Keynote Speakers

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Chid Liberty
Forum Keynote

Chid co-founded Liberty & Justice, Africa’s first Fair Trade Certified™ apparel manufacturer, after working in entertainment, technology, and finance. He was born in Liberia, West Africa, but left as an infant when his father became the nation’s ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, with residence in Bonn. His family was later exiled in the United States. In 2009, Chid returned to Africa after 28 years abroad. Inspired by the Nobel Peace Prize winning Liberian Women’s Peace Movement, Chid co-founded Africa’s first Fair Trade Certified apparel factory to provide economic opportunities for internally displaced women, who on balance, were vulnerable to rampant unemployment and economic exclusion. He is currently leading L&J’s rapid expansion in Liberia and throughout the region.

In addition to his work at Liberty & Justice, Chid served as the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Liberia’s Monrovia Business Startup Center (BSC). The BSC was founded by Spark, a Dutch NGO, for whom Chid manages the Ignite Fund (Liberia) – an equity investment fund that makes strategic investments in Liberian Pico-cap companies with high growth potential. He also speaks internationally on social entrepreneurship and impact investing – recently at Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton Universities, as well as the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia and IE in Madrid, Spain.

Chid was recognized by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in her 2011 State of the Nation Address for his leadership in shaping trade policy and indigenous Liberian entrepreneurship. He is a recipient of the 2014 Salzburg Global Fellowship, 2014 Global Innovation Summit Ecosystem Award, 2013 New African Press 50 African Trailblazers under 50, 2011 SVN Social Innovation Award, 2010 Cordes Fellowship, a Yoxi Portfolio SIR (Social Innovation Rockstar) and works as an advisor and board member to a number of high-impact organizations including GIIRS (the Global Impact Investment Rating System), The Liberia Marathon, FACE Africa, and the Opportunity Collaboration.

Samuel Alemayehu
Forum Keynote

Mr. Samuel Z. Alemayehu is Head of Africa & Managing Director at Cambridge Industries Ltd.. He started his career in Silicon Valley as a serial entrepreneur. He is the founder of three successful tech ventures based in California. He began his professional career as an Associate at Venrock Associates, where he focused on consumer media services around the world. He then moved to Africa in 2009, founding and investing in numerous companies across the continent and in a range of industries.

Most recently he co-founded Cambridge Industries Ltd, to accelerate the implementation of pioneering infrastructure projects. Currently he is overseeing the construction of the first municipal waste-to- energy facility in Africa, located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as well as the development of renewable energy projects in Uganda, Kenya, Cameroon, Senegal, Somaliland and Djibouti.

Samuel is an active angel investor globally and sits on the board of numerous companies. He is an expert on technology investments and the development of renewable energy projects in Africa with an emphasis in waste-to- energy, biomass and wind. He is a graduate of Stanford University School of Engineering.


Bisila Bokoko
Forum Keynote

Bisila Bokoko is a phenomenal businesswoman internationally acclaimed for successfully taking companies from local to global. For 7 years, she held the position of Executive Director of the Spain-US Chamber of commerce in New York. She then launched BBES, her consulting firm in 2012.

Bokoko’s efforts have won her widespread recognition and led to dynamic involvement in EMPRETEC, a United Nations programme that supports up and coming entrepreneurs. Ms. Bokoko fronted the women’s scheme and actively worked to support female entrepreneurs in their efforts to launch hard hitting businesses. She herself is the face of “Bisila Wines”, her namesake global award-winning drop made in Spain.

From hosting for the UN in Switzerland to delivering keynotes in Dominican Republic and radio hosting in South Africa, Bisila Bokoko has shared her business expertise and inspirational journey to audiences all over the world. She is the founder of BBALP: a non-profit organization committed to opening libraries throughout the continent with current presence in Ghana, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Uganda. Throughout her career, Bokoko has developed relationships with foreign Heads of State and international business leaders, key in her becoming one of the ten most influential Spanish women in American business.

Bisila’s expertise and impeccable style has seen her grace the pages of Harper’s Bazaar, Black Enterprise, Huffington Post, Forbes and be featured on Bloomberg TV. Bokoko earned a MBA in Business Administration and Economics in Madrid from San Pablo University and holds a M.A in International Relations from City College, New York. She is currently writing her first book.

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Charmaine Houvet
Gala Keynote

Charmaine Houvet’s love and passion for the ICT industry comes from over 24 years’
telecommunications experience working with private and public sector across Africa.
Houvet joined Cisco in March 2016 with several years’ experience as a Senior Executive in diverse and transformative roles with high profile leading ICT companies.

She is a strong supporter and enabler of government transformation initiatives and is
responsible for supporting Cisco with country digitization programmes and enabling
public sector policy reform across Africa.

Charmaine holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) and a Bachelor
of Arts (BA) degree from the University of South Africa as well as various short courses
from leading Universities.

She is passionate about female and community development and serves on various
boards and trusts whose objectives are close to her heart especially education.
Charmaine is a Trustee of the Cisco Charitable Trust Board which is headquartered in
San Jose as well as a Board member of the Cisco Systems & Cisco Technology and
Services in country. She serves as a Chairperson of the South African Women in ICT
Forum board. SA Women in ICT works with businesses across the ICT industry and
government to drive the development of women in ICT roles.

Houvet represents Cisco on the board of the South African Communications Forum
(SACF). SACF facilitates dialogue and policy review between the public, private sector
and government to drive reform across the ICT sector with the objective of bridging
the digital divide. Charmaine also serves as a Trustee of the mining Zondereinde
Community Trust

Young Paris
Gala Keynote

Born to Congolese parents in France, and raised in New York, Young Paris has taken the media world by storm, featured in Billboard, Complex, The Fader, REVOLT, BET, Vice etc

Young Paris’ latest accomplishment finds him as a signee to Jay-Z’s entertainment brand, Roc Nation, YP’s vision is to bring a new wave of Afrobeats and international vibes to the mainstream music scene, tying in his Remarkable style and roots with the times. He recently dropped his critically acclaimed EP, “Let Me Love You” featuring some of Afrobeats biggest acts, now available on all digital platforms.

Young Paris is also signed to one of the biggest model agencies in the world, --NEXT Models. Since these recent signings he’s collaborated as an influencer and Ambassador with brands like the CFDA, MCM, AT&T and MILK Studios.