Industrializing African Agribusiness: Opportunities and Challenges

Starting with the Industrial Revolution, many governments have viewed industrialization – chiefly via manufacturing – as a key to development. Governments inside and outside Africa have acknowledged the potential of industrialization for growth on the continent, as with the United Nations’ “African Industrial Development” day, held annually since 1989. At the same time, it is well known that many African economies are highly dependent on agriculture. With the failure of many African countries to achieve manufacturing-based industrialization, perhaps Africa’s rich natural resources and fertile land represent an opportunity for agricultural transformation as a path to development. Is there a place for industrialized agriculture in Africa’s development story? If so, what areas are most ripe for opportunity, and what can/should governments do to facilitate agricultural industrialization?

Mezuo O. Nwuneli, Managing Partner, Sahel Capital Agribusiness Managers Ltd.

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Mezuo has a 22-year career in a broad spectrum of finance related roles in private equity, investment banking, and corporate finance. Over the past seven years, Mezuo has worked extensively within the agribusiness sector in West Africa and across a broad range of crop value chains. Sahel Capital is a leading fund manager and advisory firm focused exclusively on the agribusiness sector. Sahel's consulting clients include development agency, international foundation, and private sector clients; and project mandates have covered a broad range of crop value chains in West Africa. Sahel is also the fund manager for the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria (FAFIN), a US$66 million private equity fund focused on SME agribusiness opportunities in Nigeria.

Adam Taylor, Managing Partner, Oakfield Holdings Limited

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Mr. Taylor is the Managing Partner of Oakfield Holdings Limited. Oakfield is an Africa-focused investment firm that seeks to maximize both financial return and positive social impact. Oakfield has developed specific expertise in the aquaculture value chain, having founded Yalelo Limited and Aller Aqua Zambia Limited, Africa's largest aquaculture firm and fish feed manufacturer respectively. Mr. Taylor was previously a Portfolio Manager at Liongate Capital Management and holds a BSc. Economics from the London School of Economics.



Creating and Capturing Value in Urban Africa

Africa is the world’s fastest urbanizing continent. Several of its largest cities are projected to be, as soon as 2050, not only several times as large as they currently are but several times as large as their biggest Western counterparts are expected to be. For some, these projections signal a threat to Africa’s quality of urban life. The potential for massive population growth could exacerbate an already-stark lack of public services, significant unemployment, concentrated poverty, and proliferation of slums and informal development. For others, however, this trend spells considerable potential for economic growth and opportunity for innovation. This panel will focus on what, if at all, it will take to have the latter come to fruition: what African cities can and need to do to turn substantial population growth into economic growth and improvements in quality of life for their residents. This panel will discuss what tools and policies – legal, governmental, economic, etc. – private and public actors can use to simultaneously harness and accommodate unprecedented urban population growth.

John Macomber, Senior Lecturer, Harvard Business School

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John Macomber is a Senior Lecturer in the Finance unit at Harvard Business School. His professional background includes leadership of real estate, construction, and information technology businesses. At HBS, Mr. Macomber's work focuses on the urban impacts of private finance and delivery of public infrastructure projects in both the developed and emerging worlds. These include transportation, energy, water/sanitation, and real estate investments that speed economic development, reduce environmental impacts (notably air and water pollution), and facilitate individual opportunity. His teaching combines infrastructure finance (including public-private partnerships), economic development, and urban planning as well as the impact of new technologies. 

Dr Gulelat Kebede, Lecturer & researcher on urbanization and economic development, The New School


Dr. Gulelat Kebede has over 25 years of professional experience at local, national, and global levels. His most recent experience includes coordinating UN-Habitat's global activities in urban economy and municipal finance. During his career with the UN, he authored or contributed to many publications and capacity development tools in the areas of urban economy, local economic development, local finance, local leadership, participatory decision making, participatory budgeting, sustainable cities, climate change and green economy. He has backstopped urban projects throughout Africa and the world. He is currently part time faculty at The New School, New York, and visiting lecturer at School of Community & Regional Planning and Centre for Human Settlements, University of British Columbia. 

Luis Triveño, Urban Development Specialist, World Bank

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Luis Triveño is an Urban Development Specialist at the World Bank where he manages land, housing, urban infrastructure and disaster risk management projects. He has led and executed social, urban and rural development reform projects in over 25 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Between 2012 and 2015, he was Chief Executive Officer of Proexpansion, a think-tank and reform-oriented organization based in Lima, Peru. Between 2005 and 2012, he served as Research Economist, Chief Economist, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer of Hernando de Soto's Institute for Liberty and Democracy.

Akintunde Oyebode, Economist, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF)

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Akintunde Oyebode is a trained Economist. He worked as a Research Assistant at the Lagos Business School and spent over a decade in various banking roles with First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and Stanbic IBTC Bank. Prior to being appointed as Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), he was the Head of SME Banking at Stanbic IBTC Bank. 


Maity Abhishek, Economic Geographer, Fraym

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Maity is a Senior Data Analyst at Fraym, a leading geospatial data and analytics provider for Africa, with several years of experience in geospatial and economic analysis. At Fraym, Maity specializes in African consumer markets and has helped multiple clients devise investment strategies across the continent, ranging from beverages in West Africa, media distribution in East Africa, and pan-Africa road network infrastructure. Currently, Maity is working to help organizations and businesses understand how to leverage the growing consumer class into economic growth across African cities. Maity has previously worked as an associate at a leading energy consulting firm specializing in global wholesale electricity and carbon markets. 


Connecting the unconnected: What’s been done and what is left to do?

The Internet’s economic impact has made significant contributions to the gross domestic product(GDP) of many nations. It has fueled new, innovative industries and changed societies by forging new links between individuals and communities and providing access to information and education, and promoting greater transparency. According to Nielsen Online, through June 30, 2017, the penetration rate of internet users in Africa was 31%. This is the lowest penetration rate of any continent in the world. North America, the highest in the world, has a penetration rate of 88.1%. In the past few years, global technology giants such as Facebook and Google have launched efforts to provide free internet to parts of Africa. Besides these global initiatives, there are also several homegrown efforts that seek to increase internet connectedness in Africa. This panel will explore the various projects that are underway, touch on what else can be done and opine on how these efforts can ultimately affect the economic and political landscape of the African continent.

Jean-Pierre Kabanda, VP of Business Development at Global IP

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JP is currently VP of Business Development at Global IP. Prior to that, JP spent almost 20 years at SES, ultimately becoming VP of Business Development. JP was responsible for devising and implementing SES strategic plan for Sub-Saharan Africa. He participated in SES USD1bn investment plan for design, manufacture and launch of the SES-4, SES-5, ASTRA-2F and ASTRA-2G satellites which increased considerably SES inventory and competitiveness in region. Architect of the SES teleport strategy in Accra, Lagos and Djibouti. Formulated medium to long-term growth opportunities and proposed strategic options for the company in Africa and the Middle East.

Lanre Osibona, Senior Special Assistant on ICT to the President of Nigeria

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Lanre is a business professional with experience spanning 20years in the technology industry. He started his career in the UK, providing consulting services to international companies like AXA, Deutsche Bank, Vodafone, Ericsson, T– Mobile, Camelot UK and locally for Stanbic Bank, Nigeria (Member of the Standard Bank Group). On return to Nigeria in 2010, Lanre Founded InnovaTechNG Limited, a niche technology consulting outfit with a focus on Business Development and Programme Management. He was also a Principal Consulting Partner until 2014 when he joined the Nigerian ruling party – the APC political campaign movement for Change. As a big believer in the Nigeria Change Agenda, Lanre volunteered his service to nation building as a key member of the APC campaign organization, and was a key member of His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, serving in the capacity of Chief Protocol Officer during the Presidential Campaigns. Currently, Lanre is the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Senior Personal Assistant to the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Lanre has a Bachelors degree in Computing and Information Systems from the University of Greenwich, and a Masters Degree from University of Hull. He also has an Oxford Graduate Diploma in Computer Systems. He is married with two children.


Salim Suleman, Founder of Imarasat

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Salim Suleman is currently the Founder and MD of Imarasat Formerly, Salim was Founder of Afsat an early mover in providing VSAT internet services in Africa that merged with iWayAfrica. Salim's 35 year career spans start ups in aviation, telecommunications, oil and gas, and agriculture sectors, including mergers and acquisitions and preparing mature businesses for sale. Salim's success at iWay Africa was built on taking businesses across African borders in order to create the critical mass for growth. Operating in 26 countries through subsidiaries and distrubtorships,  iWayAfrica was one of the 20 most recognized brands in SSA. The company was acquired by the Naspers Group in 2007 resulting in returns to the shareholders including OPIC of 5 x investment in five years. Salim is a graduate  of HEC/University of Oxford joint program with an MSc in Consulting and Coaching for Change as well as the University of Oxford Advanced Management Program and Strategic Leadership Program.

Ngozi Dozie, Co-Founder, Kaizen Ventures Partners

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Ngozi Dozie is a Director and co-Founder of OneFi, Nigeria's leading challenger bank and owner of Paylater, West Africa's first digital lender.  Prior to OneFi, Ngozi has been involved in the creation and attempted resuscitation of several startups or distressed companies across East & West Africa through Kaizen Venture Partners. Kaizen Venture Partners recently invested in Bandwidth and Cloud Services Group (BCS Group). BCS is a wholesale internet bandwidth provider to mobile operators and internet service providers in East Africa. Ngozi holds an MBA from the Wharton School and graduated with an MSc in Computation from Oxford University and BSc in Physics from Imperial College.

Branding and Investment in the African Digital Healthcare Market

Increasing digital penetration has the potential to provide access to millions otherwise disenfranchised by geographical and infrastructural barriers. Sub-Saharan Africa constitutes 13% of the world’s population and yet, has 24% of the global burden of disease. The region is in a crisis, with only 2% of the world’s doctors and 1% of the world’s health expenditure. Digital health holds promise for more efficient and cost-effective ways to reach people. The healthcare market in Africa is plagued with unique ethical, technological and financial. What is the role of branding and investment in overcoming these obstacles?

Kelechi Weze, Doctoral Candidate, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

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Kelechi Weze MD MPH is a doctoral candidate in the interdisciplinary Doctor of Public Health program at the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health where he also earned his MPH. Most recently with Analysis Group in Boston, his healthcare experience has spanned across Nigeria, Bangladesh, Vietnam and the United States. He has worked in various service delivery roles including clinical practice; provider and claims management; and public health implementation and research. His current interests lie in the use of market strategies and technology to provide solutions to Africa's healthcare problems.

Tiwa Works, Founder, PlugATL

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Tiwa Aganga-Williams, also popularly known as Tiwa Works, is the founder and president of TiwaWorks, Inc, an International Events and Marketing company that spans across 2 continents. As of today, Tiwa's company currently hosts the largest summer event for Black Fraternities and sororities in Atlanta known as the “Atlanta Greek Picnic Weekend which has draw over 270,000+ to the city of Atlanta over the last 14 years with an estimated $3.5 Million yearly impact during the weekend. Tiwa is the founder of Plug ATL, which is a celebration of Atlanta's rising millennial innovation, entrepreneurial, and investor based talent. He also owns a Real Estate firm servicing local and international clients in Atlanta, he is a notable name on the Atlanta Tech scene as an influencer and he is a regular speaker on the entrepreneurial and motivational speaking circuit. Tiwa has been featured in Forbes Africa, Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, The Africa Channel, Arise TV and numerous other publications. Tiwa is an astute businessman, a father, a brother and a great friend to all whose acquaintance he meets.

Maya Horgan Famodu, Founder, Ingressive Capital

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Maya Horgan Famodu is a venture capital investor and entrepreneur. She founded Ingressive Capital, a $5 Million venture fund focused on early stage African tech, and Ingressive, a tech integration company that provides market entry services and tech research for corporates and investors, and operates their Africa strategy over time. Ingressive past clients include top Silicon Valley investors and corporates Y Combinator, 500 Startups, New Relic, USAID, GitHub, and Techstars--to name a few. Clients have made over 20 investments into Africa-based tech, and started numerous joint ventures through Ingressive market entry services. Their annual conference convenes 750 investors, developers, and African technology companies in Nigeria. Maya attended Pomona College after completing the Cornell University Prelaw Program, and worked at JPMorgan Chase before then going on to private equity research.

Fela Oke, Founder, FLU3NT-M.E.S.L.

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Since returning to Nigeria in 2011, Fela has served as a Consultant at MTV Africa; Media, EVENTS, Content and Business Development at SPINLET; Commercial Director at TRACE TV AFRICA; MD at Brights Africa (Rights Management agency for Warner Bros); Head of Commercial at TEMPLE MANAGEMENT; and now founder of his own boutique agency, FLU3NT M.E.S.L., a full service, culture-centric agency built to serve the best talent, brands and platforms across the African continent and beyond. Such roles have put Fela front and center within the music, Theatre, Film, TV, Sports and Media industry in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Ghana.

Millen Magese, Founder, Millen Magese Foundation

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Millen Happiness Magese is a world-renowned fashion model and humble humanitarian. When she's not prowling runways in Europe, the United States, Asia and Africa, the former Miss Tanzania can often be found giving her time, talents, and energy to making a difference in the lives of those who are less fortunate through her significant contributions to charities such as the Tanzania Education Trust, African Rainforest Conservancy, and the MacDella Cooper Foundation. She has also established the Millen Magese foundation to empower women and girls of Tanzania.

Collins Nzekwe, Co-Founder, ThinkAfrica, Medikare

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Collins Nzekwe is the founding member of ThinkAfrica, a nonprofit organization with a mission to connect young professionals in diaspora to Africa one country at a time; through trips, events, content and contact sourcing. ThinkAfrica is a strategic/media partner for African Business conference for Harvard Business School, Georgetown University, and London Business School. Also partnered with Civil Society Group of World Bank for the 2017 World Bank Spring meeting. Collins is also a cofounder of a startup called Medikare, which has brought a fast, convenient way for patients to receive healthcare consultation and get the best treatment from doctors in Nigeria. Collins is also founder and managing partner Lex consulting LLC which provides strategy and optimization consulting to maximize client's organizational growth and development. He is an alumni of Stratford University graduated with honors with a masters of Information Systems and Management also a certification from Yale University on Financial markets. He is also a member of World bank/IMF Young African Society