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Origin Africa 2015
Origin Africa Will Present Event 2015: Changing Perceptions, Building Synergies, Doing Business
October 21st to 23rd in Addis Ababa

2015 Moderators & Speakers

The Event  |  Exhibitors And Buyers  |  Seminars  |  Presentations  |  Partners & Sponsors  |  Photo Gallery  |  Organizers

Seminar 1 A - Expanding the foundation for Cotton Production in Africa

Dr. Terry Townsend

Terry Townsend

Cotton Analytics

Terry Townsend

Dr. Terry Townsend is a consultant on commodity issues, especially those involving the cotton industry. Clients include UNCTAD, the African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF), BCI, SLC Agrícola, Ecom, the Bremen Cotton Exchange and the Cotton Association of India. He serves as the Vice Chair of the Discover Natural Fibre Initiative (DNFI), Chair of the Steering Committee of the International Task Force on Cotton Testing Methods, and Chair of the Fund Raising Subcommittee of the International Cotton Researchers Association.

He served as executive director of the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) from 1999 to 2013. He worked at the United States Department of Agriculture for five years in the 1980s analyzing the U.S. cotton industry and editing a magazine devoted to a cross-section of agricultural issues. He joined the ICAC in 1987 as statistician and was promoted to executive director in 1999. He has a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from Oregon State University in the United States.

Christoph Kaut


Christoph Kaut
Aid by Trade Foundation / Cotton made in Africa


Christoph Kaut, Managing Director of the Aid by Trade Foundation / Cotton made in Africa

Christoph is Managing Director of the Aid by Trade Foundation. He studied Political Science in Hamburg and Jakarta. After working for the GFA-Consulting Group and the ILO in Germany and abroad, Christoph joined AbTF in 2007.

Ms. Natalia Voruz


Natalia Voruz

Natalia Voruz has graduated from Moscow State University, Russia. She has done her post-graduated studies in Duke University, USA. During the last 15 years she has worked as in-house attorney for several multi-national companies: Digital Equipment Corporation, Motorola, Stryker. Currently she is Legal Head of EMEA for Monsanto based in Switzerland, as well as Commercial Lead for West Africa.

Monsanto is one of the global leaders in sustainable agriculture. Monsanto is involved in the development, manufacture of seed, seed biotech traits and crop protection chemicals.

Mr. Joseph Nkole

Mr. Joseph Nkole

Mr. Joseph Nkole
National Coordinator
Cotton Association of Zambia

Mr. Joseph Nkole was appointed National Coordinator of the Cotton Association of Zambia (CAZ) in July2005. The Association serves as the cotton wing of the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU). With over 35 years’ experience in the cotton sector, Mr. Nkole has worked with smallholder farmers in cotton production, marketing and primary processing in Zambia. He has also worked with government and international organisations on improving cotton production and productivity and value addition as well as policy reform in the sector.

He is currently serving as the Permanent Secretary of the regional cotton cooperation initiative between Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi also known as MoZaZiMa. In this capacity he conceptualizes, coordinates and oversees as wide range of activities and outcome areas aimed at improving and increasing sustainability in cotton farming system in the four countries. He is currently serving as the Vice Chairman of the African Cotton and Textiles Industries Federation (ACTIF)

Mr. Nick Earlam


Nick Earlam
Founder, Executive Chairman and Owner
Plexus Cotton Limited

Mr Earlam has held various posts in the cotton trade including President of the now International Cotton Association in both 1995 and 2003.

He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Aid by Trade Foundation based in Hamburg, and of its Cotton Made in Africa initiative, which helps smallholders help themselves through trade.

Outside of the industry, his past and present roles include those of Chairman of Liverpool Associates for Tropical Health (LATH), board member of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Trustee of the Liverpool Cathedral Centenary Trust. He was a co-founder of the Liverpool Shanghai Partnership

Seminar 1 B - Opportunities & Challenges to AGOA Extension – The Next 10 Years

Lilowtee Rajmun


Lilowtee Rajmun
Mauritius Export Association

Lilowtee is the Director of Mauritius Export Association and a board member of African Cotton & Textile Industries Federation, where she has previously served as Vice Chair Person.

Lilowtee has 15 years’ experience in the Export Sector having represented the export sector of Mauritius on both local and international fronts. Her tasks involve liaising with all government bodies and international organizations to promote and defend the interest of Mauritian exporters; She has also been actively involved in Trade Negotiations, leading the export sector positions on the negotiation forum between Mauritius and Trading partners under AGOA, EU-ESA Interim Agreement, COMESA, SADC, Turkey FTA etc.

Lilowtee is credited with the setting up and operationalising the MEXA Corporate Social Responsibility system. She currently serves as a board member of Joint Economic Council, Mauritius Employers Federation, Mauritius’ Cargo Community System and Enterprise Mauritius.  

Roy Ashurst

J.C Mazingue

Jc Mazingue

JC Mazingue
Trade Advisor
East Africa Trade and Investment Hub

JC Mazingue is a Textile and Apparel Value Chain expert with 30 years of experience in US, Africa and Europe with a focus on Lesser Developed Countries. He is currently the Apparel Trade Advisor at the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub, based in Nairobi, Kenya.

JC Mazingue founded JCM & Associates in 1996. Since 1996, he has served on the Board of several companies in the US, UK, France and South Africa.Over the years, JC has been working in Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Mauritius, and South Africa.

Finn Holm-Olsen

Holm Olsen

Finn Holm-Olsen
Director of Trade Promotion & AGOA
USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub

Finn Holm-Olsen is an international trade expert with 20+ years of professional experience working in Africa. During this time, he has designed and managed enterprise development and capacity building programs, advanced U.S. trade policy interests in Africa, and promoted U.S.-African business ties. 

He has lived and worked in Kenya for the past 12 year, during which time he has managed the AGOA portfolio for 3 consecutive USAID Trade Hub projects.  He currently serves as the Director of Trade Promotion & AGOA at the USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub, the flagship project under the Presidential Trade Africa initiative implemented by DAI. Mr. Holm-Olsen previously served as the Director of the East Africa Trade Hub at COMPETE, a USAID project implemented by Chemonics Inc.; and as the Regional AGOA Advisor at the East and Central Africa Global Competitiveness Hub, a USAID project implemented by BearingPoint, Inc. 

Bob Berg


Bob Berg
Senior Sales Manager, International Sourcing at MAGIC

Bob Berg has an extensive background in global apparel sourcing, and is
Advanstar’ s  expert in developing international  relationships between foreign trade groups, individual apparel producers and U.S. market professionals. He has been affiliated with Sourcing at MAGIC for 7 years.
Previously, Mr. Berg was V.P. of Sourcing and Production for a leading U.S. uniform firm, and was also the Vice President of a major national retail chain.
Bob lives in Southern California and travels the world continuously in his current and past roles. "

Seminar 2 A – Emerging Market Investments Opportunities in Africa?

Wariko Waita

Wariko Waita

Mrs. Wariko Waita
communications correspondent, SITA

Wariko is a communications correspondent for SITA and has been the Director-External Relations and Resource Mobilization of the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS). During her tenure KRCS secured Super Brand Status at the highest level and top 10 social media positioning in the country.  She has managed communications for the related subsidiaries Boma Hotel and E-plus Ambulance.   

Wariko was formally the Director of Development and Partnerships at Future Generations in New York. Prior to that, she was a Director of Development and Partnerships, with Global Fairness Initiative in Washington D.C. She also worked in the same capacity at Bugando Medical Centre in Mwanza, Tanzania. She is a certified equities dealer with the Nairobi Stock Exchange and was a Chevening scholar. She holds an MBA, Finance from Leeds University and a BSc, Biology from Concordia University in Canada.

Sanjay Jadhao

Mr Kosswatha Banda

Mr Kosswatha Banda

Mr Kosswatha Banda
Factory Manager
New Wide Garment’s Ethiopian branch

Mr Kosswatha Banda, a Sri Lankan national, has more than 25 years of international experience in the garment manufacturing and exporting industry. Currently, he is the Factory Manager of New Wide Garment’s Ethiopian branch. Prior to this, he has worked in senior management positions for companies in India, Bulgaria, Tanzania and Sri Lanka.

He has profound knowledge in manufacturing processes, SCM, GSD, project management , costing and MIS, new factory setup and social compliance and factory audit and has a strong background in innovative product development according to seasons and sourcing of raw products.

Sidharth Sinha

Mr. Sidharth Sinha,
Founder and CEO
Vogue/ Velocity Group of Companies

Mr. Sinha, an Indian national, is a serial entrepreneur and the driving force behind several international businesses. He graduated university with a degree in Economics, after which he studied Design in the U.S.

Mr. Sinha established his first business, Vogue International LLC, in 1988, as a buying office to provide customers with design and service. Now, more than two decades later, Mr. Sinha is heading a group of international companies specialized in garment manufacturing, retails and financial services.

Pranav Kumar


Pranav Kumar,
Head, International Trade Policy, Confederation of Indian Industry

Head of International Trade Policy, Confederation of Indian Industry. Engages closely with the Government of India and industry members across all sectors on all aspects of trade negotiation and policy formulation and builds a CII position on international trade policy, which feeds into the negotiation process of the GoI. Holds M.Phil. degree in Economics from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. Has over 20 years of professional experience in teaching, research, project management and policy advocacy with primary expertise on international trade policy and multilateral and regional trade negotiations. 

Currently, steering a big project on India-Africa trade and investment relations in partnership with Geneva-based International Trade Centre. Authored a joint CII-WTO Report entitled “India-Africa: South-South Trade and Investment for Development”. Former Senior Trade Policy Advisor, India Trade Policy Unit (iTPU) of British High Commission and DFID India.

Muthusamy Ramasamy

Seminar 2 B – Requirements of European Sourcing Companies from African Manufacturers

Abi Rushton


Abi Rushton
Director ethical expert limited.

Abi is Founder and Director of ethical expert limited, an ethical trade and sustainable supply chain consultancy who believe in practical and commercially based approaches to improving products and conditions across international supply chains.

Abi is also Associate Director of the Aid by Trade Foundation who manage the ‘Cotton made in Africa’ initiative, Head of Fashion Sourcing for Proudly made in Africa, a Fellow of the Ethical Fashion Forum, a founder member of Cottons Revolutions, the cotton community’s online forum for strategic thinking and a member of the Soil Associations Textile Standards Committee. Abi has been a member of the sterring group for UK’s Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) since its inception in 2007.

Kerstin Venhhoven


Hellmann Worldwide Logistics GmbH & Co. KG
Product Manager Fashion
“Hellmann Fashion Logistics - Quality made in Africa”


15 years logistics expierience
since 5 years in the Industry Solution Fashion
and found my passion.

Tanja Burian


Dialog Textile Apparel
Public Relations and Organization
“ Cooperation across the textile chain”

The DTB is a voluntary industry initiative launched in collaboration with the company Willy Bogner in Munich in 1985. Companies across the entire textile chain come together in working groups to work on questions and task assignments in order to develop workable solution proposals.

Tanja Burian joined the DTB in July 2014 and is responsible for the organization und public relations at DTB. This implies the writing of reports, seminar invitations and regular updating news for the homepage, liaising with journalists and other media, and using social media platforms to create engagement and discussion.

Michael Scherpe

Micheal Scherpe


President / CEO
Messe Frankfurt France, 1 avenue de Flandre
F-75019 Paris
Tel secrétariat : +33 1 44 89 67 72
Fax secrétariat : +33 1 40 35 14 74

Since 1981, Mr Michael Scherpe is the president of the French representation of Messe Frankfurt. He has participated in the conception of several professional fairs of the group Messe Frankfurt, as Techtextil Frankfurt (technical textiles and nonwovens), Interstoff Asia (apparel fabrics), Texworld Paris, Texworld USA and Texworld Istanbul (apparel fabrics), Interior Lifestyle China and Interior Lifestyle Tokyo (consumer goods and home decoration). Within this function he has been able to help many French companies to develop their exports with the different fairs of the group Messe Frankfurt.

Since 2002 he is also the president / CEO from Messe Frankfurt France which has been created after the purchase of the fair Texworld Paris in December 2001. Messe Frankfurt France has the mission to develop and to create fairs in France. Until now they organize following shows in Paris: Apparel Sourcing, Avanprint, Avantex and Texworld Paris.


Seminar 3A – Competing to Win – Best Practices for a Sustainable African Textile & Apparel Value Chain

Clay Hickson


Clay E. Hickson

Senior Director, Strategy & Business Development

Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP)

Clay Hickson helps develop and refine the organization’s vision and strategy; specifically, focusing on managing relationships with global brands and retailers and with governmental organizations.  Previously he was Executive Director of TowsonGlobal Business Incubator, where he helped early-stage companies succeed in the global economy.  He also was Managing Director of Rhôton Hill Group, a management consulting firm he established, which provided international marketing, corporate communications, strategic planning and cross-cultural communications services. 

Mr. Hickson has developed and taught training programs, seminars and college courses that have prepared executives for doing business in international environments.  Mr. Hickson is Chairman Emeritus of the Maryland-China Business Council, serves on the boards of directors of the Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce and of the National China Garden Foundation.

Jordan Fabyanske

Jordan Fabyanske

Jordan Fabyanske, Associate Partner

Global Practice Co-leader, Inclusive Growth and Cities

Dalberg Global Development Advisors is a strategic advisory firm that aims to raise living standards around the world. With 14 offices around the world, Dalberg has deep expertise in sustainability and manufacturing, including in the textile and garment sector. Dalberg’s textile and garment expertise spans across markets – China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Kenya, and others – as well as across types of actors, including corporations, multilaterals, and governments.

Based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Jordan brings deep experience working with international donors, country governments, donors, and multinational companies in developing countries to inform priorities for public and private investment.

As a director of Dalberg engagements in the firm’s Cities, Infrastructure and Inclusive Growth, practice areas, his work has spanned across a broad range of development topics including industrial policy, urban and regional development, resilience, agricultural development, and innovative finance.

Hande Diltemiz


Hande Diltemiz
Country Manager

She has been in sector for 26 years and having the experience in different international buying houses and brands  as Li & Fung, Adidas,. Currently at H&M and being there for last 10 years , she has worked in Turkey , in Bangladesh and handling The country manager role of H&M –Puls Trading since 2013 .

Hande Diltemiz  has held  different positions within H&M’s Business team in last 10 years .Starting as a Product manager in Turkey, she was responsible for the market buying strategies and capacity building.   She subsequently continued at Bangladesh as responsible of its and also Pakistan woven supply chain manager to build and secure the capacity.

James Mwai

James G Mwai

James G. Mwai

Director of Programmes

Fairtrade Africa (FTA)

Based at the Secretariat in Nairobi, James is responsible for technical leadership of Fairtrade programmes on the African Continent a role he has held for the past 4 years. He represents Africa on the Fairtrade International Textile Team and the Cotton Working Group.  He is responsible for the piloting of the Fairtrade Textile Standard and collaborative partnerships across Africa primarily in Ethiopia and Rwanda. Before joining Fairtrade,

James worked as a Competitiveness Consultant supporting governments, private sector and development organizations in Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Mozambique. Assignments included developing private sector development approaches for USAID and European Union funded clients. He also developed a Public Private Partnerships paper for the United Nations Economic Commission – Africa, and a Clusters Information Paper for the Competitiveness Investment Climate Uganda.

Heinrich Schultz


Heinrich Schultz
Managing Director and Owner

Over the past 20 years Heinrich qualified himself as supply chain engineering specialist within the global marketplace. Currently Heinrich is the managing director and owner of OrganiMark, a supply chain optimisation and trade management firm with offices in South Africa and Mauritius. He is the chairman of the European Textile Exchange and serves on the board of directors of the Global Textile Exchange.

Heinrich is also one of the founders and the executive manager of the Southern African Sustainable Textiles and Apparel Cluster (SASTAC).


Seminar 3B – Expanding Opportunities in Contemporary African Fashion, Home & Accessories

Llenay Ferretti


Llenay Ferretti
CEO of Bhavana World Project Inc

Llenay consults on projects for major US companies, small social enterprises and US government trade initiatives. Some partners include: The Kellogg Foundation, Eileen Fisher Inc, US African Development Foundation, USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub, Urban Inc., and a host of SME’s internationally.

Previously, Llenay served as Executive Director for Ten Thousand Villages, the largest Fair Trade organization in North America, working with 130 companies around the globe using trade as a pathway to poverty alleviation. Prior to her work in economic development, Llenay served as Vice President at Liz Claiborne Inc, leading brand development for their largest division. Llenay is a member of The National Association of Women Business Owners and The Association of Women in International Trade.

She believes the future belongs to Africa

Mark Stephenson


Born and raised in the north of England, Mark Stephenson spent the first 20 years of his working life in advertising and other brand communication disciplines. In 2005 he began consulting for Sandstorm.
Fascinated by the potential of the business and the brand, in 2007 he left the consultancy world, invested in Sandstorm and joined the company as Managing Director, relocating to Nairobi in 2008. Since then he has dedicated himself to building Sandstorm into a Kenyan brand of international quality.
All Sandstorm products are made at their workshop in a converted Irish pub in Karen, from local materials wherever possible. Today there are seven Sandstorm shops in East Africa (ten by the end of 2015).

Keren Long

Keren Long

Keren Long
CEO & Co-founder
+44 (0) 7974140807
Skype: kerenlong

As Co-founder and CEO of Ethical Apparel Africa, Keren brings over 18 years of experience in sourcing, merchandising, and retail operations while living and working on three continents. Keren started her career at Marks & Spencer, followed by 17 years at George, then the third largest clothing retailer in the UK (now owned by Walmart). Recent experience includes working internationally with the fair-trade artisan textiles industry and developing factories in Africa for mass production and export especially to USA brands through AGOA.  
While at George, Keren developed a reputation as a skilled leader of sourcing operations. While living in Bangladesh for three years, Keren set up George’s sourcing office there from scratch. She managed exports of over $320M (FOB value), including overseeing all quality approvals in-country.

Jonna Davis

Jonna Davis

Jonna Davis
Director of Programs, Soko

As Director of Programs at Soko (, Jonna Davis drives Sokos social impact strategy to maximize the companys impact on artisan communities and define its position as a leader in ethical fast fashion. Shes also responsible for developing the companys supply chain for scale, implementing programs and technology to streamline environmental, social, and governance compliance across a growing network of artisan entrepreneurs in Kenya.
Jonna began her career advising Fortune 500 companies as part of Ernst & Young. Prior to joining Soko, she spent 5 years in international development, traveling across Africa and Asia to assess and monitor a $20M portfolio of programs. She then moved to western Kenya, where she headed an evidence-based safe water program serving over 1M people. She holds degrees in Economics and Music from New York University and a Masters in Global Ethics from Kings College London.

Kidest Teklu

Kidest Teklu

International Trade Centre (ITC)
Programme Officer
Cotton, Textiles and Clothing sectors

Kidest has a degree in Clothing and Textiles form the University of Manitoba, Canada and worked for various multinational companies in the apparel and retail sectors. In addition, she worked for leading Canadian fashion institutions as the Ryerson University and the Art institute of Toronto where she taught a range of topics including product development, sourcing, production, marketing and merchandising.

Kidest also worked for the International Labour Office in Geneva and she is currently the Programme Officer for the Cotton, Textiles and Clothing sectors at the International Trade Centre (ITC).

Seminar 4 A – Technology & Innovation Seminar

Jas Bedi

Jaswinder Bedi

Jas Bedi

Chairman of the African Cotton & Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF)

Jas graduated as a textile technologist in the UK in 1984 and has over 28 years experience in the manufacturing sector in Kenya. Jas is an industrialist and an entrepreneur who has numerous responsibilities in business and various business member organizations. Over the years, he has attended several executive business courses organized by Harvard Business School, IMD, and IIM. He is also member of The Young Presidents Organization (YPO).

Jas has been tirelessly involved in developing export market opportunities, particularly in trading bocks such as EAC, COMESA, the USA and the European Union. He has been involved in private sector initiatives to improve the trade provisions under AGOA, and successfully spearheaded ACTIF’s advocacy efforts to push for a 10 year extension.

Francisco Aguiar

Francisco Aguiar

Bio Francisco Aguiar
Director Sales EMEA

Director Sales in the EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa) region Francisco Aguiar is responsible for automation projects in a huge variety of markets with quite different demands. Vast knowledge and experience on software and hardware applications in the garment industry - may it be men’s or ladies wear, lingerie, jeans, protective apparel or uniforms - as well as in other industrial segments manufacturing all kind of end-uses from flexible materials incl. leather, make him a recognized expert for technological update and optimization.

Francisco holds degrees in Computer Science and Systems Engineering from the University of Porto in Portugal. He joined Gerber Technology back in 1995 and getting asked about his success formula, he stresses: “Stay close to the user – always and any time. Well listen to your customer.”

Takashi Yuhara

T. Yuhara

Takashi Yuhara

JASMA(Japan Sewing Machinery Manufacturers Association)

Born in 1956 in Japan. Long experience of working career in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Japan.After resignation from the Ministry, I joined Japan Sewing Machinery Manufacturers Association (JASMA) in March, 2013 and work as managing director of JASMA from October 2014 till now.

JASMA is conducting investigation, planning, promotion and standardization for production and sales about all sewing-related apparatuses.I am now concentrating in preparation and promotion for Japan International Apparel Machinery & Textile Industry Trade Show (JIAM2016) to be held in Osaka, Japan from April 6 to 9, 2016.

Levent Kocaman

Levent Kocaman

Over 25 years experience in Technology, IT management, design and implementation, 
Experienced sales/project manager and implementer of ERP and MRP solutions especially in textile sector .
Expertise in change management, team building, program management
. Accomplished in setting up and executing company wide business processes and quality management systems.

His  knowledge of manufacturing  operations  enables him to offer cutting-edge solutions to help the fashion industry and its supply chain to remain flexible, responsive and profitable.Having worked internationally and successfully leading technology companies providing professional services. Mr. Kocaman has deep insight of on-shore corporate success criterion and cross culture communication issues which are mission critical for a technology company.

Mr. Sidharth Sinha

Mr. Sidharth Sinha,
Founder and CEO
Vogue/ Velocity Group of Companies

Mr. Sinha, an Indian national, is a serial entrepreneur and the driving force behind several international businesses. He graduated university with a degree in Economics, after which he studied Design in the U.S.

Mr. Sinha established his first business, Vogue International LLC, in 1988, as a buying office to provide customers with design and service. Now, more than two decades later, Mr. Sinha is heading a group of international companies specialized in garment manufacturing, retails and financial services.


Seminar 4B – Investment Incentives

John Hargreaves

Fitsum Arega 

Fitsum Arega

Mr. Fitsum Arega
Director General, Ethiopia Investment Commission, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Mr. Fitsum Arega, with a diverse educational background served in different government offices for over 20 years, mostly at senior positions. He obtained MA Degree in Development Economics and Policy Management (PPM) from University of Manchester - UK in 2005, MBA from Open University Business School in 1998, Awarded Post graduate Diploma in Local Government Systems and Management from University of Birmingham –UK in 1996. Having an accounting background he started his career as a government employee in Ministry of Finance.

He served for about 13 years in the Office of the Prime Minister at different capacities as Team Leader in Economic Affairs Sector, as a Special Assistant to the Head of Economic Affairs (to the Deputy Prime Minister), A/Bureau Head of Capital Budget Projects Bureau, and Head of Planning and Management until 2008. Before being appointed to be Director General of the Ethiopian Investment Commission in February 2013, he had served as Head of Addis Ababa Investment Agency, Head of Addis Ababa Trade and Industry Bureau and served in different Public enterprises as board chairman and member simultaneously.

Jean-Louis Warnholz


Jean-Louis Warnholz
Managing Director
BlackIvy Group

Prior to BlackIvy, he worked as a Senior Advisor to the Counselor and Chief of Staff at the U.S. State Department. As part of his assignment, Mr. Warnholz helped structure and execute an $800M public-private partnership in northern Haiti that is on track to create over 20,0000 manufacturing jobs and develop regional energy, housing, port and airport infrastructure.

Mr. Warnholz carried out the first broad systematic assessment of returns to investment in Africa (‘Is Investment in Africa Low Despite High Profits’, Center for the Study of African Economies, 2008). This work is published in the Harvard Business Review, ‘Even the Poorest Can Be a Thriving Market’ (May 2008) and ‘Now is the Time to Invest in Africa’ (Breakthrough List of Ideas, February 2009), jointly written with Paul Collier. Mr. Warnholz also co-authored articles in the Financial Times, Foreign Policy, the New York Times and the Guardian, and provided expert commentary for Fast Company, BBC and CNN.

Rajeev Arora


Rajeev Arora,
Advisor, Textile Value Chain
Ministry of Industrialization & Enterprise Development

Mr. Rajeev Arora is an apparel industry executive with more than 36 years of international experience and specifically 26 years in Eastern and Southern Africa region that includes managing 100% export-oriented manufacturing facilities and representing buyers worldwide, expertise on export policies in Africa under various Bilateral Trade agreements, successful development of vendor base and quality assurance & management of vendor performance in over 16 countries in Africa.

He has expertise in  Free Trade Zone (FTZ)/Export Processing Zone (EPZ) development, textile/apparel production and trade, investment promotion and development and also assisted various African governments and companies in developing manufacturing under export processing zones

Marina Bizabani

Marina Mapitso Bizabani

Marina Mapitso Bizabani
Investment Promotion and Investment Climate Reforms
Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC)

Marina Bizabani has over 10 years of experience in investment promotion, project management and economic development in the Kingdom of Lesotho an economy whose manufacturing industry is anchored on textile and garments manufacturing with an employment of 45000. She is leading a strategy that aims to deepen and integrate textiles and garments through linkages and to diversify the industry to electronics, automotive components and food processing for employment creation.

She is responsible for development and execution of FDI promotion strategies to plug Lesotho into regional and global value chains as well as coordination of investment climate reform activities by the LNDC. She leads an ongoing trade and investment campaign to exploit opportunities between the Kingdom of Lesotho and the Republic of South Africa under the auspices of the Joint Bilateral Commission of Cooperation between the two countries.

She has a background in Economics from the National University of Lesotho and Investment Promotion and Economic Development from Edinburgh Napier University.


Seminar 5A – Financing Options and Investment Opportunities in the CTA Sector

Kanini Mutooni


Kanini Mutooni
Director for Investment and Technology
East Africa Trade and Investment Hub

As director of Investment, she has been instrumental in launching the project’s first investment facilitation unit in the region. Since launch, the unit has supported the close of over $13m in deals originated in the East African region in agri-business, financial services and ICT.

She was an independent director of Shelter Afrique, a development finance institution present in 44 countries. Kanini is also an investment committee member of The African Enterprise Challenge Fund, a $250m donor-funded Impact Fund based in Nairobi with investments in East and West Africa. She is also the Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, an International NGO present in 35 countries with a mandate to end the HIV epidemic through local community based organizations.

Kanini was recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader in 2014 for her contribution to business and was named as one of the most influential business women in East Africa by the Business Week magazine in 2013.

Wilmot Allen

Wilmot Allen

Wilmot Allen
East Africa with CrossBoundary LLC

Wilmot Allen is Director of East Africa with CrossBoundary LLC, a U.S.-based investment firm focusing on frontier markets. Based in Nairobi, he leads the investment advisory practice for the firm in East Africa and transaction services for the East Africa Trade and Investment Hub. Mr. Allen previously worked at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group as an investment consultant with the private equity funds team and was Senior Advisor to the CEO.

In prior roles, Mr. Allen was an investment banker with the M&A group of JPMorgan Hambrecht and Quist and with Private Placements group at Merrill Lynch & Company. He also worked in venture capital at the Commonwealth Enterprise Fund financing start up technology and media companies. He holds an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of Business and a B.A. from Yale University.

Andreas Zeller


Andreas Zeller
Managing Partner

Andreas Zeller is Managing Partner of Open Capital Advisors, a strategic and financial advisory firm that supports businesses, investors, and development partners to build markets. Open Capital has is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya completed 130 engagements across East and Southern Africa.

Prior to Open Capital, Andreas brings professional experience in entrepreneurship, investment banking and emerging market private equity. He began his career at a start-up technology venture, for which he managed operations and worked on capital raising efforts.

Andreas left Credit Suisse to join the infrastructure investment team at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank Group, first as term staff in Washington, D.C. then as a consultant in Nairobi, Kenya. At IFC, Andreas was responsible for analyzing, structuring and executing investments across Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

Emanuela Gregorio


Ms. Emanuela Gregorio
Office of the Special Envoy on Gender
African Development Bank (AfDB)

Ms. Gregorio is an economist with professional experience in SME development and natural resource management. She is currently working for the Special Envoy on Gender at the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. She is leading an initiative to explore promising industries that SEOG has targeted for the Bank to invest in and that have the potential to enhance Women Economic Empowerment, such as the fashion, film and food as these sectors hold a great potential to motivate and bring change to some of the most disadvantaged women across Africa, while promoting the importance of social and ethical responsibility in the sector.  
She builds on her professional experience in the private sector and with international organizations, such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP), where she analyzed, inter alia, gender aspects in agricultural development and emergency situations.  Ms. Gregorio holds a Master’s degree with honors in Economics from the University of Rome La Sapienza.

Rennie Kariuki

Rennie Kariuki

Rennie Kariuki
Financial & Credit Risk Expert

Rennie joined ATI in 2008 as a financial & credit risk expert. She is now responsible for underwriting and liaising with local and international companies for business development. Prior to ATI, Rennie worked as a credit risk analyst at Commercial Bank of Africa where she evaluated risks within the bank’s lending portfolio at the corporate level.

In the course of her 12 year career, Rennie has developed expertise in risk mitigation on financial transactions and she has been involved in structuring some of Africa’s most prominaten coprorate and project finance deals. Rennie is a Kenyan national, who holds an MBA in Strategic Management and a Bachelor
of Commerce degree.

Round Table – Marketing African Fashion & Designers in the International Market

Lulit Amdemariam – Hub of Africa

Hirut Zemene Kasa, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia
Treasure Thembisile, AU

Anna Getaneh

Marina Spadafora

Aurelia Calabro