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Speakers

Zurab Pololikashvili
Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili is Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) since 1 January 2018 after being elected by the 22nd Session of UNWTO General Assembly. He was Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Georgia to the Kingdom of Spain, the Principality of Andorra, the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria and the Kingdom of Morocco and Permanent Representative of Georgia to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) up to December 2017.

Between 2009 and 2010, he was Minister of Economic Development of Georgia.As a Minister of Economic Development of Georgia, Mr Pololikashvili was responsible for overseeing the country’s long-term fiscal growth strategies, advancing foreign trade and investment policy initiatives as well as for promoting the development of the tourism, infrastructure and transportation sectors. He was instrumental in launching an innovative policy for the development of tourism in Georgia, prioritizing the sphere on both the government and private sector agendas. During Mr Pololikashvili’s tenure as Minister of Economic Development, through key policy reforms, marketing activities, improvement of infrastructure and visa liberalization initiatives, Georgia nearly doubled the number of international tourist arrivals, from 1.5 million (2009) to exceeding the 2.8 million mark by 2011. Those reforms paved the way for sustainable tourism practices in Georgia and poverty alleviation initiatives, placing Georgia among the top tourism destinations in the region. Minister Pololikashvili successfully led the economic liberalization processes, introducing supportive policies for SMEs, and incentive programmes to attract foreign investment for the development of hard and soft infrastructure.

2006 – 2009 Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Georgia to the Kingdom of Spain.

2005 – 2006 Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. In this capacity as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, he supervised the departments for administrative, budgetary, financial and consular affairs, as well as the Department for Human Resources Management. Mr. Pololikashvili was responsible for ushering in a new phase of more liberal and secure visa regimes, facilitation of processes to ease border crossing procedures, and deepening relations with various international organizations, including UNWTO.

Hon. Minister Didier Dogley
Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Marines, Seychelles

Didier Dogley was born in 1964 and was educated in Seychelles. He successfully completed his studies at the University of Applied Sciences Erfurt, in Germany and Reading University, United Kingdom. Later he obtained a Diploma in Management at the Seychelles Institute of Management, now University of Seychelles.

Since 1989 he has been working in the Ministry of Environment. He has held and served in several key posts including Director General for Nature Conservation and Principal Secretary of Environment. Didier was chairperson of the National Planning Authority, Waste and Landscape management Agency and the National Parks Committee. Furthermore he served on several boards of national importance such as the Seychelles Tourism Board, the Island Development Company.

He was the Founding Chairman of the Non-government Organisation called Plant Conservation Action Group; a botanical association, which seeks to promote the conservation and protection of the endemic and indigenous flora of Seychelles.

He played an instrumental role in implementing the Seychelles debt swap for conservation and climate adaptation and the Seychelles Marine Spatial Plan.

The Hon Minister Anil Kumarsingh Gayan
Minister of Tourism, Mauritius

The Hon Minister of Tourism Anil Kumarsingh Gayan, laureate of the Cambridge Higher School Certificate Scholarship (Classical Side) of Royal College, Port Louis in 1968, completed his LLB(Hons) at the London School of Economics in 1972. He was then called to the bar and has been practicing as a barrister since 1973. In 1974 he joined the Attorney’s General Chambers as Crown Counsel. He is also holder of a Master’s Degree in LLM with specialization in international law and law of the sea.

He has been member of Bar of England and Wales since 2007 and also member of African Union (AU) Panel of Eminent persons on Hissen Habre in 2008 to 2014. In 2011 he was the Special Adviser to the Comoros on maritime delimitation issues and at the same time Chairman of AU panel on qualifications of AU Commissioners.

It is useful to highlight that from 2008 to 2014 the Hon Minister of Tourism, was lecturing in the field of International Law with special reference to Collective Security at the University de la Reunion.

He was first elected as Member of Parliament in 1982, he then served as Minister of External Affairs, Tourism and Emigration in 1983. For the period 1989 – 1990, he acted as Chairman of the Bar Council. Then in 1991, he was consultant for Geneva based Centre for Human Rights and did consultancy work on Judiciary and Human Rights in Bhutan, Mongolia, Armenia and Togo. The Hon Minister was appointed Senior Counsel by the President, Republic of Mauritius in 1995.

He further pursued in the political arena as Minister Foreign Affairs and Regional Co-operation from 2000 to 2003 and as Minister of Tourism in 2003 to 2004. Following the last general election in 2014, he was appointed as Minister of Health from Dec 2014 to Jan 2017, then as at date as Minister of Tourism.

Hon. Barbara Oteng-Gyasi
Minister - Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry, Ghana

Hon. Barbara Oteng-Gyasi is the substantive Minister for the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry. She is a lawyer by profession and a Member of Parliament for the Prestea Huni Valley Constituency in the Western Region. She studied law at the University of Ghana, Legon and the Ghana School of Law and was called to the Bar in 1989. She also holds Executive Masters degree from the University of Ghana and a Post-graduate Certificate of Proficiency in Legislative Drafting.

She has held various positions in legal management in both public and private institutions like Shell Ghana Limited, Vivo Energy Ghana Limited, Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF),Vlisco Ghana Group, Unilever Ghana Limited, Ansa Asare Company Limited, Vida L. Buckle &Co., Legal Aid Office, FIDA Ghana. She has served as Secretary, Vice President and President of FIDA,Ghana. She has also served on many boards and is a member in a good standing of the Ghana Bar Association. She was former Deputy Minister for Mines at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources before been appointed at the Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry.

As a Member of Parliament with vast minerals-rich constituency, especially in gold, she is ardent in promoting the set-up of a gold museum in the constituency. Gold has been mined and crafted into traditional ornaments for centuries in the area and currently much of the gold is exported with not much value added. She is also promoting sound environmental tourism by upholding the President’s promise of revamping the tourism and arts industry and making it a major revenue earner for the country.

As sector Minister for the Tourism, Arts and Culture ministry, she believes the Ministry which sole responsibility is policy implementation, evaluation and monitoring can achieve most of its objectives by collaborating with the private sector in terms of partnership to boost tourism potentials in the country. She is also championing and encouraging more women to get involved in the tourism business and also focusing more on the Arts and Culture industry by engaging stakeholders to revamp that sector.

Hon. Nomusa Dube-Ncube
MEC Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa

Honourable Nomusa Dube-Ncube is the newly appointed Member of the Executive Council responsible for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs; having served as a Member of the Executive Council for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs for 2 terms since 2009.

She holds a Masters degree in Public Administration from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is currently studying towards her PhD.
She serves as a Member of the KwaZulu-Natal Climate Change Council and also as a Board Member for the 911 Fund – a New York-based Non-Profit Organisation, established by former US President Barack Obama in the wake of one of the most devastating disasters in modern history and human development, the aerial attack on the landmark Twin Towers in New York in 2001.

Apart from providing strategic policy direction for the department as its political head in this portfolio, Honourable Dube-Ncube’s has also assumed the critical position of being the Leader of Government Business within the Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal. In this position she will oversee the day to day running of the provincial government as it discharges its constitutional mandate.

More critically, in at EDTEA, Honourable Dube-Ncube is charged with ensuring that the province’s economic growth is sustained from SMMEs to big business and industries. Also that as the prime destination for tourism, KwaZulu-Natal retains its pole position while striving for way to create more products. Also topping her agenda is the issue of environment; its sustainability of the ecosystem as well as the wild life.

She has already demonstrated her passion for the environment in her previous deployment where utilised every platform she got to highlight the negative impact of climate change on the environment and communities. She has been piloting policies that emphasise the radical shift from unsustainable economic practices to eco-friendly business operations.

Her previous tenure was that of Chief Whip of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Parliament. She has also served South Africa as its Ambassador to the Czech Republic. Honourable Dube-Ncube is also a former Mayor and Speaker of South Africa’s second largest city and economic hub – Durban.

She is a seasoned local government practitioner and policy maker.

Hon. Ronald Kaoma Chitotela MP.
Minister of Toursim and Arts, Zambia

Hon. Chitotela was born on the 21st of April in 1972. And from a young age he realised that in order to be successful, education would play a key role to his future and so he suspended all other activities and focused on his studies.

Upon completion of his secondary school, Hon. Chitotela went to the university were he would study for and graduate with a degree in Marketing. This was the first of the many professional qualifications he would later pursue and obtain .

Hon. Chitotela joined politics in 1998 and describes his defining moment as when he met the Fourth Republican President Late Mr. Michael Chilufya SATA who became his Mentor. With that in mind, he contested for the PAMBASHE seat in 2011 and emerged victorius. A seat which he holds to-date as a law-maker.

Hon. Chitotela is also a holder of a masters degree in Trade Development and International Relations, A bachelors degree in production management from the Zambia Open University, Diploma in Business Management and two certificates, one in Purchasing and Supply and the other in Finance and Accounting. He is currently a student of Arts and Culture. He also has served on several committees both internationally and locally and has headed among others, the research bureau for the Patriotic Front and Committee on lands, roads and rail.

He was appointed as Deputy Minister for Labour by late Republican President Mr. Micheal Sata and as Deputy Minister for Youth and Sport by President Lungu, before being appointed to full Cabinet Minister as Minister of Works and Supply after the August 2016 General Elections. A New Ministry was created in the name of Housing and Infrastructure Development to which Hon. Chitotela was appointed a Minister. He recently got transferred to the Ministry of Tourism and Arts, a Ministry his life has lived as he loves world animals, birds, etc, keeping some of them at his house.

Hon. Chitotela has always exercised an open door policy in the execution of his duties which trait has endeared him to many.

He is Married to Mrs Lillian Chitotela and together they have 3 children, and is a committed member of the Seventh Day Adventist church where he serves as an Elder. In his free time which isn’t often, he sings.

Kathleen H. Fitzgerald
Senior Conservation Advisor, African Wildlife Foundation, Kenya

Kathleen is Senior Conservation Advisor to the African Wildlife Foundation and leads Conservation Capital’s Business Consulting Africa division. She has more than 25 years of experience in integrated large landscape conservation programmes in Africa and North America and served as a Vice President to AWF for six years. Kathleen has helped create new conservation areas, improve management of existing protected areas, established co-management arrangements and designed innovative models for community conservation. She has completed dozens of land transactions in North America and worked extensively on increasing conservation finance for protected areas. She is widely published and has an undergraduate in Environmental Studies and Government and a Master of Science. Kathleen is based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Stella Fubara-Obinwa
Director of International operations, Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing

Stella Fubara-Obinwa is a Director of International operations with the Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing; the principal authority for the planning, supervision, development and marketing of Dubai’s tourism sector. As an accomplished leader in business and finance management, Stella has over two decades of impressive executive management. She is responsible for the operations of Dubai Tourism in Africa in line with the ultimate vision of positioning Dubai as the world’s leading tourism destination and commercial hub.

Stella began her Professional career in 1999 as Financial Portfolio Manager at a global company, Owens Corning USA. In 2001 she moved on to become Senior Project Controller at Deloitte & Touche, where she set a remarkable standard for usage of tools and project management techniques for Deloitte projects on the East coast.
In 2003 she moved to Florida to take on the role of Project Finance Manager at Walt Disney World in Orlando, one of the most visited vacation resort and entertainment complexes in the world. Eventually assuming the Division Finance Manager position for the parks Costume & Cosmetology division.

Stella moved to Wyndham Vacation Hotels & Resorts in 2007, as Director of Marketing Operations, and her exceptional policy formulation skills and sublime financial management dexterity benefited Wyndham a great deal, resulting in additional responsibility for her as Director Operational Finance & Compensation for the Caribbean, South, and West coast USA. Her zeal for innovation and opportunity positioned her to make a continental move to Wakanow.com; one of the fastest growing and largest internet travel sites in Africa in 2013, as Chief Marketing and Product development officer before her current role in Dubai.

Stella demonstrates effective management capabilities in areas of finance, forecasting, marketing strategy, product/business development and policy formulation. She also exhibits excellent leadership delivered in an efficient training team building spirit.

Stella obtained a B.Sc in Business Management from Franklin University Columbus, Ohio, as well as a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in Finance & International Marketing. Stella is the recipient of many awards within the travel industry, including the 2017 and 2018 Balafon Travel Personality of the Year; 2018 Top 100 Tourism Personality West Africa; 2019 MIPAD Travel Recognition; 2017 Top 100 African Women in Tourism Award; 2018 SPICE TV Lifestyle Award – Best Destination; to mention a few.

Nkululeko Mthembu
Head of Light Manufacturing & Tourism Business Unit, Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa Limited
Moseketsi is the Head of Light Manufacturing & Tourism Business Unit, a unit that has facilitated the development and funding of several tourism establishments in South Africa and the Rest of Africa. She has extensive experience in the tourism industry spanning over 10 years and plays a key role at various stakeholder’s forums both in government and private sector. She is a Chartered Accountant by profession and sits on several Boards.
Nelly Mukazayire
Chief Executive Officer, Rwanda Convention Bureau

Nelly Mukazayire is a Rwandan economist and public administrator, who serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Convention Bureau, a division of the Rwanda Development Board. Before that, she served as the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the President of Rwanda.

Prof. Marina Novelli (PhD)
Professor of Tourism and International Development and Responsible Futures’ Academic Lead at the University of Brighton, UK

With a background in economics and a keen interest in international development issues, Marina is an internationally renowned Tourism and International Development expert and an established academic based at the University of Brighton (UK), where she is also academic lead for the Responsible Futures’ Research and Enterprise Agenda 

A native of Italy and African by ‘professional adoption’, she has written and advised extensively in the field of international tourism policy, planning, development and management in several African destinations – Botswana, Burundi, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. She has advised on a number of projects funded by The World Bank Group, the EU, the UN, the Commonwealth Secretariat, National Ministries and Tourism Boards, Regional Development Agencies and NGOs. 

Her work has demonstrated to have impact far beyond tourism by contributing to more effective economic growth, improved environments and more inclusive societies. Her most recent 2016 volume Tourism and Development in Sub-Sahara Africa: Contemporary Issues and Local Realities (Oxford: Routledge) conveys her extensive empirically grounded research and consultancy engagements and collaborations in some 15 Sub-Sahara Africa destinations.

She is currently collaborating with Emmanuel A. Adu-Ampong and Manuel A. Ribeiro in the editing of the Routledge Handbook of Tourism in Africa, a collection of some 40 chapters authored by academics and practitioners primarily from the African continent, which will be published in 2019.

Akwasi Agyeman
CEO, Ghana Tourism Authority

Akwasi Agyeman, is the CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority, the lead Public Service Agency in charge of regulating tourism in Ghana through marketing and promotion, licensing and classification of tourism facilities and services, investments, research and development. Prior to his appointment in January 2017, he was a shareholding partner of Global Media Alliance, a Media Consultancy and broadcasting company. As the Managing Director of its broadcasting operations, he was in charge of one TV Station and four radio stations. Until recently, he was the President of the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA).
He holds an MBA in Marketing and Information Systems from Tulane University in Louisiana (2003), USA – an MBA Merit Scholarship Recipient. He also holds a Bachelors degree in Social Sciences (1993) and a Masters in Public Administration (MPA -1996) from the University of Ghana.

He has over 15 years’ experience in Project Management, Crisis Communications, PR and Media Relations, Banking, and Relationship Management across Africa and has worked in senior level capacities with Ecobank, Merchant Bank, Stanbic Bank in South Africa. Prior to joining GMA as a founding partner in Ghana, Akwasi was a Business Analyst for Entergy Inc. in New Orleans, USA.

Akwasi was recently awarded at the Radio and TV Personality awards for his outstanding contribution to Media Excellence in Ghana. He is a devout Christian and a devoted family man with three children.

Gillian Saunders
Advisor to South Africa Minister and Independent Consultant

Gillian Saunders, Deputy CEO, BDO (Previously Grant Thornton) and Head of Advisory Gillian has more than 25 years’ consulting experience and carries out market feasibility studies, financial viability assessments, macro research and economic impact assessments, IT consulting, valuations, strategic management consulting, marketing strategies and other general market research. 

Gillian also facilitates strategic planning workshops, as well as provides analysis and recommendations to support the strategic plans and initiatives of her clients. Gillian is also the Chairperson of the Board of the University of Johannesburg’s School of Tourism & Hospitality.

Judy Kepher-Gona
Lead at Sustainable Travel and Tourism Agenda (STTA),Kenya

Judy has over 20 years’ experience in Sustainable Tourism with significant experience in project management, community development, conservation enterprise, community-based tourism, certification and sustainable tourism assessment. This includes 10 years as CEO of Ecotourism Kenya, and 10 years of practical experience working with community wildlife conservancies in Masai Mara Kenya.

Her work in Masai Mara involved negotiating with landowners for formation of conservancies, establishing value of conserved areas, agreeing on and designing resettlement and benefit sharing schemes and building capacity of landowner boards to effectively oversee and own the transition, rebuilding / restoration of lives. The lessons drawn from work in conservancies in Mara contributed significantly to policy revisions that led to recognition of conservancies, as CCAs in conservation law in Kenya. This opened a new chapter in direct community engagement in tourism and wildlife conservation.

Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo
Chief Convention Bureau Officer, South Africa Tourism

Mrs Amanda Kotze-Nlapo is the Chief Convention Bureau Officer of the South African National Convention Bureau (SANCB) and was appointed in November 2011.

Mrs Kotze-Nhlapo joined South African Tourism following a successful tenure at the Cape Town and Western Cape Convention Bureau where she held held the position of head of the Bureau for six years. Amanda has 20 years of experience in the industry.

Dr. Kobby Mensah
Tourism and Digital Marketing Expert, University of Ghana Business School

Judy has over 20 years’ experience in Sustainable Tourism with significant experience in project management, community development, conservation enterprise, community-based tourism, certification and sustainable tourism assessment. This includes 10 years as CEO of Ecotourism Kenya, and 10 years of practical experience working with community wildlife conservancies in Masai Mara Kenya.

Her work in Masai Mara involved negotiating with landowners for formation of conservancies, establishing value of conserved areas, agreeing on and designing resettlement and benefit sharing schemes and building capacity of landowner boards to effectively oversee and own the transition, rebuilding / restoration of lives. The lessons drawn from work in conservancies in Mara contributed significantly to policy revisions that led to recognition of conservancies, as CCAs in conservation law in Kenya. This opened a new chapter in direct community engagement in tourism and wildlife conservation.

Kagiso Dumasi
Commercial Manager, BDC Travel
Darryl Erasmus
Chief Quality Assurance Officer for South African Tourism

Tourism and Hospitality sector specialist, Darryl Erasmus, was appointed in September 2015 as Chief Quality Assurance Officer for South African Tourism. Darryl who exhibits a profound understanding of customer and guest experience, customer engagement, loyalty and partnerships is responsible for executive oversight of the Tourism Grading Council, Brand Experience, Visitor Experience and Global Trade functions for South African Tourism.

Darryl, holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree majoring in Marketing and Business Strategies and completed the Global Executive Development Programme with the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) in 2016.  He has considerable commercial experience in sales, marketing and communications in the B2B hospitality and tourism, technology and financial services environment with emphasis on channel and distribution management.

He is well known to the sector after spending a number of years in a myriad of operational, sales and marketing roles with large international hospitality brands.  He has also led marketing and corporate communications efforts across Africa for the Travel Commerce Platform, Travelport. 

His role as Chief Quality Assurance Officer for South African Tourism is focused on continuously improving quality standards by supporting and empowering the thousands of graded establishments across the country, ensuring destination South Africa is positioned as a diverse, authentic and quality destination through all South African Tourism’s experiential marketing efforts and using private and public sector partnerships with valued industry stakeholders, to improve overall visitor experience to South Africa as a support of the of overarching South African Tourism strategies.

Darryl is also a recipient of CEO Global Award – Titans: Building Nations Awards in a number of regions.  Country Winner (South Africa), Regional Winner (SADC) and Continental Winner (Africa) in the Government: Employed Official Sector in 2018.

Christelle Grohmann
Director, BDO, South Africa

Christelle has more than 23 years’ consulting experience and carries out and heads project teams for macro research, economic impact assessments, valuations, marketing and organisational strategies, market feasibility studies, financial viability assessments, business case assessments and transaction advisory assignments. 

Christelle has also facilitated numerous workshops and large meetings and is proficient in using a range of facilitation approaches and tools

Jillian Blackbeard
Regional Director – Africa, WTTC

Joins WTTC as Regional Director for Africa Jillian Blackbeard has been appointed Regional Director for Africa at the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). Jillian joins WTTC from Botswana, where she has lived for the past nine years and worked as the Executive Director for Marketing at Botswana Tourism Organisation and prior to that as the Botswana Marketing Manager for Peermont Hotels. Although she spent 15 years in Europe (Italy, The Netherlands, UK, Denmark), Jillian’s family come from 8 generations of Africans. She is passionate about the region, and how tourism can proactively change the continental narrative into a positive story, taking part in working groups that tackle Illegal Wildlife Trade, Women and Youth Poverty and Inequitable Distribution of Wealth.

Under the marketing banner of Botswana Tourism she led a team that developed and promoted diversity in the tourism product whilst fostering a sustainable model for tourism that centred around biodiversity, community and national interest. A passionate conservationist, Jillian manages the National Endangered Wildlife Trust and has been involved in multiple think tanks and initiatives that look to proactively protect natural biodiversity and the communities that live with wildlife.

Sandile Chipunza
IATA’s Manager, Advocacy & Strategic Relations, Africa

Sandile Chipunza is IATA’s Manager, Advocacy & Strategic Relations, Africa and is based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

His responsibilities include ensuring that IATA’s members’ priorities and needs are met. This function contributes to Aviation playing its critical role as a catalyst for economic & social development ensuring that the industry connects and enriches the world.

Central to this role is Advocacy and of critical importance, advocating for the value and benefits that Aviation brings to the African Continent and the Global economy at large. In addition, working with all Member Airlines and Aviation stakeholders in the quest for a more secure and safe industry through the implementation of the IATA safety standards, he contributes expertise in Industry solutions that directly support sustainable commercial and business planning strategies and expertise to Aviation.

Prior to taking up the role of Manager, Advocacy & Strategic Relations, Africa, Sandile was an Aviation Solutions Manager for Southern Africa and was previously with Airlink as a Regional Manager – Africa for seven (7) years after spending seven (7) years with SAA, helping set up new SAA managed operations in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Sandile holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Managements from the University of South Africa and also holds Diplomas with IATA.

Xavier Masule
Interim Chief Executive Officer Air Namibia

Xavier is the interim CEO and holds B. Comm (Accounting) and MBA degrees, is a seasoned professional with over 19 years of aviation industry experience and is certified and recognized by IATA as an Aviation Management Professional.

Sibabalwe Peter
Regional Sales Manager, Minor Hotels Africa

Sibabalwe (Siba) Peter is the regional sales manager at Minor Hotels Africa. He is a versatile hospitality professional responsible for selling beautiful holiday destinations as well as meetings and events hotels in Southern Africa to corporate clients.

 

He is inspired by his parents who taught him from a young age to always have a positive outlook on life.  His love for meeting new people, exploring foreign countries and cultures has led him to travel to countries such as Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Ethiopia and Tanzania and he hopes to travel to even more countries to show off to the world what Africa has to offer.

 

Siba’s personable and professional attitude balances easy-going optimism and a fresh perspective with capable, results-driven skills and innovative solutions to any challenge. He has mastered the ability to work on multiple projects while doing his best to meet the sometimes-demanding requests from his clients, but it is challenges like this that make him thrive and love what he does.

Kwakye Donkor
Chief Executive Officer of Africa Tourism Partners, South Africa

Kwakye Donkor is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Africa Tourism Partners. He is also a Director of African Institute of Technology and Entrepreneurship (AITE) and the Founder of Africa Tourism Leadership Forum. He has over 25 years combined experience in Research, Strategic Marketing, Brand Management, Business Development, Customer and Stakeholder Relationship Management and Corporate communications in a wide range of environment.

Prior to becoming the CEO of Africa Tourism Partners, Kwakye was the Marketing and Communications Director of the Regional Tourism Organization of Southern Africa (RETOSA) from 2009 to March 2017. He also worked as an Executive Marketing Director of Fancourt, one of the leading golf resorts in the world from 2002 to 2009, National Marketing and Communications Manager at Provident Financial (UK and South Africa), African Bank Investment Ltd (ABIL). He is guest lecturer at Tshwane University of Technology, Business School in South Africa. He is actively involved in Brand Africa’s equity enhancement.

He is an award winning Chartered Marketer and has spoken at numerous UNWTO and International including UNWTO, SADC, EU, World Bank, GIZ, JICA, ECOWAS, International Tourism Safety and Security Conference and NDT and SAT Tourism Conferences, Events and Workshop, most which he was the key note speaker.

Daryl Keywood
Managing Director & CEO, Walthers and Site International Board member for Africa Middle/East

Daryl is the Managing Director and CEO at Walthers – Destination Business Solutions Africa, an award-winning company with a strong focus on incentives and conferences. The business is internationally recognised as a leader in corporate social responsibility programmes. Daryl has a deep passion for Africa and its people, travelling 3-4 months of each year, marketing and accompanying clients within the continent. He is a past Chapter President of SITE Southern Africa and currently sits on the SITE International Board of Directors.

Miller Matola
CEO, Millvest and Director, Africa Tourism Leadership Forum

Miller has a Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of the North, Miller Matola began his career as a lecturer at Vista University where he worked for four years. During this time, he obtained a BA Honours (Cum Laude) from the University of Potchefstroom. Thereafter he took on a project management course whilst working as a Project Manager at Technikon in South Africa. He was then awarded a scholarship by the United States Agency, for International development, to travel to the US amongst others as part of the USAID South Africa- Namibia Institute. Upon his return to South Africa in 1996, Miller was assigned to design a tourism course, which fueled his interest in the tourism sector. Since then he has worked with various organizations in Executive positions in the tourism and hospitality industry, including working with the Department of Tourism, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife KZN, Tourism Grading Council of SA, Durban Chamber of Commerce and the International Convention Center Durban, amongst others.

Ms Phindile Makwakwa
Acting CEO, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Ms Phindile Makwakwa was appointed as the Chief Operating Officer of Tourism KwaZulu-Natal in December 2012. In this position, she was responsible for steering the destination marketing programs and operations, the PR and Communications, Tourism Development and Information Services.
In August 2017, the TKZN Board made the decision to appoint her as the Acting Chief Executive Officer after the departure of the former CEO. Before she joined Tourism KZN, she was the Head of Secretariat: KwaZulu-Natal Climate Change Council, a position she took up following her successful project management of the Provincial COP 17 Programme for the KwaZulu-Natal Government in 2011. Prior to this she was, until December 2010, the Head of Provincial 2010 Coordination based in the Office of the Premier: KwaZulu-Natal.
Ms Makwakwa’s professional focus over the last thirteen years has spanned the range of journalism, marketing, corporate communications, public relations and project management. Prior to being recruited to run the 2010 Programme for the KwaZulu-Natal Government, Ms Makwakwa was a General Manager: Communications & Public Relations at Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, with a strong focus on marketing the Province as a tourism destination locally and internationally; balancing the need to maintain KZN’s number one spot as South Africa’s most sought-after domestic tourism destination, while focusing on growing the Province’s international tourism market share. Stakeholder management was one of her key performance areas, and by the time she was recruited by the Office of the Premier, she had made great strides in ensuring closer relations between the Tourism Authority and its key stakeholders.
Before joining Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, Ms. Makwakwa had already cut her teeth in tourism promotion matched with environmental management, as she had held the positions of Director: Media Liaison and Director: Communications in the Ministry and Department of Tourism; Environmental Affairs respectively. Having kicked off her career as a journalist with the Mercury newspaper in 1997, Ms. Makwakwa’s curious mind, boundless energy and professionalism had seen her being promoted to a Political Reporter within eight months of employment and by the end of 1999, was appointed Political
2Ms Phindile Ngcobo’s Résume
Correspondent for the Independent Newspapers Group in the National Parliament, Cape Town, where she was the youngest and only female journalist in the Group’s Political Bureau. In all her management positions, Ms Makwakwa has successfully implemented staff and organisational empowerment and still enjoys solid relationships with all her past employers, colleagues and staff.
Ms Makwakwa has extensive political, media and business networks. She has hands-on experience with the business, political and media sectors locally and internationally.

Thomas Müller
Founder, Rainmaker Digital, Namibia and South Africa

Thomas lives in Southern Africa for 10 years, deeply involved in the African Hospitality and Tourism Industry and coaching and mentoring entrepreneurs. As General Manager Marketing & IT he established a Hotel Management company, turned around two hotels and has been part of building the new Strand Hotel Swakopmund and the Chobe Water Villas before he started rainmaker in 2016 as an African TravelTech company. Thomas lived and worked in 8 countries when he was working with TUI and Thomas Cook. Thomas has 36 years of experience in IT, Software Development, Systems Integration, Consulting and Business Development. He has been honoured with many Awards for his technology inventions and their business impact.

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome
Publisher, ATC News, East Africa

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome is the owner and Publisher of ATC News, Eastern Africa’s largest aviation, tourism, and conservation blog (www.ATCNews.org).

In the past he served as President of the Uganda Tourism Association and was Chairman of the Rhino Fund Uganda during the critical fundraising and set up years of the Ugandan Rhino Sanctuary which today is home to 25 rhinos from the humble beginning of just 4.

He also served his adopted country as Chairman of Uganda’s national hotel and tourism training college, besides holding many other elected and appointed positions from which he has since retired.

Wolfgang has become a regular speaker, panelist and moderator at regional and global events dealing with aviation, hospitality, tourism and conservation issues.

Ernie Heath
Emeritus Professor, University of Pretoria and Visiting Professor, University of Applied Sciences, Bremen, Germany

Ernie Heath is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Pretoria, where he was Head of the Department of Tourism Management for fifteen years. He is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Applied Sciences, Bremen, Germany and served on the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Education Council. He has extensive tourism experience, particularly in the spheres of tourism futures, community tourism advancement, attractions and events management, destination marketing and strategic tourism leadership.

Prior to joining the University, he was Director of the Institute for Planning Research at the University of Port Elizabeth and Deputy Executive Director of South African Tourism. He is co-author of fifteen books on tourism; has delivered more than ninety papers, including fifteen keynote addresses, at international conferences and has published more than two hundred research, consultancy and other reports in this field.

Recognition that he has received for his tourism work include the Skål International Presidential Award for his contribution to the development of tourism in South Africa; a Fellowship from the Tourism Society of Britain; the Chairman’s Award from the Indian Ocean Tourism Organization (IOTO) for compiling IOTO’s first strategic plan; a United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Themis Award; a Laureates Award from the University of Pretoria for Innovation in Teaching; a Best Teacher Award from the University of Applied Sciences, Bremen, Germany in 2010 and 2016; a Best PhD Seminar Supervisor Award at the Advances Tourism Marketing Conference, Slovenia, 2011; co-recipient of the Award for the Best Research Paper at the International Conference on Tourism and Events, Belfast, 2012; recipient of an Alumni Achiever Award from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, 2012; and a Tourism Educators South Africa (TESA) Lifetime Achiever Award, 2018.

Jacinta Nzioka
Director of Marketing, Kenya Tourism & Board

Jacinta is a passionate tourism executive in Kenya’s tourism industry.  She is currently the Director of Marketing at the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) charged with the responsibility of leading Kenya’s global tourism marketing strategy.  With over 15 years’ experience in Destination Management.  Jacinta has overseen implementation of tourism projects in all the source markets having been a Regional Manager for America, Europe and Emerging Markets since four years ago, when KTB first ventured in the West and East African markets.  She manages a team of product developers and marketers both in Kenya and in the 12 offices globally that KTB has.

During this period Jacinta has been instrumental in achieving recognition of KTB as Africa’s Best Tourism Board 6 years consecutively by the World Travel Awards.  Jacinta’s warm and charismatic demeanor and well known passion for her work earned her a steady rise to the top of the tourism board and is a familiar face in most global events where Kenya tourism is represented.  Within the East African region, Jacinta’s contribution has been under the Joint Tourism Marketing Committee that managed the launch of a single destination brand, developed and implemented the joint strategy and also supported the Rwanda and Uganda tourism board chiefs in formulating their tourism strategies as well as support for the Development of Sustainable Tourism Model in Ethiopia through a DFiD project in 2013.

In her private time, Jacinta supports a project in Masai Mara region that integrates communities and sustainable tourism while advocating for girl’s education as a Trustee at Tepesua Community Based Organization.  She has also been working as a UNESCO volunteer to assist them identify promotable Heritage tourism sites along Africa’s coastline for a joint programme they run with SeaBourne Cruise. Her passion for cultural tourism and sustainable development has seen her participate in various international conferences and forums as speaker, presenter and mentor as well as guest university lecturer in Kenya, Ethiopia and the UK.

Paul Gardiner
CEO, Mantis Collection - Global

Paul Gardiner is the CEO of Mantis Collection (internationally), a hotel group made up of eco-lodges and hotels located on all seven continents. His career began as a game ranger in South Africa in 1994 on his father’s wildlife reserve called Shamwari. Today his responsibility with his team based out of the UK is to grow the Mantis brand beyond just Africa. They have opportunities in the Middle East, Cuba, China, Montenegro, the Swiss Alps, the South of France and the UK that they’re currently exploring. With the world going crazy for glamping and eco experiences they’re well placed to capitalize on the opportunity considering they already have experience in developing, operating and marketing these products so successfully throughout Africa for over 25 years. In recent years Paul has also struck up a relationship with the television personality and adventurer, Bear Grylls. Mantis Media is the creative arm of Mantis Collection and they’re responsible for taking what Bear does so well on television and bringing it to life for kids, adults, corporates etc. Essentially they’re responsible for all Bear’s location based entertainment. They recently partnered with Merlin Entertainments to develop a $22m Bear Grylls Adventure Park in the UK.

Mantis has recently partnered with Accor Hotels, together they have a 50/50 JV. The JV allows Mantis amazing distribution via their new “big brother” and it gives Accor a stronghold in Sub Saharan Africa where Mantis are particularly strong – so it’s a win win for both. Together the JV has already launched the Conservation Community Fund Africa (CCFA) This grant-giving Foundation is registered in South Africa as a non-profit company and has uniquely brought together three internationally admired wildlife conservation organisations as its Founding members: Wilderness Foundation Africa, Tusk Trust and African Parks. The Mantis Accor partnerships intentions are two fold, the one is to further grow and develop the Mantis brand across Africa, and the second is to take the unique Mantis eco lodge DNA model to other amazing parts of the world.

Although Paul is UK based he spends a third of the year in South Africa – he and his father are the driving force behind a new pioneering initiative which they’re launching at their game reserve in South Africa which will see the creation of the first ever Eco Lodge Innovation Hub. Paul has also launched his very own media platform to help spread the word of the amazing work that people from all walks of life are involved in, within the world of conservation and eco-tourism.

See: www.mantiscollection.com & www.pauljgardiner.com

Dr Sue Snyman
Senior Programme Officer Conservation Areas and Species Diversity Programme.
BIOPAMA Coordinator, ESARO International Union for Conservation of Nature
In 2013 Sue received a PhD (Resource Economics) from the University of Cape Town. Having completed coursework at the University of Goteborg in Sweden, the focus of her PhD research measured the socio-economic impact of high-end ecotourism in remote, rural communities adjacent to protected areas, based on over 1,700 community surveys in six southern African countries: Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Sue worked for Wilderness Safaris, a high-end ecotourism operator, from 2008-2018. Prior to that she had over a decade of experience in ecotourism and conservation in southern Africa, including guiding, community development and liaison, camp management and environmental impact assessments as an independent consultant. Other positions include Vice-Chair of the IUCN WCPA Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group (TAPASG) and Coordinator of the TAPASG Communities & Heritage Working Group which works on community engagement and benefit-sharing from tourism and protected areas. Sue is currently Senior Programme Officer for the Conservation Areas and Species Programme for the IUCN Eastern and Southern African Regional Office, coordinating the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) programme in 24 African countries.
Craig Newman
President, Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) & CEO, Johannesburg Expo Centre.
With his unique ability to assess each situation and act without delay, Craig Newman has successfully turned the Johannesburg Expo Centre (JEC) into a highly profitable business, year on year. In June 2016, Craig celebrated 10 years of service as Chief Executive Officer. With over 25 years of industry experience, Craig has made a phenomenal contribution to the South African exhibitions, conferences and events industry. Since 1991, he has occupied leadership positions in some of South Africa’s leading MICE industry companies that included Forge Ahead Exhibitions, TML Reed Exhibitions, Oasys Innovations, Balanced Solutions and Kagiso Exhibitions and Events. From the early stages of his career, Craig showed that he could lead with confidence, insight and integrity. Craig became the major driving force behind the JEC with his exceptional vision and his confidence to make things happen. His liberal and frank demeanor is complemented by his positive outlook and where some may see challenges, Craig sees opportunities for growth. In 2003 and 2004, Craig served on the board of the Exhibition & Event Association of Southern Africa (EXSA) and as the Venue Forum Chairman of the EXSA Board in 2009. As an active member of the South African exhibitions industry, Craig has developed an enviable understanding of the South African market, as well as the African market and his wealth of knowledge and experience has been tantamount to the excellent turnaround strategy for JEC. In 2014, Craig was elected onto the main Board of Directors at the UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry and was further appointed onto the UFI Executive Committee. He was later appointed as Vice Chairman of the UFI Middle East Africa Chapter. His most recent achievement is being appointed as President of UFI for 2018, 2019 and 2020. Craig Newman is a respected and admired leader. His friendly approach, together with his fearless attitude makes for a potent combination that is capable of leading the Expo Centre for years to come.
Assia Riccio
CEO and Founder EvolvinWomen, Dubai

Assia is the Founder and CEO of Evolvin’ Women, a socially responsible platform for sourcing female talents in hospitality, differently, aimed at improving the employability of women from developing countries through the provision of necessary resources, networks, education and employment opportunities that would not be otherwise available to them. Her commitment to the SDGs #4, #5 and #8 and her work in the field of equality of opportunity and inclusion through Evolvin’ Women, translated in 2017 into her membership of the UAE task-force for the 7 Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a collaboration between the UN Women and the United Nations Global Compact.
As a result of embedding social responsibility in HR practices within the hospitality industry, in 2018 Evolvin’ Women became one of the first microenterprises to join the United Nation Global Compact.
Assia is a member of the Dubai Business Women Council and an Advisory Board Member for Zawadi International for young entrepreneurs in Africa. Assia is the former Group Learning and Development Manager at Jumeirah Restaurant Group (JRG) – Dubai, where she developed the L&D strategy for over 1000 employees working in 42 restaurants. Assia has been recognized as one of the GCC’s Women Leaders of 2017 and received the Women in Leadership Award by CMO ASIA and the Women Super Achiever Awards at the World HRD Congress 2018 for helping hospitality businesses in the Middle East and Africa embed social responsibility in their business practices and become catalysts for equality of opportunity.

Marang Marekimane
Changemaker for SMEs

Marang is the founder of Business Process Mechanics, assisting entrepreneurs to review their business models and automate business processes to build sustainable businesses. In 2018 Marang joined Lean Business South Africa as a Managing Partner – a tech start-up providing an innovative tool to track investments in developing SMEs.
As part of Designathon Works in South Africa, Marang assists entrepreneurs to develop and commercialise innovative products and services. Some of these designathons are with children as young as 7 years old.

She was previously a Management Consultant for banks and insurances companies such
as FNB, Standard Bank and Liberty

Tim Harris
CEO, Wesgro
Tim Harris is the CEO of Wesgro, the Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape.Tim previously served as Member of Parliament and Shadow Minister of Finance for the Democratic Alliance (DA). He holds a BA in English Literature and a Masters in Economics from the University of Cape Town. Tim currently sits on the board of the Cape Town Film Studios and BPESA.
Ms Pam Yako
Chairperson, South Africa Tourism & Managing Director of Zenande Leadership Consulting.
Ms Pam Yako is the Managing Director of Zenande Leadership Consulting. She holds a B Com (Rhodes University) and Masters in Business Leadership (UNISA) degrees and has over 20 years’ experience in the public sector. She has worked as a Municipal Manager for Amathole District Municipality, Director-General for the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and Department of Water Affairs (DWA).
She is a Certified Coach with the Coach Training Alliance and is trained in Enneagram in the narrative tradition, coaching with the Enneagram as well as an accredited Integrative Enneagram Practitioner. She has undergone training with internationally renowned trainers like Dr. David Daniels, Peter O’Hanrahan as well as Dr. Ginger Lapid-Bogda and this has given her an international perspective in the work she does.
As an entrepreneur and a consultant, she has worked with organisations in both the public and private sector and is currently running her own business and this makes her to fully appreciate the challenges and opportunities faced by her clients and work proactively with them in order to achieve long-term sustainable results. Her consulting project repertoire includes project management, facilitation of strategy development processes; offering strategic advice to clients; municipal turnarounds; organisational development, change management, board assessments, team coaching and effectiveness.
Pam is the Chairperson of the South African Tourism Board and has served as a board member of the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency Board, a public entity in the Eastern Cape where she was a member of the Finance Committee and Investment Committee of the Board. She is the Chairperson of the Seriti Institute a non-profit organization and a WWF-SA board member. She has previously served on the board of Linkd Environmental Services (an environmental consulting company). She is also a member of the Institute of Directors.
Pam is passionate with working with women in leadership positions and these include those in management positions/aspirant or running their own businesses and have for four years hosted an annual woman in leadership conference. In addition, Pam is a keen writer and she writes a monthly blog on pertinent and topical leadership issues (zenandeleadership.wordpress.com).
Dr Neil Midlane
Wilderness Safaris Group Sustainability Manager, Southern Africa
Dr Neil Midlane was appointed as Wilderness Safaris Group Sustainability Manager on 1 April 2019, though his connection to Wilderness goes back to 2010 when he founded and ran the Kafue Lion Project with support from Wilderness and the Wilderness Wildlife Trust. He spent three years in the field working on his thesis, which earned him a PhD in Zoology through the University of Cape Town.

Neil is a member of the African Lion Working Group (an affiliate of the Cat Specialist Group and the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group of the IUCN), the Mozambique Carnivore Working Group and the Transfrontier Specialist Group. He is also a qualified Chartered Accountant (SA) and holds a Masters degree in Environmental Management from the University of Stellenbosch.

Daniel Adidwa
CEO, Tour2.0, South Africa
Mr. Adidwa is a leader who is passionate about entrepreneurship and technology. He takes pleasure in channelling this passion through sourcing innovative solutions, that address current problems within the African continent and taking these solutions to market.

Daniel is a qualified Marketer and attained his BA Degree in Integrated Marketing Communication and a Diploma in Account Management from the AAA School of Advertising. Daniel has worked at various communications agencies, where he worked on various local and international blue chip accounts.

He is passionate about the African continent, its people and the stories behind African communities. He believes that technology can play a large role in getting the world to experience real African Stories. He currently holds the position of CEO of Tour2.0 and former Vice-Chairman of the Regional Tourism Association of Southern Africa (RETOSA) youth steering committee.

His organisation, Tour2.0, has managed to stimulate the cultural and community tourism sector within South Africa and is in the process of expanding within the African continent. Tour2.0 has built a product base of over 70 unique cultural and community tourism experiences within South Africa and is expanding to various territories on the continent.

Paul de Waal
Wetu Founder & CEO, Cape Town, South Africa

Wetu was founded 10 years ago with the goal of enabling Travel Professionals from around the world the ability to sell Africa more effectively.

It is commonly accepted that the best way to sell travel is by providing potential travellers with inspiring content. Africa had no shortage of amazing content but it was impossible for each travel company to manage the vast volume of content required to do this effectively. Wetu has developed an ecosystem of all Africa’s content and made it available to all travel professionals so that they can promote and sell Africa. Wetu has also developed the sales tools that allow these professionals to get all this amazing content to potential clients and inspire them to book their holiday.

10 years ago when Wetu set out it was impossible for people selling African travel to collect, manage and keep all this content up-to-date and as a result this content was not used in the selling process. 10 years later, thanks to Wetu, Africa ‘s travel content is better organised than any other continent and thus easier for travel professionals around the world to promote and sell the continent.

Having proved the concept in Africa, Wetu is now scaling it’s platform and operations to the rest of the world.

Over and above Wetu Paul sits on the board of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway which is one of Africa’s most popular attractions.

Samantha Annandale
Regional Operations Director, ONOMO Hotels
Samantha Annandale, Regional Operations Director for ONOMO Hotels, one of the hotel chains with the strongest pipeline development on the African continent and an ambition to operate more than 3700 rooms by 2022, has 27 years of hospitality experience in various hospitality models. Samantha has been the forefront of leading innovation and trends and now with ONOMO Hotels fast on track to be the Pan African hotel group of choice for travellers and investors.
Susina Jooste
Director, The Private Hotel School

Susina Jooste is a Director at The Private Hotel School Pty (Ltd), since 2008. She holds a Master’s degree in Education, with research title: A Curriculum Framework for Continuous Professional Development in Hospitality and Culinary Arts. Susina is mainly involved in the academic and business development of the company.

Whereas the majority of public higher educational institutions in South Africa have abandoned programmes in hospitality and tourism management, thus eliminating tuition opportunities in this field of studies, Susina was instrumental in the development, registration and accreditation of five higher education programmes that are currently being offered by The Private Hotel School. Her main focus over the past 10 years was to address the lack of higher education opportunities in the study fields of hospitality, tourism and events management. Susina currently serves on the Accreditation Committee for the Council on Higher Education (CHE).

During 2017, the majority shares in The Private Hotel School (TPHS) was acquired by the AdvTEch group and TPHS is now also included as a brand of the Independent Institute of Education (IIE). TPHS is also a partner school of the American Hospitality Academy – International Hotel Management Schools (AHA-IHMS). Susina is involved internationally as a board member of the American Hospitality Academy and has contributed to the development of the curriculum for AHA-IHMS.

Susina pioneered the implementation of the school subject ‘Hospitality Studies’ and was the chief examiner for 5 years in the Northern Cape Province. She has consulted the Western Cape Education Department and individual schools on the implementation and management of Hospitality Studies.

Since 1998 Susina has been co-ordinating annual workshops for educators and students in Hospitality and Consumer Studies from all provinces of South Africa and in Namibia. She co-ordinated various educational tours, both local and international (Switzerland, France, Italy and Argentina) for student and adult groups.

She has over 35 years educational experience and an enthusiasm to inspire others to grow as professionals and individuals. She has a unique talent of reaching people and of enriching lives. Her commitment to service excellence, consistency of quality, good leadership, managerial abilities and an uncomplicated style are her hallmarks. Motivation and energy are in no short supply with Susina. Taking on challenging projects and delivering without losing sight of the set goals are part of her performance.

Obinna Ekezie
CEO, Wakanow, Nigeria

Obinna Ekezie leads the management team of Wakanow.com Limited. Prior to founding Wakanow, he co-founded ByMobilePhone Ltd, a wireless access service provider to mobile networks in Nigeria. ByMobilePhone Ltd was the exclusive distributor of ESPN and CNN mobile content in Nigeria.

He studied Mechanical Engineering and Business at the University of Maryland. He is also a TQM professional, having completed the IBM Total Quality Management Business Program. As an accomplished professional basketball player, he was drafted into the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1999 by the Vancouver Grizzlies, and played in the NBA for 5 years. He also played for Redstar Belgrade in Serbia, Lottomatica Roma in Italy and Dynamo Moscow in Russia before retiring in 2007.

Obinna is widely celebrated in various fora as a leading Entrepreneur in Africa, the highpoint being his recognition as the CNBC/ABLA Entrepreneur of the Year for 2015. This recognition is deserving of note as Wakanow is one of the fastest growing online businesses in Nigeria. In five years of its existence, it became Africa’s no 1 full-service online travel agency. Wakanow currently runs her commercial operations in Nigeria, Dubai, Ghana and Kenya. With an eye on a speedy global expansion, Obinna and his team are currently undertaking a large expansion project which will result in stronger footprint across Africa, the UK and USA.

He founded the company with a primarily focus on outbound travel from Nigeria and Ghana to destinations outside Africa such as UK, US and Dubai. But through the years, his vision expanded to also incorporate two different turfs- inbound travel of foreign nationals from Europe, America and Asia into Africa; and secondly Intra-Africa travel. This pursuit is consequent to the birth of ‘Destinations Africa’- a one-stop booking portal for Africa themed holiday with the proposition to showcase the natural beauty and economic potentials of the continent to her natives and the outer world at large.

Mr Ekezie realized that while there are thousands of Africans who would love to travel, most are constrained to limited options because of their inability to pay for their trips at once. Given that there is no formal credit system in most developing countries that would alleviate the effect of this circumstance, Obinna mobilized his team to provide a lasting solution to these travel challenges across Africa with the introduction of Wakanow Pay Small Small (PSS)- a flexible installment payment plan that also gives the traveler as much as 150% savings on their travel expenses. PSS is designed to allow travelers lock down choice travel deals by making only a 25% down payment of the travel cost and paying the balance in convenient installments before the travel date.
Furthermore, as a proof of his doggedness, Mr Ekezie led Wakanow through a fund raising process to secure an investment of $40million from the Carlyle Group signifying a vote of confidence in his visionary leadership and Wakanow’s bright future.

Mr Ekezie is also very passionate about facilitating movements across Africa, not just for holidays but also for the abounding economic potentials within the continent. He is presently leading various discussions with African Governments and Airlines on the trade and investment prospects of traveling within Africa.

With bravery, mental toughness and resilience of a star-athlete, Obinna continues to push forward the frontiers of travel and tourism in Africa and is moving Wakanow on the wings of a very exciting and promising future.

Jeffers Miruka
President and Founder member of the African Society of Association Executives (AfSAE). Nairobi, Kenya

Mr. Jeffers Miruka is the President and Founder member of the African Society of Association Executives (AfSAE). AfSAE is a pan-African professional community of association executives formed in 2015 to serve as the professional society for those within the Association Management profession in Africa. Mr. Miruka is also the Executive Director of the African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE), a Nairobi based association of agricultural and development economists with over 3000 members spread globally. Mr. Miruka has over 14 years combined experience in association management and Business Events – meetings, conventions, exhibitions, incentives, corporate, associations, intergovernmental, nonprofits. He has a rich experience in association development, convention bureau management, and is a frequent speaker and contributor to many global publications, media interviews and association forums. Mr. Miruka is currently involved with the government of Kenya, activating the Kenya National Convention Bureau. He is well known internationally in the MICE Business events industry and easily recognized as the pre-eminent African associations ambassador and a leader of the association movement in the continent. Mr. Miruka is a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Mr. Miruka has a Master of Science in Global Marketing.

Aaron Munetsi
Director – Government, Legal and Industry Affairs, African Airlines Association, Kenya

Aaron is Director responsible for Government, Legal and Industry Affairs at African Airlines Association. “BBA” is one name. “Papa Africa” is another name. Both names were bestowed on him by his colleagues and fellow Africans in recognition of the passion and perseverance he demonstrates in his quest to put African Aviation in a league of its own. Aaron has been synonymous with the growth and excellent performance of South African Airways over the past 25 years or more. Aaron chose to get into the thick of things by immersing himself in the industry at every level. He rose through the ranks having started off as a Reservations and Ticketing agent where he cut his teeth dealing with customers and travel agents alike. In those days of manual processes, it was his tenacity that saw him go through the early computerized training with SAAFARI, the ground breaking South African Airways customized Central Reservation System and then the Air Zimbabwe system which was rolled out in conjunction with the British Airways system BABS.
Aaron is an advocate for the growth of the African footprint of South African Airways. He served in several countries in different roles starting with Johannesburg where he was part of the team that established Galileo Southern Africa, the wholly owned subsidiary of South African Airways that rolled out the Global Distribution System to Southern Africa. He then got a position in Dubai with Sharaf Travel, the General Sales Agents of South African Airways where he headed the Sales team. He then went to Nigeria where he was the Country Manager, a position he proudly refers to as “coming home experience” having lived in Dubai for a while. Aaron and his colleagues spearheaded the first ever African airlines joint venture across the Atlantic that saw Nigeria Airways and South African Airways operate a joint service between Lagos and New York (JFK). His belief in and commitment to African cooperation enabled him to propose and obtain approval for collaboration with Senegal International Airlines for joint venture operations by the two airlines between Dakar and New York.
Aaron worked in Tanzania as the Executive Manager for East & West Africa overseeing the South African Airways commercial interests in the Sub-Saharan markets. And as he continued to grow the footprint of South African Airways with postings in Kenya and Ghana as part of his growth, Aaron went back to their Head Office in Johannesburg to take over as the Regional General Manager for Africa and the Middle East. He motivated for the growth of the South African Airways footprint by expanding their operations to Kigali, Bujumbura, Douala, Cotonou, Brazzaville and Pointe Noir. At one stage Aaron served as the Acting Chief Commercial Officer for South African Airways for two years.
His commitment to the African continent keeps him alert to the needs of the continent and he decided to make his contribution by joining the African Airlines Association in the position of Director – Government, Legal and Industry Affairs. He took up the position in May, 2019. Having diligently served South African Airways for more than 25 years, Aaron is committed to serve the community of African Airlines by giving his every ounce of energy and time to their common cause of sustainable and profitable growth.
A proud father of 5 children, three girls and two boys, Aaron now lives in Nairobi with his wife Anita.

Phumelele "Phumi B" Bohlela
Youth & Woman Township Social Entrepreneur, UGU South Coast, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

Founding Director of IYACHICHIMA SOCIAL ENTERPRISE – Township Entrepreneurship & Rural Development, Youth & Women Empowerment, UGU District Young Women Chairperson, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.

Marketer by profession and a dancer by passion with 8 years corporate global marketing experience and 3 years as self employed. She is a Mandela Washington Fellow: Business & Entrepreneurship (Texas, USA) and the Founding Director of IYACHICHIMA SOCIAL ENTERPRISE made of youth and women focused brands in:

  • EDUCATION: Phindavele Creche NPO
  • HEALTH: Honey B Health & Wellness Spa
  • ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Loxion Biz (Radio Show & Small Business Exhibition Events)

 

Award-winning Social Entrepreneur, UGU District Young Women’s Chairperson, Top 1000 Young African Leaders in 2017 and Mandela Washington Business & Entrepreneurship Fellow (University of Texas, Austin), Phumi is a University of Pretoria Graduate with a BCom: Communication Management Degree that majored in Communication Management, Marketing Management and Statistics.

After 8 years of global corporate marketing experience in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Singapore, South East Asia and the Middle East, Phumelele left Unilever to start her own social enterprise. She has extensive experience in strategic marketing development, brand development, brand building and retail marketing; with a list of successful product innovations, international brand launches and leading local brand activations.

Her passion for youth and women empowerment led her to full-time self-employment in 2016. Through her marketing-centric business, Iyachichima Social Enterprise, Phumi is on a mission to address social ills that exist in the township and rural environment by creating, implementing and monitoring socio-economic development projects and programs.

Through education, health and entrepreneurship, IYACHICHIMA specializes in building brands, uncorking potential in individuals & companies and empowering communities; pouring its impact to receptive markets. IYACHICHIMA sees itself as a catalyst in creating an ecosystem of entrepreneurial development on the UGU South Coast by connecting youth and women with industry experts, the public sector and private sector.

Based on the Lower South Coast of Durban; Iyachichima’s operations span across the KwaZulu-Natal Province with a vision to stretch and attract tourists and investors beyond South Africa’s national, continental and international boundaries.

Richmond Kwame Frimpong
Managing Director of AsaaseGPS, Accra, Ghana

Richmond Kwame Frimpong is the Managing Director of AsaaseGPS (a member of the Vokacom Group), with responsibility for sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and Parts of Asia(SMEA). His inspiring leadership with an excellent record in transforming businesses spanning Technology, Financial Services and Consulting across Africa has earned him a number of awards including the 40Under40 Young Achievers’, 50 Most Influential Young People in Ghana and one of Top 60 Young Business Leaders’ in West Africa. His over a decade’s experience in the Financial Services Industry comes with a rare blend of Operational Strategy, Business Transformation, Marketing Communications, Fund Management, and Human Capital Development. Prior to AsaaseGPS, he was Country Head for Ghana’s Biggest Retail Pensions Trustee. Before that, he was Vice President responsible for Sales, Distribution and Business Transformation for one of Africa’s biggest Investment Banks; Databank Group. He subsequently worked as Head of Capital Markets and Executive Director for Pensions with responsibility for four Corporate Trustee Companies at The BEIGE Group.
Richmond graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Philosophy from University of Ghana, an MBA from the Paris School of Business (PGSM), France and currently a Doctoral specialization in Global Business and Leadership(DBA) from Cal University in the US. He is an Associate Chartered Marketer, licensed investment advisor, licensed retirement planning trustee, global convener for Africa’s Biggest Tertiary Campuses Career Conference reaching over 200,000 young people, an author of 5 Personal Development books and a global youth mentor, recently voted as one of Top 100 Speakers in Ghana by the African Speakers’ Bureau. He is married and blessed with three wonderful kids; Lady, Jason and Beryl.

Jean Byamugisha
CEO of the Uganda Hotel Owners Association, Uganda

Jean Byamugisha  is the, the only trade association for the Hotel Sector in Uganda. With over 500 member hotels, UHOA is the biggest as well as one of the oldest private sector Associations in Uganda’s tourism sector.

Ms. Byamugisha is the first female CEO of the Association as well as the youngest CEO in the history of UHOA. She has also been recognized as one of the 20 Best performing CEOs in Uganda in a survey carried out in December 2018. She was voted among the top 100 women in Tourism in Africa in 2017 as well as one of Uganda’s Top 40 CEO’s under 40 in 2018.

Ms. Byamugisha has a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism Management from Makerere University, one of Africa’s oldest and best universities as well as a host of post graduate certifications from different institutions. Jean is very passionate about the tourism industry and has acted as Mentor to many hospitality students in different universities in Uganda. In her spare time, Jean is an avid reader and traveller.

Linda Balme
Senior Commercial Manager, Travelstart

Linda Balme has been in the travel industry for 18 years. After 14 years in senior management roles, across 4 countries, leading 6 different brands, Linda returned to South Africa to join Africa’s largest on-line travel company, Travelstart, as their Senior Commercial Manager.

Recognized by industry professionals for her passion as well as her ability to create vision and buy-in, she is entrusted with the relationship between international tourism boards, travel providers and corporate partners, to promote African inbound and outbound tourism. With an audience size of 25 million across all online and offline channels, Travelstart is in a position to increase both awareness and increased passenger numbers to different destinations.

Dr. Dennis Bamidele Sunday
Director General National Center for Youth Development Abuja, Nigeria

Dr Dennis Bamidele Sunday born in the heart city of Lagos Nigeria in the year 1970 holds a PhD in Development Planning from the University of Nigeria, Nussuka and a M.sc in Economics from the University of Lagos.

Dennis has more than 14 years of development sector experience having worked in both the public and civil society sectors, specifically in youth development, gender equality, job creation and poverty eradication and elevation. His previous notable achievements include being a member of the Task Team responsible for developing poverty alleviation strategies for the Nigerian government. At the Rural & Urban Sector Network, he was involved in the development of guidelines for the implementation of the National Youth Agency Process. He was part of the research team that investigated and made a report to the Lagos Ministry of women affairs and poverty eradication on configuration of youth development, job-creation, skill acquisitions and empowerment. Between 2005 and 2011 he was responsible for overseeing the work of the National Youth Service corps in the social, environment and infrastructure sectors. He has a strong interest in gender and poverty issues and strongly advocates the participation of women and youth in the Built Environment. In his current position the Director General at the National Center for Youth Development Dr Dennis Bamidele Sunday has travel widely presenting papers and seminars around the world on Youth and human capital development.

He has been mandated to oversee the implementation of the National Youth Service and Skills Development Programmed, facilitating the mainstreaming of youth development across government agencies and fostering partnerships with civil society and the private sector to increase development opportunities for young people.

Donald Djobo
General Manager - CO FOUNDER (myGO WORLWIDE - AFRICA)

Donald is an expert in the aviation, tourism and hospitality industries. He has successfully established several businesses in Africa. He is currently the CEO of ISAGI AVIATION, an industrial aircraft maintenance company. He is also the President of RHEMA CONSULTS INT’L,A tourism firm aimed at providing solutions to promote E-tourism in Africa. He is the current General Manager -Co founder of myGO AFRICA, subsidiary of myGO GROUP, a hotel reservation platform for the B2B market based in Brussels-Belgium and working with close to 470.000 hotels in 196 countries of the world.
Prior to that, Donald has been working as a senior consultant in a Kenyan consulting firm ENREAL LTD. KENYA, where he brilliantly acted as a Business Development Manager for East Africa and as the Managing partner for ENREAL West Africa. He elaborates sectorial development strategies for countries, regions and cities to develop coherent emerging plans in Africa. He strongly believes that Africa has enough potency and resources to develop and extol herself for win-win opportunities offered in the business ecosystem. M. Djobo is very engaged in the tourism sector and he currently presides an Association called « REPT-CI » in partnership with the National Tourism Board in Cote d’Ivoire with the motive of promoting the Ivorian destination during World Tourism Exhibitions. His passion for Tourism has taken him to various countries of the world promoting Tourism in Africa. He thereafter, founded AFRICA TOURS CENTER, an African Tourism Information Center based in Dakar – Senegal which is also the official organizer of the AFRICAN TOURISM WEEK.
He holds a Bachelor Degree of Business Administration at Methodist University College – Ghana and a postgraduate diploma at the London School of Business and Technology.

Abena Pokuaa Amoah Boaitey
CEO, Golden Beach Hotels Group Ghana

Mrs. Pokuaa Boaitey is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Golden Beach Hotels Group with over 500 employees under her supervision and management . She is a United Kingdom (UK) trained hospitality and tourism expert in management and leadership. She has extensive experience in training and development, with over 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry. She is also a customer service specialist and a qualified lecturer in Hospitality, Tourism and Marketing.
Very passionate about her work, she started from the bottom as a room attendant and worked her way up in various hotels in the UK, including Marriott, London Hilton and the Dorchester Hotel. After her sojourn in the UK, Mrs. Pokuaa Boaitey returned to Ghana in 2007. Her first appointment was with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where she was the events and operations manager. She then got engaged by Oak Plaza Hotel as a sales and marketing director and was part of the pioneer team that launched the hotel in Accra.
She has a BA (Hons.) in Hospitality and Tourism Management and a post graduate certificate in Education and Training. She is a member of the Tourism Society in the UK, a member of the United Nations Women in Tourism Committee and a board member of the HTM-Industry Advisory Board (UMES-USA).
Golden Beach Hotels gladden hearts
Golden Beach Hotels Ghana Limited (GBH), a wholly owned Ghanaian hospitality management company was incorporated on 24th June, 1999 under the Companies Code, 1963 (Act 179) of Ghana. GBH comprises La Palm Royal Beach Hotel in Accra, Elmina and Busua Beach Resort in the central and western regions respectively.
GBH, with all three of its hotels dotted along the coastline, has established a reputation as the finest resorts in Ghana. Each of the hotels provides maximum comfort and has the best business and conference facilities in the country. GBH’s philosophy is to provide its guests with a total tourism experience.

Mr Thulani Nzima
Indenpendent Consultant & Chairperson of Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency, South Africa

After graduating with a B. Com Degree at the University of South Africa (UNISA), Mr Thulani Nzima started his career in the banking industry with Perm Building Society in 1984, gaining experience in marketing and business development. He subsequently managed the Wynberg branch for four years, as one of the pioneering Black Executives at the time.
In 1991, he joined South African Airways (SAA) for a 14-year period which would nurture and hone his skills in all aspects of the local and international travel and tourism sector. Joining SAA as an Overseas Cadet Manager, Nzima gained experience and an understanding of particularly the Africa and Middle East markets. In 1993 Thulani was appointed Market Development Manager for SAA’s Asia and Australia markets before taking on a similar role for North and South America.
In 1997 Nzima was appointed SAA Regional Manager for Benelux countries and was based in Holland, with another office in Brussels. Here, he worked on SAA’s overall business strategy for the Benelux region, including sales plans, revenue targets, operating budgets, cargo and passenger operations. Thulani also managed SAA’s stakeholder relations with key airport authorities, government partners and foreign embassies. While based in Holland, Nzima sat on the Board of the Netherlands Foreign Airlines Association and Schiphol Operators Association, while also serving as a Member of the Netherlands and Belgian Chambers of Commerce.
At the end of 2000, Nzima returned to South Africa to take up the position of SAA’s General Manager for Kwazulu-Natal and Border, tasked to resuscitate the sales operations with responsibility for generating sales revenue, managing budgets, recruiting the sales team and for the airline’s corporate and government deals. In 2001, Nzima was appointed as Senior Executive Manager, with his tasks including the strategic realignment of SAA’s Voyager programme, driving SAA’s national and corporate retail sales strategy, its revenue and sales targets, as well as managing SAA’s key government account teams. He subsequently became SAA’s Senior Executive for Market South Africa, responsible for the rest of SAA’s revenue and sales teams in the country.
After a stellar career at SAA spanning nearly one and a half decades, Nzima joined South African Travel Centre (SATC) as its Chief Executive Officer in 2005. His tasks included overall business development strategy, assisting the Board with strategic business direction, as well as growing SATC’s business and franchise base while improving profitability. In addition to managing its operating budgets, Nzima helped SATC create new revenue streams, established international networks and alliances and a new strategic government plan and sales team. He held the position of Director and Board Member at the SA Travel Centre Group, was a Director and Chairman of Travel Experience (Pty) (a joint venture business with the Automobile Association – AA) Ltd. Nzima also served on the board of GlobalStar TMC International.
Nzima joined Avis Rent-A-Car South Africa in 2007 as Director of Sales and Marketing. In this role, he was in charge of all Avis’s sales and marketing strategy and all revenue-generating business streams, its international sales strategy and revenue generation, strategic partners and supplier strategy development, as well as the company’s call centre, internet and website development strategy. He was also responsible for the company’s communications and public relations strategy, its brand and corporate identity strategy and for its relationship with government and state-owned enterprises. While at Avis, he served as Divisional Board Director for Avis Rent-A-Car Southern Africa.
In January 2012, Nzima took the helm as Chief Executive Officer of South African Tourism, responsible for all operations of the national destination marketing organisation’s Head Office and its international country offices. His role included looking after the Grading Council of South Africa, the Leisure Tourism Business and the establishment of the Business Events under its National Convention Bureau. Thulani served as an ex officio board member at SA Tourism. His role included managing and optimising all market access platforms like Indaba, Meetings Africa (owned by SA Tourism) and other international trade shows where South Africa participated. Stakeholder management combining key tourism and hospitality players and government was a critical function for a successful CEO at this level.
After leaving the employ of SA Tourism in February 2016, Thulani currently chairs the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency Board. He is now a businessman with focus in fleet solutions & procurement, consulting in tourism, aviation, marketing, strategy and logistics.

Julie May-Ellingson
CEO, Cape Town Convention Conference Centre

Julie-May Ellingson is an Urban and Regional Planner and Development Economist by
profession. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Development Administration and Economics and a Master’s Degree in Town & Regional Planning. She joined the Cape Town International
Convention Centre (CTICC) in September 2014 as their Chief Executive Officer. Julie-May has
over 20 years’ experience in the built environment and tourism sector, and has worked
extensively in the private and public sector.

Givemore Chidzidzi
COO - Zimbabwe Tourism Authority Harare, Zimbabwe

Givemore is holders a Bachelor of Business Studies (BBS) Degree majoring in Tourism and Transportation from the University of Applied Sciences, Worms, Germany and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) in Marketing from the City University, Bellevue, Washington, USA. He joined the tourism industry straight form university in 1986, starting his career as an Assistant Research and Planning Officer for the then Zimbabwe Tourist Development Corporation. He rose through the ranks of Research and Planning Officer, Research and Planning Manager, Head of the Research and Planning Division and served in the Diplomatic Field as the Tourism Attaché for Zimbabwe responsible for Continental Europe and based in Frankfurt, Germany from 1996 – 2001.

Chidzizi returned to Zimbabwe as Marketing and Communication Director for the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and rose to the current position of Chief Operating Officer of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, a position held since 2010 interspaced with several stints as Acting Chief Executive. In this position, he has been involved in the development of tourism legislation and policy, marketing strategy, destination branding and institutional capacity building, representing Zimbabwe on the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (RETOSA), regional initiatives such as the Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area, African Union Tourism initiatives as well as the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). He also serves on several Boards in Zimbabwe.

Among these are the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Corporation (SMEDCO), Council Member of the Manicaland State University of Applied Sciences (2017 – 2019) and Zimbabwe Tourism Authority representative on the Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe Board.

Lipian B Mtandabari
Founder and Director, Phezulu Safaris - Tourism and Logistic, Zimbabwe

A young tour operator and professional safari specialist with a combined experience of eight years of running a thriving tourism business in Zimbabwe and recently in South Africa. Lipian Bongani Mtandabari is the founder and Director of Phezulu Safaris in Zimbabwe (established in 2012). Due to his strong passion for  tourism and promoting equality through travel, he incepted Ntsako Travel Africa in 2018, an Exclusive Pan African LGBT travel company. The primary philosophy of Ntsako Travel Africa is to sell southern Africa as an emerging destination for  LGBT+. In addition to promoting the destination, Ntsako Travel Africa is also involved in capacitating, developing and transitioning the service industry to embrace LGBT+ travel and become LGBT+ inclusive.

At the tender age of 25, Lipian has a strong interest in wildlife and environment conservation. He currently sits on the boards of several conservation organisations in Zimbabwe, including one which he founded. He is an alumni and current mentor of the Tony Elumelu Foundation – Entrepreurship Forum.

Lipian’s passion and innovation in the tourism and conservation field has been recognised by his African peers who adjudicated him as runner up in the 2018 Outstanding Entrepreurship Category of the Pan African Africa Tourism Leadership Awards held in Accra Ghana.

Nkululeko Mthembu
Director, PISTA

Having read for Construction Management Studies at Wits University and spending weekends reciting French and Mandarin at the Language School, Nkululeko Mthembu’s work has now taken a different path.

Nkululeko Mthembu is Director at PISTA, a research,design and innovation firm at the intersection of design thinking, cultural intelligence and technology. The meeting of these three disciplines is what he calls innovation.

PISTA is a culmination of his life’s work as a transdisciplinary and multidisciplinary firm to solving problems in FMCG industries, healthcare, financial services, government, education & corporate Africa.

Mthembu founded The Durban Innovation Hub in 2014, a vehicle to create an enabling environment for local technology-driven entrepreneurs and equipping them with functional tools. Programmes under The Durban Innovation Hub included: Google Developer Group, Random Hacks of Kindness (a programme funded by NASA) and Hacka Durban.

In 2014 again, he led a strategic partnership with the Global Entrepreneurship Network to form Startup Nations Kwazulu Natal. The purpose of this vehicle was to expand the reach and impact of Startup Nations South Africa in the province. A dual initiative of The Innovation Hub, Wits Business School, Industrial Development Corporation and the Department of Small Business.

In 2015 – 16, he spent a considerable amount of time abroad, namely England to immerse himself in a global startup ecosystem. During his time he visited prestigious institutes Cambridge and Oxford University (meeting Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Member of Parliament Lord Mervyn King), UK Trade & Investment, Innovate UK, The Legatum Institute, Google, RSA Institute, Loughborough University to mention a few.

This immersion saw him bring best practice on new venture creation, business development, value proposition crafting, enterprise scaling and route to market strategies, partnerships and emerging markets business case development with the hopes of cross-pollinating some of these global techniques into African startups.

In 2017, Mthembu, together with the Global Shapers Community in Africa – an initiative of the World Economic Forum – embarked on an ambitious project of championing the African Continential Free Trade Agreement under the Open Africa Initiative specifically geared to prioritising interests of youth in Africa.

During this time Mthembu spent four months backpacking through various African states, via road and passing border posts, connecting with Global Shapers in each country where a town hall-type event was hosted with business and policy leaders. Mthembu gathered invaluable insights on the challenges of doing business in Africa which culminated at the African Union, Addis Ababa.

He leads a less exciting life reading for his Bachelor of Business, volunteers his time at the Durban Chamber of Commerce & Industry as Member of Council & Chairperson of Youth in Business Forum and vests a large haul of his time to his practice PISTA with the hopes of creating the most culturally-minded design & innovation firm.

Olufemi Barrison Lawson
Chairman and CEO Skyview Communications Nigeria

Mr. Olufemi Barrison Lawson, is the Chairman and CEO Skyview Communications, Nigeria. He is an astute brand strategist with over twenty two years hands on experience across different sectors from Communications, Finance, Tourism, (FMCG pls write this in full) and Real Estate. His leadership skills and strategic thinking has been delivered in different roles from Client Service Executive, to Account manager, Media and Communication Strategy Planner and Executor Copy Writing and Creative Director.

Femi was head of Coporate communications for three major companies in three different sectors and rose to the head of Purchase/Admin and the Accounts department. He has served as Special and personal assistant to some managing directors of main player organizations in Nigeria. As an innovator and creative thinker, he has had the privilege to work on marketing communications strategies and execution for different local and international brands. He recently created the identity and marketing communications for the first ever prestigious drum Festival in Nigeria and Africa. The Nigeria Drum festival 2016 now called AFRICAN Drum Festival). Mr. Femi Lawson just launched the first Virtual Tourism in Nigeria. A tool used to promote and sell Nigeria’s tourism potentials and many other creative ideas.

With the aim to be a seasoned professional, Mr. Femi Lawson has attended diverse professional, Management and Leadership trainings locally and internationally. These programs and courses focus on strategy, communications, insurance, marketing, sales, personal and interpersonal skills, banking, micro finance marketing, travel and tourism, leadership, etc. He is a regular attendee of the yearly Global Leadership Summit in Willow Creek Community, Illinois Chicago and the Daystar annual Excellence in leadership conference in Lagos Nigeria.

Mr. Lawson recently bagged the Global Peace Award from Dame Munni Irone of Art 4 Peace Award Organization from Beverly Hills, United States of America. This alongside other number of awards,
Femi has Basic Certificate in Leadership from the Daystar Leadership Academy, Certificate in Media Enterprise from the Pan-Atlantic University, Certificate in Strategic Brand Management from the London School of Business and Finance. He is an associate member of the Advertising Council of Nigeria, a Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management and holds an HND Certificate in Mass Communications.
Mr. Olufemi Barrison Lawson is married with children.

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SOUTH AFRICA –Johannesburg
Dimpho Mashabela
- Media Contact
Mobile : +27 81 303 7030
Landline : +27 (0) 11 318 1741
Email :
dimpho@africatourismpartners.com
ATP Partnerships Johannesburg
Rejoice Chishamba
- Projects Co-ordinator
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info@africatourismpartners.com
Rwanda Convention Bureau
Yves Gahonzire
- Business Development Manager
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Web : www.rcb.rw
Ikaze PCO, Events Organiser -Rwanda
Ms Nshuti Bunyenyezi
-Events Manager
Mobile : +250 788 254 476
Landline : +250 788 770 820
Email : nshuti@ikazepco.com
Web : www.ikazepco.com
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