RECENT SPEAKERS

Dr. Aloysius Ordu

Director, Africa Growth Initiative, Brookings Institution

Dr. Aloysius Uche Ordu is a senior fellow and director of the Africa Growth Initiative in the Global Economy and Development program. Prior to taking up his appointment at Brookings, he was managing partner at Omapu Associates LLC, a boutique advisory services and consulting firm. He was previously vice president at the African Development Bank. Before his appointment as vice president, he was regional director for Eastern Africa (covering Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, and Uganda).

Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych

Founder and Chairman, AfricaGlobal Schaffer

Dr. Nedelcovych is the Founder and Chairman of AfricaGlobal Schaffer (AfGS), a strategic consulting firm focused on project development, project finance, trade facilitation, and public-private partnerships in developing countries, with a particular focus on Africa. AfGS is a project developer and boutique consulting firm that provides advisory services to a number of corporations with interests in agro-industry, renewable power, oil and gas, and major infrastructure investments. AfGS has also provided advisory and consulting services to a number of African governments, US government agencies, and international financial institutions. Dr. Nedelcovych has a long and illustrious career sitting on the Boards of several commercial banks in Africa, including previously on Afriland Bank Cameroon, and presently the Vista Bank Group in Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso, and Vista Bank Guinea. He has been on the Board of Moodai International Bank (in formation) since inception.

Dr. David Luke

Coordinator, African Trade Policy Centre, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

Dr. Luke has over thirty years’ substantive experience in trade policy, regional economic integration, and private sector response – from an extensive career at field, country, regional, and global levels; and in university teaching and research.

Dara Erck

Director, Economic Club of Africa in New York

With 20+ years of experience throughout the African continent, Dara Erck is a global health strategy specialist who believes in the strength of partnerships and innovative thinking for maximum impact. She was previously a consultant to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Global Health R&D Advocacy, and a Senior Advisor to Panorama, focusing on vaccines and implementation strategies. Ms. Erck is also a Senior Advisor to Made By Dyslexia (MBD), a nonprofit launched by Richard Branson. Prior to MBD, she served as Vice President, External Affairs at Aeras, a product development partnership focused on developing a tuberculosis vaccine. A graduate of Columbia University in New York, in addition to working in global health, Dara is passionate about government reform and democratization. 

Wale Shonibare

Director, Energy Financial Solutions, Policy and Regulation, African Development Bank, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

Wale Shonibare has over three decades experience spanning Asia, Europe, Middle East and Africa in Investment Banking and Consulting. Wale joined the African Development Bank in 2017 as the inaugural Director of Energy Financial Solutions, Policy and Regulation. This team has established itself as a leading transactions team across Africa, having undertaken several Mandated Lead Arranger roles and launched well-acclaimed flagship initiatives to improve the enabling environment for private sector investment in the energy sector.

Jeffrey Lee

Principal, Capalino, New York, United States

Jeffrey Lee is a Principal at Capalino, where he provides strategic guidance to start ups, growth stage, and established companies looking to enter a new market or grow their operations. His expertise in economic development initiatives and tax incentives is valuable to companies looking to identify and unlock growth opportunities and navigate the challenges of a complex and rapidly changing business landscape.

Dr. Lourdes Casanova

Academic Director, Emerging Markets Institute, Cornell University, New York, United States

Dr. Lourdes S. Casanova is an academic, author and currently a Senior Lecturer of Management at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management and Gail and Roberto Cañizares Director of the Emerging Markets Institute. Before her appointment to Johnson School, Dr. Casanova was a lecturer in the Strategy Department at INSEAD. She specializes in international business with a focus on Latin America and multinationals from emerging markets. In 2014 and 2015, Dr. Casanova was appointed as one of the 50 most influential Iberoamerican intellectuals by Esglobal. Also, she is member of the Boyce Thompson Institute.

Joshua Soloway

Partner, Barton LLP, New York, United States

Partner at Barton LLP law firm in New York City, Joshua Soloway draws on his experience and expertise as an entrepreneur, investment banker, and corporate finance attorney to provide clients with a multifaceted perspective. His practice focuses on advising middle-market, growth stage, and multinational companies and investors across a wide range of industries. Earlier in his career, Mr. Soloway founded a boutique Wall Street law firm that represented international investors and issuers on US capital markets activities. He is a frequent speaker on international business, startup and venture finance, energy, and impact investing.

Dr. Fred Olayele

Chair of the Board, Economic Club of Africa in New York

Dr. Fred Olayele’s diverse career spans academia, banking, government, management consulting, and international development. A distinguished economist and public policy expert, he has consulted widely and advised many public and private organizations in Canada, United States, and Africa. His research and practice focus on trade policy, innovation, FDI, urban policy, and inclusive development. He has published and shared best practices in these areas at numerous conferences and institutions around the world. He is Chief Economist and Senior Vice President with New York City Economic Development Corporation, where he oversees economic research and policy initiatives aimed at making New York the global model for inclusive growth and innovation. His work cuts across the public, private, philanthropic, and academic sectors.

Dr. Ed Mabaya

Research Professor, Global Development, Cornell University, New York, United States

Dr. Ed Mabaya is a Research Professor in the Department of Global Development at Cornell University where his teaching, research, and outreach work focuses on economic development in Africa. He is a scholar and development practitioner with more than two decades of experience working on development, agribusiness value chains, and food security issues with a regional focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. From 2018 through June 2020, he was the Division Manager of Agribusiness Development at the African Development Bank where he managed continent-wide investments, partnerships, and research in support of the Feed Africa strategy. He is a public speaker who has presented several keynote talks.

Rich Kassel

Group Leader, Capalino Clean Energy & Sustainability Group
New York, United States

Rich Kassel is Group Leader, Clean Energy and Sustainability, with New York-based Capalino. Rich advises businesses and nonprofit clients on a wide range of issues to help them thrive in the New York market. Rich works with companies and non-profit groups to develop low-carbon, sustainable business strategies and to facilitate the adoption of innovative building, energy, resiliency, transportation, and water technologies.  Rich’s clients range from start-up companies developing first-ever projects to Fortune 500 companies evolving their businesses towards a low-carbon future.

Wayne Keast

Co-founder and Managing Partner, Inspired Evolution, Cape Town, South Africa

Wayne Keast is co-founder and Managing Partner at Inspired Evolution, where he is responsible for guiding the firm’s strategic vision and strategy. He brings more than 30 years of finance and business building experience and more than 20 years of international private equity with a demonstrated track record on both renewable infrastructure projects and technology-based growth equity companies.

Ainos Ngadya

Founding Chairman & Entrepreneur in Residence, New Sahara Ventures Pty Ltd, Harare, Zimbabwe

Ainos Ngadya is the founding Chairman and Entrepreneur in Residence at New Sahara Ventures, Africa’s leading commercial and industrial solar and energy storage solutions firm providing financing, asset management, turn-key engineering, procurement and construction, and operations and maintenance support with a pipeline portfolio of over 70MW and solid footprints in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Canada.

Jacques Prescott

Founding Partner and Chief Sustainability & ESG Officer, CarbonConnect, Quebec, Canada

Jacques Prescott is Chief Sustainability and ESG officer for CarbonConnect. Jacques advises companies and governments in their strategic planning and analyzes the sustainability of policies and programs. As an expert advisor for UNDP, FAO, IUCN, EU and OIF, he worked in dozens of countries in Africa. He coordinated a number of national biodiversity strategies as well as Quebec’s and Algeria’s first sustainable development strategies. He is the author of several articles and international methodology guidebooks on biodiversity and sustainable development planning. Jacques is Associate Professor and Chair in eco-consulting at the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi.