-Advisory Board of The Global Thinkers Forum (GTF), Member- Advisory Board African Utility & Clean Power Africa. He served as Chairman of Bissau Electricidade de Agua (Guinea Bissau), and Founding Managing Director of Besse-Oil & Services. He has been named amongst the much esteemed list of “Most Influential Figures in African Power” for 2014 and 2015. 

LinkedIn Genesis Energy Group

Jamal Saghir is the Senior Regional Advisor, Africa Region, World Bank. In this position, he provides overall leadership to the Bank’s activities in sub-Saharan Africa—including those financed by the International Development Association (IDA). Mr. Saghir is also an appointed member of the United Nations Secretary General’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change, and a member of the Global Energy Assessment. 

World Bank


Ayo Salami is the Chief Investment Officer of Duet’s African Funds, including the Duet Africa Index and the Duet Africa Opportunities Fund. Dr Salami was named CIO of the Year at the Investment Excellence Awards in 2014 and has been with the Duet Group since 2007. Ayo initiated Nomura’s coverage of the African region, and has built one of the largest proprietary databases of African Equities. 

Duet Group


Igho Sanomi is the CEO of Taleveras  which he founded in 2004. Mr Sanomi is also Chairman of the Dickens Sanomi Foundation board of Trustees. Dickens Sanomi Foundation is a non profit charitable organisation which he founded in memory of his late father. He also sits as Chairman and Co-Chairman of various companies whose activites span from Telecom to Shipping, Aviation and Real Estate investment worldwide.



Jonathan Smithers is the President of The Law Society. He began his articles in 1984 at the firm CooperBurnett in Tunbridge Wells. He qualified in 1986 and became an equity partner at the firm in 1990. He is now the senior partner.Jonathan has been involved in local law societies for over 25 years. He was elected president of Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge & District Law Society in 2002 and president of Kent Law Society in 2007/8.


Alain Taieb completed his military service as a technical assistant at the Department for Cooperation in Cameroon. He then joined the CEREN (Centre for Economic Studies and Research on Energy) before moving to Procter & Gamble. Alain then joined the family Group AGS as Chief Executive Officer and became Chairman. He has promoted the international expansion of the Mobilitas Group, which operates in 79 countries with 156 subsidiaries and branches and employs more than 3600 people worldwide including full coverage of the African continent.

AGS Mobilitas

Dorothy Tembo is the Executive Director, International Trade Centre. She has 30 years’ experience in trade and development. Ms. Tembo served previously as the Executive Director of the multi-donor funded Enhanced Integrated Framework Programme (EIF) based at the World Trade Organization (WTO) from October 2008 to 2013.From 2004 to 2008, she served as Chief Trade Negotiator and Director of Foreign Trade in the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry of Zambia.  

International Trade Centre|LinkedIn

Geoffrey White, CEO of Agility Africa, is an expert on infrastructure development, retail supply chains, agri-business, and investment for African markets. Agility, a leading global provider of logistics and related infrastructure solutions for the oil and gas and FMCG markets, has over $5 billion in revenue, 24,000 employees, and offices in more than 100 countries. Mr White is a member of the Agility Strategic Advisory Board.

LinkedIn|Agility Africa 

Tony Uzoebo joined Zenith Bank (UK) Ltd from Zenith Bank Plc, South Africa where he was instrumental in the start-up of the representative office and held the position of the chief representative officer. He has spent 20 years of his banking career with Zenith Bank Group and has held various senior management positions ranging from bank operations to corporate banking where he combined marketing and credit functions with business development.

LinkedIn|Zenith Bank