Meet our Keynote Panelists!

Sustainable Growth in times of Global Uncertainty

Africa is currently the fastest growing region in a world experiencing a sluggish recovery since the global financial crisis of 2008. The World Bank has projected that African economies will continue to expand at a moderately rapid pace, with regional GDP growth strengthening to 5.2 percent yearly in 2015/16, up from 4.6 percent in 2014. However can African economies sustain this growth and even increase it to double digit figures?

Africa’s economic growth is now significantly driven by cumulative factors, such as the improving corporate governance and business climate, increasingly demand driven by a burgeoning middle class, a teeming young population with better education, and a receptive investment climate which is steadily attracting foreign direct investment flows in telecommunications, infrastructure, consumer retail and the natural resources sector which many African economies still considerably rely on. Over-reliance on natural resources has been identified as one of the factors that make African economies vulnerable to global events, such as the drastic drop in oil prices in 2014. It is therefore not surprising that attempts are being made to diversify economies. However, can this diversification and growth be achieved through sustainable means?

Ebola had a dire economic impact on growing economies like Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and beyond, exposing weak structural healthcare systems and the fragility of African states to unforeseen events. The outbreak significantly altered the course of economic progress of these countries, with several investments being stalled or, in some cases, cancelled all together. Ebola revealed the need for Africa to have an all-inclusive and sustainable development agenda, which addresses access to good health care and education as decisively as economic growth is addressed. Post Ebola, have African governments realized how imperative it is to view growth from a broader perspective?

Terror groups with links to global terror networks have destabilized regional peace and security, disrupting business and discouraging local and foreign investments, reiterating the fact that Africa’s development must be tackled on several fronts simultaneously for growth to be truly sustainable.

Good governance and accountability continue to be a challenge, with many African countries being ranked as having the highest levels of corruption in the world. How can Africa implement strong governance structures to put her resources into effective use? How can these economies create an enabling business environment? What are the challenges that entrepreneurs face in this environment?

What approach should African governments take to these multifaceted internal challenges while simultaneously dealing with challenges on a global scale? This year’s keynote panel theme is “Sustainable Growth in times of Global Uncertainty” and it is our intention to open the conference with an engaging and candid dialogue aimed at addressing these knotty issues highlighting and proffering solutions that will lead to a stronger and sustainable Africa.

Lanre Akinola

Moderator: Lanre Akinola, Director BMIA (Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa)

Lanre is working with the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa, coordinating its inaugural pan-African business media convening. He is the former editor of the Financial Times’ flagship Africa publication, This Is Africa, where he was also a founding team member. Lanre is a 2014 Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellow and sought after commentator on contemporary media and African affairs.


Sola David-Borha, CEO, Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC

Sola David-Borha is the Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, a full service financial group with eleven subsidiaries including Stanbic IBTC Bank, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, Stanbic IBTC Stockbrokers, Stanbic IBTC Capital, Stanbic IBTC Trustees and Stanbic IBTC Asset Management.

Prior to this appointment, Sola served as Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC Bank from May 2011 to November 2012. She also served as Deputy Chief Executive of the Bank and Head of Investment Banking Coverage Africa (excluding South Africa). She has acted in other capacities including Acting Managing Director of IBTC Chartered Bank PLC and Executive Director for Corporate & Investment Banking.

She served as a member of the Presidential Committee on Verification and Reconciliation of Fuel Subsidy Payments in 2012, and as a member of the nominating committees of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) in 2013 and Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) in 2014.


Mo Abudu, CEO, EbonyLife TV

Mosunmola Abudu (Mo Abudu), has made her mark in various fields of endeavor as an Executive with ExxonMobil; to being the Founder of Vic Lawrence & Associates, one of Nigeria’s leading outsourcing firms; the Creator, Executive Producer and Hostess of “Moments with Mo” and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of EbonyLife TV; Africa’s First Global Black Entertainment and Lifestyle Network.

EbonyLife TV is Africa’s first Global Black Entertainment and Lifestyle Network changing global perceptions of the African continent through its broadcast of premium, home grown and original programming. With its on the youth aged 18 – 34 and producing over 1000 hours of premium content, EbonyLife TV broadcasts pan African audience on DSTV platform, in the UK on the Talk – Talk and is now available globally to the world through its recently launched VOD service.

Showing exclusively on EbonyLife TV, Moments with Mo; Africa’s first syndicated talk show continues an impressive list of guests, From presidents to Nobel laureates; from celebrities to governors, including the US Secretary of State; Mrs. Hilary Rodham-Clinton, Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of IMF as well as a honours list of African presidents and leaders among other notable guests.

Recently referred to as Africa’s Queen of Media by a CNN’s exposé, she has been recognized by Forbes Media as the first African woman to launch a Pan-African TV channel and described as one of Africa’s most successful women as well as among the 25 Most Powerful Women in Global TV by the Hollywood Reporter amongst many other awards.



Devakumar V. G. Edwin, Group Executive Director, Dangote Group

Mr. D.V.G. Edwin holds a Graduate and Masters Degree in Engineering and he is also a Chartered Engineer. He holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IITM, Holland. He started his career in 1978 and he grew up to the level of Managing Director in 1989 in India. During his career in India in Industrial Management, his areas of focus were industrial engineering, cost reduction, human capital management, general management and project management. He had executed industrial projects funded by the World Bank.

Mr. Edwin joined the Dangote Group in 1992. He has executed almost all the projects of the Group including the spinning mills and the textile processing factory, the packaging materials plant, the sugar refinery, the flour mills, the pasta plant, the cement terminals, the cement plants, the noodles plants, etc.

Having joined the Dangote Group when it was on the threshold of entering into manufacturing activities, Mr. Edwin deployed his wealth of experience to the Group in its growth. He is currently the Group Executive Director (Strategy, Capital Projects & Portfolio Development), handling cement plants construction across the Sub-Saharan Africa and oil & gas projects in Nigeria.


David Cowan, Managing Director & Africa Economist, Citi

David Cowan has been the Africa Economist at Citi since July 2007. Prior to this he worked at the Economist Intelligence Unit for a total of eight years as Senior Economist for Africa and the Director of the Middle East and North Africa team. Before joining the Economist Intelligence Unit, he worked for six years as the Principal Research Officer at the Bank of Botswana, the country’s central bank. He also worked for three years for the Economic Research Unit of the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He has a first degree in Economics from the University of Bath and a PhD from the University of London that examined the impact of Tanzania’s structural adjustment programmes from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s

During his working career, David has built up a wide-ranging knowledge in managing financial and foreign exchange markets in Africa and maximising the benefits of natural resources in African countries.



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