2019 Conference Speakers
Stay tuned for our 2020 speakers reveal!
Minister Plenipotentiary & Head of political section at Embassy of Morocco in Canada
Mr. Lahoucine Rahmouni is a career diplomat. He holds the title of Minister Plenipotentiary and is presently Head of the political section at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in Washington DC (since September 2015) with particular emphasis on Non-State Actors (NSA).
Prior to his assignment in Washington, He was acting-head of the International Organisation division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in Rabat, (Morocco 2013-august 2015)
He served as Minister-Counsellor, in charge of energy, science and technology at the Embassy of Morocco in Tokyo (Japan) (March 2008 to September 2013). Prior to that, Deputy Head of Mission respectively at the Embassies of the Kingdom of Morocco in Prague, Czech Republic, Dublin, Republic of Ireland, and Addis Ababa, Federal Republic of Ethiopia.
Operation Expert at BADEA Bank
An Expert with the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) at the Operations Department since December 2016. Before BADEA, Ashraf worked as a Project Engineer with MUELLER Co. in Tennessee, USA. He also served as a Hardware Engineer with “Elctro-Optics Center” in Khartoum for five years 2011-2016. Ashraf is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute in Pennsylvania, USA since 2014. He is also a fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative (President Obama Initiative) since 2015. Ashraf holds a Master of Business Adminstration (MBA) from the University of Khartoum , and another Master of Engineering Management form the University of Tennessee at Chattanoooga, USA. He also holds a Certificate in Investment Appraisal and Risk Analysis from Queens University in Canada.
Jim De Wilde
Venture Capitalist and Professor
Throughout his career as an educator and venture capitalist, Dr. Jim de Wilde has focused on the issues of global competitiveness and the commercialization of knowledge through activities in both the private sector and the public sector. Since the early 1990's, Dr. de Wilde has also been involved in venture capital activities as President of JdW Strategic Ventures. In these venture capital activities, Dr. de Wilde currently serves on the Investment Committee of iNovia Capital in Montreal and the Advisory Boards of Enertech Capital (Philadelphia), TandemLaunch Technologies (Montreal) and Walsingham Partners in Toronto. He has a PhD in political science from McGill with a dissertation focusing on the Canadian public policy process and competitiveness in technology sectors.
His website is and he can be followed on Twitter at He lectures at Rotman on Venture Capital strategies (MBA) and Global Capital Markets and New Trends in International Political Economy (BComm). Some of the course materials for the BComm course can be accessed on Twitter at #GCMIPE.
Project Coordinator FinDev Canada
Fatuma works at FinDev Canada as a project coordinator having recently completed her MBA from McGill University.
Originally from Uganda, Fatuma has a BSc. in Computer Science from Makerere University and an MSc. in Information Systems and Management from Warwick University, UK.
After working for 3 years in the U.K as an analyst in a local bank, Fatuma returned home to work for Grow Movement; an NGO that provides business consulting services to SMEs, as a research consultant.
In 2017, Fatuma spent time in South Africa working with local SMEs and NGOs, as part of her summer internship, as a strategy consultant. She was also involved in programs like Accenture’s Accent on the community program which provides consulting for the local NGOs and PREREQ – an organization she co-founded to help immigrants integrate into the workforce by creating a mentoring program.
With experience in both business and technology, Fatuma’s passion lies is in developing approaches that leverage technology to increase the effectiveness and efficiency in business, with a special focus on the SMEs in Africa. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” - Lao Tzu
Noel K. Tshiani
President Agere Global Consulting
Noel K. Tshiani comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and has lived in the United States for 22 years. He is currently the president of Agere Global, an investment advisory and business strategy firm based in New York. He is also the founder of Congo Business Network, an international network of Congolese professionals and entrepreneurs. Their mission is to connect the diaspora to the business world in Congo.
After finishing high school in Bethesda, Maryland, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After his service, he went to the University of Maryland where he graduated with bachelor degrees in finance, marketing, and politics.
He worked at SunTrust Bank in Maryland, in Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, at J.P. Morgan in New York, and at Drexel Hamilton. He also participated in the Wall Street Warfighters program and attended the Executive Education in Finance program at the Wharton School in Philadelphia.
Research Analyst & Project Coordinator FinDev Canada
Alexandra Prieur is a Project Coordinator at FinDev Canada and Masters student at the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University, finishing her studies in International Economic Policy. Fully bilingual in French and English, Ms. Prieur has completed two Bachelor of Arts Degrees: one in Political Science & Art History from McGill University, the second in International Relations from The University of Calgary where she was also a Research Assistant in the Political Science department under Professor Christopher Roberts. During this time she helped organize a special conference with experts in the field on how Canada can re-engage Africa. She was then published in the Journal of Military and Strategic Studies on the topic of how Canada can leverage its bilingual comparative advantage and therefore pack a more powerful punch when it comes to peacekeeping on the continent. Over the years Ms. Prieur has also worked in both the public and private sectors, specifically in the energy sector in Calgary and for the Canadian Embassy to Belgium and Luxembourg in Brussels. Ms. Prieur’s interests include catalyzing the private sector in developing countries through smart investments that focus on empowering women as well as researching the role institutional capacity and good governance play in sustaining development. “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln
Managing Director DLT Labs
Patrick Mutwale is a Managing Director at DLT Labs, a global leader in Distributed Data Management and Enterprise Solutions using Blockchain Technology.
Their comprehensive, multi-layered and integrated platform/products allow for quick value realization inherent with distributed data & blockchain-centric solutions.
Founder, Ayiba Magazine
Women's advocate and entrepreneur Eyitemi Popo knows that in order to change the African narrative globally, African stories need to be portrayed in a way that breaks down perpetuating stereotypes and exemplifies the complexity of African identity.
She launched two ventures to tackle this challenge and amplify the voices of Africans. The first is Ayiba Magazine, an award-winning African Diaspora publication. The second is Girls Trip Tours, an African travel experience focused on female empowerment.
Founder, Ubenwa Intelligence Solutions Inc.
Charles is the founder and AI research lead of Ubenwa Intelligence Solutions Inc, a company that applies artificial intelligence and mobile technology to enable timely diagnosis of birth asphyxia from a newborn cry. He is currently pursuing a PhD in computer science at McGill University, Canada, where he carries out research at the intersection of artificial intelligence and healthcare. He holds a master's degree in computer science from McGill and a bachelor's degree in Electronics and Computer Engineering from Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria. He has over 6 years experience in the development of machine learning software for real-world health care problems such as breast cancer patient care and intensive care unit (ICU) monitoring. Charles is passionate about developing high impact technologies that address social challenges, especially in resource-poor settings and co-founded Fisher Foundation Africa in 2013. In January, 2016, Charles was awarded Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS), an acknowledgement of persons working to improve lives and prospects of citizens of the commonwealth. He is also a Fellow of the Jeanne Sauvé Foundation.
Attorney / Director – Africa Division at Joli-Coeur Lacasse
Arnaud Vanier earned his law degree from Université de Montréal in 2014, and was admitted to the Barreau du Québec in 2015. He also graduated in real estate brokerage from Québec’s real estate college, the Collège de l’immobilier du Québec, and has a Chinese Language certificate from the Jiao-Tong University in Shanghai. He joined our Montreal office in 2018 after three years of practising in the Montreal area.
Mr. Vanier focuses on immigration law, real estate law and business law. As for international operations, he provides support to his Canadian clients doing business abroad, as well as to foreign companies and investors carrying on operations in Canada. He is also the Director – Africa Division at Joli-Cœur Lacasse.
Mr. Vanier is a member of a number of organizations, in particular The Canadian Council on Africa, the REPAF ‒ the African Business Network, and the Rotary Club of Old Montreal. He has been honoured with several awards for his numerous commitments to the community, notably the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the TD Scholarship for Community Leadership.
On multiple occasions, Mr. Vanier has been a guest speaker on topics of immigration law and business accompaniment, both in Canada and abroad.
George Oriokot is Ugandan national currently at McGill’s Desautels Faculty of Management pursuing his fulltime MBA. He has over 10 years working experience in Africa traversing the continent. Prior to joining the MBA, he was the Chief Operating Officer of Roundbob.com, a startup company facilitating travel and tourism in Africa. He also worked for Deloitte as a management consultant across Africa in 22 countries and has also worked with ICCO Cooperation as an international development cooperation professional. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Makerere University in Uganda.
Yves Abanda is a Franco-Cameroonian student and social entrepreneur. His multidisciplinary background and his experience working with and studying complex systems have shaped him a comprehensive view of the dynamics of development in a rapidly changing African landscape. He has moderated a panel on education and capacity building in Africa at DABI 2017, and is passionate about holding conversations integrating financial, socio-cultural and environmental visions to build a prosperous future for the African continent.
Presenter | Geopolitical Analyst | Social Entrepreneur | Economic Advisor
As a diasporic African, I aspire to contribute to Africa’s development by working on innovative projects that positively impact and empower local populations. As a French, American, Ghanaian and Beninese citizen, I am the fruit of a multicultural background and education. I am privileged to have been given the opportunity to discover a myriad of countries and different cultures. Growing up in South Africa for 16 years and traveling around the world, has helped me grasp and understand the numerous challenges we face on a global scale but more important on the African continent. We the youth are the future. We are given the tools, skills and opportunities to build a better tomorrow.