Agriculture has always been at the heart of the African economy and continues to play a central role in Africa’s growth story. Improved productivity across the agricultural value chain is essential if the continent is to reap the benefits of its demographic and land dividend. Rapidly growing urban areas in Africa (let alone globally) could create a $1 trillion regional market for goods on a continent that is home to almost half of the world’s uncultivated arable land.
Invest Africa is looking forward to hosting this event at a strategically important time for the agri-industry in Africa.
Nick Earlam | Founder & Executive Chairman | Plexus Cotton Limited
Nick Earlam is the Founder, Executive Chairman and owner of Plexus Cotton Limited, and a leading figure in the international cotton trade. Founded in 1990 in the historic cotton hub of Liverpool, Plexus as set up initially as one of the trade’s biggest global players, with an annual turnover of more than $500 million concentrating solely on trading. In time, it has diversified and expanded to perform every function in the supply chain: growing, ginning, trading and manufacturing. The Plexus Group employs 1,500 people around the world and thousands more seasonally, with operations in China and sub-Saharan Africa.
An ardent advocate for Africa and for cotton, Mr. Earlam sees enormous potential in the continent both to do business and help developing societies emerge from poverty through the value addition of agricultural crops. Mr. Earlam was born in Ghana, spending his first few years there. His parents were transferred back to Liverpool, where he has spent most of his life and where he has ben proud to base his company. His Father was a Shipping Director, a career which seemed to rub off on his son. Mr. Earlam turned down the chance of university to apprentice with a cotton trading firm. He went on to spend his whole career in cotton, developing a profound passion and respect for the commodity.
Frank Braeken | Chairman | Feronia
Frank N. J. Braeken specialises in finance and in general management. From 1996 to 2013, he held various management functions in different countries for Unilever, including a position as President of Unilever China (Shanghai), President of Unilever Namca (Dubai), and President of Unilever Africa (Dubai / Durban). Subsequent to leaving Unilever, Frank N. J. Braeken has acted as investment advisor and investor for large scale agro and food enterprises on the African continent. He is also a non-executive board member of Buhler, the Swiss engineering group, Marie Stopes International. In 2016 he was elected Chairman of the Board of Feronia Inc, a Toronto listed palm oil producer on the African continent.
Chris Isaac | Managing Director| AgDevCo
Chris Isaac is one of AgDevCo’s founding directors. He has been working on development finance issues in Africa for the past 18 years, including periods living in Namibia and Mozambique. Chris’ responsibilities at AgDevCo include being the Managing Director responsible for over $70 million of agribusiness investments across the East and West Africa regions.
Prior to AgDevCo, Chris worked in infrastructure project development at InfraCo Africa; as an economic adviser in the UK’s Department for International Development; and as an economist in the Ministry of Finance in Namibia. His career started in corporate finance with Arthur Andersen. Chris holds economics degrees from University College, Oxford (BA Hons) and the London School of Economics (MSc). He grew up on a hill farm in Carmarthenshire, south Wales.
Prabdeep Bajwa | President, Africa Middle East | Corteva Agriscience
Prabdeep Bajwa is President, Africa & Middle East of Corteva Agriscience™ with responsibility for the business in the region. He joined DuPont Pioneer in 2001 and has served in strategic leadership and operational roles across the world. Prior to joining the Africa business in 2015, he was based in Singapore, where he served as the Director of Marketing and Product Strategy for DuPont Pioneer’s Asia Pacific region.
Prior to his role at Corteva Agriscience™, Bajwa was regional director, Africa with responsibility for he company’s Seed and Crop Protection business, including DuPont Pioneer, PANNAR and DuPont Crop Protection.
Bajwa holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture, specializing in Food Science and Technology, and an MBA from Punjab Agricultural University. He also holds an MBA from Iowa State University and is an alumni of the Harvard Business School.
Rosalind Kainyah | Founder & Managing Director | Kina Advisory
Rosalind Kainyah MBE is a trusted advisor to global companies on responsible business investment and partnerships in Africa. She has decades of experience in corporate and environmental law, government relations, political risk management and sustainability. As an environmental lawyer for almost a decade from the early 1990s, Rosalind advised international organisations and governments on environmental policy and legislation. She went on to be a corporate lawyer at the international law firm, Linklaters, and a corporate and commercial lawyer and Executive Director in De Beers Group. Prior to founding Kina Advisory in 2013, she was Vice President, External Affairs and CSR at Tullow Oil plc.
Rosalind is a member of the Bar of England and Wales. She is a Non-Executive Director of Aker Energy and of CAL Bank Limited, Ghana; Vice Chairperson of the Africa Gifted Foundation; and on the Advisory Board of Invest in Africa. In 2014 Rosalind was awarded an MBE for services to CSR for the benefit of youth in Africa. Recently she was selected as one of the top 50 leading female professionals by Cranfield University. In 2016 she was named by Forbes Afrique Magazine as one of the 100 influential women on the African continent, and in 2008 as one of Britain’s most influential people of African and African Caribbean heritage by The Power List.
Pierre Vandebeeck | Chairman & CEO | Siat Group
1945 Born in Belgium, Married, two daughters
1969 Graduated as Agronomist Tropical Agriculture
1969-1974 Congo DRC
1974-1991 MD of Plantation Company, Nigeria
1991-to date SIAT Group
Founder, Chairman and CEO of SIAT sa
Chairman of the Board of : SIAT nv since 1991 | SIAT Gabon since 2004 | GOPDC (Ghana) since 2005 | CHC(Côte d’ivoire) since 2007 | Presco PLC (Nigeria) since 2010 | SIAT Nigeria Ltd since 2012 | CHP (Côte d’ivoire) since 2012 | SIAT Cambodia since 2012