• WEDF 2014 speakers
    The World Export Development Forum (WEDF) will bring together over 500 representatives from governments, trade support institutions and businesses to debate and identify solutions that can contribute to sustainable economic growth and development. Confirmed speakers include (in alphabetical order):

    Roman TesfayeRoman Tesfaye Abneh
    Ethiopian First Lady

    Roman Tesfaye Abneh became the First Lady of Ethiopia when her husband was elected Prime Minister in September 2012. She previously served as policy advisor to the President of the Regional Government, and worked in various capacities in Ethiopia’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the country’s Human Rights Commission. Ms. Tesfaye also served as an active member of Southern Regional State parliament for two terms. She holds two master’s degrees in Economics and Leadership, and has taken numerous initiatives targeted to economically empower women.

    Fatima Haram AcylFatima Haram Acyl
    Commissioner for Trade and Industry, African Union


    Fatima Haram Acyl has been the Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the African Union Commission (AUC) since October 2012. She coordinates activities of AU Member States to boost intra-African trade and establish a Continental Free Trade Area. Prior to her current appointment, she served in various capacities, including as Deputy Director-General of the Agricultural Bank of Chad. She has also worked in the financial sector and has been an active member of different non-profit organizations in Canada and the USA.

    Ratnakar AdhikariRatnakar Adhikari
    Executive Director, Enhanced Integrated Framework


    Ratnakar Adhikari leads Enhanced Integrated Framework, which works with 47 least developed countries and 23 donor countries to assist integration of LDCs into the global trading system. Previously, Chief Executive Director of South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE), a regional think tank based in Kathmandu.

    akinola_lanreLanre Akinola
    Editor, This is Africa, Financial Times Limited

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    Lanre Akinola is the editor of This Is Africa, a Financial Times publication. He is also a Trustee and Director at Tutudesk, the South Africa-based charity, and a 2014 Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellowship Associate.

    Marcos AmadeoMarcos Amadeo
    Director General, Ministry of Economic Development, City of Buenos Aires  


    Marcos Amadeo leads the International Trade and Development for the City of Buenos Aires, Argentina. With experience in governmental affairs and stakeholder management strategies for B2Bs and B2Cs, he has previously served as the Deputy Director General for the Creative and Foreign Trade Board and Director General for the government of the City of Buenos Aires. He also developed and led Young Americas Business Trust in Argentina.

    Sondang AnggrainiSondang Anggraini
    Adviser, Office of the Minister for Trade Diplomacy, Ministry of Trade, Indonesia  


    Sondang Anggraini was until recently the Director for Trade in Services Negotiations at Indonesia’s Ministry of Trade. She also paid an instrumental role in the formation of the Indonesian Services Coalition as government liaison. She has served at the Ministry since 1986 in various capacities, including as trade attaché in Brussels, Director for Multilateral Cooperation and Director for Bilateral Cooperation. She is also the Services Convener in APEC and has served as the Co-chair for Working Group on Services in ASEAN and chaired various bilateral and regional negotiations on services.

    Stefano ArganeseStefano Arganese

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    Stefano Arganese is the CEO of DHL Freight for Central Eastern Southern Europe, Americas, Middle East and Africa. Trained as a civil engineer and management expert, he has been at DHL since 1995. DHL is the global market leader in the logistics industry and “The Logistics company for the world”. DHL commits its expertise in international express, air and ocean freight, road and rail transportation, contract logistics and international mail services to its customers.

    Dan AwendoDan Awendo
    CEO, InvesteQ CAPITAL, Kenya

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    Dan Awendo is the founder and CEO of InvesteQ Capital Limited, a company which provides financial solutions to SMEs. He has more than 20 years of experience in audit, accounting, management consultancy and corporate finance advisory. He has worked in senior management positions in both local and international companies and is a board member in various SMEs and the advisory boards of the Kenya Institute of Management and the Youth Enterprise Development Fund. Mr. Awendo and has been listed by The Business Daily as one of Kenya’s “High Impact Entrepreneurs” and one of Kenya’s “CEO’s with Golden Hands”.

    Archana BhatnagarArchana Bhatnagar
    Director, Haylide Chemicals; President, Madhya Association of Women Entrepreneurs, India


    Archana Bhatnagar is both an entrepreneur and a leader of India’s leading women’s business association. She is the head of Haylide Chemicals, a leading manufacturer of specialty cleaning products, based in Jabalpur, in the state of Madhya Pradesh and has also been the chairperson of the Institute Management Committee since 2006. She is committed to empowering women through entrepreneurship and helping women-owned enterprises grow in a sustainable manner.

    Mounir ChaoukiMounir Chaouki
    CEO, Connectit, Morocco (Technopark Casablanca)


    Mounir Chaouki is Associate Partner in charge of business development in the information and communications technology and education sectors at Connectit, based in Casablanca, Morocco. He has more than 14 years international experience in ICT, including 10 years at Nortel as well as in education, as former managing director of the INSEAM Institute, a network of African and European business schools. He has advised many incubators on business strategy.

    Robert DijksterhuisRobert Dijksterhuis
    Head Development Cooperation, RVO.nl, the Netherlands

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    Robert Dijksterhuis manages private sector development instruments and international cooperation programmes at RVO.nl, funded by the Netherlands Ministry for Foreign Trade and International Cooperation. He previously spent over 20 years at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, specializing in entrepreneurship in developing countries, public-private partnerships, gender policies and corporate social responsibility.

    Shawn DonnanShawn Donnan
    World Trade Editor, Financial Times

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    Shawn Donnan leads the FT’s coverage of trade and development globally. He previously served as World News Editor, where he coordinated award-winning coverage of the Eurozone crisis and the Arab spring. Previously he coordinated coverage of the 2008 financial crisis and its aftermath, and served as deputy Asia news editor.

    Bandula EgodageBandula Egodage
    Chairman and CEO, Sri Lanka Export Development Board

    The Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) under Bandula Egodage’s leadership serves as the apex trade promotion institution in the country. Mr. Egodage has also served at Nestle for 28 years, currently as the Assistant Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communications. His responsibilities include marketing and branding. He is also active in supporting private-school sports administration and sponsorships in Sri Lanka, working as a voluntary adviser for several institutions and ministries.

    Jean-Louis EkraJean-Louis Ekra
    President, African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank)

    Jean-Louis Ekra has been leading the Afreximbank in Cairo, Egypt, since January 2005. He previously served as the bank’s Executive Vice President and Senior Executive Vice President. Mr. Ekra has also held senior positions at Citibank in the International Financial Institutions unit and at the Meridien BIAO SA for the West African Economic and Monetary Union region. He was listed among the 100 most influential people of Africa in 2011 by the New African. In 2013, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from African Bankers.

    Bond EmeruwaBond Emeruwa
    Director, Nollywood Workshops and Sage Productions, Nigeria

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    Bond Emeruwa, an award-winning director for Nollywood Workshops, an independent filmmaking company for social change, is also a TED Global Fellow. His next movie, Hidden Hunger, addresses malnutrition, microfinance and poverty. His films on AIDS, child labour, faith and gender-based violence, have received multiple Nigerian and African awards. He has served as the President of the Directors Guild of Nigeria and Chair of the Coalition of Nollywood Guilds and Associations.

    Yves EonnetYves Eonnet
    CEO, Tagattitude, France

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    Yves Eonnet is the CEO of Tagattitude, a mobile money payment provider and payment solutions in more than 30 countries with 35 payment projects. He was previously the CEO of Smart Design and Vice President of Marketing and the head of innovation for the smart card division for Schlumberger.

    Márcio Favilla L. de PaulaMárcio Favilla L. de Paula
    Executive Director for Operational Programmes and Institutional Relations, UNWTO

    Favilla Lucca de Paula has been the Executive Director for Operational Programmes and Institutional Relations at the World Tourism Organization since January 2014. He was previously Vice Minister of the Secretariat of Institutional Relations of the Presidency of Brazil and Brazil’s first Vice Minister of Tourism.

    Cecile FrumanCecile Fruman
    Director, Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, World Bank, USA


    Cecile Fruman currently leads the delivery of country and regional programmes on trade, competitiveness, business regulation and investment facilitation at the Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice of the World Bank. Previously, she served as the manager of the Change Team, a joint project of the World Bank and International Finance Corporation. Ms. Fruman specializes in impact investment and how it can boost economic growth in developing countries.

    Oda GasinzigwaOda Gasinzigwa
    Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Rwanda


    Oda Gasinzigwa, Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, has a long career in facilitating the empowerment of women in Rwanda. She has been the President of the National Women’s Council, headed the Gender Monitoring Office and served as a member of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission. She was also part of the committee to implement the ‘Beijing Recommendations,’ a platform for women’s advancement stemming from the 1995 UN Women conference.

    Francis GatareFrancis Gatare
    CEO, Rwanda Development Board


    Mr. Francis Gatare is the Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board and a Cabinet Member. He has extensive experience in both the public and private sector.
    From 2009 to 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.
    Prior to joining the Office of The President, he served as the Principal Deputy CEO of the Rwanda Development Board. Mr. Gatare also served as the Director General of the Rwanda Investment & Export Promotion Agency in 2007 and 2008.
    From 2005 to 2009, he was the Personal Representative of H.E the President of Rwanda, to the NEPAD Steering Committee.
    Mr. Gatare has served in several managerial positions in UNDP and taught economics at universities.

    Julie GichuruJulie Gichuru
    News Anchor, Citizen TV, Kenya

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    Julie Gichuru hosts the prime time, current affairs show “Sunday Live with Julie Gichuru.” She has pioneered several television programmes on post-election reconciliation.Her business ventures include the online fashion outlet Mimi and Arimus Media, where she is developing many local productions. She co- established the Footprints in Africa Foundation, a platform for discussion on African challenges and opportunities. She is an ambassador for UNICEF and part of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

    Anabel GonzálezAnabel González
    Senior Director, Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, World Bank Group


    Anabel González has extensive experience as a trade policymaker at national and international levels. She has previously served as Minister of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica, Senior Adviser on trade and integration at the Inter-American Development Bank, and Director of the World Trade Organization Agriculture Division. Ms. González also served as the 2012-2014 Chair of the Global Agenda Council on Trade and FDI at the World Economic Forum.

    Arancha GonzalezArancha González
    Executive Director, International Trade Centre

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    Arancha González is the Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC). An expert in international trade and development with 20 years of experience, she has previously held leading positions at the World Trade Organization and the European Commission.

    Helen HaiHelen Hai
    CEO, Made in Africa Initiative, China


    Helen Hai is CEO of Made in Africa Initiative, advising various African governments on industrialization and how to attract foreign direct investment. Until last year she was Vice President of Huajian, one of the largest shoe exporters in China and a top Chinese investor in Africa. She set up Huajian’s flagship shoe factory in Ethiopia, creating 4,000 jobs in less than two years.

    Marcus HöppergerMarcus Höpperger
    Director, Law and Legislative Advice Division, WIPO

    Since joining WIPO in 1992, Marcus Höpperger worked in various positions in international industrial property law – including patents, trademarks, geographical indications, industrial designs and international classifications. Currently, he is Secretary to the WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications. In this function, he was in charge of preparing and holding the WIPO 2006 Diplomatic Conference, which adopted the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks.

    Shada IslamShada Islam
    Policy Director, Friends of Europe

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    Shada Islam is the Director of Policy at Friends of Europe, and is responsible for its Asia Programme and the Development Policy Forum. She was formerly the European correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review, the German News Agency, DPA English Language Service, and Middle East International.

    Yu JianhuaYu Jianhua
    Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the WTO, China

    Yu Jianhua has been China’s Ambassador to the WTO since November 2013. He has been representing his country in multilateral trade negotiations since 2001, when he was appointed Deputy Director-General of the Department of WTO Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation. In 2006, he became Director-General of the Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce. He was promoted to Assistant Minister of Commerce in 2011, a post he held until his appointment as Ambassador in Geneva.

    Abdoulie Jobe Abdoulie Jobe
    Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, the Gambia

    HON. Jobe served as the Director General of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) until July this year, when he was appointed Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment of The Gambia. Additionally, he previously worked as the Managing Director of the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC).

    Vianney KaberaVianney Kabera
    Managing Director, Freshpak Ltd, Rwanda

    Vianney Kabera is the Director-General of Freshpak Rwanda Limited, a company which exports horticulture products to the EU, Middle East countries and Congo, and is involved in farming and development of farmers through outgrower schemes. Mr. Kabera also distributes East African Breweries products and is involved in garment manufacturing in Rwanda and Burundi. In addition, he is a member of the Board of Trustees of KILIMO TRUST and several other Boards in (EAC) the East African Community.

    Eric KacouEric Kacou
    Partner and Co-Founder, Entrepreneurial Solutions

    Eric Kacou is co-founder and CEO of ES Partners. He previously served as Managing Director of OTF Group and led the Rwanda National Innovation and Competitiveness Program, sponsored by President Paul Kagame. He also co-founded the Academy of Leadership in Competitiveness and Prosperity. His Entrepreneurial Solutions for Prosperity for BOP markets was published by Wharton School Publishing. He was also honored as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

     Maurice KagameMaurice Kagame
    CEO, Pivot Access, Rwanda

    Maurice Kagame founded Pivot Access in 2007, and has been helping Rwandans to pay their electricity bills via the internet and their mobile phones since. Using cutting-edge Web 2.0 technology and agile software development methods, the Kigali-based company has developed a service that allows Rwandans to pay their electricity bills online and via their mobile phones. Pivot Access has developed an inter-banking payment system and is now launching a new service, YourVoice, that allows patrons to provide real-time feedback on service at restaurants, hotels and transport companies.

    Françoise KanimbaFrançois Kanimba
    Minister of Trade and Industry, Rwanda

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    As Minister of Trade and Industry, François Kanimba’s emphasis is on improving trade logistics and the horticulture sector in order to expand Rwanda’s export base. Previously, he served as the Governor of the Central Bank of Rwanda and as the World Bank Principal Economist for Rwanda in the areas of macroeconomic management and private sector development.

    Gagan KhuranaGagan Khurana
    Head of Value Chain Partnerships, Grow Africa

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    Gagan Khurana is the Head of Country Operations and Partnerships and leads the Grow Africa engagement in partner countries at the World Economic Forum. He has extensive experience in developing new value chains, agricultural supply chains, innovative solutions for resolving difficult supply chain problems and managing related sustainability issues in food, water and waste management sectors. Prior to his current appointment, Mr. Khurana was working in Latin America where he led agriculture, water and waste related projects.

    Maggie KigoziMaggie Kigozi
    Director, Pepsi Cola Franchise Board, Uganda


    Maggie Kigozi, a medical doctor by profession, is the Director of Crown Beverages (PEPSI) Ltd. She previously served as Executive Director of the Uganda Investment Authority, promoting and facilitating investments in the country. Additionally, she founded the UIA Women Entrepreneurs network to build women’s business capacity and is an advocate for women’s rights. She is a member of the Steering Committee of the Africa-Asia Business Council and the Aspen Institute of Africa Leadership initiative.

    Frederick Kwame KumahFred Kumah
    Director for Africa, WWF, Kenya


    Frederick Kwame Kumah is the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Director of Africa. Working with the WWF Africa Leaders, he led the development of WWF’s Africa 2020 Vision. He was previously Oxfam Great Britain’s Deputy Regional Director for the Horn, East and Central Africa Region, and as a Humanitarian Operations Director for Adra International.

    Amelia KyambaddeAmelia Kyambadde
    Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Uganda

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    Amelia Kyambadde is Uganda’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, and has been the National Treasurer of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) Party since May 2011. Ms. Kyambadde was Chairperson of the COMESA Bureau and Council of Ministers in 2013/2014. With 30 years of civil service experience, she has carried out various research works on the promotion of trade opportunities, effects of marketing variables on non-traditional export crops, and information and communications technology (ICT) for industrialization, with special focus on the promotion of SMEs.

    LamyPascal Lamy
    Chairman, World Committee on Tourism Ethics, UNWTO


    Pascal Lamy is the former Director-General of the World Trade Organization. In addition to his current mandate for the World Tourism Organization, he is a member of the Global Ocean Commission, the Lancet Commission and the UNAIDS commissions. He is Honorary President of Notre Europe - Jacques Delors Institute, President of the Oxford Martin School’s Commission on Future Generations and Vice-President of the Foundation for European Progressive Studies.

    June LavelleJune Lavelle
    President and Chief Consultant, Lavelle & Associates, Inc.


    June Lavelle has been helping business incubation and business acceleration in different countries for over 30 years. She has extensive experience in the business and workforce development services fields, encouraging job creation through entrepreneurship, business incubation and business acceleration. Ms. Lavelle has implemented programs to support youth entrepreneurship, particularly in conflict-sensitive states, and assist victims of trafficking to start-up micro-enterprises. She is currently working with the Egypt's Social Fund for Development Programs to develop and support business incubators and provide quality business development services to micro and small enterprises. Dubbed the “Mother of Invention” by Inc. Magazine, she received the prestigious Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” award in 1992.

    Debasish MallickDebasish Mallick
    Deputy Managing Director, Export-Import Bank of India



    Debashish Mallick has been the Deputy Managing Director of the Export-Import Bank of India since last July. Prior to his appointment he was the Managing Director and CEO of the IDBI Asset Management Company, part of one of India’s largest banks. Previously, he was head of Personal Bankng for IDBI Bank (West Zone). He has nearly 30 years of experience in banking, including in corporate

    Lamin M. MannehLamin M. Manneh
    Resident Coordinator and UN Development Programme Resident Representative, Rwanda


    Lamin M. Manneh has been the United Nations Resident Coordinator and United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative in Rwanda since September 2012. Prior to his current appointment, he served as the UN Resident Coordinator in Congo for four years. Since 1996, Mr. Manneh has served in several Senior Managerial Positions within the United Nations Development Programme. Before serving UNDP, he worked with the African Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund as well as with the Ministry of Economic Planning and the Central Bank in The Gambia.

    Frank MatsaertFrank Matsaert
    CEO, Trademark East Africa


    Frank Matsaert is the CEO of TradeMark East Africa, an NGO which promotes regional trade and economic integration. He is a senior economic development and private sector specialist, with a focus on Africa and Asia. Previously, he was the Senior Growth, Trade and Investment Adviser for East Africa for the UK Department for International Development (DFID) Nairobi office.

    John MirengeJohn Mirenge
    CEO, Rwandair


    Under the leadership of John Mirenge Rwandair has become the fastest growing Airline on the African continent: it plans to serve more than 22 destinations and carry more than 1,000,000 passengers annually in the next 5 years. Previously, as Chief Operating Officer of MTN Rwanda, the biggest private communication company in the country, he launched new products and increased profitability. He joined MTN Rwanda from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning where he was the senior legal advisor to the Minister.

    Josiah MugambiJosiah Mugambi
    Executive Director, IHUB Kenya

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    Josiah Mugambi is the Executive Director of IHUB Kenya, a technology innovation community for investors and technology companies. He previously worked in the telecommunications space with NSN and Huawei. He is also one of the co-founders of Skunkworks, an informal gathering of Kenyan technology enthusiasts.

    MUGISHA M. DavidsonDavidson M. Mugisha
    Managing Director at Wildlife Tours

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    Mugisha M. Davidson has over 18 years of experience in the operation and management of tourism. He is the general manager of Wildlife Tours in Rwanda, a tour operator specialized in high quality, pro-poor and responsible tourism and ecotourism. Mr. Davidson has extensive experience in developing tourism products in communities with traditional knowledge and skills. He involves community members in product branding, marketing and promotion.

    Namara Hannington
    CEO, Private Sector Federation, Rwanda (outgoing) 


    Namara Hannington is the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda’s main business organization. Prior to joining the Private Sector Federation, he held several positions with the Commercial Bank of Rwanda, including heading the corporate banking division, and in marketing and business development functions. He began his career at the Rwanda Investment Export Promotion Agency, the predecessor of the Rwanda Development Board, in charge of special projects.

    Pierre Claver Ndayiragije
    Ambassador and Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Burundi to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva

    H. E. Pierre Claver Ndayiragije is the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Burundi in Geneva to the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. He previously served as a Principal Counsellor for the Vice President of Burundi, and as a senior advisor in many capacities for the Ministry of External Relations. He is also a professor of international relations at the Lumière University of Bujumbura.

    Agatha NderituAgatha Nderitu Danida
    Regional Integration Advisor, Regional Economic Integration Support Programme in East Africa; Senior Consultant, Saana Consulting Ltd


    Agatha Nderitu, Senior Consultant with Saana Consulting based in Arusha, Tanzania, is the regional adviser for the Danida Regional Economic Integration Support Programme, helping Denmark implement its regional integration programmes in East Africa, in cooperation with TradeMark East Africa and the EAC Partnership Fund. Ms. Nderitu has over 15 years of experience in trade and economic development in East Africa. Prior to joining Saana, she served as the Executive Director for the East African Business Council. She had also worked as a Trade Officer with the UK High Commission in Nairobi.

    Peter NdoroPeter Ndoro
    Presenter, South African Broadcasting Network

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    Peter Ndoro is a news anchor for the South African Broadcasting Network, which manages19 radio stations and 4 television channels. He was also the Director for Corporate Communications for CNBC Africa. He was previously a producer of Soul Buddyz on SABC and an anchor and presenter of Business News for Summit TV.

    Richard NewfarmerRichard Newfarmer
    Country Director, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda, International Growth Centre, USA


    Richard Newfarmer is the Director for Rwanda, south Sudan and Uganda for the International Growth Centre and was most recently the  World Bank's Special Representative to the UN and World Trade Organization. He has been published in the Journal of World Trade, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Journal of Development Economics and Foreign Policy and co-edited Breaking into New Markets: Emerging Lessons for Export Diversification.

    Janet NkubanaJanet Nkubana
    Managing Director and Co-Founder, Gahaya Links, Rwanda


    Janet Nkubana and her sister co-founded Gahaya Links in the wake of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide to train rural women and offer them a small shop to sell hand-woven baskets and earn an income. They later met women in their villages and taught them how they could use traditional Rwandan skills to improve the quality and uniqueness of their products. Today Gahaya Links is a growing network of over 4,000 weavers across the country organized in 52 savings cooperatives. 95% of their sales are for exports, and clients include major international chains, such as Macy’s.

    Dayo OgunyemiDayo Ogunyemi
    CEO, 234 Media

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    Dayo Ogunyemi is the CEO of 234 Media, a firm that makes principal investments in Africa's media, entertainment and technology sectors. He has more than two decades of experience as investor, financier, media entrepreneur, entertainment and intellectual property lawyer, and strategy consultant. He has also advised governments and regional economic communities in Africa on policy and regulatory matters relating to intellectual property, the creative industries and technology. In addition, he has served on the boards of UNECA's Africa Information Society Initiative, the African Film Academy, and the Kenya International Film Festival as a film law expert for the World Intellectual Property Organization.

    Mary PetittMary Petitt
    Global Coffee Issues Advisor


    Mary Petitt is former Director of the 100% Colombian Coffee Program and Executive Vice President for the Colombian Coffee Federation Inc. in North America, helping Colombian coffee growers develop and manage branding and sustainability initiatives throughout the coffee industry supply chain. She is a past President of the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and served as Trustee for the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI).

    Mary PetittAgnes Katsonga Phiri
    Vice-Chair for East and Southern Africa, World Customs Organization and Commissioner for Customs and Excise-Imports of the Malawi Revenue Authority


    Agnes Katsonga Phiri, the Commissioner for Customs and Excise at the Malawi Revenue Authority, also serves as the World Customs Organization’s Vice-Chair for East and Southern Africa. She has over 30 years of experience in customs, having worked as Deputy Commissioner for Operations, Regional Manager, Chief Collectors and Head of Inspectorate. Previously, she worked for USAID Trade Hub as a customs expert on trade facilitation. She is also Chair of the board for the Malawi Re-Insurance Company and Vice Chair for the Mozambique Re-Insurance Company.

    Jeroen RoodenburgJeroen Roodenburg
    Ambassador, Private Sector and International Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands

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    Jeroen Roodenburg is the Director for Sustainable Economic Development for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. He previously served as the country’s Ambassador to Iraq, Deputy Head of Mission in India and Head of Political Affairs at the Permanent Mission of the Netherlands to the United Nations.

    Valentine RugwabizaValentine Rugwabiza
    Minister of East African Community, Rwanda


    Valentine Rugwabiza, a former Deputy Director-General of the WTO and Ambassador of Rwanda to the United Nations, has been a member of the country’s Cabinet since October 2013. She served as the CEO of the Rwanda Development Board until July this year, when she was appointed Minister for the East African Community. She was a founding member of the Rwandan Women's Caucus, the association of women entrepreneurs, and the country’s private sector federation.

    Yeşim Müftüler SeviğYeşim Seviğ
    Secretary General, Kagider, Turkey


    Yeşim Müftüler Seviğ has been the Secretary General of the Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey (KAGIDER) since 2009. Prior to joining KAGIDER, she worked for Turkish Airlines and Tekfen Holding, establishing her own company on marketing materials and founded a chocolate factory. She actively works in the Entrepreneurship and Leadership Committee, Communication Committee, International Relations Committee and other projects of KAGIDER. Ms. Müftüler has over 14 years of experience in entrepreneurship and is a member of the expert working group on training for women entrepreneurs.

    Richard SeziberaRichard Sezibera
    Secretary General, East African Community


    Richard Sezibera was appointed as Secretary General of the East African Community in 2011. Previously, he served in various capacities in the Rwandan government, including Minister of Health and Ambassador to the U.S. and Presidential Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region. He is a committed champion of regional integration in East Africa and beyond.

    Ambassador V. B. SoniAmbassador V. B. Soni
    Chaiman at Overseas Infrstructure Alliance( India) Pvt. Ltd., India

    Ambassador V. B. Soni has 35 years of experience working in diplomacy and international trade in India and around the world, having served as Ambassador of India to Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde. He has also served as High Commissioner to several different countries. His background is in diplomacy, international relations/law/trade, history and English literature. Ambassador Soni speaks English, Russian, French, Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi.

    Mulu SolomonMulu Solomon
    Hon. President, Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations

    In addition to her management of Right Vision, Mulu Solomon Bezuneh is the Honorary President of Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations, Vice-President of the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Vice- Chair of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa Business Council. Among her many business and education awards, she received the 2013 Women Leadership Award of the Africa-India Business Summit.

    Alain St.AngeAlain St.Ange
    Minister, Ministry for Tourism and Culture, Seychelles


    Alain St.Ange has been the Minister for Tourism and Culture of Seychelles since March 2012. He is also serving as president of the Indian Ocean Vanilla Islands Regional Organisation, which comprises the islands of La Reunion, Madagascar, Mauritius, Comoros, Mayotte and Seychelles. He has authored a number of books, including those about the political history of Seychelles, his father and the underwater world of the islands. He studied hotel management and tourism in Germany and France.

    Marjorie StrawMarjorie Straw
    Executive Chairman, Caribbean Network of Service Coalitions, Jamaica

    Marjorie Straw is the chair of the Caribbean Network of Service Coalitions. She is also the Special Projects manager at JAMPRO, an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce. In addition, she is the president of Projex Solutions. Previously, she was the Chief Operating Officer at DLW Enterprise.

    Ashish J. ThakkarAshish J. Thakkar
    Founder, Mara Group

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    The Mara Group operates in four continents, with activities ranging from real estate and tourism to financial services, information and communications technology, renewable energy and manufacturing, employing over 4,500 people. The company is operational in 18 African countries. It has a foundation to support emerging African entrepreneurs, with Mara Launchpad incubation centres and a Mara Launch Fund.

    Sandra UweraSandra Uwera
    Coordinator, COMESA Business Council, Rwanda

    A Regional expert, Ms. Uwera brings 13 years’ experience working in private sector, business advocacy and business development, of which 6 years are regionally acquired- in both EAC and COMESA region, and 7 years working in Rwanda, her home country. She is the manager of a 4 year old Regional Business Member Organization-CBC- which represents private sector interests in 19 countries in Africa, under the trade bloc- Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa(COMESA). The CBC is Private Sector Institution of COMESA.

    Bram van HelvoirtBram van Helvoirt
    Programme Manager, CBI, the Netherlands


    Bram van Helvoirt is a senior Programme Manager at the R&D department of the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries, an agency of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, dedicated to supporting SME exporters in developing countries. Previously, he worked as a policy advisor at the Sustainable Economic Development department of the Ministry. He has published various articles on private sector development and the role of institutions in economic development.