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CEO Profile: Bako Ambianda, A Global Business Disruptor

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Bako Ambianda is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Labacorp Group of Companies (LGC), a dynamic diversified holding company with a portfolio of businesses and strategic investments in key sectors. He serves as the President and CEO of Labacorp Energy Limited (LEL), an indigenous oil and gas company with operations in the energy, mining, and power generation sectors primarily in Cameroon with extended operation’s in international markets.

A versatile and innovative entrepreneur, Mr. Bako also serves as the President and CEO of Labacorp Power Company (LPC), an independent power producer and renewable energy development company. He is also the Managing Partner of Labacorp Investments SARL (LIN), an acquisitions and investment management firm dedicated to African markets.

Well-known and respected as an International Development Expert, with the ability to assemble business and government leaders. Mr. Bako is the Founder, Chairman & CEO of ATIGS Group, Inc (Africa Trade & Investment Global Services), a trade promotion, project facilitation, and development company, that offers full spectrum of consulting and business development services to companies looking to expand or establish their operations in African markets. Mr. Bako is the creator and leading proponent of the “Afridevelopism” economic concept, and an active player in activities pertaining to trade, investment, and economic development in Africa. He is an indisputable powerful connector who has a strong track record of operational excellence, with an extensive global network.

He has been quoted many times in media, and received several honours and awards for catalyzing significant development initiatives to name a few: In 2019, he featured in the official African Union (AU) Invest in Africa Magazine as an African Diaspora that is playing a leading role in contributing to the development of Africa, and the magazine was distributed to the office of all African heads of state. He received the 2019 Africa SME Development Award by Africa Business Portal (ABP).

In 2018, Mr. Bako was named one of the Most Influential People of African Decent (Under 40) by MIPAD, and he also received the 2018 Global Business Disruptor Award by Professional Association of Young Africans (PAYA) in Texas. In 2018, Mr. Bako made history in hosting the Africa Trade & Investment Global Summit (ATIGS), the premier Africacentric business event held in the United States in 2018 at the Ronald Reagan Building and World Trade Center,Washington DC with over 2,300 high-level delegates from 92 countries.

The event also featured on the Nasdaq Tower,Times square, New York, the most valuable advertising spaces in the world. The ATIGS event which he founded in 2015 is a leading prestigious biennial Africa-global business conference and exhibition. In 2018, Mr. Bako hosted the first ever Africa House at the International South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. The event was powered by Africa Worldwide Alliance Partnerships (AfriWAPA), an initiative which he founded in 2017 to help African enterprises of all stages build their brands at mega international shows.

In 2016, he founded Solar Business Events, a portfolio of leading solar exhibitions and conferences including Solar Business Festival (SBF), and Solar Business Expo (SBE) which has been held successful in Texas, Chile, Florida, Mexico, and Coastal Rica. In 2016, the Solar Business Festival (SBF) became the largest solar trade show ever held in the state of Texas and was endorsed by Governor Gregg Arbor, Mayor Steve Alder, and Congressman Lloyd Doggett. In 2017, and 2018, Panasonic North America was the presenting Sponsor.

In 2015, he founded Global Attain Advancement (GAA), an international trade mission, publishing, and events company that implements trade programs, capacity building workshops, and high-quality events to help businesses connect with customers, lunch new products, promote their brands, and expand into new markets.

In 2012, he founded Bako Ambianda International (BAI), a professional development organization that focuses on unlocking the potentials of young professionals globally. Through BAI, he lunched The Bako University, to mentor, train and coach young professionals. Mr. Bako has spoken at several universities and authored six books on economic development and personal development including ‘Destined to Win In the Game of Life” “Ingredient to Uplift Your Journey”, “Who’s in Your Ears”, “Invest in Your Mindset”, “The Unstoppable Warrior” “Bako Nine Wisdom Keys” and “Fueling Africa’s Economic Development”.

Also Read Afripreneur Profile: Dayo Adedayo, The Man Behind The Lens

He is armed with the knowledge, expertise, and understanding of business opportunities that exist in Africa, and speaks regularly at international gatherings on Solar Power, Doing Business in Africa, International Trade, Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), and Economic Development in Africa. He holds several board and advisory positions including PULSAR Development International Ltd, Evrensel Capital Partners Inc, AGRI-INVEST Sarl, Tiwala Markt Company LLC, and Asian-African Chamber of Commerce & Industry (AACCI).

Mr. Bako holds a BSc degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, with advanced professional certificates in international development, strategic project management, and economic diplomacy. He is a global citizen, born and raised in Cameroon, Africa, and based in Houston, Texas (USA).

 

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CEO Corner

African Bank Appoints Kennedy Bungane, CEO

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African Bank New CEO, Kennedy Bungane (Press Release & Image: African Bank)

African Bank (“Board”) announces the appointment of Mr. Kennedy Bungane as the Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) and as an executive director of the Bank and its holding company, African Bank Holdings Limited (“ABH”) effective 14 April 2021. The Bank confirms that the appointment of Kennedy was done in accordance with African Bank’s policy on the selection and nomination of executive directors, and in order to fill a vacancy as well as add to the skillset on the Board.

Kennedy brings over 20 years of banking experience with him, having started his career at Standard Bank in 1991, holding a number of senior positions, including Head of Global Markets Sales, Head of Institutional and Corporate Banking, CEO Corporate and Investment Banking for Standard Bank South Africa, and a member of the Standard Bank Group Executive Committee. After joining Barclays Africa in 2012 as Chief Executive of Barclays Africa Limited and Head of Absa Group strategy, Kennedy led the sale of Barclays Africa Limited to the ABSA Group. More recently, Kennedy headed up the Phembani Group as its CEO. He also brings investment and strategic experience gained as the founder and chairman of Nokeng Telecoms and chairman of Idwala Capital.

Kennedy holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree, a Master of Business Administration, and completed the advanced management program at the Harvard Business School (USA).

Commenting on Kennedy’s appointment, the Chairman of the Board, Thabo Dloti, stated, “We welcome the appointment of Kennedy as the new permanent CEO. Kennedy has a keen sense for managing complex stakeholder issues. He has a proven track record in identifying and nurturing leadership, which promotes strong teams to deliver successful results. His passion for the role that banking can play in transforming society resonated strongly with the Board.

As an experienced banker, he also critically has a good grasp of the strategic challenges facing the Bank, within a muted South African economy and competitive landscape, as well as the required regulatory and governance framework.

 

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African Visionary Fund (AVFund) Appoints New co-CEO, Atti Worku

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African Visionary Fund (AVFund) New co-CEO, Atti Worku (Source: African Visionary Fund Website)

About a year ago, African Visionary Fund launched with a bold mission to tackle the inequities and power imbalances in global philanthropy by driving unrestricted resources to African visionaries. At the heart of all they do their values of equity and solidarity, which compel them to center African voices at every level of the organization. They are thrilled to announce the Fund’s new Africa-based co-CEO, Atti Worku!

Atti brings a wealth of experience in the nonprofit world, is a strong advocate for local founders, and is dedicated to righting the historic funding inequity that can hold them back. Prior to joining the Fund, Atti founded and led Seeds of Africa for over 10 years. Seeds is an Ethiopian grassroots organization dedicated to developing the educational foundation for the next generation of African leaders. Under her leadership, Seeds grew from an after-school program serving 15 kids to becoming a full-time multi-dimensional school educating 250 students from pre-K to middle school, and working with over 150 of their mothers providing small business entrepreneurship micro-loans and resources. In just over a decade Seeds has impacted the lives of over 2,000 people, transforming the trajectories of students, teachers, mothers, and their families and creating a future brimming with possibilities beyond a poverty trap.

“My mission is to advocate for African visionaries to be recognized by funders as experts, equal partners and critical drivers of systems change. I’m excited to learn from incredible African leaders with big dreams and even bigger global potential.” -Atti Worku, AVFund co-CEO

Why Co-leadership

The African Visionary Fund is built on the firm belief that proximity matters. Seeded by a group of foundations and philanthropists who wanted to not only take action on equity but also be intentional about shifting the power over resources to African visionaries, shared leadership has been part of the Fund’s DNA from the beginning.

“Co-leadership is mission critical. We cannot build new models for equity-centered philanthropy without living those values within our own institution.” -Katie Bunten-Wamaru, AVFund co-CEO

The AVFund’s organizational journey started with collective and shared leadership in mind as our Founding Working Group worked with our leadership to inform and design all aspects of our organization and funding model. This majority-African, majority-doer group considered a number of different leadership structures for the Fund but gravitated towards co-leadership because it prioritizes proximity and equity, centers the experience of African visionaries, and ultimately helps us shift power.

Our Founding Working Group proved that we can co-create new models of philanthropy centered on collective leadership that shift power and center equity – our co-leadership model is the natural, values-aligned extension of that founding idea.

The Fund

Atti’s lived experience as an African founder has given her firsthand experience of the realities and complexities that local innovators face, making her a great partner in executing the Fund’s mission.

“This role is very personal to me. I see myself in the ambitious and innovative entrepreneurs we engage with at the AVFund. I hope to learn from them, and partner with them to redesign funding systems that give African visionaries an equitable chance of success.” -Atti Worku, AVFund co-CEO

The barriers for African visionaries have been well documented with data showing that less than 5.2% of US foundation giving specific to Africa goes to African-led organizations. And in Atti’s experience, sometimes philanthropy’s oversight of African founders translates into a heavy emotional toll, an internal struggle she also had to deal with in her experience fundraising for her organization. She is committed to helping other African visionaries by being “the voice that reassures and validates them in the face of injustices.”

“Raising philanthropic dollars can be a long trauma for African social entrepreneurs and other leaders of color. On one hand, you’re doing innovative, high-impact work, but on the other, you are constantly being asked to prove yourself on a level far beyond your peers, doing so, and somehow still falling short. Aggregate data on racial inequity in philanthropy already speaks volumes, but systemic injustice is deeply personal. It took me years to realize that I wasn’t the problem,” Atti shared.

On Co-leadership

At the core, the AVFund seeks to create a bridge between global philanthropy and innovative African social changemakers and to do that, it’s critical to have proximity to both our visionary partners and our funding partners. Shared leadership makes this possible.

“There is an inherent tension in the work of the AVFund – we call it the ‘play the game, change the game’ balance. We want to support African social changemakers to play the game to access more sustainable funding now, while also challenging the status quo in ways that build a more equitable philanthropic ecosystem in the long run,” Katie explained. “There will always be a need to balance this tension – having a co-leadership model helps us balance both sides of our work and not lose sight of either goal.”

Having been on both sides of the table, Atti believes a further added benefit of co-leadership lies in the fact that representation matters. “I have been a micro-funder through Seeds and have seen the value of someone like you believing in your vision and empowering it,” she shared.

“At AVFund, we celebrate and choose co-leadership because we recognize the importance of diversity for strong, grounded and authentic leadership.” -Melizsa Mugyenyi, Advisory Board Member.

The Future

Atti joins the Fund at a crucial season of our organizational journey as we look to deepen our impact across the continent – we are more than a third of the way towards reaching our goal to raise US$10 million which will enable us to provide 35 nonprofits across Africa with unrestricted, multiyear grants by 2023.

In the near-term, the Fund is also on track to commit atleast another $US1 million later this year and partner with more African social innovators. Atti is particularly excited to work with those at the forefront of leading-edge innovations whose potential for impact is inhibited by lack of resources and buy-in from funders.

“African visionaries aren’t often given the resources they need to validate the new concepts they have which really makes innovation very difficult. A lack of unrestricted funding for the disruptive ideas coming out of Africa limits potential and slows development. I’m ready to help change that in every way we can!” -Atti Worku, AVFund co-CEO

Source AVFund

 

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Rolake Rosiji, ex-Country Manager M-KOPA Solar Appointed As The New CEO Of Jobberman Nigeria

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Rolake Rosiji, CEO at Jobberman (Source: ROAM)

Jobberman, the single largest job placement platform in sub-Saharan Africa, has announced the appointment of Rolake Rosiji as the new CEO. Rolake takes over from Hilda Kragha, now Managing Director of ROAM Africa Jobs, and will continue the work of establishing Jobberman as the primary platform for job searching, talent acquisition and transforming workplace productivity across Nigeria.

Jobberman’s technology-driven platform, which uses tools such as application tracking, data science for skills and personality assessment, connects over 1 million job seekers to employers. With over a decade of experience in the recruitment industry, the company has built a reputation of trust and strong partnerships with the country’s most coveted employers; matching talented candidates with jobs according to their skillset.

Rolake joins Jobberman with a decade of global experience in strategic leadership and operational excellence. Most recently, she led the technology and sales operations for credit financed smartphones and solar power sets as Country Manager of M-KOPA Nigeria; a connected asset financing company that makes financing for everyday essentials accessible to everyone. Prior to that, she was Head of Strategy & Business Development for Arla Foods Africa, where she developed distribution and joint venture partnerships across West Africa to rapidly scale up sales and worked in Corporate Strategy roles in Denmark and the USA. Her proven track record of business expansion projects, digital and technical transformation and executing strategic partnerships will be key to her implementation for growth and development of the brand.

Commenting on her new role as CEO, Rolake Rosiji said “This is a very exciting chapter in my career and I am delighted to be joining such a passionate and innovative team. Jobberman has built a brand of excellence by using technology to revolutionise the recruitment sector. I look forward to steering the company vision to build a market of greater technology adoption, democratic access and transparency that will tackle dominant challenges, notably youth unemployment and underemployment.  It is a privilege for me to be at the helm of this dynamic team as we set out to empower job seekers with key skills and improve workplace productivity for employers in Nigeria.”

Hilda Kragha, Managing Director of ROAM Africa Jobs added “I am delighted that Rolake has taken on this position. Rolake’s expertise, understanding of different markets and high performance is what makes her the perfect person to anchor the next phase for Jobberman. I look forward to working with her to take Jobberman to even greater heights.”

Rolake took on her role as CEO on February 1st 2021. Her focus will be to broaden the impact beyond the white-collar space and continue to work closely with Jobberman’s impact partners in tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria.

ROAM

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