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Driss Ksikes

Director, Centre for Social, Economic and Managerial Studies

Writer, playwright, Driss Ksikes has been a professor at HEM since 1996, director of Cesem, research center of HEM, since 2007. Literary critic and former editor-in-chief of TelQuel magazine (2001-2006), he is currently in charge of research projects media and culture, in partnership with several laboratories in the Maghreb and the Mediterranean.


Professor of methodology, he leads several writing workshops and contributes to several literary journals and international critics. At the initiative of projects putting art, culture and debate in the heart of the city, he is co-founder of the Averroès Meetings in Rabat (2008 - ...), Dabateatr citizen (2009-2012), the Collective of Living together (2012 - ...), public Divan (2014 - ...), and co-scientific scientist of the General States of Culture in Morocco (2012 - ...).

Dominique Lafont

CEO and founder, Lafont Africa Corporation and former President and CEO, Bolloré Africa

Dominique Lafont is a French corporate leader with an extensive experience over Africa.Dominique Lafont is a French corporate leader with an extensive experience over Africa.


Dominique Lafont holds degrees from Sciences Po Paris, the ESSEC Business School and a University degree in business law. Mr. Lafont began his career in 1987 with the Arthur Andersen audit firm, in a position that sent him to emerging countries such as Maghreb and India. In 1995, he worked as the Director of Industrial Participations of the Rivaud Group, before joining the Bolloré Group after its takeover in 1997.  By 1999, Dominique Lafont became the Group's Financial Director for Africa and, in 2002, the Managing Director for Anglophone Africa. From 2005 to 2014, he directed the entire range of Bolloré Group activities across Africa, as Managing Director for Africa (2005-2011) and then as President and CEO of Bolloré Africa Logistics (2011-2014), which has become a leading player in Africa’s development and renowned across emerging countries (55 countries including 45 in Africa, $ 3 billion revenues, 25000 employees). Dominique Lafont used to travel more than 150 days a year in Asia and all over Africa to meet with African and Asian decision-makers. In 2015 Dominique Lafont left the Bolloré Group to set up his own advisory and investment structure, Lafont Africa Corporation. It aims at helping private companies and public bodies to cope with challenges in Africa in business development and investment, and at investing with core investors in new projects in Africa. In this respect, he has been appointed as Executive Chairman of NHV group, specialized in B-to-B helicopter services in Europe and Africa. He has also been appointed as Executive Chairman of Smart City Africa, a new co-investment project between Lafont Africa Corp. and Parkéon, the leading worldwide operator in urban parking solutions. In 2011, Dominique Lafont was raised to the rank of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.

Mpume Langa

KwaZulu Natal Regional Head, Bidvest Bank, South Africa

An accomplished business executive with over 18years experience in strategy, leadership and portfolio management in the financial services industry. Her leadership skills are manifested in high performing teams she has built in the service industry and in successful implementation of turnaround strategy for various businesses.


She is the first African woman to be a Head of Private Banking in Absa. She is the Chairperson of Women in Business at Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry. She was a finalist in the Business Women's Association Regional Business Awards in 2013. Mpume holds a number qualifications from Marketing Diploma, BCom Finance and Strategic Management, MBA in Investment Management and Nexus Leadership From GIBS. She is also a qualified Image, Etiquette and Protocol Consultant from The European School of Protocol in Belgium and Colourworks International.
She is an active driver of women and youth empowerment an advancement Programmes and a speaker on business skills, self development and motivation. The motto she lives by is "Life is beautiful" based on the notion that we choose how we feel towards life. Mpume is a member of The Institute of Directors SA, and also sits on boards of Kzn Children's Hospital Trust, Business Process Enablement South Africa (BPESA). She is the Chairperson of Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry Women in Business Forum. She is the former Regional Chairperson of Businesswomen's Association Durban Branch from 2014 to 2017.

Mosun Layode

Director, African Philanthropy Forum

Mosun Layode serves as the Executive Director of African Philanthropy Forum, an affiliate of the Global Philanthropy Forum.


The APF was launched in 2014 to build a community of African philanthropists and social investors committed to inclusive growth throughout Africa. Mosun has over fifteen years of experience in international development and nonprofit leadership. She most recently served as the Executive Director of WIMBIZ – a leading nonprofit organization focused on elevating the status and influence of women and their contributions to nation building. Prior to this, she was the Executive Director of LEAP (Leadership, Effectiveness, Accountability, Professionalism) Africa which is committed to inspiring and empowering a new cadre of African leaders. Mosun founded Social Runway, a nonprofit organization that supports social innovators. She has also served as an independent development consultant for nonprofit organizations. Mosun studied Urban and Regional Planning at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria and obtained an MSc. in Environmental Resources Management from Lagos State University. She has an MBA from Lagos Business School and benefited from Executive Programs offered by the IESE Business School, Barcelona and Harvard Business School. Mosun currently sits on nonprofit boards and is an alumnus of the United States International Visitors Leadership Program. </p>

Frannie Léautier

Founder and Managing Partner of The Fezembat Group/ Senior Vice President, African Development Bank

Dr. Frannie Léautier was Senior Vice President, African Development Bank, responsible for day to day running of the Bank and leading the intense transformation effort. She is Managing Partner, Fezembat Group, a company she founded, for investment advisory, risk management and leadership development.


Dr. Léautier was Chairperson and Founder of Mkoba, a fund offering growth capital to SMEs in Africa. She spent fifteen years in executive roles at the World Bank: Vice President and Chief of Staff to the President. She led the transformation of the African Capacity Building Foundation as its Executive Secretary. She is Treasurer and Chair of Risk and Audit Committee African Economic Research Consortium (AERC); Founding Board Member Nelson Mandela Institute for Science & Technology; Editorial Board of the Journal of African Trade (JAT); and Advisory Board Member of Institute of Security Studies (ISS). Dr. Léautier is Trustee King Baudouin Foundation USA (KBFUS); Co-chair Council on the Future of Economic Growth and Social Inclusion, and member Core Working Group on the Digital Economy at WEForum.


Kwon Hyung Lee

Head of the Middle East and Africa team, Korea Institute for International Economic Policy

Kwon Hyung Lee is Head of the Middle East and Africa team at the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP). He is also an Adjunct Professor at Graduate School of International and Area Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.


 His research focuses on industrial and energy policies in Middle Eastern countries. His recent publications are on ‘Structures and Risk Factors of Islamic Project Finance’, ‘Logistics Hub Strategy of the GCC Countries and Policy Implications’, ‘Financial Cooperation between Korea and the Middle East in the New Industrial and Financial Environment’ and ‘Lower Oil Prices and Economic Cooperation between Korea and the Middle East’. He holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Economics from Seoul National University and a PhD degree in Economics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.

Christian Leffler

Deputy Secretary General for Economic and Global Issues, European External Action Service

Deputy Secretary General for Economic and Global Issues, Mr.


Leffler obtained a Bachelor's degree in politics and international relations from the LSE. He joined the European Commission in 1996, where he took up the post of Commission “Antici” and Head of the unit in the Secretariat General responsible for the coordination of relations with the Council of Ministers. In 1999, he became the Deputy Head of the Private Office of the Right Honourable Chris Patten, European Commissioner for External Relations. From 2002 until 2007, he was Director in charge of the Middle East and South Mediterranean in the European Commission’s Directorate General for External Relations. He then spent three years as Head of Cabinet of Mrs. Margot Wallström, Commission Vice President for Institutional Relations and Communication. During 2010 Mr. Leffler was Deputy Director General of the DG for Development and relations with African, Caribbean and Pacific States, as well as a senior adviser to EU High Representative for CFSP and European Commission Vice-President Catherine Ashton, assisting her in the preparation for the establishment of the new European External Action Service. From the beginning of 2011 to 2015 he was Managing Director for Americas with the European External Action Service. Mr Leffler took up his current position on 16 September 2015. </p>

Mary Beth Leonard

US ambassador to the African Union

Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard was appointed by President Obama as the Representative of the United States of America to the African Union, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, on July 5, 2016.


She serves as U. S. Permanent Representative to the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). She was previously the U. S. Ambassador to the Republic of Mali from 2011-2014. Most recently, she served as the State Department’s Senior Faculty Advisor at the U. S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, following a year as the Department’s Diplomat in Residence for New England, based at Tufts University. Her service in Mali was recognized with the Department’s Diplomacy for Human Rights Award in 2013, an honor that annually recognizes a U. S. Chief of Mission who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to defending human rights and advancing democratic principles in his or her host country. Ambassador Leonard was the Director for West African Affairs at the U. S. Department of State from 2009-2011, and Deputy Chief of Mission in Bamako, Mali from 2006-2009.


Ian Lesser

Executive Director, Brussels Office and Senior Director for Foreign and Security Policy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States

Ian Lesser is vice president for Foreign Policy at The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) and a member of GMF’s executive team, managing programs across the organization.


He also serves as executive director of the Transatlantic Center, the Brussels office of GMF, and leads GMF’s work on the Mediterranean, Turkey, and the wider Atlantic. He came to the Pacific Council from RAND, where he spent over a decade as a senior analyst and research manager specializing in strategic studies. From 1994-1995, he was a member of the Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff at the U. S. Department of State, responsible for Turkey, Southern Europe, North Africa, and the multilateral track of the Middle East peace process. A frequent commentator for international media, he has written extensively on foreign and security policy issues. Dr. Lesser was educated at the University of Pennsylvania, the London School of Economics, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and received his PhD from Oxford University. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and the Pacific Council on International Policy. He serves on the advisory boards of the International Spectator, Turkish Policy Quarterly, and Insight Turkey, and has been a senior fellow of the Onassis Foundation in Athens and the Luso-American Foundation in Lisbon. He serves as a senior advisor to the Commander, US European Command (EUCOM). </p>

Jean-David Levitte

Ambassador Institut de France

Today a member of the Institut de France, a professor at Sciences-Po in Paris and a Distinguished Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, and a Senior Policy Advisor at ESL-Agence Publics group, Jean-David Levitte has had a distinguished and outstanding career in the French Foreign Service, serving on the staff of three French Presidents and holding key senior positions in the French Foreign Service.


From 2007 to 2012, Ambassador Levitte was the Senior Diplomatic Adviser and Sherpa of President Sarkozy. He served as Ambassador to the United States, from 2003 to 2007 during the difficult period of the war in Iraq. From 2000 to 2002, he was the French Ambassador to the United Nations. In New York, Ambassador Levitte successfully handled several international negotiations, including resolution 1441 on Iraq. Ambassador Levitte served as Senior Diplomatic Adviser and Sherpa of President Chirac from 1995 to 2000. From 1990, he held senior positions in the French Foreign Ministry, first as Assistant Secretary for Asia and then as Undersecretary for Cultural and Scientific Cooperation. Ambassador Levitte earned a law degree and is a graduate of Sciences-Po (the renowned Institute for Political Science in Paris) and of the National School of Oriental Languages, where he studied Chinese and Indonesian. </p>