Don’t miss the first Africa’s New Cities Summit
Africa’s New Cities Summit, hosted by the Charter Cities Institute in association with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and the Africa Infrastructure Development Association (AfIDA), brings together all facets of the international development community – developers, builders, governments, academics, and more – to address the pressing issue of rapid urbanization in Africa. The summit serves as a platform for discussing challenges, finding solutions, and optimizing opportunities related to urbanization.
The desired outcomes of Africa’s New Cities Summit are as follows:
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Iyinoluwa Aboyeji is a faith-driven investor and entrepreneur. He is passionate about partnering with mission-driven innovators and investors building an African future where prosperity and purpose are within everyone’s reach. He is currently the CEO and General Partner of Future Africa, an early-stage venture capital firm with a portfolio of 100 companies collectively worth over $6 billion. Before founding the Fund, he was the founding CEO of Flutterwave, a billion-dollar global payments platform connecting African businesses and individuals to the global economy. He was also the co-founder of Andela, a billion-dollar business that matches Africa’s top engineering talent to global technology companies. Andela is also backed by top global investors like Spark Capital, Google Ventures, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and SoftBank amongst others.
The Honorable Francis Gatare is the Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board. He has extensive experience in both the public and private sectors. Previously he has been CEO of both the Rwanda Development Board from 2014-2017 and the Rwanda Mines, Petroleum & Gas Board between 2017-2021. From October 2009 to July 2014, he served as Principal Private Secretary to H.E. the President of the Republic of Rwanda. He also served as the Chief Economist and Deputy Head of Policy and Strategy in the Office of the President.
Francis Gatare is a professional economist, a graduate of Makerere University, University of Windsor in Canada, and is a Mason Fellow at John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Dr. Leonard Wantchekon is the James Madison Professor of Political Economy at Princeton University, as well as a Professor of Politics and International Affairs. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the Econometric Society, a member of the Executive Committee of the International Economic Association, and has served as Secretary of the American Political Science Association and on the Executive Committee of the Afrobarometer Network. Wantchekon is also the Founder and President of the African School of Economics, which opened in Benin in 2014 (and has since added campuses in Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria), and the Founder and President of the Pan-African Scientific Research Council. He previously served as a professor at New York University and Yale University and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Northwestern University.
Marc is the Country Lead for Urban Water Resilience in Rwanda, and he is also the Lead Spatial Planner for the program. He works closely with the cities of Kigali and Musanze in Rwanda to coordinate and engage stakeholders to develop a water resilience action plan for both cities, based on the City Water Resilience Approach. He also assists with the coordination of the spatial analysis work done in the program covering Ethiopia (Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa); Rwanda (Kigali, Musanze); and South Africa (Johannesbourg, Gqheberha). In addition, Marc helps coordinate the relationship management, diplomacy, and strategic planning of WRI in Rwanda.
Marc previously worked in the Ministry of Environment in the Government of Rwanda where he oversaw the policy coordination in Land, Water, and Forestry. Prior to that, he was involved in the development of the water sector in Rwanda as one of the leading hydrologists. He has also done research across the region spanning hydropower development, spatial analysis for water resources management, sediment fingerprinting, etc. using a combination of GIS-based tools coupled with hydrologic/hydraulic modeling.
Marc holds an MSc. in Geo-information Science and Earth Observation for WREM from the University of Twente in the Netherlands, as well as a BSc. in Water and Environmental Engineering from the College of Science and Technology at the University of Rwanda, formerly known as Kigali Institute of Science and Technology.
Ousmane Diagne is an executive at the General Delegation for the Promotion of the Urban Poles of Diamniadio and Lac Rose (DGPU). He has managed partnerships and promotion for DGPU since 2019 and was previously responsible for the territorial marketing of DGPU. He has worked as an international consultant and university lecturer, as project director at Cabinet Energy Consulting, and as Marketing Director for CIR Polygom in Tunisia.
Magatte Wade is an entrepreneur and advocate for African dignity and prosperity. Her TED talk, “Why it is too hard to start a business in Africa – and how to change it” has been seen by more than 600K people. She is a Forbes “20 Youngest Power Women in Africa”, a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum at Davos, a TED Global Africa Fellow, and a “Leading Woman in Wellness” award winner by the Global Wellness Summit. In 2014 she was featured on the cover of Forbes Afrique for being the person in Francophone Africa having the greatest positive impact on the future. She serves as the Director of the Atlas Network’s Center for African Prosperity.
Wade is a member of the board of Directors of Conscious Capitalism Inc. She also serves on the Advisory Board of the Whole Planet Foundation, of Whole Foods Market. She has written for The Guardian, HuffingtonPost.com, and Barron’s, and has been profiled by the NYT. She has spoken at numerous high-profile venues including the U.N., The Clinton Global Initiative, the Aspen Institute, TED, Conscious Capitalism, and many dozens of universities including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Cornell, MIT, UC Berkeley, Dartmouth, and the Wharton School of Business.
Gita is an architect and sustainability specialist with 35+ years of built environment and design experience; she is trained in regenerative systems design, is the CEO of ARG Design, and has served on and chaired many boards. She is committed to regenerative systems approaches that build family, community, and a healthy planet through settlement design, place-making, and development networks. She integrates the disciplines of Urban Design, Planning and Environmental Management, Architecture, and Landscape Design. ARG Design has been the recipient of many Architecture and Planning awards.
Gita has convened conversations between experts from diverse disciplines and engaged in action research and design in India, South Africa, and African countries, that have informed settlement design at many scales. This led her to co-author the 1st Edition. of “2 Billion Strong” in 2012, defining six key pillars that underpin modern African City-Design.
Daniel Yu is an entrepreneur and software developer with extensive personal and professional experience working and traveling across 70+ countries, primarily in emerging economies (Africa, the Middle East, Central America, Brazil, Southeast Asia, and China). Daniel is the founder and CEO of Wasoko, a tech company transforming the $600 billion market of essential goods sold through mom-and-pop stores in Africa through on-demand ordering, delivery, and financing. Backed by over $100M in investment from Tiger Global and other leading investors, he is based in East Africa with ultimate responsibility over all businesses serving tens of thousands of merchants across Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia while partnering with leading manufacturers including Unilever and Procter & Gamble.
Mwanda Phiri-Mwewa is an economist with expertise in research and policy advisory. With a strong understanding of Africa’s socioeconomic context, Mwanda is dedicated to driving economic prosperity and transformation across the continent. As Africa Lead for the Charter Cities Institute (CCI), Mwanda has successfully established and expanded CCI’s presence and recognition globally, particularly in Zambia and the region. Prior to joining CCI, Mwanda served as head of the Trade and Investment Unit at the Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research. She has contributed significantly to key national policy documents in Zambia such as the 7th National Development Plan. Mwanda is a published author with 10 years of working experience. Her research interests include inclusive and sustainable industrial development, structural transformation, trade, governance, and private sector development. Mwanda’s expertise has been recognized through appointments to influential networks like the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Complex Risks and Zambia’s Capital Markets Tribunal.
Pudence Rubingisa was elected to a five-year term as Mayor of Kigali in 2019. Throughout his professional career, he has been involved in the world of academia and finance: he was Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Administration and Finance at the University of Rwanda, and before that, he was Vice-Rector in charge of Finance Administration at the Higher Institute of Agriculture and Livestock, he was also Director of the Public Investment Technical Team at the Ministry of Finance. Before being elected Mayor of Kigali, he was the Managing Director of Intare Investments Ltd. In March 2020, as Rwanda faced the onset of a major health crisis related to the Covid-19 pandemic, he was able to bring the crisis under control in Kigali, with major screening and preventive measures throughout the City. Rubingisa holds a Master’s degree in Finance from the University of Saint Louis – Belgium and a post-graduate diploma in Public Procurement from the ILI. Rubingisa Pudence’s topics of interest include public finance, urban planning, affordable housing, land use planning, and decentralization. He is very interested in sports, especially running. He is also very passionate about Car Free Day, he joins the people of Kigali every time and actively participates in this car-free day.
Michael Castle-Miller is a Partner and special economic zones and governance reform Lead at Albright Stonebridge Group. He specializes in designing institutional frameworks to govern special economic zones (SEZs), cities, semi-autonomous jurisdictions, and localized policy reforms. With over 35 countries under his belt, he assists clients in drafting laws and regulations, creating administrative agencies, developing policies, and structuring public-private partnerships.
Michael also leads Refugee Cities/SDZ Alliance, a non-profit organization that creates special zones to provide opportunities for refugees and other forced migrants to legally work, start businesses, and build homes and communities while displaced. Prior to this, Michael led Politas Consulting, as well as provided legal and policy advice to government and private-sector clients, and worked at Locus Economica and the World Bank.
Darl Uzu is the Founder, Managing Director, and CEO of Crown Realties Plc. He is a prominent figure in the Nigerian real estate industry and also serves as the lead consultant for Enyimba Economic City. At 70 years of age, Uzu possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience, having previously served as the Head of Development for Knight Frank & Rutley in the 1980s, as well as teaching at Harvard University before establishing Crown Realties Plc.
Crown Realties Plc is spearheading the PPP project for Enyimba Economic City, which involves collaboration between the private sector, the Abia State Government, and the Federal Government of Nigeria. This project aims to develop a greenfield city spanning 9,464 hectares that will foster growth in various sectors such as manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, entertainment, education, innovation technology hub, commercial, lifestyle residential, and aviation. The overarching goal is to create a self-sustaining business hub that will integrate Nigerian businesses into regional and global value chains.
With a distinguished career spanning over 27 years in the property sector, Willie Vos has emerged as a seasoned senior executive with expertise in real estate, property management, and asset management. Throughout his extensive career, Vos has demonstrated success in various domains such as business development, revenue generation, cost and operations management, and risk mitigation. His strategic acumen and adept leadership have consistently propelled organizations to new heights, earning him a reputation as a transformative force in the industry.
Vos’s passion has found its culmination in the dynamic field of smart city planning, development, and management. Notably, he stands as a driving force alongside his partners, shaping the trajectory of the newly rebranded 2,200-hectare Waterfall City. This ambitious endeavor has emerged as a testament to innovation and excellence within Gauteng, with hopes to emerge as a thriving economic hub that rivals established giants such as Sandton and Johannesburg’s central business district.
Chirag Shah is the Founder and CEO of 1 International FinCentre Associates, an institution that supports governments and investors in creating and operating new economic cities and clusters worldwide. The company aims to bring the experience of world-class cities like Dubai to other markets, and develop world-class infrastructure, both legal and physical, that enables individuals, businesses, and investors to enjoy high economic and social benefits.
With over twenty-five years of experience in various leadership roles, including Strategy, Business Development, Investment, and Consulting, Chirag has achieved double-digit growth and high-impact influence in significant emerging market blocks of the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, Central, and South America. He has worked in the Government sector for 12 years in Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai, in the Financial Sector with American Express, and Consulting with Andersen.
Leander Moons founded his own design and project management consultancy company, Leander Moons Inc., in 2019 in New York. As the project portfolio grew rapidly, Leander, together with Andreas Trampe-Kieslich, established OMT Architects GmbH in Berlin in 2021. Both companies work seamlessly together from the concept design phase through the project delivery on-site, with a goal to create and implement sustainable, equitable, and empowering design solutions for building projects. The most recent projects have placed a special focus on the innovative integration of locally sourced, sustainable building materials, particularly timber.
Before starting his own businesses, Leander worked for leading architectural offices in Europe (Baumschlager Eberle Architects), Africa (Bowman Architects Associates), and North America (nbbj). He supervised the Berlin-based team of Baumschlager Eberle Architects and the Nairobi office of Bowman Architects. He has been leading international consultant teams for complex projects around the globe. Leander has contributed to the realization of numerous projects in different building typologies and his works have received multiple architectural awards.
Ambassador (ret.) Joachim Ruecker is a Senior Advisor at ASG, specializing in management, compliance, special economic zones (SEZs), sustainable development zones, migration, urbanization, and other key areas. With extensive experience in diplomacy, economic policy, human rights, and public infrastructure, he has also served as a consultant to governments and international organizations. Notably, he played a pivotal role as the Special Representative of the Federal Government of Germany for the Middle East Stability Partnership, overseeing the implementation of the “Jordan Compact” to create SEZs in Jordan and generate employment opportunities for Jordanian citizens and Syrian refugees.
Ambassador Ruecker’s distinguished career includes roles as Germany’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, President of the U.N. Human Rights Council, Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General in Kosovo, and other key diplomatic positions. He has also served as Mayor of Sindelfingen, where he initiated environmentally conscious policies and utility restructuring. Holding a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Freiburg, he currently shares his expertise by teaching macroeconomics and foreign trade at Nuertingen-Geislingen University, fluently communicating in English, French, German, and conversational Swedish.
Martín Rama is currently a consultant for the Equitable Growth, Finance, and Institutions Vice Presidency at the World Bank in Washington, DC, and a Senior Economic Advisor for EnCity Group in Singapore. He served as the Chief Economist for the Latin America and Caribbean region of the World Bank from 2019 to 2021 and as the Chief Economist for its South Asia region (based in Delhi) from 2013 to 2018. Previously he was the Director of the World Development Report (WDR) 2013, on Jobs. From 2002 to 2010, Martín Rama was based in Hanoi, where he led the economic program of the World Bank in Vietnam. Prior to moving to operations, he spent ten years with the research department of the World Bank. In parallel with his World Bank duties, from 1990 to 2005 he was a visiting professor at the graduate program in development economics at the Université de Paris I. Martín Rama gained his degree in economics from the Universidad de la República (Uruguay) in 1981, and his PhD in macroeconomics from the Université de Paris I (France) in 1985.
Sina Schlimmer is a Research Fellow at the French Institute of International Relations – Ifri’s Sub-Saharan Africa Center, where she coordinates the ‘Governing the Urban Transition’ research program. She has a genuine interest in the challenges of governing cities and in land issues in East Africa. Her most recent work looks into the governance of new cities in Senegal.
After completing her Ph.D. thesis in political science, which focused on large-scale land acquisitions in Tanzania she specialized on urban land markets during a post-doc at Sciences Po Bordeaux. As a consultant at UN-Habitat in Nairobi, Kenya, she developed expertise in the socio-economic dynamics of rapidly growing cities in Africa. Sina has undertaken several field studies in Benin, Kenya, Senegal, and Tanzania.
Luk Peeters is a founder of ORG Permanent Modernity and serves as the Chief Technical Officer. He specializes in projects that integrate innovations in the construction industry and those that develop public design processes in architecture. He has accrued more than 25 years of experience in architecture, urban planning, and project management dealing with complex, large-scale projects worldwide. Luk has a master’s in Civil Engineering and Architecture from KU Leuven and a master’s in Spatial Planning from KU Leuven and UGent.
Kurtis Lockhart is the Executive Director of the Charter Cities Institute and a Ph.D. candidate in political science at the University of Oxford. His research examines the effect of institutional reforms on public goods provision with a regional focus on sub-Saharan Africa. At Oxford, he’s taught both quantitative methods and African politics. In the field, he has previously worked as a Research Manager for the International Growth Centre (IGC), for Warc Africa (both in Sierra Leone), and for the ELIMU Impact Evaluation Center in Kenya where he managed the implementation of several randomized control trials across many different sectors (health insurance, rural electrification, tax administration, and legal aid).
Kurtis has also completed consulting projects with both Oxford Development Consultancy and Warc Africa. He holds an MSc in Development Management from the London School of Economics where he graduated top of his class, as well as a BA in Economics and Development Studies (First Class Honors) from McGill University.
Jon Vandenheuvel is CEO of Small Farm Cities Africa. Most recently, Jon was Executive Director for Africa E-Commerce for Dubai Ports World (DP World) and is currently an advisor to the National Planning Commission of Malawi, part of the secondary cities research group. Before that, he was a private sector advisor for African e-Commerce for the Universal Postal Union in Ethiopia and has organized infrastructure and research initiatives in Somalia, Kenya, and Nigeria.
He co-founded a laboratory farm on the shores of Lake Volta in Ghana and co-authored a book based on the lab, Africa Risk Dashboard. He has served as a visiting scholar for African Urbanism at MIT. Earlier in his career, Jon served as a staff director for the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. Jon is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Johannesburg, writing on Somalia’s protracted conflict, and holds a master’s from Johns Hopkins University, and bachelor’s from Wheaton College (IL).
Craig Clulow has extensive property development and asset management experience with some of the world’s leading property companies/institutions across all sectors of real estate, including, retail, luxury hotels, grade commercial office, residential, serviced apartments, warehousing, and infrastructure (ports, utilities, rail, roads). This experience has enabled Craig to manage the key components of development and asset management of all real estate projects, including budget forecasting, financial application, design management, project management, and overall departmental management.
Roberta is a seasoned business strategist and marketing expert with proven capabilities and great interest in developing turn-key solutions for African countries. Her passion for reshaping the African Single Story through the business took her to Beijing, where she studied Mandarin, engaged in business culture, and cultivated a deeper understanding of the BRICS initiative from a Chinese perspective. Her partnership in most of the businesses she contributes to is driven by her passion for using technology as a propeller to provide impactful solutions to drive Africa forward by using data and technology to create efficiencies, improve sustainability, create economic development, and enhance the quality of life for Africans. The interdependence between technology, communities, and par-excellence service delivery is Roberta’s winning strategy.
Justin Ziegler currently serves as a co-founder and the COO of Juice. Juice helps businesses in Africa make faster, safer, and cheaper global payments. Justin is focused on building a world-class, operationally efficient organization. Juice surpassed one billion dollars in Total Payment Volume in its first year, setting a record as the fastest startup in Africa to do so.
Prior to co-founding Juice, Justin held multiple roles in African startups including Chief of Staff at Andela. Justin also participated in a 360sqkm new city development project in Southeast Asia. He then led Partnerships at DoubleGDP, a startup building end-to-end software for new cities in Africa. He currently serves on the Founding Council of Itana, a new city project in Lagos, Nigeria, and as a Board Member of the Hong Kong Maritime Museum.
Justin, a New Jersey native, graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University and holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business where he was awarded the Stanford Impact Founders Fellowship. Justin currently lives in Lagos, Nigeria with his wife Lucy Li, and their dog Latke.
Dr. Mark Lutter is the Founder and Chairman of the Charter Cities Institute, a nonprofit building the ecosystem for charter cities. He also serves as the CEO of Braavos Cities, a company that develops charter cities in collaboration with governments and investors. Currently, he is exploring a project in the Caribbean.
Mark is also a Strategic Advisor to the Victoria Harbour Group, which is building a new city for the people of Hong Kong. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Explorer Academy, an educational platform in Zambia. Mark holds a Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University, and his research primarily focused on charter cities. Before launching the Charter Cities Institute, he worked as the Lead Economist for NeWAY Capital, an asset management firm that made early-stage investments in charter cities. His articles have been featured in several publications, including the Chicago Tribune, City Journal, CityAM, and Cato Unbound.
Gaius was born in Zambezi, which is located in the Northwest region of Zambia, at Chitokoloki Mission Hospital. He is an entrepreneur, a missionary, and the founder of Kabakato Holdings Ltd (formerly known as Buildtech Group). This company is a holding company with interests in various sectors including new cities, farm cities, agriculture, hospitality, renewable energy, infrastructure development, and forestry.
In 2020, Gaius played a leading role in a consortium of companies, known as the Bridge Consortium, which focused on developing sustainable infrastructure projects, integrated farm cities, green cities, and road connectivity projects in sub-Saharan Africa. As a pan-Africanist, he is a strong advocate for Africa’s economic emancipation, which he believes can be achieved through long-term investment in key sectors of the economy. This investment will drive economic prosperity and wealth and will be led by the private sector’s commitment to Africa’s development.
Dr Andreas Baumgartner EMBS is passionate about economic and social development, having operated at the crossroads of business, politics, and law for 25 years. He is inspired by meeting and working with people, building bridges, and achieving sustainable impact. He strongly believes in individual freedom of choice, which necessarily comes hand-in-glove with responsibility. Andreas is a board member of Tipolis Pte Ltd, a co-founder of The Metis Institute, and affiliated with EZDA (Economic Zones Development Alliance) as well as involved in multiple other special economic zone/autonomous city and large-scale economic development projects. Actively engaged in politics during his time at the University of Vienna, Austria, he initially joined the international law firm group CMS Transnational Legal Services, before spending nine years as a consultant at McKinsey & Company. At McKinsey, Andreas focused on a combination of public sector/economic development and travel/infrastructure/logistics work (including SEZs), driven by his strong desire for impact. This desire led him to join the Office of Tony Blair/Tony Blair Associates, where – among other responsibilities – he was in charge of government advisory (political advice; policy design; public sector delivery; positioning and narrative development; economic development; regulatory strategies), with a particular focus on the Middle East, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe. Subsequently, he moved to the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), as Executive Director of the Dispute Resolution Authority, before engaging in his current role. Functionally, Andreas’ focus is on strategy and narrative development as well as on legal, regulatory, and judicial matters. Andreas holds two PhDs (in Law, and in Economic and Social Sciences), in conjunction with four Master’s degrees. He is married and the proud father of three children.
Michael Kabungo is an experienced urban and regional planner as well as an environmental management specialist. He has worked for over 22 years in both public and private sectors. Michael has held the position of Director of City Planning in various municipalities in Zambia, and has also been involved in several local and international consultancy projects in urban planning and environmental management. Currently, Michael serves as the Manager for Kalumbila Town Development Corporation (KTDC), which is a subsidiary of First Quantum Minerals (FQM). His responsibilities include developing and managing a new greenfield town in Northwestern Zambia, located next to FQM’s Trident Project. Michael is a Fellow and former President of the Zambia Institute of Planners (ZIP).
Patrick Lamson-Hall is a co-founder and the Principal Urban Planner at Fitted Projects, a leading firm in the planning of new cities and urban special economic zones. As a working planner, he has developed new city projects and urban plans in over thirty cities in Africa, Latin America the Caribbean, and North America, including ZEDE Morazan in Honduras. He is an affiliated scholar at the New York University Marron Institute of Urban Management. He has collaborated on urban planning projects with the Cities Alliance, the Rockefeller Foundation, Bloomberg Associates, UN-Habitat, and the World Bank. As a researcher, his projects have been funded by the National Science Foundation. He is a globally recognized expert on urban growth and urban density and has developed new planning techniques for low-income cities experiencing rapid growth. He is an author of the Atlas of Urban Expansion: 2016 Edition and frequently contributes academic papers to leading journals. He holds a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from the NYU Wagner School of Public Service and is currently a PhD candidate in Public Administration.
Tony is a Design Realization Leader for the Southeast region and Technical Director in Gensler’s Washington, D.C. office. Drawing upon a wide range of architectural experience in both the United States and Africa, he has led design teams through all phases of project work, including some of Gensler’s largest office and mixed-use development projects. Tony prides himself on balancing client goals with project schedules and budget requirements to provide sound advice on technical decisions. An avid mentor to both his fellow designers and his clients, Tony works with a positive energy that is infectious, unlocking the kind of synergies that turn great design concepts into reality. His unique combination of big-picture thinking and detailed technical knowledge is unparalleled in the industry. This, alongside his understanding of the critical role that human relationships play in the creation of successful projects, makes him a truly transformative leader.
Isabel is a Programme Management Officer in UN-Habitat’s Innovation Unit, the United Nations agency responsible for sustainable cities. In her role, she currently leads the Global Alliance of Mayors on Digital Cooperation among other projects related to digitalization and climate smart cities. She has over 10 years of experience in sustainable urban development, with a keen interest in bridging public policy and innovative solutions to improve people’s lives and create better cities for all. Her expertise lies in policy advice and formulation, strategic research, data analysis, and partnership development in areas of digital technology, climate-smart cities, and local capacity building. In her ability to influence strategic development decisions, she has negotiated a variety of projects with diverse partners. Countries she has worked in include Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Seychelles, São Tomé and Príncipe, China, Myanmar, and Iran. Prior to the UN, she worked in quality assurance and portfolio management at the World Bank in Washington, DC, USA. Isabel holds an MSc in Urbanization and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a BA in Liberal Arts and Social Sciences from the University College Maastricht. She holds certificates in project management, results-based management, and design thinking. Isabel also sits on the board of Apprenticeship Job Work (AJW Africa) as well as the Aflé Foundation. She is based in Nairobi, Kenya
Honita Cowaloosur is an Economic Affairs Officer at the Sub-Regional Office for East Africa of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. Honita is a widely published and highly awarded social scientist with experience in senior management roles in the public sector. She has conducted extensive research and published works on the application of China’s Special Economic Zones model in Africa. She has gained an all-rounder perspective on socio-economic development through her tenures in media, academia, regional organizations, and entrepreneurship. Honita is skilled in providing evidence-based policy advice and advocacy, strategic planning, and negotiation. She is a strong development professional with a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) focused on International Relations from the University of St. Andrews and a double Masters in International Relations and Political Science.
Luqman is the co-founder and CEO of Itana. Itana (formerly Talent City) is building Africa’s first Digital Free Zone, an online jurisdiction that provides an ideal do-business environment for global startups, technology, and services companies to operate from Nigeria and scale across Africa. Before this role, he was Chief Visionary Officer and Managing Director of Filmo Real Estate which is one of the leading real estate services and proptech companies in Nigeria, operating in 13 states with 100+ staff strength. In 2018 he was acknowledged by Unite30 as one of the 30 most influential people in Nigeria’s real estate sector.
He previously worked in the UK for leading companies in Technology, Oil & Gas, and Banking before moving back to Nigeria in 2011. He has spent a decade investing, managing, and building tech solutions for large properties, cities, and government authorities.
He has a BSc in Applied Business Management from Imperial College, an MSc in Global Management from the London School of Economics, a Certificate in Finance from The European School of Economics, and completed a post-grad executive program at MIT in Applied Business Analytics. He holds the traditional title of ‘Dan Masanin Sarkin Musulmi’ (Friend to the King and Leader of the Learned) from the 18th Sultan of Sokoto and is a Focal Group member of the Nigerian Federal Government N75billion Youth Investment Fund.
Richard Niwenshuti is the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM). In July 2019 he was appointed as the Coordinator of Single Project Implementation Unit of the Ministry of Trade and Industry where he served for 3 years. Under this docket, his duties were to implement strategic sector support projects including the Greatlakes Trade Facilitation Project funded by the World Bank, the implementation of 3 trade facilitation projects of the World Trade Organization, the enhanced integrated frame supporting export growth and enhancing digital trade.
From July 2017 he served as the Program Coordinator under the Rwanda Development Board, Chief Skills Office with a focus on a project to strengthen education for agricultural development, a joint program between the Government of Rwanda and the Kingdom of Netherlands through the Netherland’s initiative for higher education. Through the program, he initiated the triple helix skills development model bringing together the private sector, education sector, and Government.
Prior to the above, Richard worked with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) through the sustainable business advisory program in the rollout of Business Edge and Smetoolkit to the IFC investee banks, telecommunication companies, and higher learning institutions in Africa, Asia, Middle East and Latin America (Mexico). Niwenshuti has an MBA with a specialization in project management from Mount Kenya University and a Bachelor of Arts in education from the University of Rwanda.
Janice is an Infrastructure Finance specialist with over 17 years of experience in transaction structuring, capital raising through to financial close, strategy development, and capital markets. She is also a thought leader in climate finance, Public Private Partnerships, long-term local currency mobilization, blended finance, and guarantees. Janice has worked in the Banking sector in Africa, Asia, and the United Kingdom. Most recently, she was the Managing Director of GuarantCo – part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group. She has served as a member of the Public Private Partnerships Petitions Committee, among other Boards. Janice holds an Executive MBA from the Said Business School at the University of Oxford, a Master of Laws in Banking and Finance from Kings College, London, and a Bachelor of Laws from Warwick University. Janice will lead on the infrastructure funding and financing pillar across the continent from Nairobi.
Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi is the Secretary-General, United Cities and Local Governments of Africa – UCLGA, Morocco. Mr. Elong Mbassi has held his current position since 2007 coordinating actions in decentralization, support to Local Government services supply, and infrastructure management. From March 1992 to March 2007, he was Secretary-General of the Municipal Development Partnership, West and Central Africa Office based in Cotonou (Benin Republic). He was Secretary-General of the World Association of Cities and Local Authorities Coordination (WACLAC), Geneva and from 1981 to 1991, he was CEO of the first Urban Project co-funded by the World Bank in Cameroon. He was the Special Adviser to the President of the Planning and Cooperation Agency (Agence Coopération et Aménagement), a Paris-based French public company aimed at supporting developing countries in urbanization and territorial development.
Dr. Konyango is a highly experienced Urban and Regional Development Planner and Manager with 27 years of experience in public service. He has worked in different parts of Kenya and held various positions, including Director of Planning and Chief Government Advisor on urban and regional development planning and management. His previous workstations include the Ministry of Lands, the Ministry of Local Government, the Ministry of Northern Kenya, the National Land Commission, and lastly the State Department of Housing and Urban Development. Dr. Konyango has worked with the United Nations Center for Regional Development (UNCRD) and has been recognized for his contributions to Kenya’s development with a Head of State Commendation. His contributions include innovative planning for the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands. He helped to formulate the SAL Policy (ASALs), led the team that formulated the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) and assisted in establishing a Knowledge Management and Knowledge Brokering Centre for the ASALS in Kenya.
Jean-Marie Kananura is the Chief Investment Officer of Rwanda Finance Limited, the company promoting and developing Rwanda as a leading financial destination for international investment and cross-border transactions in Africa. Jean-Marie joined Rwanda Finance as a Business Development Manager in charge of the Central and West African region. Jean-Marie is a Finance professional with more than 15 years of experience in the Banking sector. Prior to joining Rwanda Finance, Jean-Marie worked with Euroclear Bank Brussels, where he worked in Asset Servicing and Securities Post-Trading Operations focusing on Project Management, Business Process Management, and Continuous Improvement. Jean-Marie holds an Executive Master’s Degree in Finance from Solvay Brussels School and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from ICHEC Brussels Management School.