Speakers

Ahmed Dermish – UNCDF
Ahmed is a Policy and Digital Ecosystem Specialist at UNCDF for the MM4P programme. He recently served as Director of Financial Inclusion Policy and Ecosystem Practice at Bankable Frontier Associates. Prior to joining Bankable Frontier Associates in 2009, Ahmed was a bank supervisor and policy adviser at the Financial Conduct Authority in the United Kingdom. While there, Ahmed was seconded to CGAP to assist in the development of regulatory policy for mobile banking and the supervision of electronic money institutions.

Aiaze Mitha – UNCDF
Aiaze is an emerging market fintech/digital finance expert and entrepreneur. He recently co-founded Coqonut, a start-up that aims to provide aggregation services in the blockchain/crypto market. Aiaze is on the board of directors of several fintechs and financial institutions that are engaged in digital transformation. An early pioneer in the mobile financial service industry, Aiaze combines first-hand implementation experience with strategic involvement in over 40 digital finance projects across Africa, Asia, Central America and the Middle East.

Anita Assimwe – DCA
Anita is the Digital and Innovation Coordinator for DCA Uganda. Prior to joining DCA, Anita worked with the fintech Intelworld International, now ‘Xente,’ as Product Manager, handling product and project management as well as business analysis functions. Previously, she served as Systems Analyst for MTN, the biggest telecom in Uganda. Anita holds a BSc in Computer Science from Makerere University and is pursuing an MBA from Heriot-Watt University.

Annabel Schiff – Caribou Digital
At Caribou, Annabel is the Senior Manager for Partners within the Mastercard Foundation Partnership for Finance in a Digital Africa. Previously, Annabel served as Senior Manager in the Digital Financial Services Department at MicroSave, based in Nairobi, Kenya. At MicroSave, Annabel’s work revolved around The Helix Institute of Digital Finance. Prior to MicroSave, Annabel’s background was in marketing and branding.

Avi Raju – Fiji Care
Avi Raju is the Founder and Managing Director of Mount Sophia Asset Management, a Hong Kong based private equity investment fund with investments globally. Over the last 4 years, Avi has focused his investments in his birthplace, Fiji. Avi is the majority shareholder and the Chairman of Fiji Care Insurance Limited, a publicly listed insurance company on the South Pacific Stock Exchange. Avi was instrumental in the formation of MIOT Pacific Hospitals (“MPH”) in Suva, Fiji. Avi is a Director of MIOT Pacific Hospitals, which is a joint venture between BSP Life and MIOT Investments (Fiji) Ltd. Avi is a shareholder and director in MIOT Investments (Fiji) Ltd. Avi has over 18 years of experience working in the technology, real estate and investment industries.

Avishek Malla – SunFarmer
Avishek is a social entrepreneur with over 10 years of extensive hands-on experience in renewable energy in Nepal and international markets. His experience includes various roles in industry, government and academia. A pioneer in the development of solar photovoltaics in Nepal, he introduced rent-to-own solar services in the fields of rural health, education and agriculture. Avishek was recognized with the highest academic award in Nepal by His Royal Highness King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev.

Brad Magrath – Zoona
Brad Magrath is a three-time co-founder with his brother Brett, and 10 years ago they co-founded Zoona that has grown to 1.8 million active 90 day consumers, created 4500 jobs, and transacted over $2 billion over the platform. The original conviction was that entrepreneurship, technology, talented people and an unrelenting focus on solving customer problems and delivering value people would pay for, would be a formula to grow and scale. The African landscape is dominated by unemployment, financial exclusion and increasing youth population and urbanization. Zoona is focused on empowering entrepreneurs to create employment, and increase financial inclusion to help communities thrive.

Bram Peters – PFIP
Bram is the Programme Manager of the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP). Prior to joining PFIP, Bram served in various roles at the cross-section of financial inclusion and digital financial services. With a strong focus on pioneering ideas and innovation, he implemented a successful, award-winning digital finance strategy for Bank South Pacific. Most recently, Bram managed the UNCDF MM4P programme in Uganda as a Country Technical Specialist on Digital Finance.

Camille O'Sullivan – LenddoEFL
Camille is the Senior Manager for Africa at LenddoEFL. Camille has worked there for the past three years and is in charge of all LenddoEFL clients and sales in the region. She is passionate about small and medium enterprise financing, and prior to joining LenddoEFL, Camille worked in the small and medium enterprise financing and venture capital space across the African continent.

Cecilia Lopez - LenddoEFL
Cecilia is the Modeling Director at LenddoEFL, responsible for the development, implementation and monitoring of predictive models. Before joining LenddoEFL, she worked as a risk consultant on different projects across Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico). Her projects included the development of credit risk models for local banks as well as business processes diagnosis and optimization for national oil companies.

Christopher Locke – Caribou Digital
Chris is the founder of Caribou Digital. Previously, he was the Managing Director of GSMA Mobile for Development. GSMA Mobile for Development works with the mobile industry globally to build services that have a development impact for the poorest people in the world. Prior to his career in this industry, Chris was the Xerox Lecturer in Electronic Communication and Publishing at University College London.

Christopher Ssali – MTN Uganda
Christopher Ssali is a seasoned Products and Innovations expert with a proven experience in product development for over 15years. He has been at the helm of Mobile Money Financial Services innovations developing DFS solutions to bridge the gap between the financially included and excluded customers in Uganda. He is very skilled at leading teams in very competitive product development environment especially in the DFS Money space having been one of the pioneer teams that put together VAS and Mobile Money in the Ugandan Telecom industry. Chris has worked with a number of corporate organizations within the Telecom sector and is currently working with MTN Uganda as the Senior Manager Mobile Financial Services (MFS) Products and Innovations.

Codou Ndiaye – Dimagi
Codou is a Senior Technical Project Analyst at Dimagi, a firm that delivers mobile technology solutions to underserved populations around the world. She is currently managing projects that pilot and scale the utilization of mobile technologies in various sectors: agriculture, microfinance and health. Passionate about finance, Codou worked for a couple of years in financial markets before deciding to return to her home country of Senegal in order to support projects that are helping the continent.

Eric Kwabena Agyei – MobiPay
Eric is the co-founder and Managing Director of MobiPay AgroSys Limited, an Africa-based international technology solutions company based in Uganda that aims to improve people’s lives through innovative solutions to drive agriculture, support financial inclusion and boost trade in Africa. Eric has extensive experience and a proven track record of working with both start-ups and established organizations to conceptualize, design and implement agribusiness value chain products and services in emerging economies, including Ghana, Kenya and Uganda.

François Coupienne – UNCDF
François joined the MM4P programme at UNCDF in January 2013, and today he is the Programme Manager.
His career includes work related to distribution in the retail sector, which he applied to his efforts with alternative payment channels—Internet, phone and electronic vouchers—at BNP Paribas Fortis. From 2008 to 2012, François worked on the development and implementation of branchless and mobile banking efforts in several countries in Africa. Most recently, he worked on and assisted with the development of agent networks, including with microfinance institutions.

Geoffrey Sekitto – Finance Trust
Geoffrey Sekitto is a successful banker with over 10 years of working experience, conceptualizing and creating revenue opportunities by leveraging technology to grow unfunded income. His areas of expertise are Innovative Digital Channels for Mobile Banking, Agent Banking and Internet Banking and Mobile Money, Bancassurance, Relationship Management. He previously worked as Manager Delivery Channels in Finance Trust Bank where he is currently in charge of Financial Inclusion.

Henri Dommel – UNCDF
Mr. Dommel, a French national, joined UNCDF as the Director of the Financial Inclusion Practice Area in 2007. He is responsible for leading the unit's strategy to promote access to financial services and the development of inclusive financial sectors in the least developed countries. In his position, Mr. Dommel helps develop the UNCDF strategy on inclusive finance as well as support the UNCDF agenda on product innovation and diversification, which includes microinsurance, remittances and financial services for youth, among others. Mr. Dommel started his career at Banque Paribas in New Delhi as well as in Paris in the bank's department for Africa and the Middle East.

Henri Senkasi – PEAS
Henry joined PEAS Uganda in June 2017 from Heifer International, a US based charity, where he was leading Business and Partnerships in East Africa. As PEAS Uganda Country Director, he leads on all aspects of operations including the development of PEAS Uganda’s overall strategic plan and delivery of its goals. With a masters in Development Studies, Henry has many years’ experience working for international NGO’s and government.

Hermann Ahouandjinou – MTN Benin

Hermann Eric Ahouandjinou is a certified expert in digital finance and in inclusive finance law and regulation. He worked for eight years in the deployment of point of sale networks in GSM with MTN BENIN. For more than two years, he has been responsible for the development of the distribution network and the ecosystem within MTN Mobile Money Benin, a subsidiary of MTN Benin. He led several projects in this position, such as a bank 2 wallet project with an MFI and the development of mobile payment in the informal sector.

James Chona – Airtel Zambia
James is the Head of Airtel Money in Zambia. He also has experience working as Senior Executive Manager for Sales and Distribution Management with a leading global brand in consumer electronics and a leading mobile telecom operator. He previously worked as the Head of Consumer Banking at Ecobank and as Business Leader for Samsung in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Jaspreet Singh Sethi – UNCDF
Jaspreet is a Technical Specialist for UNCDF in Asia. He is a banker and financial consultant, with hands-on experience in the digital finance domain. Through his tenure in the banking industry, he developed a diverse professional background, from alternative banking channels and agriculture value chain finance to corporate banking, small and medium enterprise finance, and investment banking.

Jin Gong – JD Finance
Dr. Gong is the Senior Researcher at the JD Finance Research Institute. Holding a Doctorate of Management, he focuses on the field of agricultural finance, supply-chain finance and financial inclusion. Dr. Gong offers in-depth insight into the areas of agricultural finance, industry development and supervision. His work, a case about JD Finance in the field of agricultural finance, was incorporated into the World Development Report 2019 by the World Bank. Prior to his post at JD Finance, he worked at the Dalian Commodity Exchange on research in the commodity trade.

Junior Kwebiiha – UNCDF
Zerubabel Kwebiiha Junior is the Digital Financial Services Consultant at UNCDF Zambia. He currently focuses on engagement with industry and thought leaders in the private sector to help identify appropriate digital and finance technology while ascertaining their contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Zerubabel's laudable experience of more than 10years in distribution while with MTN Uganda provides immense value in his current role. He was very instrumental in the MTN VillagePhone, a project which focused on extending communication services to the remote areas in Uganda. In 2012, Zerubabel Junior was part of the team that launched EzeeMoney Uganda, a third-party provider for both financial and non-financial services. Under his leadership as CEO, Ezeemoney successfully partnered with Airtel, National Water and Sewerage Corp, UMEME providing cash collection solutions.

Kaleo Nakazwe – Zoona

Karima Wardak – UNCDF
Karima is a knowledge management and marketing and communication professional with 20 years of experience. She has worked for 7 years in the microfinance sector. Today, Karima is the head of Communication and Knowledge Management for the MM4P programme at UNCDF. Besides her experience in microfinance, she also spent some 11 years in advertising and web consultancy agencies in Europe and West Africa (Guinea and Senegal).

Lawrence Towtimeh – Yo Uganda

Lukonga Lindunda – BongoHive
Lukonga has over nine years of experience working with entrepreneurs and development partners. As a start-up ecosystem builder, Lukonga is co-founder and Executive Director of BongoHive, supporting the launch and growth of enterprises and making Zambia the next hotbed of innovation in Africa. Previously, he provided technical assistance to educational projects and programmes by building sustainable and affordable ICT infrastructure and support systems.

Maha Khan – Caribou Digital
At Caribou Digital, Maha is the Senior Manager for Research and Knowledge Management within the Mastercard Foundation Partnership for Finance in a Digital Africa. For over 10 years, Maha has worked as a research and programme manager in the field of peacebuilding, behavioural change and financial inclusion. Prior to her work with Finance in a Digital Africa, she designed a digital cash-transfer fresh-food voucher programme for the World Food Programme in Ethiopia. She also led the Business Analytics Domain at The Helix Institute of Digital Finance (MicroSave Africa) for two years in Kenya.

Malick Diop – Pamecas

Malick Diop is the Managing Director of PAMECAS, a mutual microfinance institution totaling CFAF 60 billion in assets, nearly 800,000 members, 700 employees, 115 points of service.
He has 26 years of professional experience, including ten years in Retail banking where he held several positions including the position of Market Director for individuals and professionals.
His contribution to the commercial development of money transfer services at La Poste and BICIS over the past fifteen years is recognized. Activist of financial inclusion, he was coordinator of the Association micro finance Sans Frontières MSF. He is also an independent director of the financial institution of a banking nature, FINAO. Since January 2018, he has been a member of the steering committee of the National Program for the Development of Islamic Microfinance in Senegal (PROMISE).

Maria Perdomo – UNCDF

Matt Homer – UNCDF

Nandini Harihareswara – UNCDF
Nandini is a Digital Finance Technical Specialist with the MM4P programme at UNCDF. She is responsible for implementing the MM4P country strategy in Zambia and leading a team focused on increasing financial inclusion through digital finance. Nandini also assists with MM4P efforts in Malawi. Prior to working for the Digital Development team, Nandini served as Investment Officer for the USAID Development Credit Authority Office and launched the USAID Portfolio Acceleration initiative, an effort to advance USAID development objectives in agriculture, humanitarian assistance and power using digital financial services.

Nate Bernhard – Ker-twang
Nate is a partner at Ker-twang, a firm dedicated to developing and scaling up high-quality services for low-income people. He specializes in using design methods to adapt technology to the realities of behaviour. Nate is the former COO of ReadCube, an academic software company that was acquired by Macmillan Publishers and is used at universities around the globe.

Pape Alassane Niang – Orange
Pape Alassane has more than 16 years of experience in the field of Telecom and Mobile Money within SONATEL. He was promoted to Director of the Orange Money Business Pole in July 2016 in the Consumer Marketing Department of SONATEL. He is the current Director of Marketing, Distribution and Operations within OFMS, which now includes all of Sonatel's Mobile Money activities in Senegal. He is a graduate of the current Ecole Supérieure Polytechnique at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar with a University Diploma in Technology and a Higher Diploma in Management.

Pierrine Aylara – UNHCR
Pierrine Ayala is the UNHCR Representative for Zambia. She graduated from University Aix-Marseille and Cotonou University and is fluent in French, English and Spanish. She has had a long history of advancing the work of refugees since 1992, when she started as an Associate Liaison officer in UNHCR HQ in Geneva, Switzerland. She is originally from Benin.

Ramatoulaye Diallo Shagaya – Orange
Since April 2018, Rama Diallo Shagaya is the General Manager of Orange Finances Mobiles in Senegal, and also Director in charge of mobile financial services in the Sonatel cluster of the Orange group. This appointment follows a 20-year career in favor of economic growth, job creation and entrepreneurship in Africa. An award-winning CFO and entrepreneur herself, she has extensive business skills, in-depth expertise in investment and finance-related areas, as well as small and large businesses and non-profit organizations. She has also been Treasurer and Director of Corporate Finance at Etisalat (now 9Mobile) in Nigeria. In Etisalat, Rama raised $ 1 billion for the company's operations. Rama also concluded the acquisition of Alheri Mobile Services by Etisalat for $ 250 million, giving EMTS a 3G license and the ability to operate effectively as a data service provider.
Rama began his career in 1997 at Goldman Sachs as an analyst intern with the Asset Management Group. She then joined the Morgan Stanley investment bank in New York in its Mergers & Acquisitions group with banking and financial services clients in Europe and Latin America. In 2000, she joined Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) as an Investment Officer in Washington, DC. She played a key role in the $ 50 million investment in MSI Cellular (now Bharti Airtel Africa) which resulted in a return on investment of 400%. Thus began his career and his expertise in the fields of telecommunications, technology and media.
Rama holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude in Mathematics & Economics. She also holds a degree in Coaching and Personal Development and Leadership.
Rama is a Senegalese who has traveled to more than 30 countries and speaks 4 languages including French and English. In 2010, she was elected to the Board of United World College International, a consortium of 13 international schools whose mission is to promote understanding among nations through education and interaction among young people from different cultures.

Robert Adwek – Mukwano

Sabine Mensah – UNCDF
Sabine is a bilingual English-French digital finance specialist with a background in remittances and 19 years of experience in private-sector business development in money transfers, payments and mobile money services across Africa as well as in Canada and the United States of America. Sabine started her career in remittances in 1998. Over a span of 14 years with Western Union, she built solid expertise in agent network management, product design, and go-to-market and customer activation strategies to reach scale. In mid-2013, Sabine relocated to Kenya and transitioned to digital finance consulting with the Anthemis Group and Digipact International, focusing on financial inclusion through branchless and mobile financial service initiatives.

Samantha Malambo – Mercy Corps AgriFin Accelerate
Samantha is the Project Coordinator for Mercy Corps AgriFin Accelerate in Zambia and the head of the Farmer Capability Lab. She has over five years of experience solving complex problems in the humanitarian space with the World Food Programme, where she worked extensively in systems strengthening for large non-governmental organizations and national cash transfer programmes. Samantha is a strong advocate for the application of tech-based solutions to improve the socioeconomic conditions of lower-income population segments. She is a self-professed data nerd and has extensive experience working with large data sets to understand and map patterns at a granular level.

Sidharth Garg – Teller
Sidharth is the founder and CEO of Teller Technologies, Inc. Teller helps banks and mobile money companies in Africa build chatbots to engage customers in messaging apps like SMS and WhatsApp. Before Teller, he worked at Facebook, where he helped launch various payment products like person-to-person payments and Facebook Gifts. Sidharth holds an MBA from Columbia University and a BS in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University.

Sixit Bhatta – Tootle
Sixit is the co-founder and CEO of Tootle (https://tootle.today), which allows people to share their rides on motorbikes using a mobile app. Tootle has been a part of GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator and a finalist at Slush Global Impact Accelerator in Helsinki and Seedstars in Lausanne. Prior to Tootle, Sixit worked for over 12 years with a private telecom operator and a Class A commercial bank in the area of technology. In recent years, he has focused exclusively on the establishment of the mobile financial service subsidiary of Nepal Investment Bank Ltd., M. Nepal. Previously, as a telecom engineer with United Telecom Limited, he worked on introducing an entirely new CDMA (code-division multiple access) technology in Nepal. Sixit has been awarded gold medals by the Prime Minister and President of Nepal for Educational Excellence.

Steve Cui – JD Finance
Steve is the Director of International Business at JD Finance, where he is responsible for the development and promotion of overseas business. Through his work, JD Finance has successfully expanded to Southeast Asia, with a presence in Hong Kong as well as in Indonesia and Thailand. Steve has over 10 years of experience in financial service, IT and e-commerce organizations. Prior to joining JD Finance, he worked for China National Petroleum Corporation as an international business coordinator, in charge of cross-border finance and leasing services. Before that, Steve was responsible for finance and reporting work at Maersk Group. He holds an MBA from Tsinghua University and is a CFA charterholder.

Tillman Bruett – UNCDF
Till has over 20 years of experience in commercial banking, microfinance and digital finance. He currently serves as the Secretariat Director for the UN Secretary-General’s Task Force on the Digital Financing of the Sustainable Development Goals. He joined UNCDF to design and manage the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme. In 2012, Till started and managed the MM4P programme at UNCDF. Both initiatives provide a combination of technical, financial and policy support to financial service providers, regulators and governments to promote the growth of digital finance.

Uloma Ogba – UNCDF
Uloma is a Project and Knowledge Management Consultant for the UNCDF MM4P programme in Zambia. Prior to joining UNCDF, Uloma worked as a Research Analyst for a global health non-governmental organization, PharmAccess, where one of her focal areas was studying how mobile technology could be leveraged to improve healthcare financing and delivery. A truly global citizen who calls both Canada and Nigeria home, Uloma is also the co-founder of the non-governmental organization Give Girls a Chance that is focused on improving access to quality education for girls from low-income communities across Nigeria.

Valère Houssou – ALIDé

Houssou Léonard Valère is the Managing Director of ALIDé, an emerging microfinance institution in Benin. Holder of a Diploma of Higher Studies Specialized in Finance and Management Control, he led the institutionalization process which led to the birth in 2006 of the Microfinance Institution ALIDé. Its microfinance expertise has made ALIDé one of the best microfinance institutions in Benin. This led to his election to the presidency of the Professional Association of DFS of Benin (Alafia Consortium) in August 2012 for a four-year term. The same year, he was elected to sit for four years on the Board of Directors of the African Forum for Transparency in Microfinance in Luxembourg.

With 19 years of experience in microfinance, he is regularly consulted for various supports to microfinance organizations. Its skills cover several areas, in particular: the creation of microfinance institutions, the financing of micro-projects and initiatives in agricultural enterprises, the governance of microfinance institutions, the mobilization of financial resources, the development of financial products and services, the financial education of the population.

Veena Krishnamoorthy – UNHCR
Veena is working as the Cash Based Interventions Officer for UNHCR Zambia. Prior to this Veena has worked with financial institutions like Microfinance Institutions, MNOs and Banks to develop client centric digital products and delivery channels with a focus on gender.

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