The African Leadership Institute has a strong cohort of candidates for the prestigious Tutu Leadership Fellowship. Amongst nearly 300 nominees from over 30 African countries, 26 of Africa’s highest potential young leaders were selected to take part in the programme. Spanning various industries, representing eleven African countries and ranging from 29 to 39 years of age, the selected candidates demonstrate the wealth and breadth of leadership talent that exists in Africa’s youth. The biographies of the 2017 candidates follows:
- Jude Abaga
- Abayomi Awobokun
- Mitoha Ondo’o Ayekaba
- Andiswa Bata
- Elizabeth Bintliff
- Yap Boum II
- Stacey Brewer
- Sonkita Conteh
- Candice Dott
- Rosy Fynn
- Dirk Holshausen
- Natalie Jabangwe
- Samuel Kariuki
- Mimi Kalinda
- Onyinye Ibeneche
- Itumeleng Merafe
- Ngisana Mngomezulu
- William Mwiti
- John-Allan Namu
- Sam Ngcolomba
- Fayelle Ouane
- 'Bosun Tijani
- Rori Tshabalala
- Hema Vallabh
- Ben Whitelaw
- Ahmed Zahran
Jude “MI” Abaga is the Chief Executive of Chocolate City Music & Entertainment Company; one of Africa’s largest indigenous record labels and also a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador. He believes that entertainment can help address the unemployment problem in Africa by harnessing talent to generate wealth for the citizens. Under his leadership, as the first “artist turned executive” of the label, Jude has been able to establish multiple labels under Chocolate City to create music for different target markets.
Jude studied Economics and Business at Calvin College, Michigan, USA and is a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador with UNODC. An accomplished rapper and all-round musician, he has amassed over 70 local and global awards and nominations including Best New Act-MTV Africa Music Awards 2009 and Best Rap Album (The Chairman) - The Headies 2015.
He is admired for mentoring up-and-coming artists and giving numerous producers and artists their first big break. Jude was born in Nigeria and grew up In Jos, Plateau state, to a pastor father and a home-maker mother.
Abayomi Awobokun is a business leader from Nigeria; a 2016 recipient of the Young Global Leader award from the World Economic Forum (WEF); and was nominated by the Choiseul Institute in Paris as one of the top 100 under 40 business leaders in Africa. This year, he founded Service Liquids & Gas (SLG), a new downstream player in Nigeria poised to utilize technology to simplify and optimize fuels retailing to disrupt traditional fuels retailing models.
Before SLG, Abayomi was the CEO of Oando’s Downstream Businesses in Nigeria, West Africa, Europe and the Middle East for five years, which had a turnover of over $1bn. In 2015, he grew the business to 15% of the private sector supply of refined products in Nigeria. He spent 11 years in Oando Group in numerous executive roles and led the 2016 $250m equity injection into the business by two international investors. This successful deal was the largest in the downstream sector in Nigeria in 2016.
He is the founder of “The September 20 Foundation (TS20F)”, a voluntary donor-funded initiative to support the operations of Internally Displaced Persons camps in Nigeria.
Mitoha Ondo’o Ayekaba
A writer, economist, and public policy advocate, Mitoha Ondo’o Ayekaba is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Co-ordinator at Marathon EG Production. Prior to this, he worked as MEGPL’s Business Coordinator since 2009, serving as the Resident Manager’s main advisor for the best social investment strategy and engagement with the local government. He led the production of the company's first Enterprise Risk Management System.
In 2012, he was promoted as MEGPL’s CSR Coordinator, being responsible for the successful implementation of the Bioko Island Malaria Control Project (BIMCP). With the hope of eradicating malaria from the Bioko Island and the entire country, Mitoha coordinated the efforts to have the country join the international consortium of the PfPZ vaccine and to create and fund the Equatorial Guinea Malaria Vaccine Initiative (EGMVI), another multi-million-dollar project also operating under a Public Private Partnership mechanism between various oil companies (MEGPL, Noble Energy and AMPCO) with the government of Equatorial Guinea.
Prior to joining MEGPL, Mitoha taught natural resource economics as a Drexel University affiliate faculty member and and gender and feminism courses as a Teacher Assistant at the University of Washington. Some of his fiction writing have appeared in anthologies of the literature of Equatorial Guinea.
Andiswa Bata joined the syndicate business at Barclays Africa, based in Johannesburg, in September 2015. She was previously with Barclays Africa from December 2006, where she occupied various roles spanning across strategy & planning, loan structuring & execution, and later was responsible for driving Africa (ex-South Africa) loan syndications and distribution. Andiswa then joined Standard Bank in October 2010, where she was most recently the Head of Institutional Structured Sales and prior to that, she headed up the Africa (ex-South Africa) loan syndications business. Andiswa is passionate about youth developments. She co-chairs the women’s forum (“Banking on Women”) within the Barclays Africa corporate & investment banking business. Banking on Women’s flagship talent development programme “Masedi” won the award for Investing in Young Women at the South African Gender Mainstreaming Awards in 2016. Andiswa holds a Bachelor of Business Science degree from the University of Cape Town. Andiswa is an avid reader, enjoys travelling and considers herself a “foodie”.
Elizabeth Bintliff is the CEO of Junior Achievement Africa, an organization that economically empowers youth. She is a development professional with years of experience working in developing countries and emerging economies. In her previous role as Vice President of Africa programs at Heifer International, Elizabeth managed a multi-million dollar portfolio in 13 countries in SSA, including the Gates Foundation funded East Africa Dairy Development Program. Elizabeth is committed to development, especially for people in Africa, where she believes that giving three things – choices, voices and opportunities - are key to changing the trajectory of development on the continent.
Born and raised in Cameroon, Elizabeth earned a Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs from Kennesaw State University in Georgia, and has a Masters in African Studies from Yale University. She was a Fulbright Scholar in Zanzibar who started her career at the Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta, GA. She is fluent in English, French, Swahili and West African Krio (Pidgin English). Elizabeth holds a Master’s Certificate in Non-Profit Management from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is a graduate of Leadership Arkansas; a program of the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce. In 2014 she was awarded the Madhuri and Jagdish N. Sheth Distinguished Alumni Award for Exceptional Humanitarian and Service Achievement by her alma mater, Kennesaw State University.
Yap Boum II
Professor Yap Boum II is the regional representative for Epicenter Africa, the research arm of Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), known also as Doctors Without Borders. He is currently based in Yaoundé, Cameroon. From 2009 to 2014, Boum headed the Epicenter’s research base in Mbarara, Uganda, leading research projects that included tuberculosis and malaria. Most recently, in Guinea, he was in charge of laboratory coordination for the MSF/Epicenter phase three trial for the vaccine against Ebola, VSV-EBOV.
Boum is currently involved in setting up a research center for diarrheal disease in collaboration with Mbarara University of Sciences and Technology in Uganda, where he has a professorship in microbiology. He also teaches public health and microbiology at the Universities of Yaoundé I, Douala in Cameroon, and in Virginia in the US.
Boum is a co-founder of Kmerpad, a nonprofit that developed washable sanitary pads to empower women and allow them to more fully participate in their education. Kmerpad also aims to have a critical impact on the huge amount of waste generated by the use of non-reusable sanitary pads. In all his work, Boum is inspired by the vision of a healthy and wealthy Africa. He aims to advance research and innovative solutions and to promote the creation of a critical mass of young Africans to address the social and public health challenges Africa faces.
Stacey Brewer believes that improving the state and esteem of education in South Africa will guarantee the global success of the country and create a prosperous future for all South Africans. After completing her MBA at the Gordon Institute of Business Science, she co-founded SPARK Schools in 2012. During her MBA, Stacey channeled her investment in educational improvement into her thesis, which focused on a sustainable financial model for low-fee private schools in South Africa. This research served as the foundation for the establishment of SPARK Schools.
SPARK Schools is a network of low-cost private schools operating in South Africa that have introduced the first blended learning model on the African continent. There are currently 11 schools in the network serving over 4000 children. SPARK Schools has been recognised through various awards for their innovation in education in Africa.
Stacey is an Endeavor Entrepreneur and has been recognized as the Elle Boss 2015, Mail and Guardian Top 200 South Africans in 2014 and is also a Mandela Washington Fellow 2015, which is Barack Obama’s flagship fellowship.
Sonkita Conteh is a Legal Practitioner of the High Court of Sierra Leone and Director of Namati Law Firm. As a consultant for two years with the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions Africa Office in Ghana, he researched and reviewed law and policy on the right to water and sanitation in South Africa and Ghana; drafted amicus curiae briefs, publications and training manuals; and provided training to civil society organizations.
In 2009, he began working for the Justice Initiative’s legal empowerment programme, scaling up paralegal services in Sierra Leone. Sonkita has over 12 years’ litigation experience and has been a member of Sierra Leone's General Legal Council, the body that regulates the legal profession in the country. He was recently appointed to the Sierra Leone Bar Association’s Law Reports Committee to help produce new volumes of law reports.
Candice is an accomplished pan-African leader with 20 years’ experience in global financial services. As head of market development at Thomson Reuters, Candice is responsible for leading all market and product development, exchange, and contributed content across the Sub-Saharan Africa Financial and Risk business. She has extensive global sales, business development and management experience, having worked in London, Holland, and Dubai in senior sales and relationship management roles. Candice is passionate about a customer-centric view of strategy and business, ensuring that the voice of the market and customer is heard in every decision. She’s committed to mentoring, development and growth of graduates, professionals, and leaders across Africa, and firmly believes that the future of this continent depends on its talent.
She is a socially-responsible and highly-driven change agent, running the Thomson Reuters Corporate Responsibility and Inclusion program across Africa. Candice works closely with African stock exchanges, industry leaders and associations to drive socially-responsible investing; environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria; and, gender equality and diversity across the African continent. Candice fosters innovation programs with clients and partners to co-create innovative, digital content capabilities at the intersection of fintech and platform solutions across Africa.
Rosy Fynn is the Marketing Director for Airtel Ghana, in addition to having full responsibility over Customer Experience and Airtel Money. She is amongst Ghana’s marketing elite, having held the role of Marketing Director at three telecoms companies. Prior to Airtel, Rosy played a key role in the successful launch of Surfline Communications, Ghana’s first - and the continent’s largest - 4G LTE provider. In 2014, she was invited to speak on Surfline’s successful deployment at AfricaCom, Africa’s largest technology networking event.
Before joining Surfline, Rosy rose to the position of Chief Marketing Officer, and then the Head of Brands for all of Tigo’s Africa operations. Earlier in her career, she worked in the consulting and financial services industries in New York with Booz Allen, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.
Rosy is passionate about the development of women and youth and has served on the boards of Sponsors for Educational Opportunity and Woman 2.1, two NGOs whose missions align with her ideals. She is a former board member of the Ghana Rugby Association.
Rosy holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BA in Computer Science and Mathematics from Smith College, Massachusetts.
Dirk Holshausen is an Investment Manager with CDC Group’s Africa team and leads the group’s investment in people, leadership and management teams across the continent. As the world’s oldest development finance institution, and with a current portfolio of over 600 partner companies in Africa, CDC has a deep appreciation for the role leadership plays in building successful businesses. Drawing on this experience, Dirk founded The Africa List to specifically focus on ensuring the continent’s next business leaders are best prepared to drive growth over the coming decade. The Africa List community is now active in five countries and includes 500 top companies and one thousand leaders.
Prior to CDC, Dirk served as a British Army officer on operations around the world, including leading specialist teams on two frontline tours of Afghanistan. After the Army, Dirk moved back home to Zimbabwe and worked with Deloitte’s consulting and corporate finance teams to support private equity investment in the country and to help businesses grow after a decade of infamous hyperinflation.
Natalie Jabangwe is currently the youngest chief executive to run a mobile money business in Africa, EcoCash. EcoCash is Zimbabwe’s leading and fastest-growing mobile money service in Africa of telecoms giant, Econet Wireless and was the 2017 Corporate recipient of the Mobile World Congress "Best Mobile Payment Solution", Glomo Awards.
With over 10 years of experience in FinTech, she began her career as a software engineer, eventually moving to Investment banking and retail banking sectors, across the EMEA region. Prior to joining EcoCash, she was a Senior Mobile Financial Services Consultant at a Fortune 500 company, NCR Corporation, where she developed NCR’s digital financial service strategy across 52 countries.
Samuel Kariuki is the Group CFO at Centum Investment Company Limited. He oversees the Group’s Finance, Tax and ICT functions in addition to working with the Group CEO Office on strategic planning, implementation and business performance management. Previously, he worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Kenya and in Rwanda for over 10 years. At PwC, he rose through the ranks to an Associate Director and was responsible for Operations, Business Development and Leading Financial Advisory and Assurance engagements. He played a lead role in setting up and establishing the PwC practice in Rwanda in 2010.
He is passionate about community empowerment and is currently involved in education sponsorship initiatives and a pilot agro-entrepreneurship program that aims at supporting sustainable organic farming practices for small-scale farmers in rural Kenya and linking them to markets.
Samuel is a Certified Executive Leadership Coach. He holds an MBA in Strategic Planning from Heriot Watt University; an Applied Accounting Bachelor’s Degree from Oxford Brookes University; and a Chemical and Process Engineering Degree from Moi University (Kenya). He is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and a Certified Information Systems Auditor.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Born in the DRC of Rwandan heritage and raised in South Africa, Mimi Kalinda is Co-Founder and Managing Director of the Africommunications Group (ACG), a pan-African public relations and communications agency based in Johannesburg, South Africa. ACG clients include AFIG Funds, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS). Previously, as FleishmanHillard’s Africa Lead, Mimi was part of the team that won PRISM Awards for the Barclays Africa “Prosper” campaign as well as the African Union’s campaign against Ebola. She also worked for Weber Shandwick, where she managed the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation account. From 2003 to 2006, Mimi worked in New York City, where she was a Production Assistant for 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, specifically on the film Inside Man, directed by Spike Lee. Mimi was the first African woman to host a show on MTV Europe and the recipient of the One World Media Award for Rien Que La Verite, a television program advocating the prevention of HIV/AIDS and an end to violence against women in the DRC.
Mimi is a New York University graduate, sits on the Africa Brand Counsel, and is the Rebranding Africa Champion for Africa 2.0. She was a finalist for International African Woman of the Year at the Women4Africa Awards 2016. Mimi’s first book, Talking to Africa: Considering Culture in Communications for a Complex Continent, was released in January 2017.
Onyinye Ibeneche Avbovbo is a Manager in the Johannesburg office of Bain & Company. At Bain, Onyinye helps leading African companies become globally competitive by collaborating with them to develop a growth strategy and improve the operating performance of critical organization functions. While Onyinye’s work spans multiple industries and countries, she is most passionate about working with Consumer Goods and Retail companies and helping them adapt to meet the growing needs of the African populace. Onyinye has served on the executive committees of the Women at Bain and Black leadership programs at Bain.
Prior to joining Bain, Onyinye was General Manager at Alim Udo, an agricultural start-up in her native Nigeria, focused on providing high-quality protein to South Eastern Nigeria. She also served as a Sales Manager for GE’s Transportation division in the USA and Sub-Saharan Africa. In this capacity, she was responsible for managing the largest locomotive upgrade program in Africa.
Onyinye holds a BSc (Honors) in Electrical Engineering from Clarkson University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she was a recipient of the Rock Fellowship for Entrepreneurship.
Itumeleng Merafe has over 10 years’ experience working in the financial services sector and is currently Head of Structuring in the Corporate and Institutional Banking division at Investec Bank. The team focusses on assisting clients manage market risk using structured derivatives.
Itumeleng is the founding director of the Bokamoso Cross Mentorship Program which has a presence in both Gauteng and KZN. The program - now in its 10th year - mentors 200 Grade 11 students each year from over 10 schools in both provinces. He is also part of the team that founded the Young Professionals Association which brings young professionals and senior leaders together to find solutions to the complex challenges that face society. In 2014, he was selected to be part of the Inaugural class of the Young African Leaders Initiative which is affiliated to the Aspen Institute. The initiative seeks to create value-based leaders looking to create a better society for all.
Itumeleng holds a degree in Economics from UNISA; completed the Finance Executive Development Program from the Gordon Institute of Business Science in conjunction with Cass Business School in London; and holds a Masters in the Management of Finance and Investments from Wits Business School.
Ngisana Mngomezulu is a Senior Associate in Allen & Overy’s Johannesburg office who specialises in debt and equity capital markets for international and domestic clients across a range of sectors including financial services, mining, minerals and aviation. He began his legal career at Bowman Gilfillan where he was based in the firm’s Johannesburg office and also spent time in the firm’s Nairobi office.
Shortly after returning to the Bowman Gilfillan’s Johannesburg office, Ngisana was awarded the South African Legal Fellows Fellowship, a partnership between the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice of the New York City Bar and the Law Society of South Africa. This fellowship saw Ngisana spend time as an International Associate at Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s New York office and at Morgan Stanley as a legal advisor in the Private Wealth Management Team.
Outside of work, Ngisana volunteers as a mentor in the Bokamoso Mentorship Programme, a mentorship programme for students in their penultimate year of high school. Ngisana holds a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Business Finance and Bachelor of Laws both from the University of the Witwatersrand.
Dr. William Mwiti
William is the Director of Quality and Risk Management for Africa, and Developing Countries of Asia at GlaxoSmithKline. In his role, William is responsible for providing support across medical affairs, governance, pharmacovigilance, medical information and human subject research, aiming to strengthen simplification. He began his career with GSK in 2011 as a Medical Advisor and worked across a wide range of therapeutic areas. In 2014 he became the Country Medical Director, a position he held for two years.
William holds a First-Class Master’s Degree in Pharmaceutical Medicine from Ireland, and is a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery graduate from the University of Nairobi. He is a Top 40 Under 40 Awardee Kenya - 2015. He has co-authored articles on antibiotic resistance, the burden of rotavirus gastroenteritis, and influenza shedding. He has been a proponent of the use of webinars for medical education. He was involved in the introduction of pneumonia and rotavirus vaccines across several East Africa countries while overseeing the development of the new Malaria vaccine.
Prior to joining GSK, William worked for the US Centers for Disease Control as a Researcher, and at the Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital as a Doctor. He served patients in Kenya’s largest slum as a Doctor, and is a Board of Trustees member for the University of North Carolina’s Carolina for Kibera program.
John-Allan Namu is a Kenyan investigative journalist and the co-founder of Africa Uncensored, a company of journalists with one goal: to be the best investigative and in-depth journalism company in Africa. John-Allan has always loved Africa and journalism, and so what better profession to go into than one that allows him to tell really important stories about Africa? He has been a journalist for 12 years, based out of Nairobi, from where he has reported on issues and events in Kenya and the region.
While every story he tells is important to him, some have also won him awards and accolades such as the 2009 CNN African Journalist of the Year award.
Sam N. Ngcolomba, an attorney admitted to practice law in South Africa and Zimbabwe is passionate about Human Rights and is currently specialising in Corporate Social Responsibility, Social Entrepreneurship and Women’s Rights. She founded a first-in-South Africa mobile legal office, traveling to townships and rural areas to provide pro bono legal services to women, known fondly as ‘Lady Liberty SA’. Lady Liberty has received support from Red Bull Amaphiko, SAB Foundation, Spark* International and the Pollination Project (NY) and a recent grant from the Shuttleworth Foundation. Her recent features in Forbes Women Africa, The Sunday Times, Drum, Fair Lady, Destiny and previous nominations for awards by the Pollination Project, UN Women (Singapore Committee) and Master Card Foundation’s ‘Project Inspire’ and L’Oreal ‘Women of Worth’ only serve to propel her forward in her pursuit to ensure that justice is accessible to all.
She graduated from the University of Cape Town (UCT) with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Degree in 2007 and is currently pursuing her Masters in Constitutional Law under the supervision of renowned Professor Pierre de Vos. Sam’s love for people and deep-seated desire to emancipate African women, drive her daily.
Fayelle Ouane is the Novartis Social Business Cluster Head, West and Central Africa and is based in Cote d'Ivoire. During her career, Fayelle has worked consistently for access to medicine, a key element of her current role. She is developing a regional strategy for the company across public affairs, partnerships, and innovative financing to ensure this access. One of these projects is working with governments to provide a portfolio of medicines at $1 per treatment per month.
Previously, she has helped to design oncology patient access programs and starting a generics division in Ghana to reduce drug costs.
Outside of her work in the drug industry, Fayelle is the co-founder of Impact Hub Bamako in Mali, the first full-service social enterprise incubator and co-working space in Francophone Africa. So far, the incubator has helped more than 20 startups find their feet, which in turn has had impacts in areas like food security, mentoring and helping entrepreneurs survive the startup.
'Bosun Tijani is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Co-Creation Hub Nigeria (CcHUB). Funded by Omidyar Network, Google, and the Sainsbury Family Trust, the CcHUB is Nigeria’s first open living lab for technologists, software developers, entrepreneurs, tech companies, investors and other stakeholders in and around Lagos. Bosun has been acknowledged locally and globally, including the most recent 100 Most Influential People on the continent by New Africa Magazine. Under his leadership, CcHUB has driven the growth of social innovation and has influenced businesses and initiatives in different sectors: environment (Wecyclers), fiscal transparency (BudgIT), e-commerce (Traclist), Healthcare (LifeBank), education (re: learn), wellness (Truppr) and transportation (GoMyWay), GoVOTE, SafeOnline, Lagos Innovation Hotspots and i-HQ (the umbrella initiative for Yaba – the fastest growing tech cluster in Africa). Mark Zuckerberg’s first stop on his first Africa trip in 2016 was to the CcHub!
Prior to CcHUB, he worked with the International Trade Centre and Hewlett Packard on projects supporting African SMEs to leverage technology to grow their businesses. As European Innovation Manager at PERA he led the networking and coordination of leading innovation agencies across Europe with the aim of standardising the varying methodologies for commercialising research results.
Bosun holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics, a Master’s degree in Information Systems and Management from Warwick University. He is a Fellow of the Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law at Stanford University.
Rori Tshabalala is founder and Chief Executive of Chapter One Innovation, a 10-year old business model research and development firm that brings ideas to life - building, investing in and launching high-impact, “born-big” ventures and supporting corporates to do the same. In his role at Chapter One, Rori has been involved building ventures and servicing clients globally across sectors including the mining, media, healthcare, ICT, retail, education sectors.
Rori is also an active citizen – in 2012 he took a two-year sabbatical from Chapter One and became the youngest member of the founding executive team of the South African political party, Agang SA. He actively brought the idea of the party to life and led its campaign towards the 2014 national elections. He describes his time in politics as an unregrettable time of “failing spectacularly while daring greatly”; battle-scarred but deeply grateful for the unique lessons learnt.
Since leaving party politics, he has also co-hosted #FranklySpeaking, a flagship radio talk show on CliffCentral.com dealing with “hot-potato” socio-economic and political issues by asking the questions no one else will ask. Rori holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Pretoria and an MBA from the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business.
Hema Vallabh is a chemical engineer and a change-maker. She is a serial social entrepreneur who co-founded WomEng, an international non-profit developing the next generation of female engineering leaders. Following the success of WomEng, she co-founded WomHub, an umbrella education & technology company to host gender parity programs including women in the engineering sector. WomHub has rolled out programs across Africa and Latin America, with expansion across Europe and Asia to follow soon.
She is also the Founder of The Passionate Professional, a leadership incubator focused on developing leaders through mentorship, and an associate at the IDM Business School, where she is the Program Director for the School of Mentorship.
Her passion for the work she does has resulted in a number of accolades in recognition of her leadership. These include being an alumnus of the Fortune MPW Global Women’s Mentoring Program; an Oprah change-maker; and a finalist for the Africa's Most Influential Women award. She is a member of the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network and the African Leadership Network. She has a BSc (Hons) in Chemical Engineering and an MSc in Engineering.
Ben is an associate at Allen & Overy LLP, an international law firm with a strong African presence. He specialises in the fields of mergers and acquisitions and banking and finance and has been involved in a number of large cross-border corporate and funding deals. The foundation of Ben’s academic background is in fields of finance and economics but, ultimately, he elected to pursue a career in law.
Over the course of his academic and professional career, Ben has participated in a number of community outreach programs and he is particularly passionate about the improvement of access to education. He has taught Grade 3 children in Khayalitsha and provided legal assistance to the underprivileged.
Ben has an honours degree in Business Science and an LLB from the University of Cape Town.
Ahmed Zahran is the co-founder and CEO of KarmSolar, an Egyptian company established in 2011, that aims to move communities away from centralised power to sustainable, localized and independent alternatives. KarmSolar has won several technology competitions and become Egypt’s largest private off-grid solar integrator and one of the leading companies in solar energy applications in the country.
Ahmed worked for Shell as a finance adviser to the European Emissions Trading System. He then worked at the Egypt Kuwait Holding Company as the business development manager for renewable energy and clean development mechanisms, establishing the company’s carbon trading and renewable energy business.
Ahmed is also co-founder and a former board director of Nahdet El Mahrousa, one of the largest youth-run NGOs in Egypt, which works as an incubator. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from AUC; a Master of Science in economics from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies; a diploma in philosophy and literature from the European College of Liberal Arts in Berlin; and a certificate in social entrepreneurship from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.