Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin is the founder and chief executive of blueMoon, Ethiopia’s first youth agribusiness incubator. Prior to this, she founded eleni LLC, positioned to be the industry leader in designing, building, and supporting the operations of commodity exchange eco-systems in frontier African markets. Dr. Gabre-Madhin is also founder and former CEO of the highly acclaimed Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX), which she founded and managed from 2008 to late 2012, successfully trading $1.2 billion annually after 3 years of operation.
A globally recognized thought leader on agricultural commodity markets and African development, she has held prior roles at the World Bank, the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, and UNCTAD in Geneva. Eleni Gabre-Madhin has a PhD in applied economics from Stanford University, an MSc in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University, and BA in economics from Cornell University, and was awarded Outstanding Dissertation by the American Agricultural Economics Association in 1999 for her research on Ethiopian grain markets.
Eleni Gabre-Madhin was awarded Devex’ Top 5 Women Global Women of Impact on Development in April 2016 and Africa's Top Woman Pioneer, Innovator & Entrepreneur of 2015 by the Wharton Business School Africa Club. She was named among the 125 Global Women of Impact by Newsweek in April 2013, among 100 Most Influential Africans by New African in 2012, and received the prestigious Yara Prize for Agricultural Transformation in Africa and the African Banker Icon Award, both in 2012. She was named among 50 Women Shaping Africa by The Africa Report in 2011, nominated Outstanding African Businesswoman in 2010, and selected as Ethiopian Person of the Year in 2009. ECX is the first company in Africa to receive the prestigious global CIO100 Award for IT excellence applied to business in 2011 and was named Agricultural Initiative of the Year by Africa Investor in 2011.
Eleni Gabre-Madhin has been featured in the PBS/Wide Angle television 1 hour documentary titled The Market Maker, which aired nationwide in the US in July 2009, and has been covered extensively by the international media, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Financial Times, The Guardian(UK), The Economist, Der Spiegel, Japan Times, Christian Science Monitor, Bloomberg, Reuters, CNN, BBC, RAI Italia, France Arte, African Business, The African Report, among others.
Eleni Gabre-Madhin is a sought after public speaker, participating in high-level fora such as the World Economic Forum, Time/CNN Global CEO Forum, World Export Development Forum, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Clinton Global Initiative, Mo Ibrahim Forum, TED, among others. She was invited to address G8 Leaders at Camp David in May 2012 during the joint session with African heads of state. She is a founding member and Board director of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences, board member of the ONE Africa Policy Advisory Board, member of the Africa 2.0 Advisory Group, and previously member of the Stiglitz Task Force on Africa and the Government of Sweden’s Expert Group on Development. She is a director of Syngenta Corporation in Basel, Switzerland, since 2013.
Mr. Segun Agbaje is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank
plc (GTBank), a foremost African banking group with a client base of over 9 million customers
and business outlays in Nigeria, Cote D Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Uganda and the United Kingdom.
Mr. Agbaje joined GTBank as a pioneer staff in 1991 and rose through the ranks to become Executive Director in 2000, and Deputy Managing Director in 2002. In June 2011, he was appointed Managing Director/CEO of Guaranty Trust Bank plc and has consistently led the Bank to impressive year on year growth in market share and profitability ever since. An alumnus of the Harvard Business School and holder of Bachelor of Science and Masters in Business Administration degrees from the University of San Francisco, USA, Mr. Agbaje has over 20 years of experience in investment and international banking. He is widely regarded as one of Africa s leading CEOs with a reputation for identifying capital opportunities and executing business deals.
Under Mr. Agbaje s leadership GTBank has become one of Nigeria s most profitable banks. His deep understanding of complex businesses and markets has enabled the Bank undertake large ticket transactions in financial advisory, structured and project finance in the real sectors as well as take advantage of opportunities in selected high growth African markets where the Bank has a competitive advantage.
Passionate about innovation and embracing disruptive technologies, Mr. Agbaje has pioneered several innovative and pacesetting products such as the Bank 737, a mobile banking platform that enables customers use their mobile phones to perform basic banking services such as account opening and funds transfer as well as access diverse financial services like airtime purchase, bills payment amongst others. Within a year of its introduction, the Bank 737 service has seen an uptake of over 3 million customers, recorded more than N1 trillion in transactions and gained global recognition for Product of the Year in Africa from Asian Banker Magazine and Best Digital Bank in Africa by Euro Money.
Mr Agbaje has also radically repositioned the bank as the apt financial institution for Small and Medium Enterprises. Understanding the crucial role of small businesses in the sustenance of economic growth and development, he has led the bank to create the GTBank SME MarketHub, an e-commerce platform aimed at boosting the presence and profitability of small businesses through business development support to entrepreneurs.
In recognition of his sterling leadership and consistent outstanding performance, Mr. Agbaje has been the recipient of several awards within and outside Nigeria some of which are; 2016 CEO of the Year by Finance Monthly Magazine, African Banker of the Year Award 2016 and 2012 by the African Banker Magazine, Pan Africa- CEO of the Year Award 2013 from the EMEA Finance. Mr. Agbaje serves on the boards of several other notable companies including GTBank Ghana, GTBank Gambia, GTBank UK and is also a Done_page_image_without_animationirector on MasterCard Advisory Board for Middle East and Africa.
Ade Ayeyemi, 54, was appointed Group Chief Executive Officer of Ecobank in June 2015 and assumed office on September 1, 2015. He is an experienced banker, who before joining Ecobank, had a long and successful career with Citigroup, where he was CEO of Citigroup’s sub-Saharan Africa division based in Johannesburg. Ade is an accounting graduate of the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree with First Class Honours. He also studied at the University of London and is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Programme. A Chartered Accountant, he is also a trained UNIX Administrator and Network Operating Systems Manager. His many interests include business strategy, economics, process engineering and technology.
Ismail Ahmed is the Founder and CEO of WorldRemit (www.worldremit.com), the leading digital money transfer company that's pioneering a mobile approach to sending money around the world.
Ismail founded the company in 2010. Since then it has secured almost $200 million in funding and has been named the fastest growing technology company in the UK. Serving previously as a compliance advisor to the United Nations, Ismail founded the company on the principles of strong compliance procedures, recognizing that the only way to meaningfully reduce the risks in the money transfer industry was to bring the entire process into the digital world.
Ismail has been named one of the top ten most influential black Britons in the UK and won EY Entrepreneur of the year, London and South. Originally from Somaliland, Ismail has worked with the UN in Nairobi and Dubai. He received a scholarship to attend the University of London and has a business degree from London Business School and a PhD in Economics.
Mr. Nyakera is currently the Principal Secretary, Planning and Statistics, in the Ministry of Devolution and Planning in Kenya. Prior to this role, he was the Principal Secretary, State Department of Transport in the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing & Urban Development in Kenya. He was charged with the formulation and oversight of the implementation of national policies on transport in Kenya. He assumed this position in late December 2015.
He was previously the Managing Director, Equity Investment Bank, where he helped found the bank's investment banking subsidiary. Prior to this, he served as the Regional Director, East and Southern Africa of GuarantCo (a $ 215m fund jointly owned by DfID, SECO, FMO and SIDA), who are the Frontier Markets Fund Managers where he was responsible for spearheading GuarantCo's regional mandate to provide infrastructure funding across the East, Central and South African Countries. While there, he oversaw donor logical framework of poverty eradication, gender parity and access to utilities is fully achieved through the GuarantCo's investments.
Mr. Nyakera also has previous experience as the Managing Director NIC Capital Limited where he was responsible for spearheading NIC Capital operations in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania which he attained after serving as Senior Associate, Deputy General Manager, and General Manager within the same institution. While at NIC capital Limited, Mr. Nyakera acquired skills in client sourcing and management, transaction advisory, financial structuring, regional expansion strategy, negotiations, strategy creation and implementation and management.
Before joining NIC capital, Mr. Nyakera served as Financial Analyst, Emerging Markets Investment Banking Team based in London, UK at Citigroup Global Markets where he acquired skills in complex financial modeling, merger and acquisition structures, deal origination, strategic advisory and management of client relationships.
Mr. Nyakera holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Financial Analysis and Decision Engineering) from Stanford University, CA, USA and was awarded the Dean's Award for Exceptional Academic Achievement at the university. He is a Certified public Accountant in Kenya and had previously pursued a Post Graduate Program at Deerfield Academy, MA, USA and also graduated from the Kenya Institute of Management with a certificate in Management Information Systems, Kenya Institute of Management held at Starehe Boys' Centre Technical Training Institute.
Mr. Nyakera regularly gives motivational speeches to students such as those from Jomo Kenyatta University, Mount Kenya University, Starehe Boys' Centre, Starehe Girls' Centre and Tassia Primary School. He enjoys football, reading, travelling, outdoors activities as well as playing scrabble, golf and tennis.