In response to rapidly evolving events surrounding COVID-19 and after considering Stanford University’s guidance on holding large events, we regret to announce the cancellation of the 13th annual Stanford Africa Business Forum scheduled for April 11th. We regret any inconvenience and will be refunding all purchased tickets.


Africa Rx: Winning in the World's Last Growth Market

April 11th 2020



The Stanford Africa Business Club is excited to present the 13th Annual Stanford Africa Business Forum, Winning the Worlds Last Growth Frontier. We aim to explore how best to leverage the potential of the continent to catapult it into a new phase of economic growth. Join us this year as we invite speakers and guests to discuss the challenges and opportunities within the continent as many countries gear up for future growth. Explore the opportunities and challenges that technology can have in transforming local economies, how investment can foster growth and how policy can transform business environments.

The SABF is the premier opportunity to inspire relevant ideas for business in Africa. The one-day conference has consistently attracted over 300 attendees in past years to the Stanford Graduate School of Business for dialogue and networking. Throughout its 13 years in session, the Forum has brought exceptional speakers and panelists to the Stanford campus, providing thought-leadership on transformative and disruptive ideas on the continent. These guests from all corners of the continent span diverse industries and sectors within business, government and nonprofit organizations.

The Forum creates a platform for exceptional business leaders, insightful policy makers, pioneering faculty, and motivated students with a shared interest in shaping the future of business in Africa to exchange powerful ideas and build long-lasting relationships. It is a collaborative effort between the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies (Stanford Seed), the Africa Business Club, Stanford African Students’ Association and Center for African Studies.


The Stanford Africa Business Forum was founded in 2007 by Stanford undergraduate students, Irungu Nyakera and Kwame Ansong-Dwamena based on the following premise: “For many years, the economic potential of African nations has been overshadowed by issues of poverty, underdevelopment, corruption, conflict and meager progress. African economies have been known to depend immensely on the social benevolence of foreign nations and institutions. As such, economic relations in Africa have become characterized with all forms of social investment such as aid, grants, charity and debt relief. Interestingly, however, the concept of business and actual investment in Africa, which is often overlooked, may serve as the key to unlocking true solutions to rectify these problems.”

The 2007 forum was based on the theme: Fostering Entrepreneurial Activities in Africa. Its main objective was to portray Africa in a more positive light than that more commonly seen in the media and create awareness of the diverse and burgeoning opportunities, as well as the extraordinary growth that characterized African countries as they capitalized on years of continued stability.

Today Irungu serves as the Principal Secretary for Planning and Statistics under the Ministry of Devolution and Planning in the Kenyan government. He is the youngest appointee ever for such a top government position. Kwame is a Software Development Engineer in Test at Microsoft Corporation.


The Stanford Africa Business Forum aims to be the leading networking platform for professionals, students, and academics from the U.S. West Coast interested in business and innovation in Africa. By inviting thought leaders and industry professionals from the continent, our goal is to stimulate thought and discussions through engaging keynotes, interactive panels and workshops.





Chairman of MeTL Group
Mohammed Dewji is the owner of the MeTL Group, Tanzania’s largest homegrown company, employing more than 24,000 people across 12 countries in Africa. The MeTL Group, operates in over 35 industries as diverse as trading, agriculture, manufacturing, energy and petroleum, financial services, mobile telephony, infrastructure and real estate, transport, logistics and distribution.


Senior Partner of TLcom Capital
Omobola Johnson is Senior Partner of TLcom Capital, a venture capital firm with recent focus on deal flow generation, investment and value generation in technology companies in sub-saharan Africa. Before joining TLcom, Omobola was Minister of Communication Technology, Nigeria from 2011 to 2015. Prior to serving in the Nigerian government, she gained over 25 years of consulting experience with Accenture including five years as Country Managing Director. Omobola serves on the Board of a number of leading Nigerian and multi-national corporations. She also serves on the Board of the World Wide Web Foundation is the Founding Chairperson and Trustee, Women in Management and Business.


Director, Africa Digital Media Institute and Board Member at Endeavor, ABSA & Centum
Laila Macharia is a non-executive director at the Africa Digital Media group, ABSA Kenya (previously Barclays Kenya) and Centum Investments, the largest listed private equity firm in Eastern Africa. Raised in Kenya, Namibia and Somalia, Laila is a Serial Entrepreneur and Angel Investor, investing in the education, health, finance, property and data sectors, and is a mentor at the scale-up accelerator Endeavor. She has had a decorated career in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors, across institutions such as Clifford Chance, Kaplan & Straton, the Global Fund for Women and USAID. Laila holds a Doctorate in Law and a Master in Laws from the Stanford Law School, a JD from the Cornell Law School and a BA from the University of Oregon.




Zweli is a second year MBA student at the GSB. Prior to this, he was Chief of Staff at Vodacom’s SA business and worked at Coca-Cola covering Southern and East Africa. Zweli started his career at McKinsey. An avid entrepreneur himself, he has founded/ worked in companies in the student space, both accommodation and tutoring. He is passionate blending the real economy with tech in order to create innovative solutions that can help Africa advance and is working on a cleantech startup to implement in South Africa. He ran the pitch competition at last year’s conference.


Sadiq is a second year MBA Student at the Stanford GSB. He previously worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, working out of the Lagos Office and serving African clients. Sadiq studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Manchester and obtained an MPhil from the University of Cambridge in Industrial Systems Manufacturing and Management.He was in charge of Design Thinking Immersion in last year’s conference.


Uzoma is a second year MBA student. Prior to the GSB, she led deal sourcing, transaction execution and value creation for FAFIN, Sahel Capital’s debut fund investing in middle market companies in the food and agriculture sector in Nigeria. She is passionate about using her work as a platform to create trickle-down opportunities for others. She held the role of CFO at last year’s conference.


Saturday April 11, 2020 – Cemex Auditorium

08:00am Arrival, registration and breakfast

08:45am Welcome address by the co-chairs

09:00am Dean’s welcome

09:15am Stanford SEED welcome

09:30am Opening keynote address

10:10am Coffee break

10:20am Morning Panels

11:30am Startup pitch competition finals | Design thinking workshop

01:00pm Lunch at the Arbuckle Pavilion

02:00pm Second Keynote address

03:10pm Afternoon panels

04:15pm Coffee break

04:30pm Closing keynote address

05:30pm Vote of thanks

06:00pm Break

7:00pm Networking reception + Showcase

09:00pm Afterparty


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Stanford Graduate School of Business
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