In a famous interview with the pan-african news network Africa24 in February 2015, Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote expressed the difficulties to operate a business in Francophone countries. This simple statement is representative of the important ongoing gap that exists between african countries, oftentime sharing borders, but so different in terms of culture, politics, economy, social environments. This panel explores this challenge and ambitions to bring some approaches to mitigate it.


Eye on Africa: Founder, Chief Executive Officer


Phanice is Founder and CEO of Eye on Africa, a pan-African Public Affairs organization highlighting development in the continent and showcasing investment opportunities across sub saharan Africa.

Phanice is an alumnus of the Harvard Kennedy School who also holds a degree in sociology and communications from Massey University, New Zealand, and a post graduate certificate
in public policy from the University of Southern California. She has long supported integration, trade and development agendas at both her professional and personal capacity in Africa.

Phanice has worked at the United Nations seconded to the Kenyan Government. She has advised governments around Africa at high levels, including Presidency, on development, political and other strategic issues. Her public affairs advisory work focuses on diplomacy, brand building, Presidential campaigns, public relations, advocacy crisis and reputation management. She advises energy ministers, ministers oftrade and foreign policy in some of the fastest growing economies in Africa.

Phanice is currently advising several presidential campaign candidates across Africa and the African Union Commission chairperson races. She recently managed a successful campaign to re-elect President Alassane Ouattara and elect Akin Adesina at the African Development Bank. A Kenyan citizen and a pan-Africanist, Phanice serves on the boards of Bliss GVS India, Samburu girls Foundation, AMA foundation Nigeria, Clinix Healthcare Nigeria, Pangani girls alumni association. She is a founding member of the Havard Africa Women's Network (HAWN) amongst several other initiatives.



High Commissioner to ITC, Republic of Niger

Mr. Guimba-Saidou has over 20 years of professional experience in the telecommunications industries worldwide. His expertise is in strategy, operations planning and management, market sizing, product marketing, business planning, Sales and Market development. Ibrahima has been recipient of several CEO Awards throughout his career. His expertise of both francophone and African countries is unique. He is currently the high commissioner to ITC in Republic of Niger, a Cabinet level position.

  • Consistently generated efficiencies to improve profits, market share and customers satisfaction.
  • Extensive experience in dealing with Key decision makers in Africa, Europe and the United States of America.
  • Strengthen Performance through Team-Focus Leadership, with Exceptional Change Management and Achievement Record in Fast-Growing Environments.


Focus VenturesFounder, Managing Partner

Haoua is the founder and Managing Partner of Focus Ventures. Haoua identifies, investigates and assesses long term strategic business opportunies beyond the 'business as usual' for companies in this dynamic part of the world. Her previous responsibilities as country manager and then head of operations both held in the African continent allowed her to get a sharp insight of rapidly developing economies' business potential. Haoua is a graduate of France, MSc in International business and Japan with a MSc in Financial engineering from Yokohama National University. A native French speaker, Haoua is additionally fluent in English, Spanish and Hausa.


Ovation International: Chief Executive Officer, Publisher


Chief Dele Momodu (born Ayòbámidélé Àbáyòmí Ojútelégàn Àjàní Momodu; 16 May 1960) is a Nigerian journalist/publisher, businessman, philanthropist, actor and motivational speaker. He is the CEO and publisher of Ovation International, a magazine that has given publicity to people from all over the world, mainly in Africa. In 2015, he officially launched Ovation TV and subsequently launched an online newspaper called The Boss. Momodu has received hundreds of awards and honours for his work in the world of business, politics, literature, the music industry and the fashion industry. He writes a weekly column called "PENdulum", published every Saturday on the back page of Thisday newspaper. The articles are praised for highlighting issues in Nigeria, as well as discussing popular topics, current events and notable people, often in a polemic/critical style. Through PENdulum, Momodu became a prominent voice for the APC presidential candidate at the 2015 general election in Nigeria - the current president Muhammadu Buhari.



Rwanda Development Board: Chief Executive Officer

Ms Clare Akamanzi is CEO of the Rwanda Development Board(RDB) and Member of the Cabinet of Rwanda. Prior to this role, she served as Head of Strategy and Policy for H.E President Paul Kagame and for over 7 years as COO of the RDB.  

Ms. Akamanzi has also previously served as a Commercial Diplomat in London and a Trade Negotiator in Geneva at the World Trade Organization.

She is an International Trade and Investment Lawyer, who has lived, schooled and worked in 7 countries in 3 continents but nothing beats the privilege of being part of rebuilding her nation.

Ms Akamanzi is a Harvard Kennedy School MPA alum, where she was the recipient of the Lucius N. Littaeur Fellows Award; the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to HKS community, as well as the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Public Service. She also holds an LLM (International Trade and Investment) with distinction from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and LLM (Hons) from Makerere University, Uganda.

She is a 2012 Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and was named one of Africa’s Top 20 leading women in economic development by Forbes in 2013.


Harvard Kennedy School: Mason Fellow

Meriem Boudjadja is a Mason fellows from Algeria currently pursuing a Masters in Public Administration at Harvard. Before coming to the Kennedy school Meriem led the project financing deal on the projected construction of the UN House in Algiers with the UNDP. Previously, she was a cabinet member at the Ministry of Industrial development & Investment and the Ministry of Trade in charge of their  Public Relations. Her previous experience in the public sector, was through the leadership of a National Riding Academy project for the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Prior to working in the public sector in Algeria, Meriem had spent a number of years at Citi where she worked in project finance. Her first work experience was in Paris with PWC.