Self-made man Évariste Akoumian had an unusual education. He studied science in high school, but took up the study of law in university. Thereafter, the business bug bit him, and he switched to the retail sale of computer products. His inquisitive nature led him to experimentation of various sorts. The most important of these inquiries birthed Solarpak, a binder equipped with a solar panel and a lamp.
He explains the Solarpak project’s genesis as follows: “Over the course of my travels, I noticed that most Ivorian households in rural regions often have but a kerosene lantern for a family with five to 10 members. Obviously, the parents have a monopoly over this source of light once nightfall arrives. I thought there should be some type of object that could provide light without necessitating any particular effort to store up energy – on the children’s walk to school, for example. The idea of the binder with a solar panel emerged as the perfect solution.”
The device thus helps youth in non-electrified areas to review their lessons and do their homework when evening comes.
Mr. Alain Carrier works for 20 years in international relations. He holds diplomas in four different fields of study : international public management, intercultural relations, communications and finance. During his career, Mr Carrier has visited over 30 countries, most of them in Africa, Europe and Asia, in which he established relations with foreign governements and business leaders. Amongst others realisations, he contributed to increase the number of international adoptions made by Quebecers by beeing the precursor of many agreements between Quebec and countries in Africa and the former Soviet Union. For the last ten years, he contributed to the development of economic relations between Quebec and various regions of the world, advising Quebec enterprises in their market researches first in China and India, and, for the last seven years, in Africa and in the Middle-East.
Mohamed Kalif is the head of Financial Intermediation and Inclusion at the African Development Bank (AfDB) which covers commercial banks, trade finance, SMEs, insurance, leasing, regional development financial institutions and l financial inclusion. Before joining the Private Sector Department of the AFDB, Mohamed was chief risk of African Development Bank for a period of 7 years.
Prior to joining the AFDB, Mohamed was head of project finance for a commercial bank in Dubai where he was responsible for the development of the bank’s project finance activities throughout the Middle East included Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Oman and India. He also served as a credit manager for one of the largest banks in Saudi Arabia for period of four years.
Mohamed has accumulated 24 years banking experiences, including of risk management, corporate banking and project finance lending in commercial banks and development financial institutions environment.
With more than 35 years of entrepreneurial success, Kerry Adler has built a venerable career as a widely recognized business leader. A true visionary and trailblazer in the renewable energy industry for the past 14 years, Kerry was most recently honoured by the United Nations Global Compact as the 2016 Pioneer for Climate Action.
As one of the first entrepreneurs in North America to advocate for a viable renewable energy industry, Kerry founded SkyPower in 2003. Under Kerry’s leadership, SkyPower has grown to become the largest and one of the most successful developers and owners of utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) energy projects in the world, with vibrant growth in over 60 countries and more than 25 GW of solar projects in various stages of development.
Engineer of the French Institute of Petroleum (IFP 1972) and Engineer in Petrochemistry and Industrial Organic Synthesis (IPSOI 1971) with over 40 years experience in the oil and mining sector. He has held high-ranking positions within State structures and in the private sector.
He served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and Chairman of the Expert Committee of the African Petroleum Producers Association (APPA). He is a Founding member, and the first Chairman, of the African Petroleum Institute. He is a member of the African Energy Leaders Group – West Africa (AELG).
Mr. Samuel Dossou-Aworet plays a strategic role in the promotion and the development of oil majors and African companies in Cameroon, Congo, DRC, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, etc.
He has recently been elected chairman of the African Business Roundtable.
For more than 40 years, Jean-Pierre Paquette has been an advisor and a provider of eco-friendly energy solutions for electric power generation through the use of solar, hydraulic, wind and biowaste energy. He founded Solr-Tek Inc., an engineering firm that designs and installs projects for renewable energy in Canada, the United States and Africa. He also co-founded Mali Solaire, as well as Smart Energy of New England (US) with David Belanger.
Solr-Tek Inc. is rapidly expanding and now has a consultancy division for energy studies, system design, engineering, R&D and project management throughout the world. The firm is registered in Canada and the United States, and has pilot projects and marketing activities in Angola, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Senegal, Tunisia, Rwanda, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Haiti and Djibouti.
Solr-Tek Inc. and its group of partners and associates are fiercely committed to creating sustainable solutions that use renewable energy sources to combat the problem of energy shortage faced by developing countries.
Zahra Maafiri has been the managing director of Maroc Export (the Moroccan centre for the promotion of exports) since February 2013. She has a degree in econometrics.
In 1995, Ms. was awarded a Chevening Scholarship for excellence and pursued an MBA in International Finance in the UK.
Ms. Maafiri has had a varied career, which she began as a magistrate at the Cour des comptes (court of audit) before moving on to a number of high-level jobs at the Ministry of Foreign Trade, including as chief of staff for the Minister. In 2009, she was appointed Director of Trade Policy.
As an economist, she has played an active role in the field of economic diplomacy. In 2004, she was posted as a diplomat in Berlin for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Zahra Maafiri is co-chair of the advisory board of the International Trade Centre in Geneva; president and founder of the Organismes de Promotion du Commerce en Afrique network; a director of the Institut Amadeus, Morocco’s first think tank; and president and founder of the think tank “Think Made in Morocco.”
With an MBA from the European Business Institute (IEA) in Paris, Ms. Abouna has a track record in both the public and private sectors. After an initial experience in the field of finance, she went on to hold strategic positions, first as advisor to the Economic Commission for Africa from 2005 to 2006, then as coordinator for the National Commission of the Gabon Ministry of Trade from 2007 to 2008. Concurrently, she applied her skills and expertise in a senior-level administrative role as Special Advisor to the Minister of Trade from 2000 to 2010.
In 2011, Ms. Abouna was appointed head of Gabon’s Agency for the Promotion of Investment and Exports (APIEX), which later became the National Agency for Investment Promotion. As the latter’s Director General, she has initiated, steered or participated in numerous meetings with national and international investors in a variety of sectors of activity.
Asmâa Morine, Business Owner, expert in business intelligence and president of the Association of Moroccan Women Entrepreneurs of Morocco (AFEM).
Ms. Morine holds a postgraduate in International Business and an MBA in business intelligence and strategic management from the EGE Paris; she is an experienced entrepreneur and a very active woman in the economic sphere in favor women empowerment. She is of Moroccan origin.
Very active in Morocco, Asmâa Morine Azzouzi has accumulated a lot of experience in strategic consulting firms. Her areas of intervention are focused on the MENA region, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa. Model for Female Entrepreneurship, she has over 20 years of professional experience including 15 years of entrepreneurship and is a member of several professional associations or Think Tanks, Vice President of Business intelligence club of Morocco in Paris and representative in Morocco of the AEGE (Alumni of the EGE Paris).
Member of the FCEM Committee (World Federation of Women Entrepreneurs), Vice President of AFAEMME (Association of Organisations of Mediterranean Businesswomen), Asmâa Morine Azzouzi is also the President of AFEM, the Moroccan Association of Women Entrepreneurs. She also puts all her knowledge and expertise at the service of women aspiring to create their own business and for more responsibility in the economic and social life through a network of women incubators.
Said Ibrahimi was appointed as CEO of Casablanca Finance City Authority in April 2010 by His Majesty King Mohammed VI. He has thirty years of global experience beginning his professional career in France with the Group BNP Paribas. Before joining CFC, he was General Treasurer of the Kingdom, appointed by His Majesty King Mohammed VI in 2003. Previously, he was CEO of the « Crédit Agricole du Maroc » appointed by His Majesty the late King Hassan II.
Said Ibrahimi is an engineer alumni of « Ecole Centrale de Paris » and holds a graduate diploma of industrial engineering.
Arsen Consulting is an independent Moroccan firm specializing in strategic and operational support for public- and private-sector players. With more than 27 years’ experience in a strategic advisory capacity, Mr. Maghnouj has played a role in various strategic decision-making processes concerning the conceptualization and implementation of programs for national, regional and sectoral development. Accordingly, he is well versed in the processes of strategic transformation as they relate to emerging countries.
Development officer for Africa for the firm Mazars Audit & Conseil, Mr. Diop is a professional accountant with over 25 years’ experience in auditing and consultation in the economic environment of Morocco and sub-Saharan Africa. He makes regular interventions as an auditor, or as an advisor to the Kingdom’s major private and public groups, technical development partners, and national SMEs. Since 2015, Mr. Diop is Chairman of the African and South-South Commission of the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM). He is involved in actions to promote Morocco across Africa. His interest in South-South cooperation, and particularly for cooperation between Morocco and other African countries, make him a sought-after lecturer at forums dealing with issues on a continental scale, where he provides insight and recommendations.
Mr. Mekuria Lemma is a Power Economist by profession for more than 29 years. He has been working for the then called Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation, and now Ethiopian Electric Power since 1986.
Obi Emekekwue is the Head of the Communications and Events Management Department at the African Export-Import Bank, with responsibility for managing the design and implementation of the Bank’s communications strategy and overseeing the organization of all its events and brand implementation.
Prior to joining Afreximbank in September 2012, Mr. Emekekwue worked for 18 years at the United Nations, both at the Headquarters in New York and in the field.
His United Nations experience included stints as Public Information Officer, Media Specialist and Programme Specialist in several agencies, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), with tasks spanning such areas as press coverage of the United Nations General Assembly and its Main Committees; management of Africa-focused communications activities at UNDP; and overseeing the implementation of population development programmes and activities in 11 West African countries at UNFPA.
Obi completed his Master of Arts in international relations at St. John’s University, New York, and received a post graduate certificate in international law and diplomacy from the same institution. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Honourable Francine Landry was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick on September 22, 2014, as the member for the new riding of Madawaska Les Lacs-Edmundston. She was sworn in as Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour and Minister responsible for La Francophonie on October 7, 2014. In June 2016, she was appointed Minister of Economic Development and Minister responsible for Opportunities NB, keeping her appointment as Minister responsible for La Francophonie. Ms. Landry is Vice-Chair of the Jobs Board and a member of the Legislative Instruments and Regulations Board.
With an extensive experience as a businesswoman in economic development, tourism, and culture,
Ms. Landry holds a bachelor’s degree in administration from the Université de Moncton, a certificate in economic development from the Université du Québec à Montréal, and a diploma in business technology from the Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick.
Daniele Henkel is a businesswoman who created a strong and unique brand in the province of Quebec. Her eponymous company aims to reconcile health and business with the installation of care facilities within the workplace, thus enforcing the concept of wellness as a new social norm in the business world.
Daniele Henkel is at the forefront of the fight for a stronger corporate Quebec and a fierce advocate of the promotion of women entrepreneurship in Quebec; she does not hesitate to finance, support and mentor businesses in which she believes in, as demonstrated during her five seasons on Quebec’s ‘’Dragon’s Den’’. Daniele Henkel is a woman who skillfully uses her voice and expertise on panels across the globe.
Through her impactful series of conferences in North America, Europe and Africa, she shares her experiences and strong beliefs in education with future generations of entrepreneurs. Daniele Henkel is a woman who transforms every challenge into an achievement, across professional and personal lines. Resettlement, immigration, emancipation… her best-selling autobiography has empowered several generations of proud and strong women.
Mr. Lavoie is a graduate of Université de Montréal, with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in computer science and operations research. In addition to being the president of Irosoft, a company specializing in electronic document management, he is a consultant on many of the firm’s strategic mandates, particularly in the area of data management. He has participated in several projects involving the management of legal documentation for public and parapublic bodies in Québec and for Canadian and foreign government agencies and ministries. Mr. Lavoie sits on the board of directors of several organizations, among them TechnoMontréal and the Québec Technology Association (AQT).
Roland KWEMAIN holds a Master’s degree in International Management from IAE de Poitiers, France. He earned a diploma on “CSR and Sustainable Development” from the World Bank Institute.
He is also the Executive Director of Association for Development, Communication and Environment (ADCOME) since 1999. ADCOME focuses on empowering youth and communities with 21st Century ICT skills. So far, ADCOME has installed more than 80 multi media centers in Cameroon, reaching about 300.000 students.
He is the Chairman of Go Ahead Africa Ltd, a leadership and management training and consultancy firm. As part of her CSR policy, Go Ahead Africa Ltd organizes the Cameroon Leadership Academy. It is a free annual leadership program focused on training, empowering and providing networking opportunities for 100 Young Leaders and Entrepreneurs. He is a Coach and Motivational Speaker on Leadership and Entrepreneurship.
He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Catholic University Institute of Buea. He is the National President of the Catholic Men Association of Cameroon.
As JCI President, KWEMAIN travelled extensively to more than 70 countries where JCI is established. During his visits, he met with thousands of young active citizens, heads of state, community leaders and corporate leaders.
Mr. Dido joined Export Development Canada (EDC) in early 2014 as Regional Manager for Africa and has more than 12 years of international and corporate finance, trade, insurance and business development experience, with both multinationals and small and medium enterprises in various sectors. including the export of agricultural commodity products, telecommunications, manufacturing, retail, energy and real estate among others . He was appointed in this role, with the responsibility for trade origination, facilitation and creation through the provision of EDC’s financing and risk mitigation products and services to Canadian exporters and investors. His primary focus is on West and Central Africa.
Before joining EDC, Mr. Dido worked successively for Desjardins Group and Laurentian Bank of Canada as a commercial banker responsible for the business development and the offer of financial solutions to corporate accounts in the Ottawa / Gatineau area.
Mr. Dido holds a Masters in Banking and Finance degree from the University of Caen, France and a Bachelor in Finance and Management Accounting (Honours) degree from the International University of Agadir, Morocco. Mr. Dido is also engaged in the process of obtaining a Certified Professional Accountant designation.
Amel Ghouila, a computer scientist by background, has earned a PhD in Bioinformatics from the Laboratory of Informatics, Robotics and Microelectronics, Montpellier, France in 2013. Ms Ghouila is currently a bioinformatician at Institut Pasteur de Tunis and working on the frame of the the Pan African Bioinformatics network H3ABionet that supports H3Africa researchers and their projects while developing Bioinformatics capacity within Africa. She is the general secretary of the African Society of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology and she has been recently a visiting researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Amel is passionate about knowledge transfer and empowering and educating young girls. She launched the Technovation challenge Tunisian chapter early 2015 to help young girls learning how to address challenges in their communities using by designing mobile applications. More than 650 girls from all over the country have been part of the program and benefited from several trainings and conferences. She is the founder of ATIVAT Tunisia, the organization running the Technovation program among other Technology and innovation related activities for young girls in collaboration with Orange, the US Embassy in Tunisia, UNICEF and UN Women in Tunisia.
Mr. La Salle is a Fellow Chartered Accountant, a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and holds a Commerce Degree and a Masters of Business Administration. In 1980, Mr. La Salle founded Grou, La Salle & Associates, Chartered Accountants. In 1995, Mr. La Salle founded SEMAFO Inc. and held the position of President and Chief Executive Officer of the organization until August 2012. Mr. La Salle is the former Chairman of the Board of Plan International (Canada), one of Canada’s leading NGOs. Today Mr. La Salle is President and CEO of Windiga Energy Inc. a Canadian based Independent Power Producer focused on renewable energy assets in West Africa, Chairman of Algold Resources Ltd (TSX: ALG), a gold exploration company with assets in Mauritania and Burkina Faso, Chairman of Sama Resources Inc. (TSX: SME), a base metal exploration company with assets in Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea and Chairman of the Canadian Council on Africa.
Groupe 3737 is a business incubator and accelerator. Mr. Saintellemy also founded Réno-Metrix, Q-Links Home Automation, OMNI Global, and SMGT Conseils; is a co-founder of iWeartech, Defi3737, BisB Mag, and Capital Plus; and is Vice President and General Manager of the IT systems division of Integrated Device Technology Inc. With over 20 years’ experience under his belt, he is a world-renowned expert on advanced technologies, has been involved with numerous startups and innovations, and holds a number of patents. He sits on several boards and committees, notably on the Advisory Committee for the Québec Strategy on Research and Innovation (SQRI), which reports to Québec’s Ministère de l’Économie, de la Science et de l’Innovation (MESI), and on the Investment Committee of Aligo Innovation, a firm that promotes university research in Québec.
President and founder of Impact Investment inc., a company specialized in import-export and business development between Canada and Africa, Me Vanier represents nearly a hundred companies in Canada and overseas, particularly in Africa, Impact Investment boasts to establish strong and long-lasting business relationships between its corporate clients and stands out by its ability to find the best opportunities for its clients and to meet diversified needs in fields such as renewable energies, agri-food, textile, construction and general commerce.
Arnaud Vanier is a lawyer and member of the Quebec Bar Association since 2015 and a member of the Quebec Immigration Lawyers Association. Having oriented his practice towards Africa since day one, he has quickly distinguished himself among lawyers specialized in business immigration in Canada.
For his involvement in the community, Arnaud Vanier has also been awarded several distinctions, including the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the TD Scholarship for Community Leadership.
Arnaud Vanier graduated from University of Montreal with a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) and has also studied at Shanghai JiaoTong University.
Dr Mima Nedelcovych is President and Chief executive officer ofInitiative for Global Development (IGD), a nonprofit organization that engages corporate leaders to reduce poverty through business growth and investment in Africa. Prior to joining IGD, Dr. Nedelcovych was the Chairman of Schaffer International, the successor company to the Schaffer Global Group. For the Schaffer Group, he is the lead Partner in the establishment of the Markala Sugar Project in Mali, and serves as the Chairman of the Société Sucrière de Markala.
He has also established an independent consulting practice focused on trade facilitation, project development, project finance, and public-private partnerships in Africa. Dr. Nedelcovych has worked with clients such as Carana Corporation, USAID, and Abt Associates to identify and advise investment opportunities in Africa, as well as with corporate clients such as International Green Structures, Illovo Sugar and JML Investments, Novel Commodities Group, and SATAREM Renewable Energies to develop specific investments.
Dr. Nedelcovych also served in the Administration of President George Bush from 1989 to 1993 as the U.S. Executive Director to the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. He was instrumental in formulating the “private sector initiative” at the AfDB, the African Business Roundtable and the African Export-Import Bank.
Mr. Prosper co-leads IFC’s global investment operations and advisory services covering all IFC investment and advisory activities worldwide, encompassing over 2,400 staff. He also oversees IFC’s activities in fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCS), a key priority for the WBG.
Mr. Prosper was previously Vice President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean (CAFLAC) where he led IFC’s investments and advisory services—delivering an investment program of over $9.8 billion in fiscal year 2014 alone, and managing a portfolio of over $20 billion. Under his leadership, CAFLAC generated over $670 million in cash income in FY14.
A Haitian national, Mr. Prosper became Vice President in February 2013. Prior to this, he was IFC Director for Latin America and the Caribbean responsible for all of IFC’s activities in the region. From July 2008 to August 2012, Mr. Prosper was the Director for Eastern and Southern Africa and a co-director of the Africa department.
Prior to joining the IFC, from 1990 to 2000, Mr. Prosper worked for the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), eventually holding responsibility for all operations in Mexico, the Andean countries, Central America, Belize, and Panama.
Hamidou Mamadou Abdou is a Polytechnic Engeneer/MBA with nearly 30 years of experience in planning and implementing engineering and institutional support projects. His experience as a project manager in Canadian engineering firms has helped him lead and coordinate multidisciplinary teams of experts working on the studies, the design, the execution and the management of more than 100 engineering, institutional support, and technical assistance projects in approximately 30 developing countries.
As Vice President of CIMA International, Dr. Mamadou Abdou focused the company’s strategic plan on Africa, a continent with a huge potential for Canadian engineering consulting. Dr. Mamadou Abdou has built an excellent reputation for the firm with several governments and partners such as the World Bank, the African Development Bank, EDC Canada, China Exim Bank, etc. He leads a multidisciplinary team at the head office in Laval, Canada.
Mr. Edoh Kossi AMENOUNVE holds a PhD in Administration and Finance from Laval University in Canada (1995) after an MBA (1992).
Before taking office as CEO of the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM) and the Central Depository/Settlement Bank (DC/BR) in October 2012, Mr. Edoh Kossi AMENOUNVE was from September 2003 to September 2012 Secretary General of the Regional Council for Savings and Financial Markets (CREPMF), the financial market regulation authority of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). Before that, he was CEO of SGI-TOGO, a Brokerage Company of Togo operating in the regional financial market, from 1997 to 2003.
Mr. Edoh Kossi AMENOUNVE led during his position as Secretary General of the CREPMF major financial market reforms namely the review of basic texts, reform guarantees and the introduction of notation, the development of the mortgage market and securitization, harmonization of taxation of securities in the WAEMU and the introduction of tax incentives, review of market pricing.
Since March 2015, he is the Chairman of the West African Capital Markets Integration Council (WACMIC).
A savvy business woman with a great sense of vision, Ms.Ruth Vachon is the President and CEO of the Réseau des Femmes d’affaires du Québec (RFAQ).
She cumulates more than 30 years of entrepreneurial experience, she has traveled the world to give lectures and conduct trade missions in Canada, the United States, Europe and Africa. For her, individual, collective and business prosperity combines with the feminine.
From 2010, when she became the owner of the RFAQ, she brought together, stimulated and engaged her 2,000 members, active in thirteen (13) regions of Quebec, with projects that have mobilized economic development, entrepreneurship and women’s management. She has implemented the 50 + one Advisory Committee and the « Table de la relève », which is respectivly at the origin of the Women’s Economic Development program (the WEConnect International certification) and the « Réseau des jeunes femmes d’affaires du Québec ».
Committed to the inclusion of women and minorities in the business community, she is the recipient of many distinctions awarded by WEConnect International:
Raïssa Okoï is the Development & Partnerships Manager. She has brought some of Voxafrica’s strongest partnerships – such as Forbes Afrique, Equatorial Congo Airlines, and more.
With her Bachelor in Law and her Masters in Political Communication at La Sorbonne University (Paris), Raissa is first of all a dedicated journalist. As such, she produced and presented several Culture, Business and Current Affairs shows at Voxafrica including “Le Point”.
Passionate about Africa’s various cultures, she loves to tell inspiring stories through African successes. A lover of the Arts, she is now the proud mentor of young aspiring journalists, as well as an advisor to entrepreneurs willing to develop Africa.
Souad Elmallem undergraduated studies in Law in Morocco, then in Canada where she graduated from the University of Montréal’s École des Hautes Études Commerciales with a bachelor’s degree in Commerce, and later obtained Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (B.B.A.).
In 2001, after a career at Nortel Networks/FCI, Mrs Emallem joined Bombardier Aerospace to lead the definition and implementation of the Bombardier Manufacturing Information System (BMIS). She then chifted her focus to strategic planning and governance for Information Technologies (IT) in order to further develop IT’s strategic orientation and customer relations.
In 2011, she was named Chief Country Representative in support of Bombardier’s business units on the basis of her interest in the evolution of the aerospace industry in North Africa, her leadership in business development and her ability to successfully lead strategic initiatives. Her mandate was recently extended to cover the entire African continent.
Souad Elmallem is also a founder member of Women In Aerospace – Africa, an association dedicated to expanding women’s opportunities for leadership and increasing their visibility in the aerospace community.