Dr Alex Chioma Otti, OFR is a Nigerian economist, banker, investor, philanthropist, and writer. He was sworn-in on 29 May 2023 as the fifth democratically elected Governor of Abia State and is currently serving his first term in office. Governor Otti was the former Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Bank Plc (now merged with Access Bank), one of the leading retail financial institutions of its time in Nigeria. He began his banking career in 1989 with the Nigerian International Bank, a subsidiary of Citibank New York. Throughout his illustrious career, he was a pivotal part of leading financial institutions such as United Bank for Africa (UBA) and First Bank of Nigeria where he was responsible for over 140 branches in the country. Governor Otti earned an MBA degree from the University of Lagos in 1994. He has attended various international courses at Stanford Business School, Wharton Business School and INSEAD.

Dr Anna Mokgokong is a pioneering South African business leader and champion of community development. As the Executive Chairperson and Co-Founder of Community Investment Holdings (CIH), one of the first black-owned investment companies, she has driven initiatives for inclusive economic growth. Under her leadership, the diversified CIH group has interests across financial services, healthcare, property, and manufacturing. Dr Mokgokong serves on multiple listed company boards, was the first female director of Shoprite Holdings, and was recently given a Legacy Award by The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, South Africa. She is the Chancellor of North-West University, one of the largest institutions of higher education in South Africa.

Lord Simon Woolley is the current principal of Homerton College, one of the constituent colleges of the University of Cambridge. Prior to this position, Lord Woolley had a distinguished career in racial equality advocacy and leadership. He founded Operation Black Vote, the internationally renowned campaigning NGO, in 1996 and served as its Director until 2021. He served as an Equality and Human Rights Commissioner from 2009 to 2012, and in 2018 he was appointed by Prime Minister Theresa May to create and lead the UK Government’s pioneering Race Disparity Unit. Lord Woolley has a track record of addressing representational imbalances, transforming institutions, and nurturing individuals. His cross-party and cross-sector work with Operation Black Vote has seen the number of MPs from black and minority ethnic backgrounds rise from 4 to 65 over the past two decades. He was appointed to the House of Lords as a crossbench life peer in 2020, taking the title Baron Woolley of Woodford.

Mr Farouk M. Gumel is a Group Executive Director and Executive Vice Chairman (Africa) for Tropical General Investments (TGI) Group, a global conglomerate operating across 13 countries with interests spanning the entire food value chain. He chairs WACOT Rice Limited, one of Nigeria’s largest rice mills. Previously, Mr Gumel was a Partner and Head of PwC’s West African Advisory/Consulting practice after working in various roles at PwC in the UK, US and West Africa from 2002-2015. He has served as Chairman of Union Bank of Nigeria and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). Mr Gumel is also a board member of the Corporate Council on Africa, promoting U.S.-Africa business ties.

Mr Hasnen Varawalla has over 30 years of experience across major financial institutions. He began his career at Tata Sons in 1988. He then joined Credit Suisse in 1995, rising to become a Managing Director by 2006. Mr Varawalla subsequently worked at Renaissance Capital in senior investment banking roles, including as Deputy Head and Chair of their infrastructure fund. In 2013, he joined Barclays as a Managing Director in Investment Banking. Since 2019, Mr Varawalla has been the Managing Director and Co-Head of Investment Banking Origination at Absa Group.

Mr Charles “Charlie” Robertson is a highly respected economist and strategist known for his expertise in analyzing global macroeconomic trends, especially in emerging and frontier markets. He currently serves as the Head of Macro Strategy at FIM Partners, an investment firm focused on these markets. Previously, Charlie held senior roles like Global Chief Economist at Renaissance Capital. He is regarded as a thought leader on the intersections of politics, policy, and markets in developing economies. Charlie’s book “The Time Travelling Economist” offers an insightful exploration of how economic ideas and policies have shaped the modern global economy.

Dr Ike Chioke is a performance-oriented professional with over three decades of investment banking experience involving strategic advisory in corporate finance including mergers & acquisitions, project & structured finance, and debt & equity capital markets activities. His professional experience cuts across renowned global financial services institutions including Arthur Andersen, Goldman Sachs, Salomon Smith Barney Inc. and Citigroup. Dr Ike is the Group Managing Director of Afrinvest (West Africa) Limited, an investment management holding company. He is the CEO, Triple A Infrastructure Nigeria Ltd; Chairman, Royal Exchange General Insurance Company Limited; Chairman, Fitness Factory Limited; Chairman, Enugu State Security Trust Fund; National Secretary for the Rhodes Scholarship for West Africa amongst others. Dr Ike attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar (Nigeria & Wadham, 1989) where he graduated with an MPhil in Management Studies.

Mr Kola Aina is an experienced investor, insightful non-executive director, and company chair who is passionate about supporting the growth of startups. He is the founding partner at the Pan-African early-stage VC fund, Ventures Platform Fund. He has a proven track record of success in leading investments in over 100 companies across Africa, India, and the US. This includes payment companies like Paystack and healthcare companies like MDaaS. Mr Aina serves on the boards of multiple organizations, including ARM Financial Advisers, Iron Global Markets, and Reliance HMO. He is the chair of the board of governors of the Lagos Angel Network. As an avid art patron, Kola chairs the advisory board of the Yemisi Shyllon Art Museum and is a member of the Africa Acquisitions Committee (AAC) at the Tate Museum. He is also a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and a fellow of the Aspen Institute USA (ALIWA).

Mr Olumide Soyombo is a key stakeholder in the African technology and startup space, with nearly two decades of experience in building and managing successful businesses and investing in high-impact projects and startups. He is widely recognized for his expertise in strategic partnerships between tech innovators, technological entrepreneurship, and private capital. As Co-Founder at Bluechip Technologies, Olumide leads strategy, implementation, and projects, working to build the company into a tech industry leader. His vision and leadership have been instrumental in driving the company’s success and positioning it for long-term growth and profitability. Today, Bluechip generates over $65 million in annual revenue with offices across nine major European and African cities. In addition to his work at Bluechip, Olumide is the Founder of Voltron Capital, one of Africa’s most prolific venture capital firms. Under his guidance, Voltron has invested in companies with a combined valuation exceeding $5 billion, driving transformative innovations and ideas in Africa by bridging the gap between the startup stage and market dominance through funding and structural support. Olumide has invested in many of the leading tech startups in Nigeria, including Paystack (exited at $200 million), Piggyvest, Moniepoint, LemFi, Talstack, Mono and over 90 others. His keen sense for identifying potential is evident in his track record as an investor.

Mr. Hugh Molotsi is the President and CTO of BuyNothing, a gift economy platform. He is a veteran product and technology leader with over 30 years of experience developing global solutions for small businesses and consumers. Mr Molotsi had a 22-year career at Intuit, where he rose to become an Engineering Fellow, Vice President of Innovation, and the first recipient of Intuit’s Founders Innovation Award for helping launch their payments business. He currently serves on the boards of Barloworld and the Mozilla Corporation. He co-authored the book “The Intrapreneur’s Journey” on fostering innovation cultures in large companies.

Mr Ade Famoti is the Senior Director and Technical Program Manager for Incubations at Microsoft Research. Mr Famoti leads a global team working across Microsoft to accelerate the commercialization of applied research into solutions, with a focus on AI, multi-modal models, and advanced computing technologies. Prior to this role, he worked on AI incubations like Project AirSim in Microsoft’s CTO office. Mr Famoti has experience driving multi-million dollar sales growth and cloud adoption, having held senior leadership positions at Microsoft overseeing cloud/enterprise sales as well as roles at Oracle in this domain.

Mrs Oremeyi Akah is a seasoned customer success leader with over two decades of experience working with multidisciplinary teams in fintech, payment operations, consulting, and customer-centricity across emerging markets and Sub-Saharan Africa. She began her career as an implementation engineer, directly involved in setting up ATM and payment card infrastructure for major banks in the region. Known for driving results and strong business acumen, Mrs Akah now serves as the Chief Customer Success Officer at Interswitch. In this role, she is spearheading the definition and delivery of a customer-centric experience strategy aligned with the company’s core values, ensuring consistent and high-quality customer experiences across all touchpoints.

Ms Khadijah Abu is the Head of Product Expansion at Paystack, a leading African fintech enabling businesses to accept payments. In this role, she focuses on expanding Paystack’s core products into new African markets, achieving product-market fit, and driving customer acquisition and retention strategies. Ms Abu brings over a decade of experience in the Nigerian fintech and payments industry, having managed revenue-generating products worth billions of dollars. Additionally, she serves as a Trustee of Open Banking Nigeria, an effort promoting fintech innovation by connecting startups, banks, and financial institutions.

Mr Simon Bransfield-Garth is the Chief Executive Officer of Azuri Technologies, a pioneering provider of affordable pay-as-you-go solar home solutions for off-grid households across Africa. With over 20 years of experience in clean energy and technology, he has driven Azuri’s mission to broaden energy access through innovative financing models and sustainable technologies. Under his guidance, Azuri has expanded its distributed solar footprint to 12 African countries, impacting nearly 1 million people by enabling access to clean, affordable power. He holds a PhD in Engineering from the University of Cambridge.

Mr Godwin Tom is a veteran music industry executive and entrepreneur dedicated to nurturing African creative talent. With over 20 years of experience, he has worked with and managed renowned artists like Wizkid, Wande Coal, Show Dem Camp, M.I, Waje, Naeto C and Lola Rae. Godwin founded the Creative Industries Initiative for Africa (CIIFA) and the Music Business Academy for Africa to empower the next generation of African creatives and music executives. Through the Academy, he has instilled over a thousand enrollees globally with African-centric business strategies across marketing, PR, branding and more.