Reuel Andrews is the current Transports & Logistics Director for the Africa Finance Corporation. He previously occupied the position of Vice President for General Electric Capital Corporation, and Director for Global Infrastructure and Projects at Fitch Ratings. He has also been a board member for Cenpower Generation, a Special Purpose Vehicle created to develop the Kpone Independent Power Plant in the Tema Industrial Zone, near Accra (Ghana). He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan.
Gagan Gupta is a seasoned entrepreneur, boasting 20+ years of professional experience, of which 12+ as a top executive.
MARLÈNE NGOYI MVIDIA
Marlène Ngoyi Mvidia currently holds the position of Chief Executive Officer of FEDA (Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA), a subsidiary of Afreximbank. Prior to this, Marlène held various other leading roles in banking and fund management, and M&A, both on the African continent and beyond. With over 22 years of experience, she served as CEO for BGFI Capital & BGFI Bourse in France, Gabon, and the DRC, where she developed a Trading activity generating 1.5 million USD in revenues per year, as well as led as an arranger for a capital raise of 450 million USD, among various other key initiatives. Preceding her experience at BGFI Bank Group, Marlene was a Portfolio Manager and member of the Senior Management team at Grassroots Business Fund, a former member of the IFC/World Bank. She was also a member of the founding team of Catalyst Principal Partners, where she held a decisive role in the establishment of a generalist private equity company focused on investments in East Africa. Marlène holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Finance from Bentley University in the United States, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and is a recipient of the 2009 Harvard Business School Leadership Fellowship.
Sameh Shenouda is an Executive Director and the Chief Investment Officer of the Africa Finance Corporation. He oversees the origination, execution, and the portfolio management of transactions across a wide range of sectors and products at AFC. With over 27 years of experience in infrastructure investments, project development and fundraising in international capital markets, Mr. Shenouda has a deep knowledge of African markets as well as the Power, Transport & Logistics and Oil & Gas sectors. Prior to joining AFC, Sameh was the Chief Executive Officer of Zarou, a developer, owner, investor, and operator of infrastructure projects in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, that is 100% owned by The Blackstone Group. He had previously spent 5 years as Head of Infrastructure for CDC Group Plc, the UK’s development finance institution, where he built the institution’s direct infrastructure equity business, investing more than US$2 billion in Africa and South Asia. He had also acquired earlier professional experience as the Natural Gas Industries Director for Orascom Construction Industries, and as Investment Principal at Actis. Sameh holds an MBA in Financial Management from the University of Exeter, UK and degrees from the American University in Cairo, Egypt in Development Studies and Economics. He is also a graduate of INSEAD’s International Executive Program.
Srivathsan is a Chartered Accountant who has joined Olam in 1994. He started his career in 1988 as an Asset Manager for the Sanmar Group in India, and later moved on to General Management where he gained significant experience managing businesses in Africa. When Srivathsan joined Olam in Africa, he became part the team which set up Olam’s operations across Africa. From 1996 to1998, he assumed the position of Country Head for Ghana and Country Head for Nigeria from 1998 to 2000. Under his leadership, Olam Nigeria won several international and national awards. Subsequently, he was promoted as Regional Controller for Nigeria, Ghana and Benin from 2001 to 2005, and later as Regional Head West Africa from 2005 to 2010. In 2010, he was appointed Global Head of Agri Inputs. Srivathsan has been instrumental in building a strong business in Africa for Olam and is currently a member of the Global Executive Committee. He is currently the Regional Head of Africa and Middle East and oversees the Fertiliser business. Srivathsan has been a recipient of many National and International Awards such as the Prestigious Oslo Business for Peace Award in 2010, the UNDP World Business Development Award in 2008, and the Best Non–oil Exporter Award (Nigeria) 2008, amongst others. Srivathsan holds the title of Chartered Accountant of India since 1988. He also holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the St Xavier’s College Tirunelveli.
Rama Yade is director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center and senior fellow for the Europe Center. A seasoned political figure who has over a decade of experience working in French, European and international politics, she is also a teacher of African affairs at Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in Morocco and, since 2017, at Sciences Po Paris. Prior to joining the Council, she was a consultant for the World Bank, advising the institution on education, youth, sports, human capital, and disability issues in Africa. She also has strong experience in the private sector as an editor in London, and as director for development at a French consulting firm in CSR. Rama Yade began her career as a parliamentary high civil servant in the French Senate, where she was a senior legal advisor for the Social Affairs Committee between 2000 and 2007. In 2006, Rama was appointed by the then French presidential party UMP as a national delegate for the Francophonie. At the age of thirty, she was appointed as the French deputy minister for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights, making her the first woman of African descent to become a member of the French government. She was subsequently appointed to the position of deputy minister of sports. In this role, she led the campaign for all French sports federations to sign a charter against homophobia in sports and to get more involved in equal pay for female athletes. In 2010, Rama Yade was appointed as the ambassador of France to UNESCO. Ambassador Yade received a master’s degree in Political Science and Public Affairs from Sciences Po Paris.
Samaila Zubairu is AFC’s third President and CEO. With over 30 years of professional experience, his entrepreneurial leadership propelled the development and implementation of a new five-year corporate strategy for the development and financing of infrastructure projects, and the management of natural resources and industrial assets on the continent. Prior to his appointment at AFC, Mr. Zubairu was the CEO of Africapital Management Limited, where he established a joint venture with Old Mutual’s African Infrastructure Investment Managers, to develop the Nigerian Infrastructure Investment Fund for infrastructure private equity across West Africa. This appointment followed one as CFO for Dangote Cement Plc, where he launched Africa’s largest syndicated project finance facility for the Obajana Cement project. Prior to that, he was the Treasurer for the Dangote Group during its transformation from a trading company to an industrial conglomerate. Mr. Zubairu is an Eisenhower Fellow and the first African appointed to the Board of Trustees of the 67-year-old international leadership exchange programme. He also holds several Non-Executive Board positions. He holds a BSc in Accounting from Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Nigeria (FCA).
Former partner and CEO of sub-Saharan Africa at Goldman Sachs and senior fellow and lecturer at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. Colin is also a member of the Board of The Foschini Group and is co-chairman of the Youth Employment Service.
Former high-ranking French diplomat, Bruno Delaye is president of Entreprise et Diplomatie, a branch of ADIT Group, the European leader in strategic intelligence. He has vast experience providing strategic advice to corporates operating in Africa.
A seasoned executive in the African financial services and private equity industries. Laureen spent the last 8 years as investment director at French investment fund Amethis. She is the founder and CEO of Birimian, a long term investment holding company dedicated to African brands and serves on the board of several leading financial institutions across the continent.
Professor at the University of Cape Town and Sciences Po Paris and member of a dozen boards, Carlos has led several United Nations institutions, including the Economic Commission for Africa. He has been at the forefront of economic integration projects such the African Continental Free-Trade Area, the reform of the African Union or the establishment of new partnerships with the European Union.
Senior Advisor to the CEO of Total and member of the French oil & gas major’s Executive Committee. Momar has worked extensively across the continent. Formerly managing director, Marketing and Services at Total, he contributed to the company’s key green energy initiatives.
Sandeep BADHANI leads the IT department for all segments of the Gabon Special Economic Zone. Sandeep has over 19 years of experience in developing, executing and overseeing IT automation strategies and data security for a variety of industries, including industrial infrastructure platforms, aviation and BFSI. He also has extensive expertise in driving process automation. He specialises in digital transformation improvement and cyber security. Sandeep, with his knowledge and tools, helps in the growth and cost reduction of the company. Sandeep is a certified computer professional and holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from MDU, India, and a Master’s degree in International Tourism.
Gaurav Aggarwal is the Chief Finance Controller for Gabon Special Economic Zone. He is a Chartered Accountant with more than 15 years of experience in developing heavy infrastructure projects in India, Philippines and Gabon. He is a future-focused, high-energy, results-oriented leader driven by purpose.
Currently he manages the overall GSEZ finance department for sustainable raw material sourcing, for Akiba, for FMC, and for the operations and maintenance of GSEZ three current Special Economic Zones in Gabon.
Prior to this role, he was the Chief Financial Officer of Libreville International Airport (ADL) for Arise IS, where he played a pivotal role in the airport management performance, leading the strategic scenario planning and response that was done to handle the COVID-19 pandemic. His earlier stints were with GMR airports Ltd. Philippines, Bharti Airtel Ltd and Tata Sons Ltd where he started his journey as a management trainee.
He enjoys travelling with his wife, Renu AGGARWAL and their two sons.
Sylvie BOLDRINI is the ESG ARISE IIP manager in Gabon. She coordinates a team in charge of planning, optimizing, monitoring and in charge also of the certification of sustainable forest management. Sylvie has a degree in forestry engineering from Belgium. Sylvie has spent the last ten years contributing to sustainable development programmes in Belgium, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Gabon.
Johanna BERRE is the Head of Legal Affairs at Arise in Gabon. She is in charge of the legal department for all ARISE entities in Gabon, which includes ARISE IIP, ARISE IS, and Arise P&L. She studied law in Senegal for five years before joining ARISE in 2019 after seven years in the telecom sector in Gabon.
Johanna is the proud mother of four children.
Paul Dany Menga Bekale
Paul Dany MENGA BEKALE is the Business Interface Manager of ARISE in Gabon. He is in charge of managing relations with external partners and institutions. He is a graduate in Maritime Management from the Institute of Commerce and Management in the UK, with a commercial training. With a Master’s degree in Institutional Relations from the International University BIRCHAM in Spain, he is also widening his professional network. Prior to joining ARISE, he worked as Sales and Commercial Director for world class shipping companies such as MAERSK and MSC. He has also acted as a local consultant in the development of the logistics supply chain, with the aim of supporting the development of the port industry. Paul Dany also supports the development of infrastructure projects in Gabon such as industrial zones, dry ports (ICDs), and ports through his networks.
Audrey MEBALEY is the Country Communication Manager in Gabon. She oversees all communication aspects for Arise IIP, Arise IS and Arise P&L entities in Gabon. Audrey is creative and passionate and has 15 years of professional experience in communication, marketing, public relations, development, and management of institutional, community and corporate projects. She holds a master’s degree in management and business development, from the University of Montpellier in France. Audrey volunteers with youth empowerment organizations and has been awarded several times as a young Africa’s thought leader. She has received among other recognitions the Mandela Washington distinction from the Young African Leaders Initiative, an initiative of President Barack OBAMA, given by the United States department of State, for her efforts in her various philanthropic activities to strengthen the African continent.
Danièle REMANDA is Carbon and Sustainability Manager at ARISE. She manages the sustainability journey of the group which includes carbon audits, reduction strategies assets-wide, integration of low carbon operations, and leveraging climate finance through carbon credits. Previously graduated from a Masters in Energy Management from ESCP Business School in Paris and London, she has then worked for five years in the energy sector (utilities, nuclear, oil and gas) and in accompanying various industries (paper, foundry, steel, methanization, etc.) handling carbon and energy problematics.
George Olaka is Chief Financial Officer of Arise IIP and Arise IS, alongside being a Non-Executive Director at MainOne. Until November 2020, George served Africa Finance Corporation’s (AFC) Head of Portfolio Management, where he was responsible for managing AFC’s investment portfolio and providing on-going monitoring, evaluation, and reports to AFC’s senior management on investee companies. Prior to this, George served as Business Performance & Product Controller at AFC, where his responsibilities included full financial management of AFC Equity. There, he achieved the setup of a product control unit within the Financial Control Department to oversee Treasury activities and coordinate Treasury and Investment Divisions valuations. George has over 15 years of product control management experience. George has also worked at the Emirates National Bank of Dubai and Standard Chartered Bank. George is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and has a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and Accounting from Kenyatta University (Nairobi), an MSC in Economic Policy from the University of London, and an MBA (Global MBA) from the Manchester Business School.
Mr Swaminathan Kumaraswami is the Chief Risk Officer for Arise IIP Managing Office, Dubai. He previously held the position of Country Finance Controller for Olam International Ltd in Gabon where he headed the Finance function of 4 new businesses (including Palm, Rubber and Fertiliser & Project Graine) with investment of over $2.4 billion. He promotes a close relationship between Olam and the Republic of Gabon based on mutual advantage and sustainable development. With over 26 years of experience, he is a Chartered Accountant by profession and has been with Olam in Nigeria and in Gabon. During the course of his career, Mr Swamy also served in multinational companies like Dunlop India Ltd as Senior Manager in Finance. He began his work in Africa in 1997 and accumulates an added experience of over 10 years in Textile, Packaging and the Soap Manufacturing Industry within Nigeria.
Vinodanand Jha is Senior Vice President of Information Technology and Administration at Olam, as well as Chief Information & Technology Officer at ARISE. He is primarily responsible of the implementation of digitalization and automation strategies at ARISE IIP, ARISE IS and ARISE P&L. Vinodanand has accumulated over 21 years of professional experience in leading and driving technological change across three continents (Asia, Europe, and Africa). He has intervened across a large variety of sectors, including banking, capital markets, steel, power, agriculture, large scale sustainable forestry operation, and on infrastructure verticals comprising integrated Special Economy Zones, ports, logistical operations, airports, road development, among others. This extensive experience has allowed Vinodanand to take part in the growth story of Arise from its foundation, and across the three verticals by which it operates. Vinodanand holds a master’s degree in Computers and Mathematics from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi) and has completed various management courses form Ivy League Business Schools, namely Harvard and Yale. Having worked for Olam and Arise for 9 years in Africa, Vinodanand is currently based out of Dubai. He is happily married and loves running, music, gardening and exploring the world.
Pawan Jain is a Vice President and the current Head of Human Resources for the West Africa Region at Olam International, a company he joined in 2017 as HR Director for Olam Gabon. Pawan has an extensive track record in creating business value through organizational and talent-based strategies. He has extensive experience in working in diverse, complex, and global environments. Prior to joining Olam, Pawan was the Human Resources Business Leader at Cairn India Ltd, between 2011 and 2017. Pawan had joined Cairn India Ltd after having worked for 7 years as Senior Manager in Human Resources for Jubilant Life Sciences Ldt, where he started his career in 2004. Pawan holds an Executive Masters in Coaching and Consulting for Change run jointly by the Saïd Business School (University of Oxford), and HEC Paris, a degree he obtained in 2021. Prior to that, Pawan had graduated from the Xavier Institute of Social Service in 2004.
Sanjay Dey is the Head of Project Finance & Treasury and brings sound experience in Project Finance & Corporate Finance of more than two decades. During his career, he has been involved in the financing of large-scale infrastructure projects, mining projects, power generation projects, electric mobility projects and iron & steel projects. Apart from financing projects, he has had considerable exposure to private equity sector and have raised large capital for Greenfield and Brownfield Projects. Additionally, he has expertise in reorganizing stressed assets through Special Situations Funds. In his earlier tenure, he worked as the Executive Vice President – Finance of Punj Lloyd Limited, a listed multinational and major EPC player in the core infra sector. He holds a degree from ICSI, India.
Bhavin Vyas is the Chief ESG Officer of Environmental and Social Governance (ESG), in charge of ensuring the sustainability of company operations and the creation of shared value for all stakeholders whilst protecting ARISE’S environment and ecosystem services, across the three ARISE verticals. With professional expertise in developing industrial economic zones, and managing the subsequent construction projects, Bhavin’s experience spans various types of industrial sectors, such as roads, airports, agribusiness activities, oil and gas, mining, ports, and hydropower. Bhavin has worked in more than 25 countries across Europe, Asia, Middle East, and Africa. 20 years of professional experience have provided Bhavin with a detailed understanding of environmental and social risks and a knowledge of the positive benefits private investment can generate. Bhavin’s ESG experience covers ESIAs, the preparation and implementation of SEPs, Resettlement Action Plans, Social Investment, Human Rights IA, and Social Due Diligence. Bhavin has excellent working knowledge of the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Policies, IFC Performance Standards, EBRD’s Performance Requirements and AfDB’s Performance Requirements. Prior to joining ARISE, Bhavin worked for AECOM, URS, ERM, Mott McDonald in United Kingdom in Environment & Social development, Environment and Social safeguard auditing, disaster management, urban planning, poverty reduction, urban development, resettlement planning, community development, participatory planning, livelihood studies and migration.
Sarah Adnane is ARISE’s Chief Communications Officer. Prior to that, she was Head of Communications for Olam in Gabon since 2016. Sarah is a part of Olam’s senior management team in Gabon, which was launched in 2019, with the task of creating and managing ARISE’s new identity and operations. As Chief Communications Officer, her responsibilities include overseeing public relations across all of ARISE’s countries of operation, providing public affairs and communications support to Arise’s senior management, as well as managing the ARISE brand. This position has led Sarah to play a major role in the public launch of ARISE’s infrastructure projects in Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire, Mauritania, Togo, and Benin. She has also focused on achieving global recognition of the GSEZ for its contribution to a sustainable timber industry in Gabon. Prior to joining Olam, Sarah worked between 2014 and 2016 as a Project developer for an the Cheikh Khalifa Foundation, an international health NGO based in Casablanca. While she started her career in 2010 as an Internal Communications Associate for Orange in Paris, she has also held positions, in her early career, as Manager of External Communications and Corporate Affairs for Imperial Tobacco in Morocco, and as consultant at Global Intelligence Partners in Rabat. Sarah obtained a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Management from the Université Paris 1 – Panthéon Sorbonne in 2008, followed by a master’s degree in Communications from the Ecole Française des Attachés de Presse obtained in 2012.
Igor SIMARD is the Country Manager of ARISE IIP and ARISE IS and the Managing Director of Libreville Airport (Aéroport De Libreville – ADL). He ensures the administrative supervision of ARISE IIP and ARISE IS portfolio in Gabon and is the representative of all Gabonese activities to the stakeholders. Igor holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Canada and has over 10 years of experience in public administration management. From Communication Advisor to the President of the Republic, he was then the Administrator of the National Fund for the Development of Sport and ensured the restructuring of this institution. Prior to joining us, Igor was the General Director of the Nkok Administrative Authority and coordinated the management of 23 para-military, civil and private law administrations in the Nkok privileged economic zone.
Amandine OGOUEBANDJA épse. DENIEL is the Deputy Managing Director of the Arise Group in Gabon and has also been promoted to Associate Vice President of the group, placing her in the rare list of women who play a central role in the group. Amandine is in charge of supporting the company’s corporate affairs and is the interface between Arise and the Gabonese government. She ensures that the group’s projects are implemented. As such, she has played a leading role in several major projects in Gabon such as the design, creation and development of Gabon’s Special Economic Zones, the monitoring of the Graine programme, the operationalisation of the NOIP and OMP Ports, the construction of a Hydrocarbon depot and the Dry Port (ICD).
Previously, Amandine was associate as Deputy General Manager of SAG, a fundamental project of the Gabonese State to build the Transgabonaise, an 828 km road connecting Libreville to Franceville. She graduated from Nova Southeastern University in 2009 with a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA), specialising in Finance. She began her career in Gabon as an advisor to the Ministry of Economy, Trade, Tourism and Industry, where she worked for two years.
Amandine has been working for the Arise Group and some of its partners for the past 12 years. She has held the positions of Deputy General Manager of SAG, Marketing & Sales Manager / Project Manager at Olam, as well as Corporate Affairs Manager at GSEZ. She also supported the implementation of the solar panel construction project, SOLEN.
In 2011, Amandine was awarded the “Global Employee of the Year at Olam”, as well as the “Positivity Award”. In 2022, for the joy and positivity she passes on to others, she received the “Happy Chapie award”.
Amandine is married and lives in Libreville. She is also the founder of the NGO “Anges oubliés”, which brings comfort to orphans in Gabon.
Mohit Agrawal is the Profit Center Head for Gabon, where he manages the sustainable raw material sourcing, operations and the robust industrialization of 3 Special Economic Zones. An architecture graduate from India, with a finance background from the London School of Economics and Political Science, Mohit has spent the last decade developing infrastructure projects such as industrial zones, electrical networks and ports across Gabon and Mauritania.