Sierra Leone Diaspora Investment and Trade Stakeholder Forum
September 30, 20158:30 am – 7:30 pm EST
World Bank J Bldg, Room, JB1-080, 701 18th Street NW Washington DC

This forum provides the platform to present results of the Sierra Leone Diaspora Investment and Trade Study, which can inform the development of new investment models, technical assistance, and policy changes leading to deeper diaspora engagement, the restoration of investor confidence, and the building of strong public-private partnerships for Sierra Leone’s development post-Ebola.

Lessons from countries that have experienced widespread shocks, such as a disease pandemic, show that diaspora investors have been among the first movers in helping their home countries on the road to economic recovery.  This forum is the next phase of the Sierra Leone Diaspora Investment and Trade Study launched by the World Bank in January 2015 to garner an understanding of the Sierra Leone diaspora’s motivations that can inform the development of new investment models, technical assistance, and policy changes leading to deeper diaspora engagement, the restoration of investor confidence, and the building of strong public-private partnerships for Sierra Leone’s development post-Ebola.
This day-long event will serve as the launch of the results of a survey completed by over 600 Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora revealing their views on the challenges and opportunities to investing in Sierra Leone.  The results will showcase key findings and actionable areas of opportunity for diaspora investment engagement.  In addition we will move the conversation forward by bringing together donors, financial institutions, diaspora business entrepreneurs, and other key diaspora stakeholders for a discussion around case studies of how other countries and institutions have successfully engaged diaspora communities for development.
The afternoon will consist of a five-track thematic workshop focused on the investment areas along which the Sierra Leone diaspora has indicated the strongest interest.  These are Real Estate Investing, Social Impact Investing, Volunteerism & Skills Transfer, Entrepreneurship & Diaspora Direct Investment, and Private Equity & Venture Capital Investing.  

8:30 – 9:00am
Registration & Light Breakfast

9:00 – 9:05am
Welcome - Amadu Massally (World Bank)

9:05 – 9:15am
Opening Remarks – Cecile Fruman (World Bank) 

9:20 – 10:00am
Survey Results & Key Findings - Dr. Liesl Riddle (GWU)

10:05 – 10:45am
Survey Results Discussants - Sierra Leone Diaspora Panel

  • Sia Iscandari (SL Diaspora), 
  • Vidal Smith (Salvest LLC), 
  • Ansumana Bangura (Globalink), 
  • Trevor Young (Sierra Leone Action), 
  • Millicent Lewis-Ojumu (CLAS Consult)
  • Moderator - Joy Spencer (World Bank)

10:45 – 11:00am
Q&A from Audience

11:00 – 11:15am
Coffee Break

11:15 – 11:30am
Financing SMEs: West Africa Ventures Fund - Tracy Washington (IFC)

11:30 – 12:15pm
Lessons from other diasporas

  • Yohannes Assefa (Stalwart Management Consulting Services), 
  • Henrike Panhans (World Bank), 
  • Barbara Span (Western Union), 
  • Joanna Murphy (Connect Ireland)
  • Moderator - Ade Daramy (SLUKDERT)

12:15 – 12:30pm
Q&A from Audience

12:30 – 1:30pm
Lunch & SLIEPA Presentation

  • Raymond Kai Gbekie (SLIEPA)

1:35pm – 2:35pm
Engaging the Diaspora – Parallel Sessions

  • Panel 1: Real Estate Investing
    • John Samuel (Homestrings), 
    • Samuel Okpattah (OPIC), 
    • Anita Thompson (Jones Lang LaSalle), 
    • B.I.B. Kargbo (NASSIT)
    • Moderator - Kevin Kingsley-Williams (SL Diaspora Investment Group)
  • Panel 2: Social Impact Investing
    • Alex Dixon (Aspen Institute),
    • Leigh Moran (Calvert Foundation), 
    • Alexandria Wise (Shuraako), 
    • Steven Adler (IBM)
    • Moderator - Semhar Araia (Semhai Consulting)
  • Panel 3: Skills Transfer and Volunteerism
    • Michael Seid (MSA Worldwide), 
    • Sonia Plaza (World Bank), 
    • Desmond Ellis (SLEN), 
    • Dr. Daivi Rodima-Taylor (Boston University)
    • Moderator - Sawida Kamara (Maryland Nonprofits Consulting Group) 
  • Panel 4: Entrepreneurship and DDI
    • Mark Henderson (European Commission), 
    • Dr. Martin Russell (Diaspora Matters), 
    • Chukwu-Emeka Chikezie (ITC), 
    • Unisa Dizo-Conteh (AFFORD)
    • Moderator - Josephine Garnem (International Medical Corps)
  • Panel 5: PE, VC, and other financing instruments
    • Ralph Taylor-Smith (PE/VC Investor), 
    • Eric Guichard (Homestrings), 
    • Nabil Fawaz (World Bank)
    • Moderator -  Mykay Kamara (A&A Investments and Services)

2:35pm – 3:35pm
Engaging the Diaspora – Session Discussions  and Preparation of Report

3:35 – 3:50pm
Coffee Break

4:00 – 4:45pm
Workshop Reports in Plenary 

  • Kevin Kingsley-Williams, 
  • Semhar Araia, 
  • Sawida Kamara, 
  • Josephine Garnem, 
  • MyKay Kamara
  • Moderator: Chukwu-Emeka Chikezie

5:00 – 5:20pm
Where do we go next?

  • Ade Freeman (World Bank)
  • Almaz Negash (African Diaspora Network)

5:20 – 5:30pm
Closing Remarks – John Speakman (World Bank)

5:30 – 7.30pm
Reception and Fashion Expo

  • Amadu Massally

    Consultant, Sierra Leone Diaspora Investment and Trade Study, Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, The World Bank Group
    Amadu Massally was born in Sierra Leone, but he moved to the United States as a young man in order to obtain higher education. After living in the United States for two decades, he returned home where he lived and worked in both the public and private sector. He is, thus, a man of two worlds – both Africa and America – and he has used his knowledge and experience to help bring those worlds together in positive ways.
  • Cecile Fruman

    Director, Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice, The World Bank Group
    Cecile Fruman is Director in the Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice of the World Bank Group. She was appointed in July 2014 and oversees the delivery of solutions to Bank Group clients across the world. During her tenure at the World Bank Group, Cecile has been Manager of the Knowledge and Solutions Change Team, the World Bank Change Team and the International Finance Corporation's Change Management Office. In that capacity, she led the design and establishment of the World Bank Group's Global Practices and Cross-Cutting Solution Areas.
  • Dr. Liesl Riddle

    Associate Professor of International Business & International Affairs & Faculty Advisor GW Center for International Business Education and Research (GW-CIBER), George Washington University
    Liesl Riddle is an Associate Professor of International Business and International Affairs at The George Washington University School of Business.
  • Sia Iscandari

    Sia Iscandari moved back to Sierra Leone 6 years ago and worked in various development roles within USAID funded programs; most recently as the Program Director for the Sustainable Nutrition and Agriculture Promotion (SNAP) program implemented through ACDI/VOCA, International Medical Corporation and Opportunities Industrialization Centers. During this period she designed and delivered successful capacity building and program initiatives to support rural communities’ resilience and development with specific focus on vulnerable populations (children, women and youth). In terms of economic development, she helped to make key inroads in rural agribusiness and enterprise development by supporting the implementation of financial tools and capacity building for commercial agricultural enterprises, launching private and financial sector forums and driving the platform for dialogue and partnership between rural smallholder farming entities and the commercial sector.
  • Vidal O. Smith

    Founder, Salvest LLC
    Vidal O. Smith is an engineer, an inventor, a student of development economics, a certified project manager and an entrepreneur. He believes that for Sierra Leone to become developed, Sierra Leoneans must become majority investors in their own country.
  • Ansumana Bangura

    Founder & CEO, Globalink Sierra Leone
    Ansumana Bangura is a successful and prominent Sierra Leonean-American businessman and entrepreneur. Ansu is the founder and CEO of Globalink, SL ( Ansu has an Undergraduate degree in Management, with concentration in accounting from Kent State University, and an MBA in finance from Atlanta University. After graduating, Ansu worked in corporate America with METLIFE as a financial analyst, and soon after, started Eneni's Garden, a unique floral retail and internet business. After over 10 years in the floral retail and internet business, Ansu also started another successful company Alpha Home Medical in Atlanta Georgia that provides home health products to residents in the Southeastern United States of America. Ansu spends most of his time in Sierra Leone, and is actively involved in the operations of Globalink.
  • Trevor Young

    Co-founder, Sierra Leone Action
    Trevor Young, originally from Sierra Leone, is the founder of Tseai Energy Unlimited, a renewable energy research center based in Kambia, Sierra Leone. In 2009 he designed a system that includes the installation of small-scale processing mills to convert local crops into value added products and renewable energy.
  • Millicent Lewis-Ojumu

    Founder, CLAS Consult
    Millicent Lewis-Ojumu acquired her legal training in corporate finance from the UK City Firm of Hammonds where she trained as a solicitor in finance, ABL deals and project finance. She moved to Sierra Leone in 2003 to become State Counsel to the National Commission for Privatization and subsequently established CLAS Consult Limited a consultancy firm now ten year strong and operating in the UK, Sierra Leone and Liberia providing bespoke corporate services to donor and Government agencies, charities and companies operating in West Africa. She has also established a Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Chamber of Commerce and The Shookoobly Business Centre in Freetown, providing full serviced office and conference facilities including a library and a crèche for working mums and dads.
  • Joy Spencer

    Consultant, Sierra Leone Diaspora Investment and Trade Study, Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, The World Bank Group
    Joy Spencer is a Communications and Outreach Strategy Specialist on the World Bank Sierra Leone Diaspora Investment and Trade Study. Ms. Spencer provides critical strategic direction and logistical execution for the study’s community outreach which is designed to engage the Sierra Leone diaspora on their perceptions of the challenges and opportunities to investing in Sierra Leone post-Ebola. Ms. Spencer has over 12 years of experience in consumer policy advocacy, strategic planning, community engagement and partnership development on a variety of issues ranging from access to essential medicines, HIV-prevention education and online privacy.
  • Tracy K. Washington

    Senior Investment Officer, International Finance Corporation (IFC)
    Tracy Washington leads IFC’s private equity investments in Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Funds and manages IFC’s pioneering SME Ventures Program focused on fragile and frontier markets. This includes SME Venture’s West Africa Venture Fund, which has invested in eleven growing SMEs in Sierra Leone. With twenty years of experience in development finance, as well as a specific expertise in SME funds, Ms. Washington leads SME Ventures’ work in bringing innovative private equity models to some of the world’s most challenging markets. Before her appointment to this role, Ms. Washington served as Investment Manager of the IFC Mozambique SME Initiative, combining risk capital finance with technical assistance to accelerate the growth of local SMEs. Prior to her work with SME funds, Ms. Washington led corporate finance investments with global clients in the manufacturing, health and education, and financial sectors in emerging markets, including those in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and South Asia. Ms. Washington holds a MBA degree from the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business and a BS degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.
  • Yohannes Assefa, Esq.

    Executive Director, Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum
    Yohannes Assefa, Esq. is the Executive Director of the Ethiopian Diaspora Business Forum, the oldest operating Ethiopian Diaspora business association in the United States. The Forum each year holds a business conference and awards dinner which this year celebrated its 10th year anniversary. The goal of the Forum is to promote entrepreneurship in the Ethiopian Diaspora, and trade and investment between Ethiopia and the United States. Mr. Assefa regularly writes and speaks on African Diaspora investment matters and has served as transaction counsel on numerous Diaspora investments in Africa.
  • Daniela Henrike Klau-Panhans

    Senior Operations Officer, The World Bank Group
    Henrike is the private sector expert within the Fragility, Conflict and Violence Unit of the World Bank. Her work focuses on relevant topics for private sector development in fragile countries such as involvement of the diaspora or corporate social responsibility.
  • Barbara Span

    Vice President, Global Public Affairs, Western Union Company
    Barbara Span is Vice President of Global Public Affairs for Western Union, a Fortune 500 company providing services in 200 countries and territories around the world. She has responsibility for public policy, regulatory issues and advocacy programs. Barbara’s focus is on a spectrum of issues, including migration, diaspora, financial inclusion, economic development and entrepreneurship.
  • Joanna Murphy

    Chief Executive Officer, ConnectIreland
    Joanna Murphy is the Chief Executive Officer of ConnectIreland – an incentivised referral programme appointed by IDA Ireland, the world’s most successful inward investment agency, to deliver the Succeed in Ireland Initiative.
  • Ade Daramy, Moderator

    Co-founder, Sierra Leone UK Diapora Ebola Response Taskforce
    Ade Daramy is educated in Sierra and the UK. He is founding member of the Sierra Leone Diaspora Network and the Sierra Leone – UK Diaspora Ebola Response Taskforce; Experienced Senior Government Policy Advisor; Trustee of the Sierra Leone Cancer Charity, Trustee and founding member of the National Association for Peace and Positive Change (NAPPC – SL), Ambassador for the anti-FGM charity FORWARD, a Trustee of the African Foundation For Development (AFFORD), Communications Professional (including broadcast and print journalism); Experienced editor (co-editor, Journal of Sierra Leones Studies, editor-in-chief, Promota Africa magazine; Experienced radio (BBC World Service) and TV broadcaster; Consultant on African Diaspora affairs; Media commentator on African affairs, including Politics, History, Media, Popular Culture (Music and Fashion) and Sport.
  • John Samuel

    Director of Product, Homestrings
    John Samuel is a proven leader in international finance and business. In his ten-year career, John has built and led successful teams across Africa, India and the US. Currently, John is the Director of Product at Homestrings, an innovative investment platform that is mobilizing diaspora and frontier investment to fund projects across Africa and the globe.
  • Samuel Okpattah

    Director Asset Management, Portfolio Management Department, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)
    Samuel Okpattah is a Director, Asset Management in the Portfolio Management Department of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (“OPIC”), the US Government’s development finance institution. Samuel joined OPIC in 2008 and manages development finance portfolio in diverse industries across the developing countries. Samuel is responsible for the OPIC financing portfolio in Liberia. Shortly after joining OPIC, Samuel assumed management of the $250 million OPIC guaranteed cross-border securitization facility that supported the construction of 9,000 affordable houses in Mexico. Samuel has extensive background in project finance and investments in diverse sectors, including real estate, infrastructure, health care, agriculture, ICT & telecom, energy, oil & gas, media, and renewable resources.
  • Anita Thompson

    Management Professional, Jones Lang LaSalle
    Anita Thompson is an accomplished management professional currently working for Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), a top-notch commercial real estate firm with offices across the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Prior to JLL, Anita spent several years as a lecturer at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU). Her subjects included African history, politics, culture, and African women’s literature.
  • Kevin Kingsley-Williams

    CPA, CGA, ACA, Moderator, Sierra Leone Diaspora Investment Group
    Originally from Sierra Leone, Kevin Kingsley-Williams is Controller and Chief Financial Officer at ASW Steel Inc. in Ontario, Canada. In this role, Kevin is responsible for the strategic financial direction and leadership of the corporation alongside the CEO and Board of Directors. As an accomplished financial professional with over 20 years’ experience, Kevin’s career has included roles of increasing complexity beginning at KPMG in West Africa. Following his relocation to Canada in 1997, Kevin advanced through several Fortune 500 corporations such as General Mills, Tech Data and Jarden Consumer Solutions. In 2013, he published a memoir “Coming to Canada-A Personal Odyssey” which presents a fresh perspective on the immigrant/diasporan journey.
  • Alex Dixon

    Director, Diaspora Investment Alliance, Aspen Institute
    Alex most recently served as the Senior Advisor to USAID, where he assisted USAID's missions and private investors with investment structuring and negotiations related to Power Africa. Prior to this position, he was the Vice President for Africa at the Small Enterprise Assistance Fund (SEAF). SEAF is a global private equity firm that specializes in small business investing through its 19 offices around the world. Prior to joining SEAF, Alex ran his own entrepreneurial venture, the Drews, Borroughs & Co., a private consulting firm that developed ventures in affordable housing and the adult beverage industry. Before his entrepreneurial career, Alex served as the Chief Operating Officer for Automated Business Systems and Services (ABSS), an IT Technology firm that provides consulting and system development services to public sector clients throughout the US.
  • Leigh Moran

    Senior Officer, Strategic Initiatives, Calvert Foundation
    Leigh is a Senior Officer on the Strategic Initiatives team at Calvert Foundation, focused on the design and implementation of investment initiatives based on key social impact areas. She is currently leading Calvert Foundation’s work to develop a new initiative to engage diaspora communities to invest in the economic development of their country of heritage. Leigh also serves as the Program Manager for IdEA, the International diaspora Engagement Alliance, a public-private partnership between the Calvert Foundation, the State Department and USAID. IdEA harnesses the resources of diaspora communities to promote sustainable development and diplomacy in their countries of heritage. By supporting entrepreneurship and investment, capacity development, networking and more, IdEA provides a platform to leverage diaspora resources and collaborate across sectors. Prior to Calvert Foundation, Leigh spent time at the National Economic Council, worked with a microinsurance NGO in New Delhi and served as a consultant to Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey. Leigh completed a Princeton-in-Asia fellowship in Hangzhou, China and received her degree in Economics from Boston College.
  • Alexandria Wise

    Associate Director, Shuraako
    Alexandria Wise is Associate Director of Shuraako, a non-profit impact investment program that focuses on Somalia. In less than three years, Shuraako has facilitated over $4 million into 80+ businesses across the country with the aim of contributing to greater peace and security through job creation and economic growth. Alex oversees the due diligence and investor presentation workstream, coordinates with interested investors, and supports new business development. Shuraako is actively involved in numerous funds and diaspora initiatives: Fund Manager for IFAD’s Somali AgriFood Fund, technical advisor and partner to the Somaliland Youth Enterprise Fund, and recently finalized the Somali Investment Survey: Typologies, Drivers, and Recommendations, a study of Somali diaspora investment behavior and preferences.
  • Steven Adler

    Chief Information Strategist, International Business Machines Corporation (IBM)
    Steve Adler is IBM's Chief Information Strategist and has been a leader in Information strategy and technology development at IBM for almost 20 years. He is an expert in data science and an innovator who has developed several billion dollar revenue businesses on the areas of Data Governance, Enterprise Privacy Architectures, and Internet Insurance. He advises national governments, cities, and many private industries in Open Data Strategy in the USA, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. He delivered a TED Talk on People Data and received the US President's Volunteer Service Award for his work on African Open Data.
  • Semhar Araia

    Founder, Diaspora African Women’s Network (DAWN)
    Semhar Araia is a trained lawyer, social entrepreneur and adjunct faculty at George Washington University. Through Semai Consulting <>, Semhar works with local and international actors focused on development, diasporas and migration, and leadership, including nonprofit organizations, governments, schools and colleges, diaspora communities, and civic associations. With a background in African affairs, women’s leadership and international development, Semhar provides strategic guidance, analysis and training to advance global partnerships for social good. She is also the founder of DAWN <>, the Diaspora African Women’s Network, an international professional association whose mission is to support and help develop the next generation of African diaspora professional women focused on African affairs.
  • Micheal H. Seid

    Founder & Managing Director, MSA Worldwide
    Michael is recognized as a leading authority on franchising and business expansion strategy. In addition to helping business owners franchise their companies, he also assists established franchisors and non-franchisors in strategic planning, tactical execution, franchise relations, crisis management, expert witness and litigation support, mergers and acquisitions, and the strategic review and change strategies for established franchise systems.
  • Sonia Plaza

    Senior Economist, Migration and Remittances Team, Development Prospects Group, The World Bank Group
    Sonia Plaza is a Senior Economist in the Macro and Fiscal Management Global Program at the World Bank. She has worked on science and technology projects in Latin American and coauthored a major analytical survey of migration and development for the Africa region. Sonia was born in Lima, Peru. Her father had a constructing firm, so some of her earliest childhood memories are of traveling with him to poor areas including Ayacucho where he was working on projects. This is how she was first exposed to development work, and it shaped her. She wrote chapter 5 of the book, “Africa’s Silk Road: China and India’s New Economic Frontier”, which covers trade facilitation, technology, and skills transfer, and regional trade agreements. She advises many universities on the transfer of skills and tapping into their diasporas. Sonia attended the University of Lima and earned a degree in Economics, after which she joined Chase Manhattan Bank, and was then invited to join the Peruvian Ministry of Trade as a manager responsible for counter trade and debt swap agreements. She also has a dual degree from Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania in International Economics and Development. She was Professor of Economics (International Economics) at the Peruvian School of Foreign Service and at the University of Lima in Peru, and was adjunct faculty (Microeconomics and Macroeconomics) at The American University in Washington, DC. Her research interests include international migration, labor mobility, trade, and the future of labor. She joined the Institute for the Study of Labor as a Research Fellow in February 2010.
  • Desmond Ellis

    Co-founder, Sierra Leone Empowerment Network (SLEN)
    Desmond Ellis is a Senior Manager with Ernst & Young LLP (EY) in the Assurance (Audit) practice and has 8 years of experience as an auditor. Desmond is experienced in leading and managing highly complex, multi-location audits and communicating with multiple stakeholders including both Client executives and audit engagement executives. He mainly focuses on mid to large publicly traded and private companies. Desmond is a Co-founder of the Sierra Leonean Empowerment Network (SLEN). SLEN, established in July 2013, is a non-profit organization that maintains a professional network of Sierra Leoneans and is focused on professional development. The organization provides both human and material resources to aid individual professional development and improve professionalism in Sierra Leone. This is achieved through building a database of new and experienced professionals, along with initiatives that foster mentoring, knowledge sharing and professional networking among Sierra Leoneans of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Dr. Daivi Rodima-Taylor

    Senior Academic Researcher, Boston University
    Daivi Rodima-Taylor is Senior Academic Researcher at the Boston University Center for Finance, Law & Policy. She is director for the Financial Inclusion work stream, and lead researcher of the BU Remittance Task Force which was established to systematically analyze remittance systems in the contexts of forced and refugee migration and to study their developmental impact. Dr. Rodima-Taylor’s research focuses on financial inclusion and access, fiduciary culture, migration and migrant remittances, digital and mobile finance, informal economic cooperation and mutuality, land and natural resource tenure, and social and institutional innovation. Daivi has taught sustainable development and anthropology, and contributed to international development work in the fields of financial inclusion, participatory planning, and community governance. She has conducted longitudinal ethnographic research in Africa, exploring informal financial institutions and their relationships with the formal sector, and published in academic and policy-oriented journals. Daivi is a Visiting Researcher at the Boston University African Studies Center.
  • Sawida M. Kamara

    Consultant, Maryland Nonprofits Consulting Group
    Sawida Kamara is a Consultant with the Maryland Nonprofits Consulting Group. She has been working in the areas of health workforce development and capacity building since 2002. Sawida began her career as a health education specialist with the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, and spent over 8 years developing and convening professional trainings, leadership development programs and other educational initiatives to strengthen healthcare, civil society and government professionals both in the U.S. and overseas. She has also collaborated on a national research study examining how healthcare professionals adopt evidence-based interventions and strategies into clinical decision-making and patient care, and has presented this research to audiences at the 2008 American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference, the 2008 Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting, and the 2009 American Academy of Family Physicians Conference on Practice Improvement.
  • Mark Henderson

    Policy Officer – Trade and Development, Aid for Trade, Directorate General for Trade, European Commission
    Mark works for the Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission on a portfolio covering trade and development with a focus on aid for trade, the World Trade Organization and the Post-2015 Development Agenda at the UN.
  • Dr. Martin Russell

    Associate Director, Diaspora Matters
    Martin is Associate Director of Diaspora Matters (DM). He was Senior Researcher on the Global Diaspora Strategies Toolkit launched at then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s inaugural Global Diaspora Forum in 2011. He has also served on and chaired committees for the inaugural European strand of the Global Diaspora Forum and the recent Global Diaspora and Development Forum in 2014. He co-authored the “Supporting the Next Generation of the Irish Diaspora” report, commissioned by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He is currently the lead consultant on an EU-funded project to develop a national diaspora policy in Malawi and has recently completed a research project for the UK government examining the linkages between diaspora, trade and investment.
  • Chukwu-Emeka Chikezie

    Consultant, International Trade Center (ITC)
    Over the last 25 years or so, Chukwu-Emeka Chikezie has helped African diasporas maximize their contributions to Africa’s development: he cofounded London-based African Foundation for Development (AFFORD) in 1994 and Freetown-based AFFORD-SL in 2008; advised several African governments on private sector development strategies, including diaspora components; and served as Senior Advisor to governments of Mexico (2010) and Mauritius (2012) in their respective capacities as Chairs of Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD).
  • Unisa Dizo-Conteh

    Enterprise & Capacity Management Consultant, African Foundation for Development (AFFORD)
    Unisa Dizo-Conteh is a business and management consultant – currently managing African Foundation for Development Business Centre (ABC), funded by Comic Relief, a social enterprise supporting fast-growth SMEs in Sierra Leone (SL) that are likely to create 10-50 jobs. Also, responsible for mobilizing diaspora investment towards SL.
  • Josephine Garnem

    Strategic Outreach and Partnership Coordinator, International Medical Corps
    Josephine Garnem presently serves as International Medical Corps' Strategic Outreach and Partnership Coordinator. She served as chairwoman for the Montgomery County Executive’s African Affairs Advisory Group (AAAG) from 2011 to 2013. She presently serves as an AAAG Executive and leads its Health Working Group. She is founder of Immigrant Community Services, serves on the board for AWCAA and alternately represents AAAG on MC’s DHHS Leadership Institute for Equity and Elimination of Health Disparities (LIEED) advisory group.
  • Ralph Taylor-Smith

    Investor, PE/VC
    Ralph Taylor-Smith has a background in engineering, technology development, finance and business management. He currently works within the investment management sector focusing on PE/VC. His early education was gained at the Grammar School and he remains a proud Regentonian; subsequent education was gained at Princeton University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a PhD in Engineering and an MBA in Finance.
  • Eric Guichard

    Chief Executive Officer, Homestrings
    Mr. Eric-Vincent Guichard is currently the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GRAVITAS Capital Advisors, Inc. He is the founding member of GRAVITAS Capital (1996-current). Eric advises global and sovereign institutional assets. He runs the Sovereign Solutions Practice which includes innovative macro solutions such as the Sovereign Debt Redemption Fund Ltd and the Pension Support Fund Ltd. Eric also manages GRAVITAS’s Tactical Allocation Fund, LLC.
  • Nabil Fawaz

    Sector Manager - Agribusiness and General Services Operations Group, Multi-lateral Investment Guarantee Agency, World Bank Group
    Nabil Fawaz is Sector Manager for agribusiness and general services at the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the political risk insurance and credit enhancement arm of the World Bank Group.
  • Mykay Kamara, Moderator

    Managing Director A&A Investments And Services
    Mykay Kamara is Managing Director of A&A Investments and Services (A&A), with over 20 years of experience in banking, private equity and corporate enterprises. Mykay has worked in over 10 countries across Africa, Europe and North America. His experience spans leadership roles in SMEs and Multi Nationals, including being Managing Director (MD) of the British School of Motoring (BSM), MD of Bluecycle and MD of Oneswoop. He also worked with Coopers & Lybrand, Price Waterhouse, Coca-Cola, LDC, Lloyds Corporate Bank and Aviva. Mykay currently leads A&A, which facilitates investment opportunities and provides consultancy services in the Mano River Union countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Ivory Coast. A&A works across all sectors, but with a focus on Infrastructure, Energy, Extractives and Agribusiness. Mykay Kamara is representing the Sierra Leone Private Sector Forum (SLPSF).
  • Ade Freeman

    Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice Lead Specialist, The World Bank Group
    Ade Freeman is Lead Specialist in the Trade and Competitiveness, (T&C), Global Practice at the World Bank where he is responsible for lending operations, analytical and advisory activities, and policy dialogue on issues related to private sector and SME development, value chains, and spatial strategies such as growth poles, growth corridors, and special economic zones. He is currently Team Leader for the Sierra Leone Diaspora Investment and Trade study, providing strategic direction and oversight for research, outreach, and partner engagement. Prior to joining the Bank’s Finance and Private Sector Development Department he was Head, Macro Evaluation at the Independent Evaluation Group, with responsibility for development, quality assurance, and delivery of work program on private sector operations at IFC, World Bank, and MIGA. He worked extensively in research, leadership, and senior management positions in the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research before joining World Bank. He holds a PhD in Applied Economics from University of Minnesota and is an alumni of several corporate leadership and management programs.
  • Almaz Negash

    Founder, African Diaspora Network
    Almaz Negash is the founder of the African Diaspora Network and Managing Director of Step Up Silicon Valley, a social innovation network and anti-poverty laboratory utilizing disruptive, research-based strategies to reduce poverty and increase economic opportunity in Santa Clara County. As a seasoned business executive experienced in managing international business development and trade negotiation, Negash believes in the power of social enterprise to provide individuals with the skills and resources necessary to move towards pathways of prosperity and productive community involvement. The latest of her contributions to community economic development include her leadership in Step Up Silicon Valley’s exploration and incubation of Pay for Success (a.k.a. Social Impact Bond), a new model of social innovation financing that resulted in a $12 million project to reduce homelessness in Santa Clara County in the next six years.
  • John Speakman

    Practice Manager, Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, Africa Region, The World Bank Group
    John works as Practice Manager for the Trade and Competitiveness Practice in the Africa Region. He has over 30 years’ experience in investment climate and PPPs in a wide range of countries, and sectors, including 17 years in the private sector itself. He has worked both at the policy, technical assistance and direct intervention level. Prior to taking on the Practice Manager role he led the Banks policy dialogue on PPPs and the investment climate in West and Central Africa. Prior to this he had a similar role in South Asia and the Middle East and North Africa region. He has led and participated in nearly a dozen Investment Climate Assessments, in many cases using these to build dialogues that have led to long term technical assistance and projects. Recently he has led the Bank’s work on growth poles in Africa. He led the Bank’s efforts in producing the 2013 and 2015 African Competitiveness Report. He also has a strong interest in Fragile, Conflict and Violence affected states and co-authored “The Small Entrepreneur in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Situations”.
  • The recent regional Ebola outbreak has had a devastating impact on the Sierra Leonean economy and wreaked havoc not only in public health but in all sectors. Advances in mining, agriculture, energy, and tourism have all but ground to a halt. Recent estimates further show that there is a considerable risk that recent economic progress and related gains in social and economic well-being stand to be reversed, due in large part to investor aversion as well as the closure of iron ore mining in early 2015, which can potentially lead to a severe economic contraction of up to 23.5 percent if iron ore mining does not resume within the year. The World Bank Group has mobilized over United States (U.S.) 1.62 billion dollars in financing for Ebola response and recovery efforts to support the countries hardest hit by Ebola. Some of the funding has been used to support foreign and local health care workers, ensuring the continued supply of essential goods and services and to finance medium and long-term projects. This study of the Sierra Leonean diaspora examines potential diaspora investor’s perspectives and identifies investment models that can possibly mobilize diaspora capital, skills, and knowledge to contribute to Sierra Leone’s post-Ebola economic recovery. The Sierra Leonean diaspora is comprised of historic and recent emigrants and their descendants, primarily residing in proximal African countries (Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria), Europe (UK, Germany, Netherlands), and North America (Canada, the United States).
  • Sustainable infrastructure development is vital for Africa’s prosperity. This volume is the culmination of an unprecedented effort to document, analyze, and interpret the full extent of the challenge in developing Sub-Saharan Africa’s infrastructure sectors. As a result, this volume represents the most comprehensive reference currently available on infrastructure in the region.
Event Details
  • DATE: September 30, 2015
  • TIME: 8:30 am – 7:30 pm EST
  • LOCATION: World Bank J Bldg
    701 18th Street NW
    Washington DC
    Room: JB1-080
  • CONTACT: Joy Spencer