Herman Chinery-Hesse is said to be "software engineer" by profession, although his early training was Industrial / Manufacturing technology. Twenty years ago, he co-founded the SOFTtribe Limited, which became the leading software house in Ghana and possibly West Africa. Herman’s current venture Black Star line (BSL), seeks to financially empower rural Africans via e-commerce via their webmall (www.shopafric53.com) as well as their proprietary novel, global payment system and related technology, which serves as the platform for their "African liberty cards/credits" (ALC). Herman has won a number of personal awards including "Outstanding Ghanaian Professional" from the GPA awards, UK plus the "Distinguished Alumnus Award" from the Texas State Alumni Association and Texas State University-San Marcos, USA; the first and currently only African recipient of the award. He was a speaker TEDGlobal conference in Arusha, Tanzania. The BBC describes him as "Ghana’s Bill Gates" and he is widely viewed as an African technology giant. Herman believes that "If Africa misses the current global IT boat and participation in resultant new economy, there may never again be another opportunity for rapid wealth creation on the continent".
Kola Karim is the Chief Executive of Shoreline Energy International. Shoreline Energy International is a leading energy holding company operating in Africa with a diversified portfolio of oldings in Construction, Oil and Gas, Power, Telecommunications, Engineering, Manufacturing, Trading and Energy with a current valuation of over $120m. Shoreline has grown rapidly through strategic acquisitions in the Nigerian Infrastructure Sector. Key acquisitions include ABB Electrical Systems (Nigeria), Costain (West Africa), Schlumberger Testing and Production (Nigeria - 17%), Premier Paints Plc (Nigeria) and Alumaco Plc. His current portfolio consists of business in the construction, commodity trading, agro-allied products, oil and gas, engineering and power sectors. In addition to his role at Shoreline Energy International, Karim is the Chairman of Costain West Africa and serves as director in seven subsidiary companies, including Schlumberger Testing & Production Services Nigeria and Trans Amadi Facilities, and is Chairman of Nigerian Ropes. Karim has delivered opinion and position papers at international conferences and investment forums. Kola is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader 2008 honoree.
Hadeel Ibrahim is founding executive director of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which was established in 2006 to support great African leadership. She is also on the board of Refugees International and UNESCO's LEAP programme, which fosters local effort and preservation of cultural heritage. Prior to this, she spent time with the Africa section of Actis private equity investors, and with the private equity fund management group EMP Africa. Hadeel Ibrahim graduated from Bristol university in politics and philosophy.
Dr. Kayode Fayemi, is the Governor of Ekiti state in Nigeria. He was sworn in following a riling of the Elections Appeal Tribunal sitting in Ilorin in October 2010, 3 years after the elections following a protracted legal tussle which sometimes led to high drama within and outside courts. Prior to his foray into partisan politics, Kayode Fayemi was Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development, a research and training institution dedicated to the study and promotion of democratic development, peace-building and human security in Africa. Dr Fayemi attended Christ’s School, Ado Ekiti and received degrees in History, Politics and International Relations from the Universities of Lagos and Ife in Nigeria and his Doctorate in War Studies from the prestigious King’s College, University of London, England, specializing in civil-military relations.His research and policy interests include: Democratisation, Constitutionalism, Security Sector Governance, and Regionalism in the Global Context. As a prominent leader of the Nigerian opposition to military rule in exile, he was responsible for the founding and management of the opposition radios – Radio Freedom, Radio Democracy International & Radio Kudirat and played a central role in the opposition’s diplomatic engagements in exile. He was the main technical adviser to Nigeria’s Human Rights Violations Investigation Commission (Oputa Panel), which investigated past abuses and also on the Presidential Implementation Committees on Security Sector Reform as well as a member, Africa Policy Advisory Panel of the British Government.Dr Fayemi also serves on the Governing Board of the Open Society Justice Institute. In his book "Out of the Shadows" he chronicles the amazing struggle for democracy in Nigeria
Helen Lieberman is the founder and Honorary President of Ikamva Labantu (The Future of our Nation), a South African grassroots organisation, constituted in 1992, during the Apartheid years.Helen is a Speech Therapist by training, but 45 years ago turned her attention to the disenfranchised impoverished South African townships. Today Ikamva Labantu is one of the largest non-profit organisations in South Africa working to develop over 1,000 projects to sustainability.Helen's work in this field has been recognized internationally. What started off as small and localized initiative has grown over the years into a vast organisation with connections throughout the world, and one that generates funding from many sources for its various programmes. The success of Ikamva Labantu has led to the establishment of international partnerships with a wide range of humanitarian organisations, from universities to large NGOs and major corporations. Friends of Ikamva Labantu have been established in the United States, the UK, Germany, France, Australia and Holland. Helen lives in Cape Town with her husband Michael. She has three children, one each in Cape Town, New York and Melbourne and six grandchildren.
Rt. Hon Paul Boateng MP is a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Brent South from 1987 to 2005, becoming the UK's first black Cabinet Minister in May 2002, when he was appointed as Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Following his departure from the House of Commons, he served as the British High Commissioner to South Africa from March 2005 to May 2009.Many Africans praised the appointment,seeing it was an important symbolic break from Britain's colonial past and saw it as a symbol of Tony Blair's commitment to the continent. He was introduced as a member of the House of Lords on 1 July 2010.Boateng was born in Hackney, London of mixed Ghanaian and Scottish heritage; his family later moved to Ghana when Boateng was four years old. His father, Kwaku Boateng, was a lawyer and cabinet minister under Kwame Nkrumah. He read law at the University of Bristol and began his career in civil rights, originally as a solicitor, though he later retrained as a barrister. He worked primarily on social and community cases, involving women's rights, housing and police complaints.
Mrs. Toyin Saraki is the Founder of The WellBeing Foundation, a frontline maternal and child health focused Non-Governmental Organization in Nigeria. She was until recently the First Lady of Kwara State in the North Central Region of Nigeria.Having held various leadership positions in humanitarian organizations for close to two decades, Mrs Saraki now dedicates much of her time to the work of The WellBeing Foundation and various networks of organizations that the NGO works with. She constantly advocates for improved governmental policies, better working relationships between NGOs and the continuum of care for maternal, newborn and child health in communities. These efforts have made Mrs. Saraki one of the most heard voices on every issue relating to the health of mothers and children in Nigeria. Her working style has integrated a strong advocacy profile with a unique model of community participation, direct action, effective communication and the development of innovative funding mechanisms in a resource constrained environment, to ensure universal access to quality basic healthcare.Mrs. Saraki gained her bachelor’s degree in law at the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies and her masters’ degree in International Economic Law at University of London King’s College. She has researched and promoted the rights of women and children keenly, culminating in her appointment in 2007 as Chair of the Federation of International Women Lawyers (FIDA) Committee on the Protection of Children.
Lola Shoneyin says that she considers herself very lucky to have a day job that she absolutely loves; teaching English and drama at a secondary school in Abuja, Nigeria. She is also Deputy Principal looking after the pastoral side of student life. She says that she writes in her spare time but really, she admits that she really writes all the time, constantly trying to memorise a memorable line and jotting down phrases on bits of paper.Lola wanted to be a writer because of the many stories she had to tell having spent exactly 7.673% of her life day-dreaming. Her best seller; "The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives" is set in modern-day Nigeria and is about four wives and one husband exploring the intricacies of family life and relationships through an amazing cast of characters of one extended family.It has been described as "A fiercely funny, endearing and provocative novel" and as "a powerful, mature and absorbing work of fiction". Lola has four children and is married to a lovely, compassionate man who used to have a huge moustache.
Femi Temowo is a guitarist ‘par excellence’. Born September 1976 in the city of Akure in Nigeria, Femi began playing the guitar aged 17 after having moved to London at 10 years old and very quickly entered into professional ranks, by age 21 he was already highly regarded on the jazz and popular music scene. Between 1998/01 Femi studied jazz at Middlesex University under the great educator Stuart Hall (Loose Tubes).After graduating, he was approached by UK Jazz/Hip-Hop artist Soweto Kinch to join his then brand new quartet, the quartet went to on to win many awards including a Mercury Music Prize nomination, BBC jazz award for best new group and several Mobo awards. Femi’s slick and melodic guitar sound has earned him a place beside many great musicians and artists from across many genres.His latest project sees him in a Trio/Quartet setting where he is currently expanding on some of the ideas he started on his debut album but in a smaller group setting, experimenting with Nigerian folk sounds and jazz song form. The trio consists of Guitar, Bass and Drums and are sometimes joined by a vocalist.
Kwame Kwei-Armah is a musician, playwright and actor who recently took over as artistic director of the largest regional theater in of Maryland, USA and has immediately started re-creating this historical theatre and bringing it back to life. Kwame first found fame as an actor in the popular BBC hospital drama ‘Casualty.’became the first Black Briton to stage a play in London’s West End when his award winning piece ‘Elmina’s Kitchen transferred to the Garrick Theatre in 2005.’ In 2008, he completed a trilogy of plays for the National Theatre with "Statement of Regret". Previously, Kwame was also artistic director of the World Arts Festival in Senegal, a month long celebration of black arts and culture. Kwei-Armah's parents immigrated to London from Grenada. He grew up in one of London's poorest and toughest neighbourhoods. His father was a factory worker, and his mother took on three jobs to pay for her son and two daughters to attend private schools.But the neighbourhood was dominated by skinheads, and Kwei-Armah couldn't go to the subway without fighting his way down the street. He has scars on his underarms and legs from knife cuts incurred during some of these skirmishes, though he never was seriously injured, but he has never let his life to be defined by this. Kwame was born as "Ian Roberts" and changed his name in his early twenties after tracing his family history (through the slave trade) to his ancestral roots in Ghana. His parents were born in Grenada, then a British colony, and moved to the UK in the 1960s.
Paula Akugizibwe, a writer and activist, was born in Nigeria to parents of Rwandan and Ugandan origin and grew up largely in Southern Africa. She considers herself a happily pan-African nomad. For the past few years, she has been based in Cape Town where she coordinated a regional advocacy project aimed at improving access to and quality of HIV/ TB services in Southern Africa.Prior to this, Paula worked in several roles relating to health and human rights in Rwanda, Burundi and Botswana. She has also served on technical advisory groups for the Southern African Development Community and the World Health Organization. Paula has a Bachelor of Pharmacy and is currently completing her Master in Public Health (Epidemiology) at the University of Cape Town. In her spare time, she writes political poetry and non-fiction.Her work experience has exposed her to a broad array of political paradigms ranging from community mobilization in rural areas to policy making process at the United Nations and US Congress, provoking unsettling questions as well as inspiring visions for African freedom in the 21st century.
Moky Makura is a TV presenter/producer, publisher, writer, actress and entrepreneur. She holds an Honours degree in Politics, Economics and Law from Buckingham University in the UK. After selling her PR business which she started in 2001 to the advertising group FCB, she decided to follow her media passions. From 2001 to 2006, she was the African Anchor presenter and field reporter for Carte Blanche.In 2005, she produced and hosted a 26 part marketing show on the South African business channel; Summit TV. She is currently appearing in the MNet’s Pan-African drama series: Jacob’s Cross. Moky is an editorial contributor to various magazines and recently completed a book; ‘Africa’s Greatest Entrepreneurs’ which was on the Exclusive books bestseller list in 2008. In 2008, She co-produced and presented a lifestyle TV series for MNet called “Living It, about the lifestyle’s of Africa’s wealthy elite.Moky recently started a publishing business which produces fiction for the mass
Jerome Okolo’s life story provides a vivid and personal illustration of the tumultuous and rapidly changing story of the second half of the 20th Century. He was born just as Nigeria’s (civil) war with Biafra was about to break out. His parents then went through an incredible story of penniless refugees, to privileged University of Nigeria staff – classical music, tennis, swimming – to wretched subjects of the ire of the successive Military Administrations.He's sent off to the far North of the country for his college education and gets caught up in the first explosion of Islamic militant violence, when the Maitatsine sect attacked Nigerian Security forces and it took the full weight of the Nigerian Army to finally rout them from the ancient city of Kano. From University in Nigeria, he made the incredible journey to study in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, just as that town was the marshalling point at the peak of the ill-fated Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He travels on to Ukraine for further studies, just as the world’s worst Nuclear disaster takes place at Chernobyl.Traversing East to West and back again, he witnesses the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. Just as he was completing his dissertation in Moscow, the August 1991 Putsch was launched in Moscow. Returning to Central Asia after completing his studies, he’s caught up in the outbreak of Tajikistan's civil was and escapes on the last Tu-134 out of Dushanbe. He was just re-launching his business careers in 1993 when another violent event, the siege of Parliament by Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1993 almost ruins everything
Mr. Arnold Ekpe has been Group Chief Executive Officer of Ecobank Transnational, Inc., and its subsidiary, Ecobank Group since 2005.Mr. Ekpe is an Investment Professional of African Capital Alliance. He has over 28 years of African and international banking experience having also worked in Europe, South Africa and West Africa for Citibank and First Chicago. He served as Chief Executive Officer of Ecobank Group at Ecobank Nigeria Plc. He served as the Group Chief Executive.He holds degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration from Manchester University and Manchester Business School respectively.