Regarded as one of the most influential women in business in South Africa, Hixonia Nyasulu is the Founder of Ayavuna Women’s Investments (Pty) Ltd, a women-controlled investment vehicle. She is currently a Senior Independent Director at Vivo Energy Plc, a Non-Executive Director at Anglo-American Plc and a board member at Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
Before founding Ayavuna in 2004, she ran T.H. Nyasulu & Associates, a strategy, marketing and research company she started in 1984, where she remains Chairman.
A highly experienced non-executive director, Hixonia has served on the boards of several South African blue-chip companies such as McCarthy Group Ltd, Anglo Platinum Ltd (world’s biggest platinum producer), and Nedbank Ltd, where she became deputy chairman. She was also a member of the JPMorgan Advisory Board until October 2013.
Prior to her appointment as Chairman of Sasol Ltd in 2004, she served as Director of the Company for 7 years. She also served 9 years on the Board of Unilever PLC/NV.
She served as a member of the Banking Enquiry Panel, appointed by the South African Competition Commission and was a founding member of the Advisory Group formed by the World Economic Forum (WEF) to set up a community of global chairmen.
Since 2016, she is the owner and Executive Producer of “H to the power of You”, a Leadership and Talent development TV show, which has broadcast to 48 African countries on the CNBC Africa channel.
A South African national, Hixonia has an Honours Degree in Psychology from the University of Zululand. She holds an Executive Leadership Development Programme Certificate from the Arthur D Little Management Education Institute in Massachusetts. She attended the International Programme for Board Members at the world-renowned Institute of Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Teklewold Atnafu is a macroeconomist currently serving as Senior Macroeconomic Advisor to H.E. Dr. Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Previously Governor of National Bank of Ethiopia from 1998 to 2018, he has overseen Ethiopia’s remarkable economic transformation. During his tenure, Ethiopia registered double-digit economic growth, with poverty rates falling from 63% (at the time of his appointment) to 23% and life expectancy increasing from 46 to 66 years.
Teklewold has over 30 years of experience in macroeconomic policy making, financial sector reform, public administration, and executive leadership. He has served as board member for several national institutions such as the Ethiopian Macroeconomic Management Council, the Board of Directors of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), the National Financial Inclusion Council, the National Development Plan Council, the National Bank of Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Airlines Group, the Addis Hilton International and the Ethiopian Petroleum Supply Enterprise. He was also chair for the Board of Trustees of the Ethiopian Institute of Banking. Since 2018, he is Chairman of the National Export Council and the Private Organizations Employees Social Security Agency Board of Management.
Teklewold holds a Masters in Econometrics from Addis Ababa University, an MBA from the Century University and a BSc in Statistics with a minor in Economics from Addis Ababa University.
Enock Chikava is Deputy Director, Agricultural Development, Global Growth & Opportunity and heads up the IDEAS (Innovations that Drive Effective Agricultural Systems) team. The team develops innovative tools, solutions and business models that more cost-effectively deliver products, services and practices in seed systems, soil health, agronomy, agricultural advisory, and agricultural finance - enabled digitally to reach smallholder farmers at scale.
Enock, an Agricultural Economist by training, has more than 27 years’ experience in Agriculture, with a career spanning from Farmer Organizations, Seed Industry; Agribusiness, Food Processing and now Philanthropy. Enock Chikava was in the African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA) board for eight years and is the former President of AFSTA for the period, 2010 to 2012. He also serves on the board of Onestone Food Security (Zambia). Raised on a smallholder farm in Zimbabwe in a family of eleven, Enock has dedicated his life to work for the success of smallholder farmers through use of modern technologies, innovation and enabling policy environment to raise productivity, incomes, nutrition and eventually transform and propel African and Asian economies towards growth, prosperity and wealth creation.
Duncan, a Kenyan national, is an accomplished senior executive who integrates strategy, organization, process, people, and technology to deliver business goals. A result-driven and forward-looking leader, Duncan is a visionary who has successfully developed and directed complex corporate change initiatives, enterprise growth initiatives, relationships, acquisitions and risk management strategies.
He has a twenty-one year track record of consistent achievement in corporate finance, operations and general management with his most recent assignment being Regional Director/CEO – East Africa of a social venture fund and as Group Chief Finance Officer of a US$100M turnover private equity owned rail operator in Kenya and Uganda.
He has served on the boards of major organisations in East Africa and the UK, including: Rift Valley Railways Ltd, Scion Real, Philafe Engineering Ltd, Acacia Medical Centre Ltd, Botanical Extracts EPZ Ltd, Western Seed and Provident Capital Transfers Ltd (UK), First Access LLC, SolarNow LLC, Sanergy Ltd, TradeMark EA, Town and Country Housing Association (UK).
Frank N. J. Braeken graduated with a degree in Law and holds an MBA degree in Finance from the University of Leuven (Belgium). He is an alumnus of the Wharton Executive Program, Penn University (Philadelphia / USA). In his professional career, he specialized in finance and general management. From 1996 to 2013, he held various management functions in different countries for Unilever, including a position as Regional President of Unilever China (Shanghai), Regional President of Unilever Namca (Dubai), and Regional President of Unilever Africa (Dubai / Durban).
Subsequent to leaving Unilever, Frank has acted as investment advisor for large scale agro and food enterprises on the African continent. He is a member of the board of Swiss engineering group Buhler, Zambia based agro-business Zambeef, Blue Skies, a leading supplier of fruit products in Europe with operations in Africa and Latin America, AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa) and Marie Stopes International. In 2016, he was elected Chairman of the Board of Feronia Inc, a Toronto listed palm oil producer on the African continent.
Victoria Sabula joins The AECF as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to provide leadership and guidance in the implementation of The AECF strategy that seeks to enhance a prosperous and enterprising rural Africa.
Prior to joining The AECF, Victoria served as AGRA’s General Counsel and Corporation Secretary providing strategic oversight on legal advisory, compliance, risk management and governance for AGRA’s programmatic activities across sub-Sahara Africa. During her time at AGRA she actively managed the transition of The AECF from a project within AGRA to an independent subsidiary. Due to her involvement in the transition she has intimate knowledge of the operations of The AECF.
Starting her career with KCB Bank Group, she has extensive experience structuring and negotiating corporate finance transactions, drafting and negotiation of complex contractual agreements, and advising on governance and multi-country regulatory compliance matters. Victoria holds a Bachelor of Law (LL.B) Degree from Moi University, a post Graduate Diploma in Law from Kenya School of Law, a diploma in Human Resource Management from Kenya Institute of Management, and a Masters in Business Administration from Nazarene University.
Victoria is passionate about innovative finance and believes in the potential it has to transform the lives of Africa’s rural communities.
David Governey is an internationally experienced financial and operations professional, and a Chartered Accountant (1974). As a former Director of Finance for three CGIAR Institutes, including the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) from 2001-2014, David brings valuable expertise in international accounting and auditing standards, corporate governance, resource planning, and risk management strategy. He also currently serves as a non-executive director for three non-profit organizations, Self Help Africa in Dublin, Partner Africa in Nairobi, and AfricaRice in Abidjan.
Yana Kakar is the Global Managing Partner Emeritus of Dalberg. Yana specializes in values-based investing. She advises institutional investors, asset managers and portfolio companies on how to transform business models and investment portfolios through sustainable, responsible and impact-oriented strategies. She also advises governments, non-profits and philanthropists on policy, programming and charitable giving strategies that maximize positive social and environmental outcomes, with a focus on gender, youth and SMEs. She is a highly respected contributor to influential media and serves on advisory boards and councils of the Brookings Institution, Convergence, EMPEA, the African Development Bank, and YPO.