The Future of Finance and Trade in Africa


The George Washington University School of Business, The Growth Dialogue, the Institute for International Economic Policy (IIEP) at the Elliott School of International Affairs, and Believe in Africa present:

The Future of Finance

& Trade in Africa

Harnessing Emerging Technologies and

Financial Innovation for Inclusive Growth

April 17, 2024 | Washington, DC

blue Africa map revealing global finance charts

In an era of rapid technological advancement and heightened global uncertainty, George Washington University is convening a high-level conference bringing together Central Bank Governors, private sector CEOs, digital technology leaders, and academics to discuss the challenges facing the continent as well as the policies and initiatives that can help transform African financial systems. The conference aims to delve into emerging technologies, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and climate finance and the innovative solutions that African banks can further develop to help drive sustainable and inclusive economic growth. The basic aim is to mobilize financial resources for the benefit of countries and their citizens. The conference will also delve into the opportunities for advanced economies to enhance trade and investment in the region for mutual benefit by bringing together policymakers and practitioners sharing the common goal of advancing Africa's progress.


About | Speakers | Schedule | Sponsors | Register | Media | Visit 



Kola Aina


SVP, Strategy & Operations NAM,


Kola has more than 24 years of financial services experience, an astute professional with a diverse background and proven record of establishing strategic cross-functional partnerships. He has deep operating working knowledge of Fortune 500 companies and has held various senior level management rolls across Strategy, Corporate Development, Operations, Process Development and Risk Management in global companies across three continents.

Kola is currently the Senior Vice President, Strategy & Operations NAM, and prior to joining Mastercard was Vice President Corporate Strategy for Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc. where he had responsibility for driving revenue growth by helping to refine the firm's strategic vision to deliver future competitive advantages that align with an ever-changing industry landscape. He has also held roles as Executive Director of Global Commercial Services for American Express, and previously worked at Capital One Bank NA, Bank of America NA, Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) Plc. as well as several banks in Nigeria including Leadbank Plc. and United Bank for Africa.

Kola is highly qualified holds a bachelors from Ahmadu Bello University, a Master’s degree from Lagos State University, an MBA from Strathclyde Business School in Glasgow Scotland as well as a Certificate in Leadership Excellence from Harvard; he also holds certifications in Business Process Management, Six Sigma Black Belt, and is a Certified Scrum Master


Kevin Anderson


Maryland Department of Commerce 


Kevin Anderson, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Commerce since January 2023, is a seasoned business executive with a strong background in economic and community development and public service. As the founder & CEO of Cardinal Atlantic Holdings, he leads initiatives focused on driving social impact and investment in urban centers through real estate and education technology. Anderson's previous roles include Senior Vice President for Global Partnerships at EVERFI, Inc., where he played a key role in government relations and business development efforts, contributing to the company's significant growth. With experience at City First Homes, Inc. and the Jair Lynch Companies, Inc., Anderson has a track record of supporting affordable housing and real estate development. He also served in the administration of Mayor Anthony Williams in Washington, D.C., overseeing city operations and implementing performance metrics. Anderson holds a BA in Economics from Stanford University and has completed executive education programs at Harvard University and the National Development Council.


Omar Arouna


Pres., Global Public Affairs & Engagement, 
Gunster Strategies Worldwide


Mr. Arouna is the former Ambassador of the Republic of Benin to the United States, Mexico, and the former Representative of the country to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Organization of American States.

Ambassador Arouna is currently the President of Global Public Affairs and Engagement at Gunster Strategies Worldwide. The firm stands out for its specialized expertise in directing high-stakes public affairs campaigns and leveraging a blend of traditional and digital strategies to shape public opinion and influence policy outcomes.

Ambassador Arouna is the founder of US-Africa Cybersecurity Group a cybersecurity management consultancy and the CEO of Global Specialty LLC a global business development consulting firm driven by providing advisory and operational services to organizations and their business communities seeking market entry and establishing business operations in Africa.

Ambassador Arouna serves as the President the Pan-African Institute of Municipal Development (PIMD). PIMD support sustainable municipal governance in African countries through capacity building, leadership development, technical assistance, and knowledge transfer. He is the board chair for Believe in Africa (BIA), a diaspora-led initiative focusing on African solutions to African problems, aimed at economic empowerment, policy education, and fostering global partnerships to enhance Africa's position worldwide, especially by empowering women and youth and a board member of the Advocacy Foundation for Human Rights.

Ambassador Arouna is a Commander of the National Order of Benin and has an MBA in Cybersecurity from The George Washington University. He is bilingual in French and English. 


Akol Ayii


Founder & Group Chairman,
Trinity Group Ltd


Akol Ayii is the Founder and Chairman of Trinity Group. The group owns investments in various sectors including Energy, Power, Infrastructure, Mining, Media and Technology. Since 2006, the company has grown to lead five business units with staff of 400 and USD 500 million annual Turnover.

Mr. Akol Ayii is a business leader with verifiable year-after-year success of achieving revenue, profit, and business growth objectives within startup, turnaround, and rapid-change environments. He has extensive experience with highly engineered systems, which require deep understanding of critical business drivers in multiple markets and industries.

Mr. Akol started building businesses from very humble beginnings. With the initial capital from his father and some from family businesses, Akol ventured into hardware & general trading. Then he invested in real estate business in the capital city of Juba. Other notable achievements by Mr. Akol included the founding of the Nile Commercial Bank (NCB) which set the pace for the development of the Banking industry of South Sudan. NCB also played a very important role in the establishment of the Central Bank of South Sudan today known as the Bank of South Sudan. He is also supporting South Sudan to achieve financial inclusion through mobile money transfer services through a premiere mobile money transfer services company M-Gurush. Through M-Gurush nearly 1.2 million South Sudanese can send and receive money from anywhere within the country as well international other countries in the world. This provides the huge South Sudanese diaspora a channel to support their families back home.

His investments in the Energy sector through Trinity Energy Ltd have supported South Sudan and by extension the East African region to achieve fuel stability. Trinity Energy's relationship with global and regional petroleum trading companies has made the retail supply of fuel products in South Sudan stable and predictable. The company now has a growing global footprint to structure bespoke solutions to customers with established offices in South Sudan, Kenya, DRC, Malawi and the United Arab Emirates.

Mr. Akol has repeatedly produced and sustained revenue and EBITA growth in dynamic and changing markets. His achievements in Infrastructure, Oil & Gas, Information Technology, Print Media, and construction speak to a highly ambitious and dedicated leader.

Mr. Akol has a bachelor degree in Accounting & Business Finance from EU Business School, and MBA U.S. International University and certificate in Owner/ President Management from Harvard Business School. He currently serves on the board of Director of the Corporate Council on Africa.


Kara Babrowski


Foreign Service Officer,
Africa Bureau, U.S. Dept. of State


Kara Babrowski is a Foreign Service Officer at the United States Department of State and she currently serves as the Senior Trade and Investment Officer in the Africa Bureau’s Office of Economic and Regional Affairs.  Her most recent overseas assignment was as the Political – Economic Chief in Mogadishu, Somalia.  Other previous assignments include Economic Officer positions in Adana, Turkey; Basrah, Iraq; Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire; and Karachi, Pakistan where she advocated for U.S. commercial and business interests in those countries.  Her first tour was as a Consular Officer in Nairobi, Kenya where she covered the Somalia portfolio.

Kara graduated from the University of Illinois – Chicago with a Ph.D. and M.A. in anthropology and from Illinois State University with a B.S. degree in biology, chemistry, and anthropology.  Her doctoral dissertation fieldwork in eastern Kenya was funded through a J. William Fulbright Fellowship.  She speaks French and some Kiswahili and Somali. 


Darryl Barnes


Barnes International, Ltd.


Former Delegate Darryl Barnes’ noteworthy bold and courageous style of leadership and his work ethic has enabled him to become among the highest-ranking members of the House of Delegates, as Chief Deputy Majority Whip in 2023. Breaking all rules, Delegate Barnes became the first to serve as Chairman of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus to be elected Chairman for 3 consecutive terms, which is the largest black caucus in the US, and now serves as Chairman Emeritus.

As Chairman, he fought for and was successful in changing the trajectory of black, minority, and small businesses in the state of Maryland, fighting for equity and inclusion in major industries. His focus on inclusion, fairness and equity in legislative policies has enabled him to make a difference not just in Maryland, but throughout the region. He championed legislation by adding strong minority inclusion language in Sports-betting, Cannabis, and working to ensure that all legislation passed by the MD General Assembly includes equity language. He is credited with electing the first black and female Speaker of the House, settling a 15-year HBCU lawsuit, and continuing to advocate for equity in funding.

Delegate Barnes was a member of the Ways and Means Committee and the Chairman of the Revenues and Local Revenues subcommittee. The subcommittee is responsible for overseeing economic development, the Department of Commerce, individual income tax, corporate income tax, estate, and inheritance tax, sales and use tax, tobacco tax, alcoholic beverages tax, motor fuel tax, motor vehicle excise tax, vessel excise tax, public service company franchise tax and cannabis taxes. He is a servant leader, not only serving his constituents and citizens of Maryland but also the country serving in both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army respectfully. He was also a member of the Veteran’s Caucus.

Delegate Barnes is a successful businessman and entrepreneur and continues to advocate for his community. With over 20 years of entrepreneurship experience in the Information Technology and Sports Agency space, he coupled his passion for sports, business, and desire to uplift youth by founding one of the premier nonprofits in Prince George’s County, Men Aiming Higher (2009-Present).  MAH is a grassroots organization that mobilizes at-risk young men through educational tutoring, leadership training, mentoring programs, and community service projects. To date, more than 700 mentees have benefited from the work of Men Aiming Higher. In 2019, Delegate Barnes launched the Bi-County Business Roundtable to promote small business growth and create wealth for a vibrant climate in the state of Maryland. In 2022, he created a brand called Quora Alkaline Water, with the mission of providing premium quality alkaline water to an increasing number of health-conscious consumers, and in 2023 upon leaving the Maryland General Assembly he started his own lobbying firm Barnes International, Ltd.

Born in Washington, DC, he received his PMP Certification Training from George Washington University and attended Long Beach State College. Daryl is the proud husband of Makeba and the proud father of their two sons Dylan & Drew. Darryl is a man of faith and is an active member of First Baptist Church of Glenarden in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. 




Unified State Group


Isaac Barnes, the CEO of Unified State Group (USG) and President of Eminent Future, is a tech industry leader whose vision focuses on using technology to foster societal progress. His strategic acumen has not only secured over $13 billion in federal contracts but also highlighted his role in transcending political divides, notably under Presidents Obama and Trump. At USG, Mr. Barnes is committed to bridging the technological divide, particularly by enhancing Africa's tech potential and addressing disparities within Black and Brown communities, aiming for a more inclusive tech industry. 

With a background that includes distinguished marine corps service, Isaac brings a unique perspective to his leadership roles, blending ethical, moral, and spiritual values into his projects. This approach earned him the “Black Business of the Year” award in 2023 by the National Black Chamber of Commerce. 

Barnes's dedication to community service, mentorship, and philanthropy, alongside his aspirations for future political involvement, underscore his holistic vision for using technology to create a more equitable, ethical, and interconnected world.

Michael Bennett


Head of Market Solutions & Structured Finance, World Bank


Michael Bennett is the head of market solutions and structured finance in the Treasury Department of the World Bank. He has spent more than 20 years with the World Bank and has worked in both the World Bank’s Paris office and its Washington DC headquarters. Among other areas, he is responsible for the World Bank's capital markets work related to new structured instruments and catastrophe risk financing. He has led the World Bank’s execution of many landmark transactions, including the first multilateral development bank issued catastrophe bond, the first global pandemic bond, the first vaccine sukuk, the first wildlife conservation bond and the first bond linked to carbon and plastic credits. Prior to joining the World Bank, he worked for two international investment banks in Tokyo and Hong Kong. He is a graduate of Columbia University School of Law.      

Vincent Berry


Board Member,
African Export Import Bank


Vincent Berry II currently serving as the US Intra-African Trade Ambassador for the African Export-Import Bank, and a proud member of the Creative Africa Advisory Group. In our advisory group, we manage a significant $2 billion Creative Fund, dedicated to nurturing and elevating the entire spectrum of Creative and Cultural Industries across Africa, including a $1 billion allocation specifically for the Film Fund. Among our esteemed American board members, I have the privilege to serve alongside Mr. Steve Harvey, as we collectively aim to illuminate Global Africa of the potential of a borderless Africa through our initiatives.



U.S. Representative,
Florida's 20th Congressional District


Congresswoman Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, the first Black woman to represent Florida’s 20th congressional district, was re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in January 2023 to serve a second term.

Congresswoman Cherfilus-McCormick is honored to serve on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Technology Modernization. She is also the Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Task Force for the Democratic Women's Caucus, a Co-Chair of the Haiti Caucus, and serves as a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Congresswoman Cherfilus-McCormick earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Government from Howard University. In further pursuit of education, the Congresswoman also earned a Juris Doctorate from St. Thomas University.

While in office, Congresswoman Cherfilus-McCormick remains committed to tackling the growing housing crisis, inadequate access to quality health care, and lack of equitable opportunities throughout our district and country.


Jim Chung


Associate Vice President for Research, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, GW


Jim Chung is the Associate VP for Research, Innovation & Entrepreneurship at GW, and a principal investigator in the NSF I-Corps Hub: Mid-Atlantic Region. He was previously the Director of both the Mtech VentureAccelerator and Chesapeake Bay Seed Capital Fund at the University of Maryland. He started his private sector career as an early stage venture capital investor, and has done private equity and M&A for a public company.

Before becoming an investor, Jim was an academic researcher at MIT, Harvard, and the University of Tokyo (Fulbright Fellow). He was named in both 2015 and 2017 by Washingtonian Magazine as one of the Top 100 Tech Titans in DC and by as one of the Top 100 Entrepreneurship Professors worldwide in 2015. Jim received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Stanford University and was a Ph.D. candidate at MIT.


Pape Cissé


Co-Founder & Executive Director,
Center for Cyber Diplomacy & Leadership


Experienced OPM Certified SES Cybersecurity Research and Technology Grants and Technology Transfer Strategic Advisor and Cyber Tech Management

Over 2-decade Academic Lecturer (GWU)

Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Cyber Diplomacy and Leadership
(CCDL). The vision is centered around enhancing cybersecurity understanding and practices among African leaders. The CCDL seeks to educate and empower these leaders, providing
them with the necessary knowledge and tools to effectively address cyber threats and integrate cybersecurity into their national security strategies. CCDL aims to bridge the
knowledge and awareness gap between African decision-makers and their technical teams.
Founder and Principal at Digital Sources LLC. Dr. Cisse serves as a cybersecurity executive
helping organizations, governments and non-profit organizations navigate cybersecurity transformation, compliance and planning to maximize digital transformation. Digital Sources employs seasoned professionals with extensive experience in information security, risk management, and a comprehensive understanding of evolving cyber threats. Digital Sources helps organizations establish and maintain a robust cybersecurity framework that safeguards the organization's sensitive data, intellectual property, and digital assets.

Dr. Cisse is a graduate of Peru State College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer
Science and Management Information Systems (double major). He holds a Master’s degree in Information Systems Technology and IT Project Management (double major) from George Washington University, as well as a Doctorate of Information Technology Security
Management. He also holds a Postdoctoral Fellowship from Harvard University, Kennedy
School of Government.


Reid W. Click

Reid W.

Associate Professor, International Business and International Affairs, GW


Reid W. Click is Associate Professor of International Business and International Affairs at George Washington University in Washington, DC. He received his MBA and PhD degrees from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he studied economics and international business. His research and teaching interests are in the fields of global financial markets, international financial management, macroeconomics in the global economy, and finance for development. An expert on international financial risk and risk management, his academic work has been published in leading journals, including the Journal of International Business Studies and the Journal of Money, Credit and Banking. After research appointments in Asia, including one as a Fulbright Scholar at the Asian Institute of Management in the Philippines, he served as Associate Editor of the Journal of Asian Economics for 13 years. More recently, he has been a Fulbright Scholar at LUISS Guido Carli University in Italy. At George Washington University, he has served in leadership positions to develop the international business programs. He has been chair of the renowned Department of International Business, and has organized nine student and faculty programs investigating business institutions, finance, and economic development in Rwanda. He was the Founding Director of the joint International Finance Corporation—Milken Institute Capital Markets Program at GW. Previously, he served as the Faculty Director of the Center for International Business Education and Research (GW-CIBER), part of the national CIBER network funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. He is a coauthor of the textbook, International Business: Environments & Operations, with John Daniels, Lee Radebaugh, and Daniel Sullivan (17th edition, Pearson, 2022). In addition to his academic work, he has been a consultant to several international organizations, notably the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of Development Credit and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), on matters pertaining to international banking, financial risk, and risk management.


Andrew Dabalen


Chief Economist,
Africa Region, World Bank


Andrew Dabalen is the World Bank’s Africa Region Chief Economist since July 1, 2022. The Chief Economist is responsible for providing guidance on strategic priorities and the technical quality of economic analysis in the region, as well as for developing major regional economic studies, among other roles.

He has held various positions including Senior Economist in the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia Region, Lead Economist and Practice Manager for Poverty and Equity in Africa and most recently, Practice Manager for Poverty and Equity in the South Asia Region. His research and scholarly publications focused on poverty and social impact analysis, inequality of opportunity, program evaluation, risk and vulnerability, labor markets, and conflict and welfare outcomes. He has co-authored regional reports on equality of opportunity for children in Africa, vulnerability and resilience in the Sahel, and poverty in a rising Africa. 

A Kenyan national, Dabalen holds a master’s degree in International Development from University of California - Davis, and a PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from University of California - Berkeley.


Charles H. DeBow, III

Charles H.
DeBow, III

President & Chief Executive Officer,
National Black Chamber of Commerce


Charles H. DeBow, III is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The National Black Chamber of Commerce® (NBCC). Over the past 20 years he has gained extensive experience working in every department of the NBCC. Joining the team in November of 1999 as the liaison to the NBCC Global Federation of Chambers in North/Central/South America, theCaribbean, Europe, and Africa. This began the NBCC’s evolution as a global advocate on behalf of Black businesses. The National Black Chamber of Commerce® is dedicated to economically empowering, sustaining African American communities through entrepreneurship, capitalistic activity within the United States, andvia interaction with the Black Diaspora.

Mr. DeBow has focused work on the unconventional challenges confronting African American small businesses, advocacy, and opportunities, along with the operational challenges of non-profit organizations.

Charles H. DeBow, III is the older brother of NBCC CO-Founder Kay DeBow Alford, and brother-in-law ofCO-Founder Harry C. Alford. Charles H. DeBow is a name in military history. As the grandson of Charles DeBow, a Buffalo Soldier, and the son of Charles H. DeBow, Jr, a graduate of the first training classof 1942, from the Tuskegee Army Airfield, certifying him as an original Tuskegee Airman. Mr. DeBow is agraduate of Indiana University’s Kelly School of Business. He has spent over 13 years in various capacities with CBS Records and 10 years as a marketing consultant developing marketing campaigns for clients suchas Michael Jackson, Prince, Janet Jackson, Sade, Earth, Wind & Fire, Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen, LutherVandross, Teddy Pendergrass, and others. The music industry experience provided a foundation for a legacy based on consumer marketing.


Ky Dele


Blueprint Global Consulting Group


Dr. Ky Dele, recipient of the President Joseph R. Biden Lifetime Achievement Award, is a distinguished figure in government affairs, community engagement, and public relations strategy. Renowned as a strategic consultant to leaders worldwide, she excels in fostering stakeholder relations across government, corporate, and community domains. Dr. Ky Dele's vision focuses on fostering collaborative ecosystems for sustainable change, bridging grassroots and high-level spheres. Her work has garnered numerous accolades, including recognition from the U.S. White House, Senate, House of Representatives, and international agencies. Featured in over a billion media impressions globally, she is a prominent voice in media outlets like CNN, Huffington Post, and BBC. With a vast network spanning from government officials to celebrities, she influences discourse on a national and international scale. Dr. Ky Dele's impact extends from the White House to corporate boardrooms, shaping dialogues across the Americas, the Caribbean, and Africa.


Ishmael Nii Amanor Dodoo.jpg

Ishmael Nii Amanor

Vice President of Africa Development,
CO2 Africa


Dr. Ishmael Nii Amanor Dodoo is a distinguished African Diplomat, Governance, and Development Expert with over 25 years of experience spanning 36 countries. He has played pivotal roles in shaping policy and operational implementation across Africa's international diplomacy, geopolitics, governance, and economic development. He has held strategic advisory positions with esteemed organizations such as the United Nations, contributing to global initiatives and leading impactful projects. Notably, he led ProForest Ltd's global strategy, setting standards for environmental and social practices in palm oil and soy trade. Currently serving as the Executive Director of CSG Holding Investment Ltd and Executive Vice President of CO2 Capital Africa Project, Dr. Ish drives initiatives to generate development financing for African nations transitioning to green growth. He co-founded the Tertiary Education Scholarship Trust Fund, enabling underprivileged students to access higher education. Committed to Christian values, Dr. Ish is dedicated to empowering youth and promoting ethical leadership for Africa's transformation. With academic accolades from prestigious institutions like the University of Oxford and ongoing doctoral studies at Oral Roberts University, he exemplifies visionary leadership and a relentless pursuit of inclusive and sustainable development.


Ekundayo Walton Gilpin

Ekundayo Walton

Rokel Commercial Bank (SL) Ltd


Ambassador Dr. Ekundayo Walton Gilpin, recognized as Commander of the Order of Rokel (COOR), leads as CEO of Rokel Commercial Bank (SL) Ltd., showcasing over 30 years of global financial expertise. His notable contribution includes the innovative "Rokel Sim Korpor Plus App," a fintech milestone in Sierra Leone, revolutionizing banking access and financial inclusion. This effort exemplifies his adeptness in merging traditional financial systems with modern technology to enhance banking services. Under his guidance, Rokel Commercial Bank has seen significant growth, leveraging fintech to drive economic development. Dr. Gilpin's role in financial restructuring and policy formation across multiple countries underscores his profound impact on sustainable economic policies. His leadership extends to financial literacy, emphasizing the importance of technological integration in banking. Recognized globally, his work epitomizes the transformative power of fintech, resonating well with audiences familiar with its potential to reshape the financial sector.


Michael Glatzer


Vice Provost of Finance,


Mike Glatzer is the current Vice Provost of Finance for The George Washington University, as
well as the Managing Director of the Global Food Institute in partnership with the celebrated
chef and humanitarian, Jose Andres.  He previously served as the Deputy CFO of Howard
University, the leading HBCU in the U.S.  Before entering higher education, Mike oversaw global
mergers & acquisitions and financial planning for Northrop Grumman Corporation, a Fortune
500, government contractor & technology manufacturer.  He began his career as a private
equity and mergers & acquisitions advisor with the consulting firm, Alvarez & Marsal, where he
focused on the manufacturing and industrials sectors.  Mike is a Certified Public Accountant
(CPA), who received both his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Accounting (MACC) from the
University of Georgia.   He also attended Brooklyn Law School in New York City, and is a co-
founder of ROH Global, an Africa-focused development firm.


Mark Grobmyer


Global Solutions Institute


Mark  Grobmyer, graduated  from Washington and Lee University and  the University of Arkansas School of Law where he was awarded his Jurist Doctor Degree and was Managing Editor of the Law Review. He also studied international law and business at the University of Exeter in England. 

In private law practice, Mr. Grobmyer served as Chairman of an American Bar Association Committee on Financial Services. He also served for many years as Senior Partner of a commercial law firm where his legal practice focused on International and Financial Services Law. 

He has served as a Senior Advisor to the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, the American Society of Association Executives, The World Trade Association, the International Center for Sustainable Development, the Congressional Awards Foundation and Chief Executive Magazine, the “Club Journal” of Fortune 500 CEOs.

Mr. Grobmyer helped to organize and coordinate a joint meeting of the Club de Madrid (more than 115 former Presidents and Prime Ministers of more than 80 nations) and the P80 Group Foundation (works with large pension, and sovereign wealth funds). This conference led to the signing of the Little Rock Accord, an agreement to help accelerate the deployment of technologies which can help address growing shortages of global resources related to energy, water, environment, food and medical services.

Mr. Grobmyer currently serves as a Chairman of the Joint Task Force and Planning Committee working to implement the Accord, including the formation of the Global Solutions Institute and it’s Fulbright Initiative to accelerate the deployment of problem solving technologies in more than 180 countries.


Rosalea Hamilton


Honorary Consul,
Republic of Sierra Leone, Jamaica


Professor Rosalea Hamilton is social scientist and advocate for sustainable development that improves the environment, economy, society and governance. She was Vice President at the University of Technology, Jamaica (2008 to 2018) and was awarded a Professorship in the Scotiabank Chair in Entrepreneurship and Development. She established and led The MSME Alliance, a network of small business organizations, for ten (10) years. She also established the Institute of Law & Economics and worked as a consultant and public educator on trade, governance, gender and other areas of economic and social development.  She has taught at the graduate and undergraduate levels in Jamaica and the US. She was Special Advisor and Trade Policy Consultant in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade (2000-2003) and served as Chief Advisor to the Prime Minister of Jamaica (May 2006-Sept 2007).

Professor Hamilton is currently CEO of the LASCO Chin Foundation and a Board Director for LASCO Manufacturing Limited. She is also Chair of the Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance, a regional philanthropic hub seeking to accelerate achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially through building climate resilience and empowering women. As Co-chair of the Advocates Network, she advocates for good governance and human rights, and has been a vocal champion for comprehensive constitutional reform to create a Jamaican Republic.  Since 2021, she has been a Distinguished Scholar in The PJ Patterson Centre for African-Caribbean Advocacy. In 2022, she was appointed to serve as the Republic of Sierra Leone’s first Honorary Consul to Jamaica and is the first, and only, Sierra Leonean Honorary Consul in the Caribbean.


Ede Ijjasz


Sr. Advisor, Sustainable Development, Infrastructure & Climate, Brookings Inst.


Dr. Ijjasz has 30 years of senior technical and management experience at the World Bank, academia, and consulting. His areas of expertise include climate change, finance, infrastructure, global environment, and sustainable development.

Mr. Ijjasz worked for 23 years at the World Bank, where he worked in more than 90 developing and emerging economies in all regions of the world – from fragile and conflict-affected countries to high-middle-income countries. He was responsible for $80B of investments in and close to 800 policy reports in infrastructure and sustainable development during his World Bank career.

Mr. Ijjasz is currently a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Africa Growth Initiative of the Brookings Institution. He is a Board member of the Cadasta Foundation, the Global Reporting Initiative, and Miyamoto International. He is a Senior Advisor to several international organizations.

Mr. Ijjasz has a Ph.D. and an M.Sc. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has been a lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, Tsinghua University in Beijing, the National University of Singapore, and Georgetown University.


Daniele Jean-Pierre


Director for Trade,
Prosper Africa


Daniele Jean-Pierre serves as the Director for Trade at Prosper Africa, a US Presidential national security initiative aimed at advancing two-way trade and investment between Africa and the United States. In this role, she leads trade programming efforts to foster partnerships with the private sector, bridging the gap between African suppliers and US buyers at scale and to support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area. As a USAID Foreign Service Officer, she has served as the Chief Legal Officer for USAID Missions in Senegal and Haiti, and as the Special Senior Legal Advisor to the General Counsel and Assistant General Counsel for Asia, Europe, and Eurasia in the Office of the General Counsel.

Before her tenure at USAID, she was an associate at Latham & Watkins LLP in Washington, DC, New York, NY, and Paris, France, specializing in the arrangement and syndication of domestic and cross-border secured credit facilities and an Associate General Counsel at American Capital, Ltd., a private equity firm and global asset manager.

Ms. Jean-Pierre holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and an M.A. in International Policy Studies and a B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University. She is admitted to the New York and District of Columbia Bars, and is fluent in French and English and conversant in Haitian creole.


Adama Kah


CEO and Chief Investment Officer
Kah Capital Management, LLC


Adama Kah is the Founder, CEO and Chief Investment Officer of Kah Capital Management. Adama has over 20 years of capital markets and portfolio management experience in US housing finance, which includes executive positions in capital markets at Freddie Mac and on the buy and sell side of Wall Street. He ran large multi-billion dollar investment portfolios and trading desks, and led the development and execution of innovative mortgage related structures and solutions that were key to the development of large segments of the mortgage market. 

Prior to launching Kah Capital in 2018, Adama was head of Freddie Mac’s $130+ billion portfolio of distressed mortgage loans and securities; a business unit he started within Freddie Mac’s capital markets division post the 2008 financial crisis and ran until 2018 when he left Freddie Mac to start Kah Capital. Adama pioneered GSE origin sales and securitizations of non-performing and reperforming loans during this period. Prior to launching Freddie Mac’s distressed loan portfolio management and trading desk, Adama was head of Freddie Mac’s adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) investment portfolio, which he grew from $80 billion to over $100 billion from 2007 through 2011 during a turbulent period in the US housing and mortgage market. Adama spent the first ten years of his career initially at Freddie Mac in financial research and in capital markets on the buy and sell-side of Wall Street at Times Square Capital Management and Credit Suisse, respectively.

Adama holds a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering and a M.S. degree in Quantitative Finance, both from The George Washington University, in Washington, DC, where he was also a member of the nationally ranked NCAA Men’s Division I basketball team.

Adama is also the founder and president of The KEO Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on uplifting the underprivileged, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.


Jude Kearne


Chairman, Board of Directors, Winrock Intl. & Managing Partner, ASAFO & Co (US) LLP


Chairman Of the Board of Directors, Winrock International; Chairman, SubSahara Africa Advisory Committee; U.S. Export Import Bank; Managing Partner, ASAFO & CO. (U.S.) LLP

Jude Kearney is a specialist in African transactions and a versatile project finance and project development lawyer. He has a long history serving as advisor and consultant to public and private sector entities and institutions in Africa in need of complex legal and transactional analysis and support. Kearney is highly specialized in project finance, oil and gas development, international mergers and acquisitions and the financing and development of power generation. His experience spans throughout Africa, the Gulf States, Eastern Europe, Latin America, China and other Asian countries.  Kearney is a pioneer in the development of Africa-based practice groups within major law firms. He has been a leader in the legal profession and a frequent speaker/commentator on trending commercial issues in the context of markets in developing regions, particularly in the project finance and energy sectors.

Kearney has also recently been selected as Chairman of the Board of Winrock International, the renowned non-profit international development organization named in honor the late Arkansas Governor, farmer and philanthropist Winthrop Rockefeller. Winrock operates in parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, among other regions, bringing economic development, humanitarian and sustainable community services to those regions.




Director, World Development Report on Equitable Financing, World Bank Group


Dr. Klapper is director of the World Development Report 2022: Finance for an Equitable Recovery. She is a Lead Economist in the Finance and Private Sector Research Team of the Development Research Group at the World Bank. Her publications focus on corporate and household finance, banking, entrepreneurship, and risk management. Her current research studies the impact of digital financial services, especially for women. She is a founder of the Global Findex database, which measures how adults around the world save, borrow, make payments, and manage risk. Previously, she worked at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and Salomon Smith Barney. She holds a Ph.D. in Financial Economics from New York University Stern School of Business.

Daniel Koroma


Business Liaison,
Montgomery County, Maryland


Daniel Koroma is a community advocate, organizer, and Business Liaison Officer in Montgomery County government. He became an American citizen, a voter registrar, and organized voter registration events to activate our community. He was the lead community advocate who testified at both the County and State Board of Elections and the Maryland General Assembly in favor of a new early voting site in White Oak. 

He helped persuade lawmakers to establish the new site. He was appointed by Maryland Governor Wes Moore to the Montgomery County Board of Elections in 2022 and was unanimously elected Vice President of the Montgomery County Board of Elections by his colleagues.  

In 2009, he became the first African appointed by then-County Executive Ike Leggett as Community Liaison for the African and Caribbean communities. During the pandemic, he hosted multiple virtual information sessions on access to grants, financial capital, and ways for nonprofits and small businesses to access resources to survive the pandemic. Mr. Koroma earned a master’s degree from the University of Maryland, James A. Clark School of Engineering and graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Leadership program.

Danny Leipziger


Professor of International Business and International Affairs, GW


Dr. Danny Leipziger is Professor of International Business and International Affairs at George Washington University, where he is concurrently the Managing Director of the Growth Dialogue. Professor Leipziger has been a faculty member in the highly-ranked International Business Department since 2009, where he has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses on macroeconomics, applied development, financial crises, and international economics, and he has taught in the GW/IFC/Milken Capital Markets Graduate Program for mid-career government officials since its inception. He has been an advisor to the governments of South Korea, Vietnam, Ivory Coast, Uzbekistan, Argentina, and South Africa, among others.

A former Vice President for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management at the World Bank (2004-2009), he served three World Bank Presidents and held senior management positions in the East Asia and Latin America Regions. While at the World Bank, he led the team preparing the emergency financial bailout loan to Korea in 1997. He was the World Bank’s Director for Finance, Private Sector and Infrastructure for Latin America (1998-2004). He served previously in the U.S. Department of State and was a Member of the Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff. Dr. Leipziger was Vice Chair of the Spence Commission on Growth and Development and he served on the WEF Council on Economic Progress.

An economist with a Ph. D. from Brown, he has published widely in development economics, finance and banking, and on East Asia and Latin America. He is the author of several books, including Lessons of East Asia (U. of Michigan Press), Stuck in the Middle (Brookings Institution), and Globalization and Growth and more than 50 refereed and published articles in journals and other outlets. He is a frequent contributor to VoxEU, Project Syndicate, and other media, and he has appeared on Bloomberg, BBC, CCTV and Korean TV as an expert commentator.


Evelyn Ajibola Lewis

Evelyn Ajibola

Founder & CEO,
SBTS Group


Evelyn Ajibola Lewis, a distinguished entrepreneur with over 35 years of experience, spearheads SBTS Group,, and His ventures focus on innovative training and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) centers across Africa and the Caribbean, tackling youth unemployment with state-of-the-art solutions. Lewis's leadership during the Ebola epidemic, developing pandemic response systems, and pioneering biometric and pension ERP in Sub-Saharan Africa highlight his contributions to technology and entrepreneurship. As a seasoned mentor and leader, he aims to integrate African and Caribbean youth into the $750 billion global outsourcing industry. Educated in Technology Management at Georgetown University, with a background in International Studies from George Mason University, Lewis's vision and expertise make him a key speaker, seeking to raise $30 million to expand his impact through technology, training, and empowerment. His life motto, "If you can't risk, you can't grow," encapsulates his approach to business and philanthropy.


John Mahama

Statement from
John Mahama 

President, 2013-2017, Republic of Ghana
(Unable to attend)


John Mahama served as the fourth President of Ghana's Fourth Republic from January 7, 2013, to January 6, 2017. Born in Damongo, Ghana in 1958, he honed his leadership through various political roles, including Member of Parliament, Deputy Minister for Communication, Minister for Communication, Vice President, and eventually President. Mahama's educational background in history, communications, and social psychology influenced his political views and approach. During his presidency, Ghana experienced significant infrastructure development across sectors like education, health, transportation, and technology, positioning the country for future growth. Mahama prioritized youth and women's empowerment, achieving gender parity in primary education and appointing many women to high positions. He is also an author and historian with a passion for agriculture, stemming from his family background. Mahama advocates for agricultural development to build resilience and prosperity in Ghana, promoting it as a viable business for youth and women. Recognized globally, he holds honorary doctoral degrees from prestigious universities. Committed to democracy and good governance, Mahama leads the National Democratic Congress into the 2024 elections, married to Mrs. Lordina Mahama for over thirty years.


Busie Matsiko


Global Strategist & CEO,
Pont Global


Busie Matsiko is an award-winning global strategist, entrepreneur and Board Trustee who has held positions on Wall Street at Smith Barney, Oppenheimer & Co., and Citibank. She is a serial entrepreneur who is widely recognized for her impact leadership. As a global strategist and CEO of Pont Global, Busie Matsiko has been instrumental in successfully scaling and growing companies and organizations (industry agnostic). She is the Executive Director of The Africa Future Summit which brings together investors and leaders in technology, entrepreneurship, and politics to address the challenges that affect Africa’s future. She is also the first black woman trustee of Berkeley College. Busie Matsiko currently advises multilaterals like the African Union, Afreximbank, Duke CE, National Sepsis Alliance, XX Coders, the African Renaissance and Diaspora Network, Lalela Project, and the Heritage and Cultural Society of Africa among others on private-sector scaling and development. She is also a Special Advisor on Private Sector Development and Celebrity Outreach on a Project created under the auspices of the UN Deputy Secretary-General Ms. Amina J. Mohammed to promote and popularize the UN SDGs in Africa and the Diaspora.


Karen Matsiko


Senior Director of Trade Finance,
DP World


Karen Matsiko was recently appointed as Senior Director of Trade Finance for DP World’s Logistics business in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), effective 1 February 2024, where she will be responsible for building and deploying the strategy to scale DP World’s Trade Finance offering in SSA. 

Karen has over 20 years’ experience in banking and began her career at the New York Times and Smith Barney as an intern, later moving to various investment banks. She recently served as Southern Africa Head of Trade and Working Capital Sales for Absa Group Limited.

Karen holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (magna cum laude) degree from Berkeley College, and a Master of Business Administration degree, with a focus on Emerging Markets, from Cornell University. She has also completed various leadership development programmes at IMD (Switzerland) and Duke University (USA). 

Karen is married and has three children as well as two German Shepherds. Outside of work, she enjoys volunteering, exploring South Africa's culinary hotspots, and traveling.


Tyreek Moore


CEO, CultureVations;
Co-founder, Unified State Group


Tyreek has over 20 years of management and business experience in both public and private sectors. Tyreek has been an entrepreneur and a trailblazer since 2006.  His firms have provided resources to government, private, nonprofit and educational institutions. Tyreek has been passionate about closing the equity gap for the greater part of his life. Growing up in the poorest county in the New York State, the Bronx, he’s personally witnessed the devastation that inequality and inequity can level on a community and its constituents. As an adult it became a passion of his to be active in being part of the solution to this problem. Tyreek earned his bachelor’s degree from Boston University and his master’s degree from Harvard University. He now operates as CEO of CultureVations,  as well as co-founder of Unified State Group. 


Uzziel Ndagijimana


Minister of Finance & Economic Planning, 


Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana is the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning. Before his appointment, Dr. Ndagijimana was the Minister of State in charge of Economic Planning. Prior to that, he was the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health from May 2011 to July 2014.

Dr. Ndagijimana has served in different leadership positions in academia. He was Vice Rector at the National University of Rwanda (2007 – 2011), and as the Rector of School of Finance and Banking (2002 -2007).

Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana holds a PhD in Economics (1998) and an MSc. Economics specializing in International Trade. He started his career as a Lecturer at the National University of Rwanda in 1999, Faculty of Economics, Social Sciences and Management. He is the author of papers in national and international journals. He speaks Kinyarwanda, French, English, Swahili, Polish, and basic Portuguese.


Diep Nguyen-van Houtte

Nguyen-van Houtte

Senior Manager, Climate Business; CIO; COO, International Finance Corporation


Diep Nguyen-van Houtte is Senior Manager for Climate Business at the International Finance Corporation (IFC). In this role, she is also Chief Innovation Officer and Chief Operations Officer for key portfolios across industries at the IFC, including EDGE Green Buildings real estate portfolio, Building Resilience Index, APEX Green Cities, renewable energy and energy transition (including offshore wind, onshore wind, solar PV, battery/energy storage), energy efficiency, and transport and industrial decarbonization. She also developed the Early Project Development line of business for Infrastructure and Natural Resources at IFC.

Diep has been among the earliest supporters of green hydrogen innovation and development. She commissioned and funded IFC’s early project development work on green hydrogen in multiple emerging markets since 2019. Diep is often invited to be a speaker at global energy transition and green hydrogen events. She has been selected to Hydrogen Economist’s Top 50 Women in Hydrogen.

As a member of IFC’s management team, Ms. Nguyen-van Houtte leads the development, dissemination, implementation, and monitoring of IFC’s Climate Strategy across industries and sectors. In this capacity, she engages with thought leaders and decision-makers within the World Bank Group and externally to foster innovative thinking about creating new instruments and markets for climate finance, and to source projects in developing economies to increase private investment for climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience. Diep is a Nominee Board Director for the IFC. She serves on the Boards of several organizations dedicated to environmental conservation, energy transition and green hydrogen development, and community service.

Before joining IFC, Ms. Nguyen-van Houtte worked for 17+ years as Lead Technical Specialist and Chief Investment Officer at the World Bank for infrastructure and sustainable development sectors. She has worked on more than 40 countries in multiple World Bank Group regions, and has provided billions in financing to development projects in emerging markets.

Prior to the World Bank, Ms. Nguyen-van Houtte spent 10 years in various private sector leadership roles, including as Director of a Fortune 100 digital infrastructure and services company, Director of Business Development for a Silicon Valley digital currency startup, and lead management consultant for Deloitte Consulting. Diep holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard College and a master’s degree in public policy and management, from Harvard Business School, and the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. She speaks fluent English, French, and Vietnamese, and some Spanish and Portuguese.


Thione Niang


Social entrepreneur,


Thione Niang, a Senegalese farmer turned social entrepreneur, migrated to the USA in 2000. Engaging with his new community in Cleveland, Ohio, he became involved in grassroots organizing, notably supporting Barack Obama's presidential campaigns and serving as national Co-chair of gen44. Appointed as an ambassador by Obama, Niang spoke globally on leadership, entrepreneurship, and sustainable energy. He founded multiple organizations including Give1Project, promoting youth leadership in 34 countries. Co-founding Akon Lighting Africa in 2014, he aimed to provide electricity to millions and create jobs through solar energy. Niang's JeufZone Farms addresses Africa's food security, while the associated Institute trains youth in agriculture and leadership. Additionally, he established a digital skills institute (Give1 Project Digital Skills Academy) and centers for education and empowerment of women (Give1 Project Woman Training Center). Afro Global Connect, launched in 2021, aims to unite Afro descendant leaders worldwide. In 2023, Niang introduced Yolof, an online platform for learning the Wolof language. He is an author of 9 books.


Eric Osiakwan


New business developer


Eric Osiakwan is an investor and developer of new businesses with 25 years of experience spanning 32 countries in Africa gained through a number of successful tech start-ups. Eric is a leading pioneer of internet in Africa having worked in multiple countries building internet service providers (“ISP”) and ICT businesses. Some of his successful exits include iBurst in South Africa, One2Net in Uganda, BusyInternet in Ghana, etc. Eric also founded and ran the Africa ISP Association for eight years, during which the ISP industry grew by almost 120%. He then moved on to leading efforts to build submarine cables on the continent. Eric was part of a public-private partnership in Kenya that built and launched the TEAMS submarine fibre cable, the first to connect East Africa to the rest of the world. He subsequently contributed to the building of terrestrial fibre networks in Ghana and Nigeria. 

Eric has been seeding and investing in early-stage tech ventures across the continent. In 2013, he co-founded, an Africa-wide network of angel investors, and then Angel Fair Africa which brings select entrepreneurs to present to potential investors. Over the 10 years of the event, $58M of investments have been made with one exit in 2019. He was an ICT Consultant for the World Bank, Soros Foundations, UNDP, USAID, USDoJ, USDoS, African governments, and private firms. 

Eric currently serves on the board of the Pan Africa Project, Ghana Cyber City, Nyaho Medical Centre, Star Assurance and StarLife Assurance. 

He authored “The KINGS of Africa’s Digital Economy”, co-authored the “Open Access Model”, adopted globally by the telecommunications industry, “Negotiating the Net” – the politics of Internet Diffusion in Africa and “The Internet in Ghana” with the Mosaic Group. He was invited to contribute ideas to Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa. Eric is an MIT, Harvard and Stanford Fellow and holds a master’s in Finance and Investment Management from Salford Business School.


Vanessa Gail Perry

Vanessa Gail

Interim Dean,
GW School of Business


Vanessa Gail Perry, MBA, PhD is Interim Dean and Professor of Marketing, Strategic Management and Public Policy at the George Washington University School of Business. Her research, focused on consumers in housing and financial markets, marketplace discrimination, and public policy interventions, has been published extensively. Professor Perry served as a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and as an expert at the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She also served for several years as a Senior Economist at Freddie Mac, and has been a consultant to numerous public and private sector clients, including the Federal Housing Administration, the Small Business Administration, Bank of America, the National Association of Realtors, and FICO. Professor Perry has a B.A. in Philosophy from the American University, an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis, and a PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Liesl Riddle


GW College of Professional Studies


Liesl Riddle, Ph.D., is the dean of George Washington University College of Professional Studies (CPS). As dean, she oversees workforce development, bachelor's completion, and master’s and executive programs designed to empower students to make an impact in various industries, including cybersecurity. She also leads several innovative schools and centers, including the Cyber Academy, the Center for Excellence in Public Leadership, and the Graduate School of Political Management.


Justin Thomas Russell

Justin Thomas

Executive Director,
Believe in Africa Foundation


Justin Thomas Russell, an eminent figure with over three decades of expertise in government relations and foreign policy, stands at the forefront of international politics. Leading the charge with Believe in Africa, he demonstrates an unwavering dedication to fostering U.S.-Africa relations, pushing for economic development, and actively participating in congressional affairs. His previous roles, including as Principal Director at the New York Center for Foreign Policy Affairs and Director of Corporate Strategy and International Affairs for Nortel Government Solutions / Avaya Government Solutions, underscore his significant influence on global policy and discourse shaping. Beyond his professional contributions, Justin’s service in the U.S. Coast Guard and as a guest lecturer and media analyst enriches his comprehensive understanding of foreign policy, geo-political challenges, and the intersection of business and government. Residing at the crossroads of Florida and Washington DC, Justin Thomas Russell is a visionary in the international political arena, committed to driving meaningful change with unparalleled expertise.


John Rwangombwa


Central Bank Governor,


Hon. John Rwangombwa was appointed Central Bank Governor on February 25, 2013. His career started in the Rwanda Revenue Authority, where he grew through the ranks to the Deputy Commissioner of Customs for Operations. He then joined the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning in 2002 as the Director of the National Treasury Department.

Having served as the Ministry’s first Accountant General in 2005, Hon. Rwangombwa was appointed Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury in the same year and in 2009 he became the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning. At that time, he oversaw the elaboration and implementation of Rwanda’s first Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS I), under which Rwanda’s economy was able to achieve high growth at an average of 8% and poverty was reduced by 12% in 5 years from 2006-2011. Since his appointment as Central Bank Governor to date, Hon. Rwangombwa has been able to maintain the stability of the Rwandan Economy and its Financial Sector. He was voted Governor of the Year 2015 for the Sub-Saharan Region by Emerging Markets. Hon. Rwangombwa serves as member of various advisory bodies including the Presidential Advisory Council and World Economic Forum on Global Agenda Council.


Matthew Schaar


Operating Partner,
Accion Venture Lab


Matthew Schaar is the Operating Partner, Accion Venture Lab. In this role, Matt leads Venture Lab’s Portfolio Engagement and Platform function, which provides in-depth strategic and operational support to companies across Venture Lab’s global portfolio and delivers knowledge leadership to the broader fintech community.

Prior to joining Venture Lab, Matt held Product, Marketing, and Customer Success leadership roles at Salesforce and GitHub, helping steer the latter toward an eventual $7.5 billion acquisition by Microsoft. He also advised a variety of companies of various stages as an independent consultant and with the Boston Consulting Group. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering, a Masters Degree in Business Administration and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Michigan.


Kafuti Talahumbu


Associate Director, Corporate Partnerships,


Kafuti Talahumbu is an Associate Director of Corporate Partnerships at George Washington University (GW). In this capacity, Kafuti fosters collaborative and dynamic partnerships among the 10 GW schools, GW senior leaders, and private sectors. Additionally, he facilitates industry collaborations within the portfolio of 81 Institutes and works closely with Institute directors, faculty, and corporate partners to secure resources for strategic educational initiatives across the GW community.

Prior to his tenure at GW, Kafuti excelled as a Channel Partner Manager at Verizon Enterprise, where he harnessed data insights to forge strategic alliances in the healthcare, education, and public sectors. His proficiency in data analysis was pivotal in shaping the Verizon Public Sector Partner Ecosystem.

With a rich background at IBM, Kafuti orchestrated key initiatives, including the market roll-out strategy for the Watson Education (AI) Partner Ecosystem, and successfully delivered government contractor projects. Before stepping into the technology realm, Kafuti contributed his analytical prowess for seven years at the Investment Company Institute, providing invaluable market insights to the Federal Reserve Board, US Treasury, and Mutual Funds industry.

Kafuti holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and public policy from Saint Mary's College of Maryland and an MBA from The George Washington University School of Business.


Jewel Howard Taylor

Jewel Howard

Vice President, Liberia
January 2018 – January 2024


Dr. Jewel Howard Taylor served as Vice President of Liberia from January 2018 to January 2024, implementing Liberia's Pro-Poor Agenda with a focus on poverty eradication, gender equality, and accessible healthcare. She chaired both the National Youth Steering Committee and the National One Health Initiative, significantly contributing to health and disability sectors.

Previously, as a Senior Senator for Bong County from 2006 to 2018, Taylor supported laws that improved national living standards and Liberia’s post-war recovery. Her roles included President of the Liberian Senate and Chairperson of the Women Legislative Caucus.

As First Lady from 1997 to 2003, she led humanitarian efforts during Liberia’s civil crisis and helped establish the Ministry of Gender. She also enhanced the financial sector as President of the Agricultural Cooperative Bank and Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Liberia. Taylor has been recognized internationally for her leadership and humanitarian work.


Zainab Usman


Director, Africa Program,
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


Zainab Usman is a senior fellow and founding director of the Africa Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. Her enduring area of expertise is identifying the policies and institutions to enable low and middle-income economies to harness their natural resources to achieve sustainable economic development. Prior to Carnegie, Usman was at the World Bank as a public sector specialist where she worked on social sustainability, energy policy reforms, natural resources management, and digital technologies. She has worked on these issues in Cote d’Ivoire, Morocco, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Congo, Serbia, Tanzania, and Uzbekistan. 

Usman’s research has been published on various academic, policy, and media platforms. She is author of the book Economic Diversification in Nigeria: the Politics of Building a Post-Oil Economy, which was selected as one of the Best Books of 2022 on economics by the Financial Times. She is also co-editor of the book, The Future of Work in Africa: Harnessing the Potential of Digital Technologies for All. Usman contributed to the World Bank’s flagship report on Rethinking Power Sector Reforms in Developing Countries. Usman’s other analytical pieces have been published with the journal of African Affairs, the World Bank’s Policy Research and Working Paper Series, and as book chapters in edited volumes with Oxford University Press and James Currey. Her written and broadcast commentary has appeared in Al-Jazeera English, BBC, the Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Project Syndicate and The Washington Post.

Usman obtained her doctorate (DPhil) from the University of Oxford.



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Schedule of Events


The Future of Finance and Trade in Africa

Harnessing Emerging Technologies and
Financial Innovation for Inclusive Growth

April 17, 2024

The City View Room, 1957 E St NW, Washington, DC

Morning Sessions

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. | Registration & Breakfast

City View Room, 1957 E St NW, Washington, DC

9:00 – 9: 10 a.m. | Introduction & Welcome 

Kafuti Talahumbu, Associate Director Corporate Relations
Busie Matsiko, Global Strategist & CEO, Pont Global
Mike Glatzer, Vice Provost of Finance, the George Washington University

9:10 – 9:40 a.m. | Opening Keynote

Liesl Riddle, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Professional Studies, the George Washington University

Statement from Hon. John Mahama, Former President of Ghana (unable to attend)
Kevin Anderson, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Commerce


This panel will delve into the transformative impact of emerging technologies such as cloud, AI, and internet connectivity on the delivery of inclusive financial services, addressing critical needs of the unbanked population and assisting their entry into formal financial systems. Panelists will discuss case studies, the possibilities, and challenges associated with implementing new and emerging technologies across the African continent, as well as the potential for cross-country collaboration.

Daniel Koroma, Vice President, Montgomery County, Maryland

Kola Aina SVP, Strategy & Operations NAM, Mastercard

Tyreek Moore, CEO of CultureVations & Co-founder of Unified State Group
Evelyn Lewis, CEO, SBTS Group
Leora Klapper, Director, World Development Report on Equitable Financing, World Bank Group
Adama Kah, CEO and Chief Investment Officer, Kah Capital Management, LLC

10:50 – 11:00 a.m. | Coffee Break



Climate finance, which aims to combat environmental and sustainability-related challenges using innovative financial instruments and financing strategies, will be the focus of this panel session. Panelists will reflect on the role that the financial sector can have in advancing a greener and more sustainable future for the African continent. They will
also examine the strategies and opportunities that may be available through further developments in policy and the formation of new partnerships. The conversation will aim to increase awareness and knowledge about the potential of financial innovation and capacity-building to mobilize resources for climate activities and increase collaboration, knowledge sharing, and policy reforms that contribute to sustainable climate finance solutions.

Ishmael Nii Amanor Dodoo, Vice President, CO2 Africa

Dr. Ede Ijjasz, Brookings, Africa Growth Initiative

Michael Bennett, Head of Market Solutions & Structured Finance, World Bank
Diep Nguyen-van Houtte, Senior Manager, Climate Business; CIO; COO, International Finance Corporation
Hon. Adama Coulibaly, Minister of Economy and Finance, République de Côte d’Ivoire

11:50 p.m. – 1:20 p.m. | Lunch Session: CONVERSATION WITH CENTRAL BANK GOVERNORS

The fireside chat will feature esteemed keynote speakers from central banks engaging in an open and intimate conversation about the future of finance in Africa. The keynote speakers will share insights, experiences, and strategies for unlocking the full potential of finance in Africa while ensuring stability and promoting both social and environmental sustainability. Topics will include the role of central banking institutions in paving a road for greater financial innovation, providing regulatory frameworks to support emerging technologies, and driving financial inclusion. Attendees will have the opportunity to connect directly with the speakers following the conclusion of the session.

Jim Chung, Associate Vice President for Research, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, the George Washington University

Dr. Danny Leipziger, Professor of International Business and International Affairs, the George Washington University

Hon. John Rwangombwa, Central Bank Governor, Rwanda
Hon. Governor Kamau Thugge, Central Bank of Kenya, Central Bank of Kenya Building

Afternoon Sessions


A discussion will shed light on innovative financial solutions, payment systems, mobile banking, and digital platforms that can propel African economic growth. Experts will discuss how to adapt these innovations to local contexts, build a stronger financial infrastructure, and foster collaboration among government agencies, the domestic private sector, and foreign investors to drive financial inclusion, entrepreneurship, and economic progress.

Evely Lewis, CEO, SBTS Group

Dr. Andrew Dabalen, Chief Economist, Africa Region, World Bank

Hon. Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Rwanda
Hon. Dr. Njuguna S. Ndung’u, Minister of Finance, Kenya
Amb. Dr. Ekundayo Walton Gilpin, CEO, Rokel Commercial Bank (SL) Ltd
Dr. Danny Leipziger, Professor of International Business and International Affairs, the George Washington University
Reid Click, Professor of International Business and International Affairs, the George Washington University

2:40 – 2:50 | Coffee Break



Panelists will offer both critique and perspective highlighting the beneficial role of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) on sustainable development, economic security, and prosperity across the African continent since its passage nearly half a century ago. The panel will reflect on the evolution of U.S. - Africa relations more broadly, and the effect of strategic policy implementations such as AGOA in strengthening trade and economic partnerships between the U.S. and African nations. Attendees will also learn how investments and greater interest from other advanced economies could bolster growth in key sectors.

Daniel Jean-Pierre, Director for Trade, Prosper Africa

Pape Cissé, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Center for Cyber Diplomacy & Leadership

Kara Babrowski, Senior Trade and Investment Officer, Africa Bureau, U.S. Department of State
Zainab Usman, Director, Africa Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Jude Kearney, Chairman, Board of Directors, Winrock International & Managing Partner, ASAFO & Co (US) LLP
Alexander Dixon, Senior Director, Finance, Investment, & Trade, Millennium Challenge Corporation

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. | Strategic Partnerships

This panel session discussion will focus on building ecosystems and strategic partnerships aimed at enhancing innovation, economic empowerment, and fostering lasting collaboration that can lead to societal transformation. The panelists will share the methods they are utilizing to build platforms that enable technology acceleration, capacity building programs, and facilitate access to finance for startups and SMEs.

Frederick L. Anderson, International Business Development Expert/Partner for Black Pearl Investments

Kafuti Talahumbu, Associate Director, Corporate Relations, the George Washington University

Mark Grobmyer, Chairman, Global Solutions Institute
Thione Niang, Social Entrepreneur
Eric Osiakwan, Investor, New Business Developer
Matthew Schaar, Operating Partner, Accion Venture Lab
Charles H. DeBow, III, President & Chief Executive Officer, National Black Chamber of Commerce

5:10 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. |  Closing Remarks & Closing Keynote Presentation

Hon. Darryl Barnes, President, Barnes International, Ltd
Justin Thomas Russell, Executive Director, Believe in Africa Foundation

Vanessa Perry, Interim Dean of the School of Business, the George Washington University

U.S. Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, Florida’s 20th Congressional District

5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. | Networking Reception & Taste of African / Caribbean Foods 



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Sponsors and Partners


Thank you to the sponsors of The Future of Finance and Trade in Africa.

Believe In Africa


BGCG: Blueprint Global Consulting Group





The Growth Dialogue



Pan African Visions



GW Business



GW Institute for International Economic Policy


Global Solutions Institute



NBCC | National Black Chamber of Commerce



SBTS Group



GW CIBER | Center for International Business Education and Research



Center for Cyber Diplomacy and Leadership | CCDL



Seeds Roots & Group Inc



Kindred Hair & Skin Center | Board Certified Dermatology



RC Bank | Rokel Commercial Bank (SL) LTD | Bank of Choice






Aero Flyt | Rise Above Ordinary






For Partnership, Collaboration, and Sponsorship, please reach out to: 

Kafuti Talahumbu
[email protected] 

Justin Russell
[email protected] 


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Registration is now open for the Future of Finance and Trade in Africa, but space is limited.
Register today. 


Register Now






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Journalists, for participation please contact Cate Douglass at [email protected].









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Plan Your Visit


gold dc flag wave

The conference will be held on GW's Foggy Bottom campus in the City View Room and State Room at 1957 E Street NW, Washington, DC.

Our Foggy Bottom campus is conveniently located in the heart of Washington, D.C., close to three major airports — Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA), Washington Dulles International (IAD), and Baltimore Washington International (BWI) — as well as the train and intercity bus hub at Union Station. The Foggy Bottom/GWU Metro stop is located on campus, with service to the Orange, Blue and Silver Metro lines. Taxis and rideshare programs are available throughout the city, and there are more than 4,000 bikes and 500+ bike stations around the District; visit Capital Bikeshare for maps and details on how to access a bike.


Directions & Accommodations

From DCA Ronald Reagan National Airport

Located in downtown Washington, D.C., the George Washington University School of Business is easily accessible by taxi, rideshare, bus or subway (Metrorail) from the region's airports.

From Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA), take the Blue Line of the Metrorail from the Ronald Reagan National Airport Station to the Foggy Bottom-GWU Station.

From Dulles International Airport (IAD), take the Silver Line Express bus to the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail Station, and then take the Silver Line to the Foggy Bottom-GWU Station. You may also take the Washington Flyer private bus service directly to many downtown hotels.

From Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), take the Super Shuttle or Amtrak train directly to Union Station in downtown Washington, D.C., then take the Metrorail Red Line from Union Station to the Metro Center Station and transfer to the Blue, Silver or Orange Lines to go to the Foggy Bottom-GWU Station.

By Metrorail Subway

The Foggy Bottom-GWU Metrorail Station is located on campus. It offers access to Metrorail’s Blue, Orange and Silver lines. For more information on Metrorail, visit the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

The GW School of Business is located in Duquès Hall, just two blocks from the Foggy Bottom-GWU Station. Upon exiting the station, you will find yourself on 23rd Street NW. Walk directly across 23rd Street NW onto I Street NW. Take a right onto 22nd Street NW and walk South approximately two-and-a-half blocks. The main entrance to Duquès Hall will be on your right on 22nd Street NW halfway between H Street and G Street NW.

By Car

From North:

  • Take Interstate 95 South to Interstate 495 North toward Silver Spring/Northern Virginia
  • Take Exit 33, heading south on Connecticut Avenue for about nine miles
  • Turn right onto Florida Avenue (just past the Washington Hilton) and then turn left immediately onto 21st Street NW
  • The visitor entrance to the G Street Garage is on the left between G and F Streets NW

From Northwest:

  • Take Interstate 270 to Interstate 495 North toward Silver Spring/Northern Virginia
  • Follow directions as shown above in “From North”

From West:

  • Take Interstate 66 or Route 50 to the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge
  • Cross the bridge and exit left at E Street NW, then again at Virginia Avenue NW
  • Stay to the left, following signs for 23rd Street NW
  • Turn left onto 23rd Street NW and continue a few blocks to campus
  • Turn right onto H Street
  • The visitor entrance to the University Parking Garage is on the left on H Street between 23rd and 22nd Streets

From South:

  • Interstate 95 to Interstate 395, Arlington Memorial Bridge Exit
  • Cross the bridge and stay to the left at the Lincoln Memorial
  • Turn left onto 23rd Street NW
  • Turn right on H Street
  • The visitor entrance to the University Parking Garage is on the left on H Street between 23rd and 22nd Streets
Where to Park

University Parking Garage

Access on H Street NW between 22nd and 23rd Streets NW. Located under the Science and Engineering Hall.

Hours: Open 24 hours a day

This is a self-service garage for visitors. This garage only accepts MasterCard, American Express, and Visa for payment. Rates:

  • 1 hour: $10
  • Up to 2 hours $16
  • Daily Maximum: $22
  • Weekend Daily Maximum: $12
  • Evening Maximum Rate (after 5 p.m. until midnight): $10

G Street Garage

Access from both 20th Street NW and 21st Street NW between F and G Streets NW.

Hours: Open 24 hours a day

This is a self-service garage for visitors. This garage only accepts MasterCard, American Express, and Visa for payment. Rates: see University Parking Garage rates.

University Student Center Garage

Access on H Street NW between 21st and 22nd Streets NW.

Hours: Open Monday–Friday from 7:00 a.m. to midnight. Closed on weekends and holidays.

This is a self-service garage for visitors. This garage only accepts MasterCard, American Express, and Visa for payment. Rates: see University Parking Garage rates.

Elliott School Garage

Access on 19th Street NW near E Street NW.

Hours: Open Monday–Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Closed on holidays and weekends.

This is a self-service garage for visitors. This garage only accepts MasterCard, American Express, and Visa for payment. Rates:

  • Up to 1 hour: $10
  • Up to 2 hours: $17
  • Daily Maximum: $26
  • Evening Maximum Rate (5 p.m.-11 p.m.): $14

Ambulatory Care Center Garage

Patients and visitors of the George Washington University Hospital and of the Ambulatory Care Center are welcome to park at the Ambulatory Care Center Garage. In the event that this garage is full, patients may park at the other university visitor parking locations.

For more information, visit GW’s transportation website.

Discounted Hotels and Lodging

There are many options for accommodations across the D.C. area.

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