Skip links

Advisory Board

The Invest Africa Advisory Board comprises of renowned and experienced leaders from the business and political arena with long-standing and in-depth knowledge of the diverse realities across Africa’s politico-economic landscape.

Global Advisory Board

Robert Hersov

Rob Hersov is a South African entrepreneur, senior executive and private investor based in Cape Town. He serves as Chairman and Chief Executive of Invest Africa, Chairman of African Capital Investments, deputy Chairman of VistaJet, Chairman of Adoreum Partners, and Chairman of AON South Africa.

Rob has been focused on investing in Africa, a continent close to his heart given his South African upbringing and family ties. He has also made investments on the continent and has close relationships with businesses across Africa. In 2013, Rob saw an opportunity to create a platform for the growing number of individuals becoming involved in pan-African investments and founded Invest Africa. He also founded African Capital Investments to build an Africa-focused investment platform.

Mark Simmonds

Mark was until recently the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office Minister with responsibility for Africa and International Energy.

He also focused on driving and facilitating inward investment into Africa across a range of key economic sectors including hydrocarbons, financial services, infrastructure, energy and agriculture.

He has been a Member of the UK Parliament since 2001 and held a number of shadow ministerial and government posts. Prior to entering Parliament he was a businessman who founded and ran his own company.

Runa Alam

Runa has 29 years of investment banking, emerging market entrepreneurship and private equity experience. Before founding Development Partners International in 2007, Runa was CEO of KZAM, a joint venture between Zephyr Management of New York and Kingdom Holding Company, which managed PAIP-PCAP, sponsored by the International Finance Corporation and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Runa was formerly a director of the AIG Africa Infrastructure Fund, managed by Emerging Market Partnership in Washington, and has “on-the-ground” management experience in emerging markets having founded and managed both Peregrine Bangladesh and Union Capital Bangladesh in the 1990s.

Runa started her career in New York working for investment banks including Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch in mergers and acquisitions and corporate and tax-exempt finance.

René Awambeng

René has worked in Pan-African banking for over 20 years. He recently joined the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), as Director, Client Relations in 2016. In his role, he leads the design and implementation of Afreximbank’s client-focused business strategies, including managing the delivery of all Bank products to the clientele and managing the operation of Afreximbank branch offices.

René is a regular commentator on current trends in Commodity Trade Finance, Regional business, African Trade and Infrastructure Development at international banking conferences and seminars.

Paul Hinks

Paul Hinks is the Chairman of our affiliated company Invest Africa US as well as a board member and the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Symbion Power, LLC.

As the driving force behind Symbion, he has spent his life in the power industry where he has been responsible for the construction of power plants, transmission lines and substations. His career spans 30 years and in that period, he has worked in the USA, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

In 2010, Symbion Power was awarded two large U.S. government-funded contracts building distribution lines and substations throughout Tanzania. The following year, Mr. Hinks successfully negotiated Symbion’s acquisition of a 120MW power plant in Dar es Salaam, thereby concluding Symbion’s first power asset acquisition. Today, the company is one of the United States’ largest owners of power assets in Africa with new investments in Rwanda, Kenya and Madagascar.

Prior to joining Invest Africa, Paul spent four years as the Chairman of the Corporate Council on Africa.

Koosum Kalyan

Among her many professional roles, Koosum has worked as Chief Economist at Shell Southern Africa, General Manager of Corporate/Downstream, and then as Shell’s Senior Business Development Executive for Oil & Gas Exploration in Africa responsible for new country entry to Libya, Angola, Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Chad and Mozambique.

She currently serves on the following Boards as non-Executive Director for: MobiIe Telephone Networks Holding (MTN Group Ltd), Petmin Mining, Aker Solutions Oil and Gas (Norway), Anglo American South Africa, Aos Orwell (Nigeria), and as Senior Non-Executive Advisor to Boston Consulting Group.

Dr Carlos Lopes

Dr Carlos Lopes is Professor at Graduate School of Development Policy and Practice and Faculty of Commerce, University of Cape Town and Visiting Fellow at Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford. He is a member of a dozen Boards, including the Global Commission for Economy and Climate, Kofi Annan Foundation, Graduate Institute of International and Developments Studies in Geneva and the Lisbon University Institute, that he Chairs.

He served the United Nations in several prominent roles, the latest being the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, based in Addis Ababa (2012-2016).

Kari Gahiga

Kari Gahiga is an entrepreneur, investor and a senior executive in asset management, mining and technology. He is currently Chairman of ROKA mining, vice chairman MobiCash holding Ltd (Hong Kong) and partner of Sallfort partners.

Zemedeneh Negatu

Zemedeneh is widely recognized as one of Africa’s top business leaders and has received numerous global awards and recognitions.

An American of Ethiopian origin, Zemedeneh has worked in the U.S., Brazil, Argentina, the Middle East and throughout Africa. He has advised Wall Street investment banks, Governments, Sovereign Wealth Funds and multinational corporations in various sectors including financial services, airlines and consumer products. His high profile clients have included Diageo, British American Tobacco (BAT), Blackstone (the American private equity firm) and Ethiopian Airlines.

Zemedeneh was the founder of Ernst & Young Ethiopia and had served as its Managing Partner for 18 years. In 2017 he was appointed the Global Chairman of the American investment firm Fairfax African Fund, LLC, based in Washington D.C. Fairfax has invested tens of millions of dollars in Africa the past several years with significant additional investments committed for the next three years. Zemedeneh is also the Chairman of the African subsidiary of one of the largest and best known European multi-national fashion design and manufacturing companies.

Lanre Akinola

Lanre Akinola was born and raised in Nigeria and is the Editor of African Business, IC Publications. He helped found and later served as the Editor of This Is Africa at the Financial Times. Lanre is a 2014 Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellow and has worked with the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa.

Karen Taylor

Karen Taylor has had more than twenty years experience in the trade exhibitions industry with a reputation for successfully managing both private and public companies. She is well versed in the venue and organising sectors, of the events and exhibitions industry.

X