Dr Sonia Plaza – Co-Chair, Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD), World Bank
Sonia Plaza is a Senior Economist in the Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice of the World Bank. She is also the co-chair of the Diaspora Thematic working group of KNOMAD (Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development). Sonia was born in Lima, Peru. Her father had a constructing firm, so some of her earliest childhood memories are of traveling with him to poor areas including Ayacucho where he was working on projects. This is how she was first exposed to development work, and it shaped her. She wrote chapter 5 of the book, “Africa’s Silk Road: China and India’s New Economic Frontier”, which covers trade facilitation, technology, and skills transfer, and regional trade agreements. She advises many universities on the transfer of skills and tapping into their diasporas.
Sonia attended the University of Lima and earned a degree in Economics, after which she joined Chase Manhattan Bank, and was then invited to join the Peruvian Ministry of Trade as a manager responsible for counter trade and debt swap agreements. She also has a dual degree from Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania in International Economics and Development. She was Professor of Economics (International Economics) at the Peruvian School of Foreign Service and at the University of Lima in Peru, and was adjunct faculty (Microeconomics and Macroeconomics) at The American University in Washington, DC. Her research interests include international migration, labor mobility, trade, and the future of labor. She joined the Institute for the Study of Labor as a Research Fellow in February 2010.
Younouss Djibrine – Secretary General, Pan African Postal Union
Mr Younouss Djibrine was elected as Secretary General of PAPU in 2012 and re-elected in 2016. He was the Cameroon representative to the CA (Chairman of the Technical Cooperation and Postal Reform Project Group), from November 2008 to August 2012. Prior to that, Mr. Djibrine was the Cameroon representative to the CA (member of the Strategic Planning Group, from 2004 to 2008.
Earlier, he was the Chairman of the CA ad hoc Group on “Governance issues”, (postal payment services) and National Coordinator of Seoul Postal Strategy, Beijing Postal Strategy and Bucharest World Postal Strategy, from 1994 to 2008.
Served as a Member of the core management team of the Terminals Dues Action Group, spokesman of developing countries. A Member of the management core of the Quality of Service Working Group of the POC, from 1994 to 1999, sole representative of Africa; National Director of the Multiannual Integrated Project (MIP) signed with UPU in 1994.
With over 30 years’ experience in senior positions both at regional and international levels prior. Since the 1990s, he has been Africa’s consistent and active voice in both regional and global forums especially at the AUC, UPU, PAPU, CAPTEF (now Francophonie postale), CCPA and CAPTAC (now COPTAC), among others.
He has been Chairman of PAPU Administrative Council (the administrative arm of the Union between Conferences) and the Vice-Chairman of the PAPU General Secretariat Management Board. He was appointed UPU Consultant in quality of service and terminal dues, and Expert in formulation of Integrated Postal Reform and Development Plans (IPDP) during the 2008-2012 Congress Cycle.
Amadou Cisse – Executive Director, African Institute for Remittances, African Union
Mr. Amadou Cisse is the Executive Director of the African Institute for Remittances. A Specialised Technical Office of the African Union that aims to assist African Union Member States to maximise the economic and social impact of remittances.
Amadou leads the institute in promoting transparency and competition in the remittance market and make remittance transfers to and within Africa, cheaper, safer, faster and easier.
As a Senior Economist at the African Union, his main responsibilities at AIR are to improve the statistical measurement, compiling and reporting capabilities of Member States on remittances data; to promote appropriate changes to the legal and regulatory frameworks for remittances, payment and settlement systems as well as use of innovative technology so as to promote greater competition and efficiency, resulting in reductions of transfer costs; and to leverage the potential impact of remittances on social and economic development of Member States, as well as promoting financial inclusion.
Dr. Gabriel Negatu – Director General, African Development Bank
Mr. Gabriel Negatu was appointed Director General, Eastern Africa Regional Hub in 2016. The Regional Hub is part of the Bank’s new strategy to accelerate business and development impacts across the continent.
His more than 25 years of senior level program, project and portfolio management experience includes 18 years of service at the African Development Bank. His illustrious record of managing sector and country operations comes from serving as Senior and Principal Program Officer, Chief Program Officer and Sector Director, where he established/led the Bank’s Economic and Financial Governance department.
He has been credited with successfully leading the Bank’s response to the global financial crisis and spearheading the innovative use of budget support instruments; including in fragile states. Appointed as Country & Regional Director for Eastern Africa in 2010, he successfully piloted the Bank’s decentralization strategy. Presently he directs the Bank’s largest Regional Center, responsible for 13 member countries and a portfolio valued in excess of US$9 billion.
Mr. Negatu completed his university studies in the USA, receiving a Bachelor’s Degree from California State University, USA, and a Master’s Degree from the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, with concentration in Economics and Social Development. He has also completed several advanced studies, including at Harvard University Business School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, and the University of Manchester, UK.
Onyekachi Wambu – Executive Director, African Foundation for Development (AFFORD)
Mr. Onyekachi Wambu is Director of the African Foundation for Development (AFFORD), a UK based charity with a mission to expand and enhance the contributions of Africans in the diaspora in order to advance Africa’s development. AFFORD is a pioneer and innovator in the field of policy and practice of ‘migration and development’. AFFORD’s advocacy work contributed to international recognition of the importance of the diaspora in African and international development, and in the subsequent initiation of new policies, programs, funds and schemes. AFFORD’s SCORE4africa project captured the development work of high net African footballers, while Africa-Gives created a platform for young Africans to give time, skills and money for African development.
Educated at the University of Essex, and Sewlyn College, Wambu worked previously as a print and broadcast journalist, spending time as a senior producer and documentary director at the BBC and for PBS. He has written extensively on Africa and the African diaspora. His publications include Empire Windrush – 50 Years of Writing about Black Britain and Under the Tree of Talking – Leadership for Change in Africa. Wambu has appeared as an expert contributor on migration and development issues to numerous high level panels and forums. He is on the board of Fahamu, the social action platform expert contributor on migration and development issues to numerous high level panels and forums. He is on the board of Fahamu, the social action platform and writes a monthly column “Back to the Future” in New African Magazine.
Pedro De Vasconcelo – Programme Coordinator, Financing Facility for Remittances, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
Pedro De Vasconcelos is the Programme Coordinator of the Financing Facility for Remittances (FFR), a multi-donor FFR (composed of EU, Inter-American Development Bank, Governments of Luxembourg and Spain, Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, and United Nations Capital Development Fund) at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). He joined IFAD in 2007 where he directs all activities related to remittances, migration and development.
He has developed the ground-breaking Global Remittance Forums, from the first one in 2005 focused on the Americas, organized by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) where Pedro was working before joining IFAD. The Forum in 2007 was in Washington, DC, then in 2009 in Tunis, 2013 in Bangkok, 2015 in Milan and 2017 in New York at the UN. He launched the International Day of Family Remittances (IDFR) that has been celebrated on June 16 since 2015.
Before IFAD, Pedro was with IDB’s Multilateral Investment Fund in Washington DC, and was responsible for launching in 2000, and coordinating, the remittance programme for Latin America and the Caribbean. Before IDB he served at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva under the project MicroBanks in cooperation with the Banque International du Luxembourg.
Pedro holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business from the University of Toulouse-France and a Masters in International Business and Management from the University of Paris IV, La Sorbonne. Born in Portugal with Argentinian roots, he speaks English, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.
Melvin P. Foote – President, Constituency for Africa (CFA)
Mr. Melvin P. Foote has worked on African issues for more than 35 years. He is the Founder and President of the Constituency for Africa, (CFA), a 25-years old Washington, D.C.-based network of organizations, groups and individuals committed to the progress and empowerment of Africa and African people worldwide. CFA’s mission is to build public and private support for Africa, and to help shape U.S. policies towards Africa.
In 2002 Mr. Foote also founded the African American Unity Caucus (AAUC), a broad-based coalition of African-American and other Americans of African descent, who lead or are leaders of Africa-focused organizations and groups — to promote Pan-African cooperation and to link Diaspora leaders in the Western Hemisphere with the African Union (AU), as part of their “sixth region” outreach initiative. Further, he has served as a consultant to the World Bank on African Diaspora issues, and he has served as a close advisor to the African Union’s Ambassador to the United States. Mr. Foote has traveled and worked extensively in more than thirty-five African countries. To start his career, from 1973 – 1976, he was assigned as a Peace Corps Volunteer and teacher to Eritrea and Ethiopia in East Africa. From 1981-1984, he served as the Country Representative for Africare in Somalia, where he designed and managed relief and development projects and programs.
Professor Victor Murinde – Chair, Global Finance, SOAS
Professor Victor Murinde is the AXA Chair and Professor of Global Finance at the SOAS University of London. He was the former Director of the African Development Institute at the African Development Bank (AfDB) and prior to that the Director of the Corporate Finance Research Group and Head of the Finance Division at the Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham. He completed his Ph.D. in Economics at Cardiff Business School, University of Wales. He has worked as a consultant to the World Bank, the United Nations, the African Development Bank, the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, UNCTAD and a number of banks, private companies and governments in developing and transitional economies.
Professor Murinde has published over fifty articles in many journals, including the Journal of finance, Journal of Banking and Finance, Journal of International Money and Finance, Review of International Economics, Journal of Policy Modelling, World Development, Economic Notes and Applied Economics and Applied Financial Economics. His current research focuses on corporate finance and international finance.
Washington Kapapiro – Chairman, Association for African Owned Enterprises
Washington Kapapiro is the Chairman of the Association for African Owned Enterprises – the leading organisation representing global African Enterprise in the UK for the last 10 years. Washington is also President of the Global Africa Business Club – an exclusive African private members business network connecting international businesses with Africa and African businesses to the world.
Washington is a seasoned financial executive. He is the CEO of Fingertip Global Corporation – a private boutique finance brokerage that has facilitated over US$4 Billion in transactions with Africa, with particular focus on raising Project Finance and Trade Finance and Corporate Advisory services. Washington is a Managing Partner in Tsemah Capital – a private equity fund focused on African opportunities. Washington has appeared on CNN, BBC, Press TV and several other media platforms as a respected commentator on African Enterprise and Politics. Washington has won several accolades and was recently selected in the top 100 most influential Africans in the UK.
El Hadji Malick SECK – Managing Director – Africa, Ria Money Transfer
Malick Seck is the Managing Director of Africa for Ria, the money transfer division of Euronet Worldwide, Inc.
With over 25 years experience, he currently oversees the company’s Regional Hub in Dakar, Senegal, and has been an integral part of the organisation since 2010. After completing his post-graduate degree in marketing management in Clermont-Ferrand, France, he worked in marketing, before joining Shell in Senegal.
Tunde Ladipo – Director of Partnership, Interstellar
Tunde Ladipo is the Director of Partnership at Interstellar and before that, Lightyear.io. Prior to that, Tunde was the Country Director for the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) in Nigeria, an initiative which supports African Leaders and Governments turn their visions for development into reality.
He was special advisor to the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance on special projects. Prior to this role, he was investment advisor to the Liberia National Investment Commission (LNIC) helping facilitate investments in energy, telecoms, agriculture and transportation. He is also a guest lecturer at the African Institute for Public Policy (AIPP).
He holds a Masters of Engineering Management (MEM) from McCormick School of Engineering and an MBA from Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, USA.
Barry Cooper – Technical Director, Centre for Financial Regulation and Inclusion (Cenfri)
Barry Cooper is a Technical Director at the Centre for Financial Regulation and Inclusion (Cenfri). He is a lawyer by training and an expert in national payment systems, and financial regulatory landscapes; serving as Cenfri’s lead for these research areas.
Barry has been a director on Making Access Possible (MAP) financial inclusion diagnostics in DRC, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Nepal, Cambodia, Zambia and Madagascar. Barry is currently one of the experts worldwide developing the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Working Group guidelines on digital fiat currency and was active in formulating the global guidelines on digital financial services at the ITU in conjunction with the BIS, World Bank, ISO and BMGF.
He has spent two decades with a number of regional banks and has implemented and managed payment systems in each of these institutions. Barry holds a B.Com, Legal (University of Witwatersrand) and an LLB (University of South Africa).
Dr. Bernado Mariano Jr – Senior Regional Adviser for Sub-Saharan Africa, International Organisation for Migration
Dr. Bernado Mariano Jr is the Senior Regional Adviser for Sub-Saharan Africa at the International Organisation for Migration in the Officer of the Director General. Before that, he was the Chief Information Officer at IOM.
Earlier, Bernado was the Regional Director for Southern Africa at the IOM with the responsibility of providing strategic direction to the IOM Country Offices in the southern Africa region with the focus on improving efficiency and effectiveness of programme implementation in the region.
Under his leadership, the 25 Country Offices with 300 million budget, under his supervision significantly benefited from the introduction of improved communication practices as well as the identification and promotion of priorities and vision in the region. The merge of the two Regional Offices in Southern and Eastern Africa, which was implemented successfully under his personal guidance and leadership, has resulted in an enhanced strategic perspective and vision for the organization related to a more comprehensive African solution. In 2012, Dr Bernado Mariano Jr successfully implemented the separation of the two regions following the decision to re-establish Nairobi as Regional office for East Africa.
Carl Manlan – Chief Operating Officer, Ecobank Foundation
Carl Manlan is the Chief Operating Officer of The Ecobank Foundation. He is an economist with over ten years of experience in health, finance and project implementation. He has worked with communities across Africa and developed systems to improve public health financing, mainly at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Carl worked with the Economic Commission for Africa as a Mo Ibrahim Fellow and with the African Union and New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD) on a private sector initiative to assist the African Union fight Ebola in West Africa.
Manuel Orozco – Senior Fellow & Program Director, Migration, Remittances & Development, Inter-American Dialogue
Manuel Orozco is a senior fellow at the Inter-American Dialogue and the director of the Migration, Remittances and Development Program. He also serves as a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Center for International Development and as a senior adviser with the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
Orozco has conducted extensive research, policy analysis and advocacy on issues relating to global flows of remittances as well as migration and development worldwide. He is chair of Central America and the Caribbean at the US Foreign Service Institute and senior researcher at the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University.
Orozco frequently testifies before Congress and has spoken before the United Nations. He holds a PhD in political science from the University of Texas at Austin, a MA in public administration and Latin American studies, and a BA in international relations from the National University of Costa Rica.
Orozco has published widely on remittances, Latin America, globalization, democracy, migration, conflict in war torn societies, and minority politics. His books include International Norms and Mobilization for Democracy (2002), Remittances: Global Opportunities for International Person-to-Person Money Transfers (2005), América Latina y el Caribe: Desarrollo, migración y remesas (2012) and Migrant Remittances and Development in the Global Economy(2013).
Dr. Shem J. Ochuodho – Global Chairperson, Kenya Diaspora Alliance
Dr Ochuodho is Convenor, Kenya Diaspora Alliance (KDA), a Federation of over 30 major Diaspora organizations with a nominal combined membership of 250,000+ Kenyans globally, and Trustee, Diaspora Investment Club (DICL), KDA’s business and investment start-up flagship, currently managing projects worth US$ 4 million.
Since 2008, he is Senior Advisor, Ministry of Telecommunications & Postal Services, Republic of South Sudan (RSS), offering advisory and consultancy services to the Hon Minister, Ministry, and Government by extension. In 2010, he received the African Internaut Award from the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization(CTO/RSS).
Previously, he was Executive Chairman of the African Regional Centre for Computing (ARCC) and Grand Jury Member of the World Summit Awards. He developed the 10-year (2007-2016) Broadband Telecommunications Masterplan for the East African Community (EAC) under the guidance of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). He also served as one of the Leading Technical Advisors on the ITU/World Bank/ADB-led Connect Africa initiative that seeks to implement a Broadband Telecommunications MegaPlan for Africa. He was a Lead Consultant in a Consortium for a Joint ITU/UNECA/ILO Study on “The Impact of ICTs on Employment Creation and Poverty in Africa”, with selected Country Case Studies for Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda. He is a past recipient of Fellowships from the German Academic Exchange Programme (DAAD – for the MSc course), the Overseas Development Agency (now UKAid – for the PhD course), the American Maths Society (AMS – for a 3-month Post-doctoral program at the University of California, Berkeley, USA), and the US National Science Foundation (NSF) for introducing and stimulating Internet in East Africa.
Michael Kent – Chief Executive Officer, Azimo
Michael Kent is a serial entrepreneur, who has spent the last decade building businesses in consumer financial services. He founded Small World Financial Services Group in 2004, growing the multi billion-dollar company to become Europe’s largest offline money transfer provider and a top ten player globally.
Recognising the impact mobile and social technology could have on the international money transfer market, Michael started Azimo to challenge high-transfer costs and drastically speed-up the way consumers send money abroad.
Backed by over $30m in funding, the platform now enables anyone to send cash, bank transfers and mobile money to over 190 countries, in 70+ different currencies and over social media platforms such as Facebook.
Alongside Azimo, Michael founds and invests in consumer-focused banks and financial services businesses (e.g. CorporatePay, Curve, YoYo Wallet, ClarityFX) and advises institutional investors and blue-chip corporates on cross-border payments. He previously held senior M&A positions at WPP and News Corp. Michael holds a MA from Cambridge University and a MBA from INSEAD.
Dede Quarshie – Senior Product Manager – Remittances, ZeePay
Dede Quarshie is the Senior Product Manager for Zeepay global operations. She comes on board Zeepay with strong banking and relationship management experience. After having managed Transportation, Real Estate, FMCG and Money Service Business in Corporate Banking for a large Bank in Ghana.
She is currently responsible for Zeepay’s Remittance portfolio which covers over 500 Corridors globally and termination into 20 African Countries. She also has oversight responsibility over all Zeepay key partner accounts including UK Office.
Grace Camara – Executive Director, RemitFund
Grace is the Executive Director of RemitFund, which aims to tackle unemployment and underemployment in Africa by empowering Africans in the diaspora to build and invest in sustainable impact businesses that create jobs and foster development on the African continent.
Also, a commercial lawyer with over a decade of experience advising non-profits and social ventures on institutional donor compliance, commercial and strategic legal issues. She has practised in both the private and non-profit sectors, including as legal counsel for the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Grace began her career in international development as a legal policy researcher for Oxfam’s Economic Justice Campaign.
She holds a masters degree in commercial law with distinction from the School of Oriental and African Studies and a diplôme in International Trade and Development from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.
David Smith – Chairman, British African Business Alliance
Invited to be Chairman, when the organisation was founded in 2009, David has invested in the Company and the activities of BABA over the years.
Now as the organisation is reaching out and finding its feet in the Regional Centres the UK and building a network of Country Business Clubs, BABA will expand the board and appoint advisors in addition to the Network Directors who play a valuable roll in keeping the Network “Diaspora Led”.
David is Chief Executive of Rainbow Interchange Ltd a technology company delivering a cohesive solution in the banking, remittance and financial inclusion markets; and his career includes 30 years in advertising and marketing for a number of leading agencies, where he specialised in retail marketing and worked with major UK companies. He also gained wide experience in the IT, Financial Services, Electrical, Property and DIY markets.
David has worked in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, USA, and Uruguay and relishes the cultural and commercial challenges of International Business.
Catherine Wines – Co-Founder, WorldRemit
Catherine co-founded WorldRemit in 2010, convinced that digital innovation would enable faster, lower-cost money transfers around the world. Her current board responsibilities focus on corporate governance and compliance. She represents the company with keynote appearances at major conferences and in the international media, talking on fintech, innovation and women in business.
A qualified accountant, she has extensive international experience and deep knowledge of the money transfer industry. She has held a number of previous corporate leadership roles. At Coinstar Money Transfer, she was a regional director, actively involved in scaling up the business the UK, Ireland and Benelux.
Catherine is a member of the Institute of Directors and the professional accountancy body, ACCA. She served on the UK governments’ Remittances Task Force established by DFID between 2006 and 2009.
Bimbo Roberts Folayan – Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Diaspora Direct Investment
Bimbo has garnered a tremendous amount of all round experience in private and public sectors both in Nigeria and in the United Kingdom.
A graduate of the University of Ife, he later participated in a M.Sc. Conversion programme at Greenwich University (UK) in Information Systems and Computing. Based in the UK, he currently works as an Independent IT specialist and is the organiser of the NDDIS.