The Stanford
Africa Business Forum

Establishing Africa's Place in the Future: New Approaches to Driving Growth


This year's theme

The Africa Business Club is excited to present the 12th Annual Stanford Africa Business Forum: Establishing Africa's Place in the Future: New Approaches to Driving Growth. This year’s forum will invite all of us to think beyond the challenges that are affecting people living on the African continent. For so long we have been fully engrossed, and rightly so, in trying to solve localized challenges. While we must continue doing this, for us to truly reach our potential, we must think global. How can Africans contribute to solving the world’s toughest challenges? For example, what do we need to do in order to be at the center of the fourth industrial revolution? What must we do to help prevent a food shortage crisis as the world’s population continues to grow? What opportunities exist over the next decade for the continent to drive global growth? These pertinent questions will be addressed at the 2019 Stanford Africa Business Forum.

The Stanford Africa Business Forum: Inspiring relevant ideas for business in Africa

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 12 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.


Keynote Speakers

Acha Leke

Acha Leke

Chairman, McKinsey Africa

Dr. Acha Leke is a Senior Partner in McKinsey’s Johannesburg office and Chairman of McKinsey’s Africa practice. He started his career at McKinsey & Company as a Summer Associate in South Africa in 1998. He rejoined the Firm in Atlanta in 1999 and transferred back to Johannesburg in 2002 to help expand the Firm’s activities across Sub-Saharan Africa. Read more... Acha relocated to Lagos in 2010 to open up the Firm’s newly established office in Nigeria, and returned to South Africa in 2014. He leads the Firm’s Private Equity Practice in Africa, and is a member of the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) Council. Until December 2018, he led the Firm’s Public and Social Sector Practice in Africa, and was also the Senior Partner in charge of Global Recruiting for McKinsey worldwide.
Acha serves governments, multinational, and private sector institutions across Africa on issues of economic development, tax administration, growth strategies, holistic transformations, and investment decisions. He has worked across over 20 African countries to date.
Prior to McKinsey, Acha worked as a part-time Consultant on novel techniques to linearize High Power Amplifiers for wireless applications, while completing a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. He also received an M.S. in Electrical Engineering and an M.S. in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management from Stanford University, as well as a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering summa cum laude, with a minor in Economics, from the Georgia Institute of Technology where he graduated as Valedictorian (first Black Valedictorian in the School’s history).
Acha is a co-founder and member of the Global Advisory Council of the African Leadership Academy, a co-educational boarding school which aims to develop the next generation of African leaders. He is also a co-founder of the African Leadership Network, an invitation-only network of young African leaders who aspire to bring prosperity to the Continent. He is a World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Global Leader Alumni (2008), and has received numerous recognitions including Africa’s Young Investment Professional of the year (Africa Investor, 2008); Top 40 men under 40 in South Africa (Destiny Man, 2010); Top 10 Youngest Power Men in Africa (Forbes, 2011); 50 Most Influential Africans (Africa Report, 2012); 100 Most Influential Africans (New African, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016); Top 20 next generation Francophone Africans (Forbes, 2013); Top 40 under 40 in Nigeria (Business Day, 2013); Top 20 Rising Stars in Africa (Euromoney, 2014).
He served on the WEF’s Global Future Council on Economic Growth and Social Inclusion for 2 years, after having served for 8 years on the Global Agenda Council for Africa. He is a member of ONE’s Africa Policy Advisory Board, of the Lagos Business School Advisory Board, and of President Kagame’s African Union (AU) Reform Steering Committee. He co-authored McKinsey’s highly acclaimed series of Lions on the Move reports and the latest book Africa’s Business Revolution: How to Succeed in the World’s Next Big Growth Market. He is regularly featured in various media (CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, Economist, FT, Wall Street Journal, etc.). Acha is from Cameroon, and is fluent in both English and French.

Alain Ebobissé

Alain Ebobissé

CEO, Africa50

Mr. Ebobissé is the Chief Executive Officer of Africa50, the Pan-African infrastructure investment platform capitalized by the African Development Bank and, so far, by 23 African countries and two African Central Banks. Read more... Prior to joining Africa50, Mr. Ebobissé served as the Global Head for the World Bank Group’s Global Infrastructure Project Development Fund (“IFC InfraVentures”) where he oversaw a team of highly skilled and experienced infrastructure specialists and led the development of and investment in several infrastructure projects in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.He led the design, structuring and implementation of IFC InfraVentures from its inception. He also served as Chief Investment Officer in the Global Infrastructure and Natural Resources Department of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private-sector arm of the World Bank Group, based in Washington.

Iyin Aboyeji

Iyin Aboyeji

Co-founder, Andela and FlutterWave

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji is an entrepreneur in the public interest. He is passionate about partnering with missionary talent and capital to build an African future. He spent the last few years as the CEO of Flutterwave, a business building payments technology and infrastructure to connect Africa to the global economy. Read more...
Over those years, he led the company to become one of the fastest growing payments technology businesses of all-time processing over $2 billion across over 50 million transaction with annual revenues of millions of dollars a year. It also attracted significant investment from experienced players in the global payments arena such as Y Combinator (investors in Stripe), Greycroft (investors in Braintree), Greenvisor Capital (Led by the Former CEO of Visa), Mastercard amongst others.
Prior to this, Iyinoluwa co-founded Andela - Africa's largest engineering organization with over 1000 software engineers which has received investment from Mark Zuckerberg and Google Ventures amongst others.
He served as the Deputy Director General for Madam Oby Ezekwesili’s 2019 Presidential Campaign, he is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, a Forbes 30 under 30 honoree and a member of Nigeria's Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council.

Claude Grunitzky

Claude Grunitzky

Chairman, TRUE Africa

Claude Grunitzky is the founder of TRACE and TRUE Africa, a media tech platform championing young African voices all over the world. After securing funding from Google's Digital News Initiative, TRUE Africa now is on a mission to unite the African continent and the African diaspora through culture. Read more... Previously, following a multimillion-dollar financing deal led by Goldman Sachs Group, the TRACE brand was leveraged globally across various magazine, television, event, and interactive platforms, reaching an audience of more than 100 million people. A graduate of London University and MIT, Grunitzky is also a board member at The Watermill Center, a laboratory of inspiration and performance, which provides a unique environment for a global community of emerging and established artists and thinkers to gather and explore new ideas together.

Keynote Fireside Chat

Technology and its Role in Shaping Africa’s Future

Tayo Oviosu

Tayo Oviosu

Founder and CEO, Paga

Tayo has over twelve years of experience in a variety of technical and business roles in High-tech and Private Equity. Most recently, he was Vice President at Travant Capital Partners where he was responsible for executing the firm‘s investment strategy in West Africa. Read more...
Prior to joining Travant, Tayo was a Manager, Corporate Development, at Cisco Systems in San Jose California. In that role, he was responsible for strategy, acquisitions, and private equity investments in four technology sectors - Virtual Computing, Application Networking, Security, and Network Management. Tayo also helped lead Cisco‘s investment expansion in Africa. At Cisco, Tayo led numerous acquisition and private equity investment opportunities, including the $130m acquisition of Reactivity, and investments in Aquantia (10G Base-T, Series A), and Guardium (Database Security, recently sold to IBM). Tayo was also responsible for the private sale of 22% of Cisco‘s South African operations to a consortium of investors in 2007.
Prior to Cisco, Tayo was a Senior Consultant at Deloitte Consulting in the CRM and Technology practice. At Deloitte he worked on cases in five industries – high tech, telecom, pharmacy retail, government, and healthcare. He was primarily responsible for leading technical implementation teams.

Maurizio Caio

Maurizio Caio

Founding and Managing Partner, TLcom

Maurizio Caio is the Founder and Managing Partner of TLcom Capital LLP. Maurizio was a founding partner of Bain & Company in Italy and a Director of Bain & Company, leading the firm’s European TMT practice, and serving clients from the firm’s European and San Francisco offices. Read more... Previously, he was with McKinsey & Company in Europe, focusing on technology and growth strategy. Before founding TLcom, he spent 15 years advising CEOs and senior management of European and Silicon Valley telecommunications and technology companies on strategy, operations, commercial development, strategic partnerships, and merger and acquisitions. Maurizio also served as Deputy Chairman of an international cooperation NGO working with local communities in Central America, East Africa and South East Asia, with a focus on social entrepreneurship and income generating programs. He is the Chairman of the TIDE Foundation.

Tesi Rusagara

Tesi Rusagara

Kigali Innovation City

Tesi represents Kigali Innovation City, whose mission is to attract tech-enabled innovators to launch in Rwanda and scale into Africa and beyond. She was previously with Deloitte Consulting in San Francisco advising financial services clients on digital transformation, growth strategy and divestitures. Read more... Tesi has also worked in the President of Rwanda’s Strategy and Policy Unit where she focused on technology, urbanization and private sector development. Prior to this role, she worked for Bank of Kigali, Rwanda’s largest commercial bank, where she coordinated the bank’s IPO, stood up its Investor Relations function and custody business, and worked on the bank’s retail growth strategy. She previously served as a Board Member of KLab, Rwanda’s first incubator.
Tesi holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate school of Business and a Bachelor of Business Science in Finance from the University of Cape Town.

Anna Prouse

Anna Prouse

Head of Government Relations, Loon LLC (GoogleX)

Anna Prouse represents Loon LLC with governments around the world. She is a highly effective stabilization and transition program manager that has been advising governments for over fifteen years in conflict environments across the Middle East and North Africa. Read more... Since joining Google(X) in 2016 and transitioning to Loon LLC she has been working to introduce innovative technologies across the globe.
Anna Prouse began her career as an ambulance crew member and team leader eventually becoming an International Red Cross Delegate. She also served as a foreign correspondent for “La Repubblica” a major Italian newspaper and reported mainly from Iran, Yemen, and Libya.
In 2003 Anna was selected to run the first Italian Red Cross field hospital in war-torn Baghdad. She was responsible for the hospital’s subsequent move into Baghdad’s Medical City Hospital after the initial emergency phase. She was then asked to join the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad where she served as an advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Health and later as an advisor to the Ministry of Displacement and Migration with the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office.
In 2006 She was appointed by General Petraeus and the Italian and British Governments to lead the reconstruction efforts in Southern Iraq. There she led the Coalition Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in the southern Iraqi Province of Dhi Qar, Nasiriyah. She remained in that position for six years during which she executed projects valued in excess of 1 Billion USD and led a 120-person multi-national team. She was responsible for managing all PRT sectors including Rule of Law, Governance, Agriculture, Public Diplomacy, Economic Development and Health.
After leaving Iraq, Prouse consulted with governments in other war-torn regions such as Somalia, Syria, and Libya then, after two decades in the crossfire, she joined Google X (Google’s “Moonshot Factory”) where her experience with complex governments and environments is being put to use to launch moonshot technologies in the most remote and complex areas of the world.
Anna Prouse was knighted for her work in Iraq and awarded the highest ranking honor of the Italian Republic -- the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, by President Napolitano. She was also awarded the Meritorious Honor Award from the U.S. Department of State for her work in Iraq and twice awarded the Honorary Red Cross Award for Extraordinary Courage, Competence and Dedication.

Ammanuel Zegeye

Ammanuel Zegeye

Associate Partner, McKinsey

Ammanuel Zegeye is an Associate Partner in McKinsey's San Francisco Office where he advises Industrial, Technology and Public Sector clients across strategy, corporate finance and operations topics. Read more... From 2015 to 2017, Ammanuel focused on Economic Development with McKinsey in Ethiopia, growing the Addis Ababa office and advising clients on investment and industrialization strategy. Ammanuel started his career as a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs in New York.
Ammanuel holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and an undergraduate degree in Economics and Economic History from Haverford College and the London School of Economics. In addition, Ammanuel is a member of the Robert S Brookings Society and a board member of the Museum of the African Diaspora (MOAD) in San Francisco.

Past SABF Conferences

2018 2017 2016 2015


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Featured Performances

Falz is a Nigerian recording artist and performer, as well as political activist.

Opening Act: Laolu NYC - performance and visual artist


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Platinum Sponsor
Stanford Seed

Silver Sponsors
McKinsey and Company LADOL
OCP Stanford Office of Vice Provost of Education

Other Sponsors
Paga Stanford Alumni Association

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