FIRESIDE CHAT

Éliane Ubalijoro (Moderator)

Éliane Ubalijoro, PhD is the Deputy Executive Director for Programs at Global Open Data in Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN). She is a professor of practice for public and private sector partnerships at McGill University’s Institute for the Study of International Development where she co-led Bill and Melinda Gates Grand Challenges Exploration grants in agriculture and health. She is a member of Rwanda’s National Science and Technology Council. She is a member of the Presidential Advisory Council for Rwandan President Paul Kagame and the country’s National Council for Science and Technology. Éliane is a fellow of the African Academy of Sciences.
Éliane Ubalijoro
Philip Thigo

Philip Thigo,
Senior Director for Africa Thunderbird School of Global Management

Philip Thigo is a Technology, data & public policy expert. He is the Senior Director for Africa for the Thunderbird School for Global Management, a Technical Advisor at the Presidency on Data and Open Government and Senior Consultant for UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa. He was recognized by Apolitical as one of the World’s 100 most influential people in digital government in 2018. He is currently a member of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Futures Councils on Global Public Goods for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Mr. Thigo has worked to bring the Africa Regional Data Cube (ARDC) a founding steering committee member of Digital Earth Africa where he now serves in its Technical Advisory Committee. Philip was honored at the 50th Anniversary of the Academy of Achievement as Delegate.

FIRESIDE CHAT

PANEL

Thomas Debass

Thomas Debass

Managing Director of the Office of Global Partnerships, U.S. Department of State

MODERATOR

Thomas Debass serves as Managing Director of the Office of Global Partnerships at the U.S. Department of State. Thomas is responsible for coordinating the Department’s private sector engagement efforts and providing thought leadership on partnerships related to economic growth, global finance, and entrepreneurship. His notable partnership accomplishments include: Women In Science (WiSci) Camp, Unreasonable Goals, Veterans Innovation Partnership (VIP), Boldline PPP Accelerator, and Liberalizing Innovation Opportunity Nations (LIONS@FRICA). Thomas has played a leading role in promoting and institutionalizing the role of public private partnerships as a tool for advancing foreign policy and development objectives. He leads a team working at the intersection of foreign policy, business, and society.

Amrote Abdella

Amrote Abdella

Regional Director, Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative

Speaker

As the Regional Director of Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative, Amrote Abdella spearheads Microsoft’s investments in Africa across 54 countries. She works closely with the internal teams in the Middle East and Africa – and globally – to enable and accelerate digital transformation opportunities across the continent.

Before becoming Regional Director, Amrote was 4Afrika’s Director for VC & Startups, where she worked closely with startups supporting the innovation ecosystem in Africa.

Prior to joining Microsoft, Amrote worked with the World Economic Forum in Geneva, as an Associate Director for Africa. She also served as a Financial Analyst at the World Bank in Washington, and worked in micro-finance with the Global Hunger Project, an NGO based out of New York. Here, she oversaw projects across eight countries in Africa and worked with African women farmers, driving financial inclusion.

In 2017, Amrote was named one of Africa’s Top 100 Young Business Leaders, ranking 12th out of 100 leaders under 40 who are playing a major role in driving the continent’s economic development. In 2019, she appeared on the same list , this time ranking 10th. In 2018 and 2019, she was also recognized by Jeune Afrique as one of the top 50 influential leaders shaping digital evolution and supporting start-ups in the African continent.

Amrote constantly strives to learn new skills and believes in the values of passion, ambition and hard work. She also encourages all young women to have a grounding in STEM subjects. Amrote holds a Masters degree in International Economic Development from the Heller School at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, and a Bachelor of Arts from Davidson College in North Carolina.

Joseph Nsengimana

Joseph Nsengimana

Director, Mastercard Foundation Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning in ICT

Speaker

Joseph Nsengimana is Director of the Mastercard Foundation Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning in ICT, based in Kigali Rwanda. The Centre aims to spark innovation and promote promising practices in the use of ICT for teaching and learning while catalyzing significant improvements in secondary education across Africa.

Prior to joining the Mastercard Foundation, Joseph had a long and varied career at Intel Corporation. His last role there was as Executive Director of Global Diversity and Inclusion (GDI) Policy, Strategy and External Partnerships (PSEP), responsible for helping Intel reach full representation in its US workforce in 2018, two years ahead of schedule. He crafted and led the implementation of Intel’s Africa public policy and corporate affairs strategy. He also led the team responsible for government affairs, education, ICT, and broadband policies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Joseph has worked closely with Ministries of Education and other stakeholders in using ICT to transform their education systems. Joseph also led Intel’s participation in the Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE). by the Scottish Government in 2011.

Nivi Sharma

Nivi Sharma

COO of BRCK (brck.com)

Speaker

Nivi Sharma is COO of BRCK (brck.com), the onramp for frontier market internet users. Nivi has dedicated her career to digital access; for children, youth, and adults. She is passionate about the potential impact the internet can have on the economic and social development for the 800m Africans who are currently not connected. In 2011, Nivi co-founded eLimu (e-Limu.org), the first company to digitize the Kenyan Primary School curriculum for revision and literacy.Prior to joining the Mastercard Foundation, Joseph had a long and varied career at Intel Corporation. His last role there was as Executive Director of Global Diversity and Inclusion (GDI) Policy, Strategy and External Partnerships (PSEP), responsible for helping Intel reach full representation in its US workforce in 2018, two years ahead of schedule. He crafted and led the implementation of Intel’s Africa public policy and corporate affairs strategy. He also led the team responsible for government affairs, education, ICT, and broadband policies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Joseph has worked closely with Ministries of Education and other stakeholders in using ICT to transform their education systems. Joseph also led Intel’s participation in the Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE). by the Scottish Government in 2011.