Founder and CEO of NALA
Benjamin Fernandes is a Tanzanian entrepreneur and a former national television presenter. He holds an MBA from Stanford University and an Exec Ed from Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and formerly worked at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in the Digital Foundation team. A huge fan of Android and intersecting financial services with technology in Africa, Benjamin is the founder and CEO of Fintech company ‘NALA’, a mobile money application that works offline.
Agricultural Knowledge Broker
Charles Dhewa is the CEO of Knowledge Transfer Africa, which he founded in 2006 after realising that agricultural value chain actors in developing countries needed a knowledge broker to keep reminding them of what they could be forgetting and under-estimating. Working at the intersection of formal and informal agricultural markets in Zimbabwe, his organisation has setup a fluid knowledge and information platform called MKambo which tracks, trends and ensures agricultural value chains are driven by knowledge, technology and innovation. Charles is always clarifying opportunities and influencing policy through his thought leadership blog ‘eMKambo’.
Founder and CEO Tastemakers Africa
Cheraé Robinson is the founder and CEO of Tastemakers Africa, an experiences platform connecting black millennials to heritage and culture worldwide. The winner of the inaugural “She Leads Africa” startup competition, Cheraé has been named one of the “10 Emerging Women Entrepreneurs in Africa” by Forbes, one of the “20 to Watch” by leading Silicon Valley trends group Culture Shift Labs, and a “Woman to Watch” by the United Nations Foundation. Most recently she was named one of "44 People Changing the Way We Travel" by Condé Nast’s Traveller Magazine alongside Elon Musk and the founders of AirBnB.
Cheraé holds a B.S. in Biology from Morgan State University and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Prior to launching her company, Cheraé bridged the gap between science and people within large international organizations like CIMMYT, CARE, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Human Rights Activist + Justice
Edwin Cameron was a Justice of South Africa’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, for ten years until the 20 August 2019, and was appointed by President Mandela as a judge in 1994. Before the Constitutional Court, he was in the Supreme Court of Appeal for eight years, and in the High Court for six. He was educated at Pretoria Boys’ High School, Stellenbosch and Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.
During apartheid he was a human rights lawyer. Edwin was a powerful critic of President Mbeki’s AIDS-denialist policies. His prize-winning memoir Witness to AIDS, was published in South Africa, the UK, the USA and in translation in Germany and China. Justice: A Personal Account (2014) won the South African Literary Award for creative non-fiction in 2016. He also chaired the governing council of the University of the Witwatersrand for more than ten years and remains involved in many charitable and public causes. He has received many honours for his legal and human rights work.
Elsie Owusu OBE is a Ghanaian-British architect. Her projects include the UK Supreme Court Arts and London’s Green Park Station. A runner-up for Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) President in 2018, she was re-elected to RIBA National Council. Current projects include an eco-development in Takoradi, Ghana, low-energy homes in Sussex and Africa Bauhaus, and a new College of African Art in Accra. In 2003, she was honoured by the Queen for services to architecture as Founding Chair of the Society of Black Architects.
Funa Maduka, a filmmaker credited with producing and directing the first Nigerian film to word premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, holds a BA in History from Cornell University and a MBA from Harvard Business School. A former Director of International Original Films at Netflix, Funa pioneered Netflix's move into international film production, building a development slate across Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa. Her film acquisitions brought Netflix its first film nominations at both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards. She has also held leadership and strategic positions at McKinsey & Company, the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, the Obama Campaign, the Clinton Global Initiative and Goldman Sachs.
Documentary VR Filmmaker
Joel kochi Benson is a Nigerian documentary filmmaker and virtual reality content creator. In 2019, he produced Daughter of Chibok, a virtual reality film on the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapping. He is the Creative Director of virtual reality film studio VR360 Stories Lagos Nigeria.
TEDxEuston Ideas Search Winner + Doctoral Student
Kirstie Kwarteng is a Doctoral Student at SOAS, University of London in the Department of Development Studies. Her PhD explores the transnational experiences of second-generation Ghanaians in London and New York City. Prior to beginning her doctorate, she founded The Nana Project, a digital platform dedicated to preserving Ghana's history through the voices of Ghanaian elders. In 2016, she was named as one of Ghana’s Top 30 Under 30 by the Future of Ghana and she is a recipient of the Royal Geographical Society's (with IBG) Dudley Stamp Memorial Award. Kirstie has previously volunteered and attended TEDxEuston. She was selected from the brilliant line-up of people from our community at the TEDxEuston Ideas Search, to share her African idea worth spreading with the world.
Product Designer + Co-founder of Reform Studio
Mariam Hazem is one half of the duo who founded the Reform Studio in 2012, a lifestyle brand based in Cairo, Egypt. Their story started directly after the 2011 revolution in Egypt. Mariam and Hend Riad were excited to be part of the great change around them and were eager to make a difference. This eagerness and excitement motivated them to invented “Plastex”, with which they hoped to solve Egypt's waste problem. Through Reform, their goal is to design creative responsible products that both benefit the environment and positively impact society through reviving an ancient Egyptian ‘handloom craft’ that was on the brink of extinction, while empowering local craftsmen and underprivileged women.
Writer, Political Analyst
Nanjala Nyabola is a writer and political analyst based in Nairobi, Kenya. She is the author of Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics: How the Internet Era is Transforming Kenya (2018) and the co-editor of Where Women Are: Gender and the 2017 Kenyan Elections (2017). She is a frequent contributor to publications including the Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera and others.
Essayist + Novelist
Panashe Chigumadzi is an essayist and novelist. Her 2015 debut novel Sweet Medicine (Blackbird Books) won the 2016 K. Sello Duiker Literary Award. Her second book, These Bones Will Rise Again (The Indigo Press) was published in June 2018 and shortlisted for the 2019 Alan Paton Prize for Non-fiction. Panashe was the founding editor of Vanguard Magazine, a platform for young black women coming of age in post-apartheid South Africa. A columnist for The New York Times, and contributing editor of the Johannesburg Review of Books, her work has featured in titles including The Guardian, Chimurenga, Africa is A Country, Transition, Washington Post and Die Ziet. She is a doctoral candidate at Harvard University’s Department of African and African American Studies.
Founder and CEO of Apps Tech
Rebecca Enonchong is the founder and CEO of AppsTech, a leading global provider of enterprise application solutions. She is also co-founder and President of Cameroon Angels Network; CEO of I/O Spaces; Board Chair of Afrilabs; and a board member of many companies including Venture Capital for Africa (VC4Africa) and Salesforce.org. Rebecca was named a Global Leader for Tomorrow (GLT) by the World Economic Forum of Davos, Switzerland and Forbes magazine listed her as a top female tech founder in Africa. She currently serves as a mentor and advisor to several technology start-ups.
Founder of Tristan Capital Partners and The Black Heart Foundation
Ric Lewis is founder, Chief Executive and Chairman of Tristan Capital Partners, a London-based real estate investment management company with €11.0+Billion in assets under management. Tristan was voted by industry peers as the European Real Estate Private Equity Firm of the Year in 2014 and 2015. The firm also won The Queen’s Award for Enterprise and International Trade in 2017. Passionate about providing quality education to underprivileged children, Ric founded The Black Heart Foundation in 2009. Each year, the Foundation provides several educational scholarships to young people in need in the UK and abroad. Ric also serves on a number of educational and community Boards including the Board of Trustees of Dartmouth College (USA), John F. Kennedy School of Government– Harvard University, and the Royal National Children’s Springboard Foundation. He is also on the Board of Governors of King Solomon Academy and the Board of Directors of the Eastside Young Leaders Academy.