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Avril Perry

Director, Africa Expert Network (AXN), United States

Avril Perry is a Director at AXN Insider, a Washington D.C. firm that helps African entrepreneurs build a media presence, secure strategic partnerships, and attract investment in the United States.

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AXN Insider clients represent diverse sectors, including renewable energy, financial technology, data analytics, and the arts. Honoring her Liberian parentage, Avril is passionate about developing entrepreneurship in Africa: she spent three years in sub-Saharan Africa developing strategic communications for social impact projects. Avril has worked in Liberia and Ethiopia for UNFAO, UN Women, UNICEF, and UNOCHA's African Union Liaison Office; and in London for the ESG team of CDC Group, the British government's fund for investing in Asian and African companies. Prior to her work in the development sector, she oversaw operations for global e-commerce and software companies in New York and San Francisco. Avril has also helped develop a fundraising strategy for MEST, a pan-African technology incubator. When she is not working with AXN Insider, Avril advises student entrepreneurs at the Fordham Foundry, a business incubator at Fordham University in New York. Avril holds an MBA from Oxford University and a Master of Science in International Management for the Middle East and North Africa from London's School of Oriental and African Studies. 

Omar Recho

Data Analyst, OCP S.A, Morocco

Omar Recho is a Data Analyst at OCP Group, in charge of risk forecasting and crisis management.

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Prior to that, he studies at the Manhattan Institute of Management in New York, and obtained an MBA in General Management in 2016. In 2014, he worked as a Social Media Associate Manager at the United Nations Department of Puyblic Information in New York, and was in charge of promoting global awareness and partnering with diverse audiences in the MENA region. From 2010 to 2014, he worked as a Senior SAP Financial Supply Chain Management Consultant at Capgemini in Casablanca. Omar Recho obtained an Engineering degree in Aviation/ Airway Management and Operations from the International Academy of Civil Aviation of Casablanca in 2010.

Amilcar Romero

Founder and President, Ankawa International, Peru

Born in the city of Cusco (Peru), Amilcar Romero is an international lawyer from the University of Strasbourg. I worked in different international organizations on human rights and democracy-building. 

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Upon my return to my home country, I created Ankawa International, a Global Action Tank for Social Transformation, providing capacity-building in good governance, development and innovation worldwide.

Andrei Serbin Pont

Research Director, Regional Coordinator for Economic and Social Research – CRIES, Argentina

Andrei Serbin Pont is Research Director at the regional think tank CRIES (Coordinadora Regional de Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales), Expert Consultant at the Secretariat of Strategic Affairs (Presidency of Argentina) and a Professor at Universidad del Salvador. 

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Currently he is undergoing PhD studies in Political Science, Public Administration and International Relations at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, holds a Master´s in International Relations with specialization in Peace, Defense and Security from the San Tiago Dantas Program (Sao Paulo, Brazil), a Bachelor´s in Liberal Arts with orientation in Public Policy from UNSAM (Buenos Aires, Argentina) and graduated from the National Defense School in Argentina. He is a Fellow at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, columnist for Perfil and contributor at DEF, Forbes and Clarín. His main areas of expertise are foreign policy, defense, security, human rights, regional integration, conflict prevention and mass atrocity prevention.

Richard Seshie

President, Association 3535, Ivory Coast

Richard Seshie combines 12 years of experience in the fields of entrepreneurship, social impact entrepreneurship and business development services. He is the founder of Association 3535, a Startup Studio that creates new initiatives to boost startup and entrepreneurship ecosystems in Africa

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Under the Association 3535, he organizes “Les Prix Jeunesse 35<35” that annually recognizes 35 French-speaking Innovators under 35 who are making outstanding achievements benefiting their communities. His career represents a distinctive 360 degree involvement on major occupations related to entrepreneurship and business. He first served in India as a Research Analyst, rating the ESG performance of companies listed on stock markets on behalf of Solaron/Innovest (the former world leader in extra-financial ratings); in Morocco as Community Affairs Coordinator for Microsoft overseeing the implementation of corporate social responsibility programs in North Africa; in Ghana as an Entrepreneur providing technology + rural mobility solutions to farmers; and in Cote d’Ivoire as the President of an organization supporting over 500 promising young entrepreneurs from Africa. Richard contributes regularly his thoughts and opinions on entrepreneurship as reflected in his status as a Top global commentator on social entrepreneurship categories at the now defunct Business Week Business Exchange Social Platform; as a Guest Contributor and Speaker on International Development at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a Speaker at the Conference de Montréal Canada 2017. Through his work, Richard is a 2017 Young Leader of the Africa-France Foundation for Shared Prosperity (a Government of France initiative), a 2016 World Economic Forum Global Shaper, a 2015 Top 150 Young Innovators of the ITU (upon UN oldest agency' 150th Birthday) and the 2012 Orange African Social Entrepreneur of the Year and has been honored with over 30 prizes and fellowships worldwide.

Sandiso Sibisi

Open Innovation Africa Lead, Accenture, South Africa

Sandiso Sibisi is an intrapreneur at Accenture who is leading Open Innovation for Africa, where she finds herself pushing the boundaries for start-ups, by affording them market access opportunities to accelerate their growth.

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She is passionate about development and founded the Born to Succeed programme that is curbing the steep youth unemployment rate in South Africa through education, mentorship and forming private sector alliances. Sandiso is also the former Deputy Chairman of Advancement of Black Accountants South Africa Bursary Fund, which addresses the challenges faced by previously disadvantaged learners in accessing institutions of higher learning due to funding constraints. In 2016, she was selected from a pool of 4000 applicants from South Africa to participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship in the U. S. She also represented South Africa at the World Bank Youth Summit 2016, Washington DC by sharing her EdTech platform called ‘Khwela’, which has completed its pilot phase. Amongst other accolades she is a Sustainable Development Goals ambassador inaugurated by Ambassador Dessima Williams in Canada, a Play Your Part Ambassador with Brand South Africa and Mzansi’s top 100 inspiring and aspiring leaders of 2017

Selassie Tay

Founder and Director, Tongu Youth Agenda for Development, Ghana

Selassie Tay is a young professional with over ten years work experience in the micro finance and non-profit sector mainly in management and leadership roles.

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Growing up in a community that offered very little life opportunity to youth and women, Selassie started and currently runs Tongu Youth Agenda for Development, a non-governmental organization that get youths and women started in life using education, entrepreneurship and microfinance. The organization has mentored over 1,500 high school seniors, trained and resourced 20 young women to start microenterprises and secured scholarship for 3 girls to university and senior high school. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree in Finance, and is currently enrolled in the Certified Expert in Microfinance course at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. He consults on the Adansonia Project, a Bocconi University research project that seeks to provide business training, peer-to-peer mentoring and access to funds for young African entrepreneurs. Prior to this, he was with iDE Ghana on a sanitation project. Selassie is a fellow of the Emerging African Leader’s Program by University of Cape Town; of YALI and Mandela Institute of Development Studies and a finalist of Community Solutions Program by IREX. He’s married and lives in Ghana with his Kenyan wife. He has love for finance, a passion for social enterprise and enjoys watching news and cartoons. His life objective is to impact his world and leave it a better place than he found it.

Chika Uwazie

CEO, TalentBase, Nigeria

Chika Uwazie is a human resource expert and CEO at TalentBase, a Silicon Valley backed startup, which provides human resource software for African businesses.

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Chika believes that sharing knowledge on the intersection between technology and HR as well as advocating for women in technology encourages other women to take a seat at the table. Before working at TalentBase, Chika worked at several international organizations including The Whitaker Group and Exxon Mobil. Chika has been featured on BBC, Wired, and The Guardian for her work in Human Capital and on Afripop and Human IPO for her work in Digital Media. She is a sought-out writer and speaker having written for Ventures Africa, Y Naija, Bella Naija, Forbes. Further she has spoken at Google events, ATBN, Wharton Africa Business Conference, Social Media Week Lagos, Georgetown University and She Leads Africa. She has also been identified as one of Innov8te Magazine's 100 visionary women leaders. Chika holds a Masters degree in Strategic Human Capital Management from Georgetown University.

Lisa Ventura

Acting Head of Civil Society Communities, World Economic Forum, Switzerland

Lisa Ventura leads civil society engagement across the World Economic Forum’s platform to catalyze multistakeholder collaboration.

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She advocates for the critical role that civil society plays in both governance and driving positive change in the global agenda. She also manages the Global Future Council on Human Rights and Technology where she curates thought leadership on the most critical issues shaping human rights and its intersection with technology. Prior, Lisa worked for the International Commission of Jurists and McKinsey & Company. She holds a MA in International Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies; and a BA in European Politics from the University of Nottingham, UK. Lisa is a World Economic Forum Global Leadership Fellow.

Gustavo Vidigal

Special Advisor on Creative Economics, Culture Secretariat of the Federal District, Brazil

Gustavo Vidigal is responsible for implementing the creative economy agenda of the Federal District Government, in the capital of Brazil. Dividing his life between the public service, academic investigation and sociocultural movements, he has devoted his last 10 years to developing policies and thoughts around culture, development, and international cooperation.

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In this period, he had participated in a wide range of initiatives, among which it is possible to highlight the founding of a cultural enterprises incubator at the University of Brasilia, the structuring of the evaluation model of the main local support fund for culture in the county and the coordination of policies for creative economy at the Ministry of Culture of Brazil. In the academic field, has been developing and advocating for the concept of a community-based creative economy.

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