Friends of Europe is a proud co-founder of the Africa-Europe Foundation. The Africa-Europe Foundation was founded by Friends of Europe and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, in partnership with the African Climate Foundation and the ONE Campaign, and with a multitude of stakeholders from civil society, business, policymaking and the youth sector across Africa and Europe.

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Strategy Groups

Chris Isaac
Chris Isaac

Chief Investment Officer at AgDevCo

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Chris Isaac is an investor and entrepreneur, who has been working in development finance in Africa for the past two decades. At AgDevCo, he has raised over $250mn in funding and made over 50 investments in African farming and food processing businesses. Isaac also sits on the boards of a number of AgDevCo’s investees. Before co-founding AgDevCo, he worked at InfraCo Africa, developing private infrastructure projects, and as an economic advisor in the Namibian Ministry of Finance. He started his career as a corporate finance specialist in London.

Muhammadou M.O. Kah
Muhammadou M.O. Kah

Ambassador of the Republic of The Gambia to the Swiss Confederation and the Permanent Mission of The Gambia to the United Nations Office, World Trade Organisation and other International Organisations in Geneva

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Muhammadou Kah is a member of the Malabo Montpellier Panel and provides thought leadership and expertise in Ag Tech, Digitalization, Digital platforms and services for smart Agriculture, application of emerging technologies, knowledge management and digital supply chains for Agriculture. He is the outgoing Vice President of Academic Affairs / Provost and Professor of Information Technology and Computing at the American University of Nigeria. Prof. Kah also serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Zenith Bank- The Gambia and Chairman of the Africa & Consulting Trading Group (ACT), Dakar, Senegal and a Board Member of The African University of Science & Technology (AUST), Abuja, Nigeria. Prof. Kah had an extensive academic career and is the recipient of multiple awards.

Kalliopi Kalaitzi
Kalliopi Kalaitzi

Medical Doctor at Asklepieion Public Hospital and 2015-2016 European Young Leader (EYL40)

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Kalliopi Kalaitzi is a medical doctor in a public hospital in Athens, specialising in physical medicine and rehabilitation with a focus on healthy aging and lifestyle medicine. Having previously worked in the field of aesthetic medicine and plastic surgery for over eight years, Kalliopi has also held a number of executive positions at the drug prevention centre, Serios, and experience working for a variety of NGOs which focus on youth health and drug abuse. She is also the youngest elected official to have served as a prefectural counsellor and as regional commissioner in Greeze. Kalliopi is the Co-Founder of the BrainGain Initiative, which aims to reverse brain drain in Greece. She currently serves as member of the board member of the Greek Cardiology Foundation and the president of an NGO, which focuses on prenatal, maternal and women’s health.

Jaakko Kangasniemi
Jaakko Kangasniemi

Managing Director and CEO of Finnfund

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An agricultural economist by training, Jaakko Kangasniemi is the Managing Director and CEO of Finnfund since 2002. Kangasniemi has focused on African economic development issues for the past 17 years and is a development finance, development policy and private sector development expert. During his tenure, Finnfund’s investment portfolio has expanded nine-fold, with its primary focus shifting from Asia to Africa. Previously an economic advisor at Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kangasniemi has also worked at the World Bank, and as a researcher in Rwanda.

Elsie S. Kanza
Elsie S. Kanza

Special Advisor to the President of the World Economic Forum (WEF)

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Alongside her role as Special Advisor to the President of the WEF, Elsie Kanza is the Head of Africa and Member of the Executive Committee at the WEF. She has led numerous public-private collaboration initiatives to solve complex systemic challenges related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union Agenda 2063. Kanza has previously served as an economic advisor in the Private Office of the President of Tanzania. In recognition of her achievements in advancing economic development, Kanza was named the Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellow in 2008 and among Africa’s 50 Most Powerful Women by Forbes Africa in 2020.

Ilona Kickbusch
Ilona Kickbusch

Founder and Chair of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva

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Ilona Kickbusch is a member of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board and is co-chair of UHC 2030. She acts as Council Chair to the World Health Summit in Berlin and has been involved in German G7 and G20 activities relating to global health. Kickbusch is also programme chair of the leaders in health network SCIANA and co-chair of a Lancet FT Commission on “Governing health futures 2030: growing up in a digital world”. At the World Health Organization, she was key instigator of the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion and WHO’s Healthy Cities Network. She was previously the director of the Global Health Division at Yale University School of Public Health.

Natasha Kimani
Natasha Kimani

Academy Fellow of the Africa Programme at Chatham House, and Head of Partnerships and Programmes at Shujaaz.inc

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Natasha Kimani is a lawyer with extensive experience in constitution implementation, devolution and public policy and governance in East Africa. She has developed and reviewed national and regional policies and legislation relating to security, devolution and public finance. Kimani is also an Academy Fellow at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, where she focuses on gender-responsive devolution in Kenya and East African affairs

Magdalena Kouneva
Magdalena Kouneva

Member of the Africa Europe Foundation Strategy Group on Energy and Independent Expert Working on Innovative Climate and Green Finance Instruments

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With over 15 years of relevant professional experience, Magdalena Kouneva specialises in developing financial instruments and building green capacities. For the last ten years, Kouneva was the UN Development Programme (UNDP) advisor for development finance in Rwanda, Malawi, and Papua New Guinea. More recently, Kouneva has focused her efforts on supporting the European Commission’s European Fund for Sustainable Development. She has helped introduce a new generation of EU guarantees for private sector operations in Africa and EU-neighbouring countries.

Silvester Kututa
Silvester Kututa

Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Express Shipping & Logistics (EA) Ltd Group (ESL)

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Silvester Kututa is a leading provider of sea and air shipping logistic solutions across Eastern Africa. Aside from his current role as CEO of ESL, he serves as the Chair of both the Kenya Ships Association, and the Marine Transport and Port Logistics Industry Advisory Board for East Africa Skills for Transformation and Regional Integration Project (EASTRIP), an $8.1m World Bank Project to upskill the maritime industry. He has also sat on the Board of the Kenya Maritime Authority, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers.

Caroline Kwamboka Nyakundi
Caroline Kwamboka Nyakundi

Director of African Renaissance

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Caroline Kwamboka Nyakundi is an international development and policy advocacy expert. She has more than 18 years’ experience in advancing Sexual Reproductive & Health Rights (SRHR), Reproductive, Maternal, New-born and Adolescent Health (RMNAH), as well as gender equality and women’s empowerment in sub-Saharan Africa. Her counsel has inspired duty bearers to improve policies and sustain financial investments for health and gender across 44 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. She continues to deliver strategic, diplomatic, technical and evaluative advice as a consultant for international organisations like the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights that works in Europe and in Africa.

Wuleta Lemma
Dr Wuleta Lemma

Honorary Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Digital Health and AI at Wollo University (Ethiopia), CEO of Lalibela Global-Networks and Member of the Africa-Europe Foundation Strategy Group on Health

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With more than 28 years’ experience, Wuleta Lemma brings expertise across several fields including international public health, healthcare management, pandemic surveillance and health information system development. She previously worked on developing global digital health and eGovernment solutions, and strategising infectious diseases programme implementations to support health systems worldwide. Lemma has also served as a technical expert in M&E, digital health, data quality and use, technology in health, and HIV/AIDS for different international organisations, and she introduced the first accelerated diploma training programme in Ethiopia to train young health information technicians.

Amos Marawa
Amos Marawa

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development of Zimbabwe

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With over 30 years of professional experience in regional integration and infrastructure development, Amos Marawa has in-depth experience formulating regional policies and regulations, project planning and preparation. He has extensive hands-on experience in resource mobilisation, working and dealing with a wide range of donors and financial institutions. Prior to his current role at Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, he worked at AECOM, and the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite.

Janet Maro
Janet Maro

Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania

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Janet Maro has a strong passion for sustainable agriculture and rural micro-financing, and this is well reflected in her work as the Co-Founder and CEO of Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT). SAT’s vision is to reduce social and environmental problems and to provide sustainable food for the fast-growing global population. Maro is also a Board Member of Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM) where she advises on the strategic direction of the organisation.

Geraldine Matchett
Geraldine Matchett

Co-CEO, CFO and Member of the Managing Board at DSM

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Geraldine Matchett is part of DSM, a global, purpose-led, science-based company active in nutrition, health and sustainable living, where she became Co-CEO in 2020. Matchett is also Co-Chair of HRH The Prince of Wales’ Accounting for Sustainability (A4S) CFO Leadership Network. This network brings together leading CFOs to help embed the management of environmental and social issues into business processes and strategy, particularly through finance. In addition to this, she is a Board Member of FCLTGlobal, a not-for-profit organisation that works to encourage a longer-term focus in business and investment decision-making.

Sara Mbago-Bhunu
Sara Mbago-Bhunu

Director for East and Southern Africa at IFAD

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Sara Mbago-Bhunu has a rich work experience spanning more than 20 years in the agriculture sector across Central, East and Southern Africa. She has worked on agriculture policy and sector reviews, value chain development, access to agricultural finance, social enterprise models and the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises in peri-urban and rural areas. Sara has also led and managed teams in other development organizations in the design of development projects and capacity-building programmes. Prior to joining IFAD, Mbago-Bhunu worked at the World Bank as a Senior Agricultural Economist for the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of Congo. She also served as Country Director for SNV-Netherlands Development Organisation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Continue to Partners

Founded by

  • Friends of Europe

    The think tank for a more inclusive, sustainable and forward-thinking Europe. Friends of Europe is Brussels' most innovative think-tank, and for two decades has been showcasing new ideas on Europe's future while challenging outdated ones.

  • Mo Ibrahim Foundation

    The Mo Ibrahim Foundation (MIF) is an African foundation, established in 2006 with one focus: the critical importance of governance and leadership in Africa. It is our conviction that governance and leadership lie at the heart of any tangible and shared improvement in the quality of life of African citizens.

In partnership with

  • The ONE Campaign

    The ONE Campaign, a global movement and international not-for-profit organisation that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease.

  • The African Climate Foundation

    The African Climate Foundation is the first African-led strategic climate change grant-making foundation


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