Amina Az-Zubair is the CEO of the Centre for Policy Research and Development Solutions (CPRDS), a think-tank aiming to address the policy and knowledge gaps in Development. She is also an adjunct Professor at Columbia University, New York. From 2005-2011, she served 3 Nigerian Presidents as a Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Millennium Development Goals, coordinating the expenditure of Debt Relief Funds (US $1bn p.a) aimed at achieving the MDGs in Nigeria. Prior to this, she was the National Coordinator for Education for All in Nigeria (2001-2005). She serves on numerous International advisory panels and boards including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the UN Global Sustainability Panel and Chairs the Advisory Board of the UNESCO Global Monitoring Report on Education
Aminatta Forna was born in Glasgow, raised in Sierra Leone and Britain and also spent periods of her childhood in Iran, Thailand and Zambia. She is the award-winning author of two novels: The Memory of Love,Ancestor Stones, and a memoir The Devil that Danced on the Water. Aminatta has also published short stories and was shortlisted for the 2010 BBC National Short Story Award. In 2007 she was named by Vanity Fair as one of Africa's most promising new writers. Her work has been translated into more than a dozen languages, including Mandarin. Aminatta has written essays and articles for Granta, The Times, The Observer and Vogue among others and has written for television and radio. Her television credits include the arts documentary Through African Eyes (BBC), the documentary series Africa Unmasked (Channel 4) and in 2009, The Lost Libraries of Timbuktu (BBC). She has been a guest presenter on Open Book and Saturday Review on BBC Radio. In 2003 she established the Rogbonko Project to build a school in a village in Sierra Leone, where she now oversees a number of projects in the spheres of education, sanitation, maternal health and agriculture. Aminatta sits on the Board of the National Theatre of Great Britain, on the General Committee of the Royal Literary Fund and the Advisory Committee of the Caine Prize for African Writing. She has acted as judge for a number of literary awards and is currently a judge of the 2013 International Man Booker Prize. Most recently Sterling Brown Distinguished Visiting Professor at Williams College, Massachusetts, where she taught African literature, Aminatta has often acted as a visiting lecturer and tutor of creative writing.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie a renowned Nigerian novelist was born in Nigeria in 1977. She grew up in the university town of Nsukka, Enugu State where she attended primary and secondary schools, and briefly studied Medicine and Pharmacy. She then moved to the United States to attend college, graduating summa cum laude from Eastern Connecticut State University with a major in Communication and a minor in Political Science. She holds a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins and a Masters degree in African Studies from Yale University. She was a 2005-2006 Hodder Fellow at Princeton, where she taught introductory fiction. Chimamanda is the author of Half of a Yellow Sun, which won the 2007 Orange Prize For Fiction; and Purple Hibiscus, which won the 2005 Best First Book Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the 2004 Debut Fiction Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. In 2009, her collection of short stories, The Thing around Your Neck was published. She was named one of the twenty most important fiction writers today under 40 years old by The New Yorker and was recently the guest speaker at the 2012 annual commonwealth lecture. She featured in the April 2012 edition of Time Magazine, celebrated as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. She currently divides her time between the United States and Nigeria.
Cobhams Asuquo is a singer/songwriter/music producer and music entrepreneur. After graduating from the Pacelli School for the Blind and King’s College Lagos, he started his professional training as a lawyer, but later branched out into music full-time to fulfill a lifelong desire. While working with a Nigerian music label as an in-house producer, he gained a unique insight into the local music scene. He saw the opportunities and challenges within the industry with a vision to develop an entrepreneurial platform from which to drive the industry forward. Today he is the founder and chief executive officer of Cobhams Asuquo Music Productions (CAMP). He gained international attention for producing and co-writing ‘Asa’, the debut self-titled album for the acclaimed soul singer. He was recently featured on CNN’s African Voicesfor his contribution and impact on the African music industry. Rising alternative soul artiste, Bez is the first of three artistes signed by Cobhams to the C.A.M.P record label, and Bez’s debut album ‘Super Sun’ was highlighted on The Boston Globe’s top ten list of best ‘world music’ albums of 2011. He has won several awards in the music and film scene in Africa and beyond.
Frank Njenga is a Consultant Psychiatrist in private practice in Nairobi, Kenya, where he has practiced for thirty years. He was the founder President of the African Association of Psychiatrists and Allied Professions (AAPAP). Dr Njenga was appointed by the President of Kenya to chair the (NACADA) - National Campaign Against Drug Abuse Authority Board which is the body that advices the Kenya Government on Drug and Alcohol policies. In addition to his medical practice, he is Founder Chair of the Institute of Education in Democracy (IED), an Africa wide election monitoring body, as well as active campaigner for Democracy in Africa. He is an author of many scientific papers, books and book chapters, including children’s’ books
Jacqueline Novogratz is the founder and CEO of Acumen Fund, a non-profit global venture fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems of poverty. Acumen Fund aims to create a world beyond poverty by investing in social enterprises, emerging leaders, and breakthrough ideas. Under Jacqueline’s leadership, Acumen Fund has invested more than $72 million in 65 companies in South Asia and Africa, all focused on delivering affordable healthcare, water, housing and energy to the poor. These companies have created and supported more than 55,000 jobs, leveraged an additional $200 million, and brought basic services to tens of millions. In December 2011, Acumen Fund and Jacqueline were on the cover of Forbes magazine as part of their feature on social innovation. Prior to Acumen Fund, Jacqueline founded and directed The Philanthropy Workshop and The Next Generation Leadership programs at the Rockefeller Foundation. Jacqueline currently sits on the advisory board of the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative, the Aspen Institute Board of Trustees, and the board of IDEO.org, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council for Social Innovation. She was also appointed by Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton to the Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board. Her best-selling memoir The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World chronicles her quest to understand poverty and challenges readers to grant dignity to the poor and to rethink their engagement with the world. She has an MBA from Stanford and a BA in Economics/International Relations from the University of Virginia. She has received honorary doctorates from the University of Notre Dame and Wofford College, and the Freedom From Want Award from the Roosevelt Institute in 2011. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @jnovogratz
Jason Njoku , is a Nigerian internet entrepreneur, and is CEO and founder of Iroko partners, the largest distributor of Nigerian music and movies online. Jason studied at the University of Manchester and grew up in the UK. Most Nigerians enjoy watching Nollywood movies; however accessing these movies is not easy. Recognising the increased demand and the limited access to quality, legal movies online, Jason moved to Lagos to start Iroko Partners with the aim of bringing Nigerian entertainment online. The website was launched in December 2011, and by the end of the year had received 152 million views with 90% of them outside Africa. Within 18 months the company has grown with offices in Lagos, London and recently New York. While Jason plans for iROKOtv to be the Netflix of Africa, the new service, Iroking launched earlier this year, and aims to be the African “Spotify”. Jason’s vision was shared by US Based Hedge Fund Tiger Global as he has recently secured $ 8 million in funding from the firm. It is exciting times for Nollywood and Afrobeat music, with the Nollywood veteran Genevieve Nnaji cast in the film adaptation of the acclaimed novel Half of a Yellow Sun, and Dbanj joining Kanye West’s label GOOD Music. Jason’s product has arrived at the right time, and will unite African’s worldwide to enjoy African entertainment.
Ndidi Nwuneli is a director of Sahel Capital Partners, a leading advisory firm focused on the agribusiness and manufacturing sectors, and the co-founder of AACE Foods, an agro-processing company. Through her work with Sahel and AACE, she has also shaped agriculture strategy and policy and supported a range of clients in Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia. Ndidi started her career as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, working in their Chicago, New York and Johannesburg offices. She returned to Nigeria in 2000to fulfil her passion for promoting entrepreneurship and leadership development in Africa. She served as the pioneer executive director of the FATE Foundation from 2000, and then established LEAP Africa and NIA in 2002 and 2003 respectively. NIA empowers female university students to achieve their highest potential in life, while LEAP Africa provides leadership, ethics and management training and coaching for youth, business owners, social entrepreneurs and the public sector. LEAP also conducts leadership research and has published numerous books including: Defying the Odds: Case Studies of Nigerian Companies that have Survived Generations, Rage for Change and Building a Culture of Ethics. Ndidi holds a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. She was recognized as a Global Leader of Tomorrow and Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and received a National Honour, Member of the Federal Republic in 2004. Ndidi is married with two children.
Her Royal Highness, The Nnabagereka (Queen) Sylvia Nagginda Luswata is the wife of the King of Buganda, King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II. She is a traditional and cultural leader of the people of Buganda, the largest Kingdom in Uganda occupying almost a quarter of the country, with a population exceeding 7 million people. The Nnabagereka’s main focus areas are early childhood care and development; education for girls; vocational training and employment for the youth; empowerment of women, health issues particularly regarding maternal health, the prevention and cure of childhood diseases, nutrition, and sexual reproductive health including the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. She has played a major role in sensitizing and mobilizing the general population on issues of education, health, poverty eradication, culture preservation, and has graciously supported and empowered marginalized groups of youth, women and persons with disabilities. She established the Nnabagereka Development Foundation (NDF) whose mandate is to contribute to uplifting the living standards of all people. In May 2008, the Nnabagereka was chosen by The Netherlands through the Royal Danish Embassy as one of the inspiring women in Uganda to be a torch bearer for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to promote (MDG3) which is about gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Sada Mire is an archaeologist from Somalia. She lived the first fifteen years of her life in Mogadishu, until 1991, when she settled in Sweden, as a result of the conflict in north-east Africa. In order to learn about the history of her new society, she studied archaeology and zoo-archaeology at Lund University. She continued at the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), University of London, for her B.A., and then attended University College London (UCL) for her M.A. and Ph.D., conducting field research in Somaliland. Sada is currently advisor to former Director of the Republic of Somaliland’s Department of Tourism & Archaeology, which she founded in 2007. She is founder and executive director of the Horn Heritage Organization. Sada is a research associate at SOAS, UEA and UCL. Sada has conducted fieldwork in several European and African countries – from the U.K. and Denmark to Kenya and Egypt, as well as lecturing at universities. In the last five years, she and her team have made many archaeological discoveries which feature in her numerous articles and chapters in international scientific publications, such as the African Archaeological Review and Antiquity, as well as in the popular media, e.g. Discover Magazine and New Scientist. She serves as an editorial board member of the peer-reviewed journals, Heritage & Society and Southern African Archaeological Bulletin. Sada believes that cultural heritage is a basic human need. Follow Sada on Twitter @SomaliHeritage
Trevor Ncube is Chairman of Alpha Media Holdings (AMH ) based in Zimbabwe, a company he co-founded 14 years ago. AMH owns three newspaper titles in Zimbabwe namely NewsDay (daily), The Zimbabwe Independent (business weekly) and The Standard (Sunday). Ncube has a BA Honours (First Class) from the University of Zimbabwe. He started in journalism in 1989 when he was appointed assistant editor of the Financial Gazette in Zimbabwe. In 1991 he was promoted to Executive Editor and in 1994 received the Zimbabwe Editor of the Year award. Ncube is also controlling shareholder and Executive Deputy Chairman of the Mail & Guardian Media Group (South Africa). He completed the Said Business School, University of Oxford, Advanced Management and Leadership Programme in June/July 2009. Trevor was awarded a Print Media S.A. Fellowship in 2006. He was awarded the International Publishers Association Freedom Prize Award in 2007, and has also won the German Africa Award in 2008. In 2010 Trevor was bestowed the Nation Media Group Life Achievement Award for his work in media on the continent. He is co-chair of the African Media Initiative (AMI) a continent wide organization focusing on strengthening the sectors viability and enhancing its professionalism and is a Fellow of The Aspen Institute and Africa Leadership Initiative. Ncube is married with children, loves reading and travelling, is a keen golfer and is a devout Christian. Follow Trevor on Twitter @TrevorNcube
Albie Sachs: On turning six, during World War II, Albie Sachs received a card from his father expressing the wish that he would grow up to be a soldier in the fight for liberation. His career in human rights activism started at the age of seventeen, when as a second year law student at the University of Cape Town, he took part in the Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaign. Three years later he attended the Congress of the People at Kliptown where the Freedom Charter was adopted. He started practice as an advocate at the Cape Bar aged 21. The bulk of his work involved defending people charged under racist statutes and repressive security laws. Many faced the death sentence. He himself was raided by the security police, subjected to banning orders restricting his movement and eventually placed in solitary confinement without trial for two prolonged spells of detention. In 1966 he went into exile. After spending eleven years studying and teaching law in England he worked for a further eleven years in Mozambique as law professor and legal researcher. In 1988 he was blown up by a bomb placed in his car in Maputo by South African security agents, losing an arm and the sight of an eye. During the 1980s working closely with Oliver Tambo, leader of the ANC in exile, he helped draft the organisation's Code of Conduct, as well as its statutes. After recovering from the bomb he devoted himself full-time to preparations for a new democratic Constitution for South Africa. In 1990 he returned home and as a member of the Constitutional Committee and the National Executive of the ANC took an active part in the negotiations which led to South Africa becoming a constitutional democracy. After the first democratic election in 1994 he was appointed by President Nelson Mandela to serve on the newly established Constitutional Court. During his fifteen years on the Court he and his colleagues produced a number of pioneering decisions on advancing human rights in contemporary Africa. He has since travelled to many countries sharing South African experience in healing divided societies. Right now he is serving for a year in Kenya as one of three foreign judges on a Vetting Board that is interviewing all the country’s judges and magistrates to decide if they are suitable to remain on the Bench.
Jepchumba is an African digital artist and digital enthusiast who works hard to combine her two passions: Digital media and Africa. Originally from Kenya, she has lived around the world developing her interest in philosophy, art and technology. Jepchumba has a Masters in Digital Media with experience in New Media project management and digital production She specializes in Web Design, Digital Art, Audio/Visual Production and User Interface/User Experience. Jepchumba is also the founder of African Digital Art Network, dedicated to the African Digital Media industry. Jepchumba continues to focus on the intersection between technology, creativity and design. Follow Jepchumba @digitalafrican