Club membership is $5 for the year and is open to all UBC students. We seek to create an open and inclusive community where rigorous yet respectful debate and dialogue are encouraged. We do not discriminate based on age, gender, race, income, sexual orientation, or country of origin.
Africa Business Forum
The Africa Business Forum (ABF) is the UBC Africa Business Club’s annual flagship event. It is the first student-run conference on Africa enterprise in Western Canada. The ABF congregates international business leaders, entrepreneurs, professionals and students for a day of focused discussion and relationship building.
Our mission is to promote the Africa business landscape by creating a platform that connects students, academics, and professionals in North America to the economic, political, and social opportunities in Africa.
Growing the Club
A Brief History
The UBC Africa Business Club started in June 2015 and is a registered student-run club of the UBC Alma Mater Society (AMS). Our inaugural event, the 2015 Africa Business Forum was held in November 2015. We are now in our second year of existence and looking to grow our club membership and event offerings.
Africa Business Forum 2018
The 2018 Forum will be on 10 February 2018 at the AMS Student Nest, UBC. It will bring together international business leaders, entrepreneurs, professionals and students for a day of focused discussion and relationship building.
This year’s theme is Blueprints for the next generation: Shaping the driving force behind Africas growth.
Infrastructure & Technology
Panel 1: Tech in HealthCare: Addressing the limitations and opportunities for technology in the health sector
In many African countries, very few people have access to low-cost, high-quality healthcare, resulting in deaths from preventable and treatable diseases.In addition, the number of healthcare investments relative to the size of the economy is quite low, hence we discuss funding and investment in healthcare in Africa. This panel explores the role of technology in improving health care service delivery in many African communities; using simple, innovative, and easily accessible technology.
Panel 2: Reshaping African Economies through blockchain and cryptocurrency
What are blockchains and how can this technology be applied to industries beyond digital currencies? This panel will give an understanding of the power of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies in businesses in Africa to improve efficiency and productivity; whilst tackling unemployment. We’ll also discuss Africa’s transition to using blockchain technology and how to ensure its success.
Panel 1: Role of the Private and Public sector in empowering the Next African Entrepreneur
This Panel will focus on looking at the current structures that are in place to support African Entrepreneurs. It will explore business incubators, accelerators and innovation hubs and the role they play in making the entrepreneur’s goals a reality. The Panel will also delve into the impact of the African education system, access to capital and ease of setting up a business on the continent
Panel 2: Social Entrepreneurship in Africa, a choice or a necessity?
This panel will look at whether Social Entrepreneurship is a viable option for young people on the continent. It will explore the skills necessary to start a business and the responsibility that the young entrepreneur has in shaping the driving force behind Africa’s growth. The panel will discuss how social entrepreneurs can decide on their brand and leverage this to grow.
Panel 1: Impact Investing Demystified
The impact investing panel will introduce the audience to the different forms of impact investing and its growth story. Moreover, the panel will discuss the biggest challenges facing the impact sphere today, such as quantifying impact, retail-level impact investing, and growth barriers.
Panel 2: Intra-regional Funding: Keeping Capital within the Continent
As Africa’s economy continues to accelerate in growth, some African countries have turned to intra-regional funding as a sustainable alternative to overseas funding sources. There is debate regarding the pros and cons of intra-regional funding, aka funding from the transfer of capital among African countries, versus those of external funding. This panel will explore some of the similarities and differences between both funding sources, along with their respective political and social implications.
The first liberation struggle was for political freedom. The second liberation is one of social transformation and economic emancipation. This panel will discuss the role of women in liberating the minds of young Africans in their communities. We will examine the responsibility of women in shaping the systems of government that will make sure no one is left behind in the growth of Africa. The panel will look at how women can drive economic emancipation, the unique positions of women in the private and public sector and the opportunities for collaboration that exist.
Panel 2: Chinese investment into Africa
This Panel first addresses Chinese resource for infrastructure loans in Africa. These are loans in which China provides soft loans to African countries in exchange for access to natural resource deposits and mineral deposits. We will the positive and detrimental effects of such a model for the African countries in question. This Panel will then shift focus into political corruption in Sino-African relations. We will examine the closed-off nature of high-level engagement between Chinese and respective African government officials. The panel would discuss also delve into cases of accusations of corruption against African politicians in dealings with China.
Infrastructure and Technology
Vasilii is a PhD Candidate in Chemical & Biological Engineering UBC working on smart polymers. He is a graduate of UBC GMCA mini-MBA program and a winner of 2016 GMCA business case competition. He’s also chaired a conference and advised a UBC student design team. In 2016-2017 he co-founded his company Tesseract Technologies treating brain aneurysms with a novel material. The team won medals in a local start-up competition and won a place in the e [at] UBC Lean Launch Pad program.
A hi-tech generalist with experience in angel investment, business modelling and government funding for technology companies. Most of his work has been in the software industry, but he has also worked on electronic hardware, biomedical devices, and optical systems. His focus is on helping early stage technology companies raise money from private investors. He does this through his work at Open Angel Canada and as an angel investor and corporate director.
His interests in Africa include the educational development and mentoring entrepreneurs through his work with Unreasonable East Africa. He is currently working with a Fintech start-up in Uganda and hopes to expand his work and investments into other parts of Africa.
Faith is responsible for managing and providing program management support across a portfolio of Education and Learning projects and initiatives focusing on secondary and higher education systems and youth leadership development at the MasterCard Foundation. Faith has a certificate in Data Science from Harvard University and was instrumental in the development of an Education Information Management System (EMIS) for the Foundation’s Scholars Program. Prior to joining the MasterCard Foundation, Faith worked at Essential Skills Ontario (ESO) where he was responsible for tracking, manipulating and analyzing high-quality data suitable for strategic and operational support, planning, and new research initiatives and policy development. He holds a Master of Economics degree from the University of Ottawa in Canada, and a Bachelor of Economics degree from the American University of Nigeria.
Maame Alice Yelbert Sai
Born and raised in Ghana, Maame Afon is Proudly African, Boldly Christian and Unapologetically Feminist. She is passionate about transformative leadership, coaching and mentoring for women and girls in Africa and the Diaspora. Her vision is “to support and inspire leaders, especially women and girls to enjoy a fulfilling leadership journey.” She identifies herself as a “Whole Woman” and believes that when we bring all of who we are to everything we do everyone benefits. Maame holds an M.A. in international policy studies, gender and development and a B.A. in French and Spanish. She is also a graduate of the Hive Global Leadership Program and the Global Women’s Leadership Network Program.
In 2016, she was named a Cordes Fellow as a Delegate at the 2016 Opportunity Collaboration (OC), and in 2017, attended OC as a Moderator for the Colloquium for Good. She has dedicated herself to supporting social justice efforts, using her experience in grant-making, philanthropy, women’s rights, leadership and development. Furthermore, Maame is an international recording artist (with four (4) albums to her credit), a speaker, wife and mother of three young children. She mentors and coaches emerging leaders internationally and serves as board member and strategic advisor for several organizations including African Women’s Development Fund-USA, We Care Solar, Women Thrive Alliance, Girls Empowerment Sierra Leone, Ghana Bamboo Bikes— (Bright Generation Community Foundation), and Cocoa360. She serves as Director, Programs and Partnerships at Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa
Current student at Harvard and is a former Allan Gary Orbis Fellow. He currently serves as CEO of FNS Energy an award-winning Level 3 B-BBEE South African energy service company based at the Climate Innovation Center in Pretoria. It offers a broad range of energy efficiency tools for residential, commercial and utility-scale applications and turnkey solutions for integrated energy production with renewable generation units.
Marie works on the SVX team at the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing with triple bottom line ventures and impact investors. She leads investor engagement through managing client relationships, education initiatives, and issuer due diligence. Marie also manages a portfolio of venture clients, where she provides advisory services focusing on investment readiness, as well as delivery and content creation for venture education programs. Additionally, Marie drives special initiatives with strategic partners to build the impact investing marketplace. She has a background supporting entrepreneurs and impact management with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Palestine and MEDA in Tanzania. She also worked at The MasterCard Foundation where she supported the Youth Livelihoods portfolio, research and new project development. Marie graduated from the University of British Columbia with a BSC (GRS, Hons).
Dr Thomas Laryea
Dr. Laryea is a recognized international law expert, with a specialty in Africa-related investment and government relations matters and sovereign debt restructuring. His practice tends to involve the representation of investors and African governments in their international finance and development dealings. While Dr. Laryea has a special interest in Africa, his experience is truly global. Prior to Cooke Robotham, Dr.Laryea was Assistant General Counsel at the International Monetary Fund, responsible for the IMF’s legal relations in finance and economic surveillance with each of its then 187 member countries.
Prior to joining McLarty Associates, Mr. Pence served as a Director for the Whitaker Group, where he advised multinational companies on their strategies in over 20 markets throughout sub-Saharan Africa. He has written extensively on doing business in frontier markets in outlets including Financial Times, New York Times, Reuters, CNN and the National Interest. He was recognized by Diplomatic Courier as a Top 99 Foreign Policy Leader and was selected by the Global Public Policy Institute as a Global Governance 2022 Fellow.Mr. Pence is also the founder of the software start-up Upstream Analytics and the Africa Expert Network (AXN). He is on the boards of the Africa Leadership Network, Market Atlas and the Pan-African Network.
Infrastructure and Technology
Michael is the director of Engineering at Arbutus Medical. Michael brings medical device design, manufacturing, and project management experience from his time at Verathon Medical, Vancouver Coastal Health, and Health & Sherwood. He worked in the mining and manufacturing industry before shifting to medical devices and recently pursuing an MEng in Biomedical Engineering. At Arbutus, he led our regulatory efforts to achieve ISO 13485 quality certification, as well as FDA, Health Canada, and CE submissions.
Infrastructure and Technology
Mari has been actively involved in FinTech and Blockchain technologies since 2013, advising startups including the SFU Bitcoin club. As an early adopter, she highlighted the potential of cryptocurrency and blockchain to organizations such as the Deloitte Innovation Council in Canada at a time when the firm still considered it an outlier technology. Mari was the architect and lead the development of a distributed organizational strategic design, execution and performance management platform openaxyz deployed by Barclays and a number of other enterprises internationally which earned her a nomination as MaRs/RIC Innovation Idol in Ontario in 2012.
Infrastructure and Technology
Frederick Munawa is a Blockchain Consultant and host of the 5-star-rated podcast – Blockchain Innovation – one of the top Blockchain and Cryptocurrency podcasts in the world. He graduated with a Finance degree and an MBA from Southern Illinois University. Prior to his work in the Blockchain space, he worked at four of the world’s largest financial institutions, and was at one time responsible for over 20 billion dollars in client assets at the Royal Bank of Canada. Frederick is a lifelong scholar and is currently pursuing a Master of Laws degree, specializing in Innovation and Technology at the University of Toronto.
Infrastructure and Technology
Athanasios (Thanos) Kritharis is a 4th year student in Biological & Chemical Engineering. After 3 years of leading the ChemECar Engineering design team and growing it into the multi-project group, Envision. He decided to step-down in his final year of studies to co-found Innovation Onboard. IOB was inspired by his experiences with competitions at UBC such as Hatching Health and Life Sciences Entrepreneurship and in the Lean Launch Pad Program. Thanos strongly believes in the ability of students to make a difference in the world and is committed to empowering them to make these changes.
Akin Sawyerr is the Managing Director of Feleman Limited, an impact investment and advisory firm that is focused on fin-tech across Africa. Feleman has investments and provides advice to companies in the payments, lending, investment, and remittance space. He is also the Founder of Market Atlas, a market information technology company that provides market and investment research, and risk management for the underserved
Akin serves as a Director of Splash Mobile Money, a mobile payments company in Sierra Leone where he provides strategic guidance on all matters concerning the company. He also an advisor to Adroyte Global Solutions, a South Africa based unsecured lending provider with operations across Africa and Asia.
Mr. Sawyerr spent fifteen years in management consulting and the corporate world. He engaged public sector clients at Booz Allen Hamilton and Accenture in Washington, D.C., and held strategic positions with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae over the years. Akin started his career at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Washington, D.C., in the Technology and General Services Group where he led analytical research projects in support of IMF member country strategies.
Meet the Team
Major: 3rd year, Business and Computer Science
Ludzi is a technology enthusiast from Botswana, interested in how technology can be used as a driver for sustainable economic development in Africa. He is fascinated in how simple solutions can solve some of the most complex problems.
Ludzi looks forward to meeting you at some of our next events.
Major: 3rd year, Commerce (Organizational Behavior and Human Resources)
Sharon Shamuyarira is MasterCard Foundation scholar hailing from Zimbabwe, she is a vivacious student leader who is passionate about bringing out the positive aspects of the continent especially through her personality. Her vision is for young people on the continent to be truly empowered and feel valued and validated in whatever career path they choose.
Major: 3rd Year, Accounting
Komal is a motivated and passionate business student from Tanzania. With Indian origins, she was born and brought up in Tanzania. She believes in participating in projects that raise awareness about business opportunities within the continent and is also the Student Lead in Sauder Social Entrepreneurship Kenya. Some of Komal’s hobbies include: Field Hockey, Reading, Music.
Major: 2nd year, Psychology
“Growing up in Ghana, I never thought of any other place being home than Ghana. However, as I traveled to other African countries, home became much more than Ghana, it became the whole of Africa. My passion for the progress of the African continent and its people is what drives me to become the person I want to be in future. Being a part of ABC is an opportunity that allows me to play a part in creating the awareness that needs to created for the progress of the African continent.”
Hobbies: Cooking, Watching movies, Photography, Graphic design
Operations and Logistics Director
Major: 3rd Year, Economics (with minor in International Relations)
Neema is a MasterCard Foundation Scholar from Nairobi,Kenya. Her passion for mentorship, student wellness and support coupled with her interests in competition economics on the African continent prompted her to join the ABC team. She is optimistic that this channel will enable her to promote and share these interests and values with the UBC community, a nurturing place for tomorrow’s leaders.
For Neema, free time well spent looks like a quiet night listening to jazz and sipping tea.
Neema’s website: neemarimber.com/
Corporate Relations Co-Director
Major: 3rd Year Finance and BTM student
Country of Origin: Senegal
Fatou wants to see an African continent whose development relies mainly on African people’s potential, particularly on youth and women. With a diploma in Finance and BTM, she hopes to bring back her expertise to her beloved continent and work towards providing small financing options to African Entrepreneurs.
She speaks Wolof, French and English fluently and she can have a conversation in Spanish.
Hobbies: Travelling, Learning about new cultures, Spending time with friends and family.
Sophia Yaa Akuffo Minkah-Premo
Corporate Relations Co-Director
Major: 2nd Year, Arts
“I am passionate about African related issues, especially in the startup and fin-tech space. I strongly believe that the development we want to see in many African countries truly lies in our hands especially as young people. I joined ABC because I wanted to be a part of something bigger and also make a significant contribution in changing the conversation around Africa”
Sophia loves browsing, eating and taking pictures.
Infrastructure and Technology Director
Major: 3rd Year, Civil Engineering
Prudence is passionate about urban spaces and the enormous opportunities that lie in these spaces, especially for the youth. She envisions an African continent where our resources are used most efficiently to impact individuals and communities. Reading and Biking are her favorite pastimes.
Entrepreneurship Panel Director
Major: 3rd Year, Chemical Engineering
Ola is a motivated individual who is very passionate about the Nigerian education system. He believes that Africa’s future is in the hands of young individuals who are willing to deviate from the norm and facilitate change.
Finance Panel Director
Major: 3rd Year, Commerce
Linda is an international student from China. In the role of the Finance Panel Director, she hopes to utilize the platform to explore topics in Finance that are up and coming – topics that will surely play a big role in shaping the future economic infrastructure of Africa. Linda believes that all big ideas start somewhere. She hopes to inspire all Forum participants to be open-minded during the event and constantly think of ways to get involved. Outside of the African Business Forum, Linda is on a journey to learn golf and master her spaghetti recipe.
Major: 1st Year, Combined Major Business and Computer Science
Moses is a first year representative from Kenya. He is passionate about how technology can be implemented in small businesses back in Africa to maximize efficiency and create growth opportunities.
Internal Administrator and Global Lounge Representative
Major: 3rd year, Mining Engineering
Shaista is a perfectionist who loves to take on responsibilities and use her interpersonal skills and her strong motivation to make Africa succeed. Born and raised in Tanzania, Shaista realized the immense opportunities that Africa possesses especially for the youth. Youth empowerment is what she hopes to bring back and believes can result in the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovative leaders.
Hobbies: Traveling and learning about various cultures
Major: 3rd Year, Computer Engineering
Kevin is a 3rd year computer Engineering student from Cameroon. He has a passion for digital solutions in general and digital financial technologies in particular and their potential to add value to emerging markets. Being a part of the ABC team is a way for him to engage in his community while keeping grounded with his home continent. He is a travel enthusiast who also enjoys playing basketball during his spare time.
Major: 3rd year, Commerce (Finance, Accounting and Business Technology Management)
Renee is an Island scholar from the beautiful country of Trinidad an Tobago. Being a treasurer on the team gives her the opportunity to gain hands on finance experience. It is also a way for her to enhance her UBC experience by getting involved in her community.
Renee is a cooking enthusiast who loves gardening and going to the beach. She is also a fan of Field Hockey.
Graduate Representative & Hospitality Director
Major: Master of Public Health Candidate
Chelsie was born in Toronto to Jamaican parents. She is passionate about community engagement and empowerment within the Black community. Her focus is in the intersection of public health and community engagement, especially within marginalized communities. Through her role with ABC, Chelsie helps to bring a public health perspective to African business.
Hobbies: Knitting, cooking/baking, writing, and gardening
Feel free to contact us:
Marketing Team: firstname.lastname@example.org
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