Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli is an expert on African agriculture and nutrition, entrepreneurship, social innovation, and youth development. She has over 25 years of international development experience and is a recognized serial entrepreneur, author, public speaker, and consultant.
Ndidi serves on the boards of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), AGRA, the Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum, Nigerian Breweries Plc. (Heineken), Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. India, Fairfax Africa Holdings Canada, Royal DSM Sustainability Board, Netherlands, and the African Philanthropy Forum. She previously served on the Boards of Nestle Nigeria Plc., the World Vegetable Center, Businessday Newspapers and Cornerstone Insurance Plc.
Ndidi started her career as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, working in Chicago, New York, and Johannesburg. She returned to Nigeria in 2000 to serve as the pioneer executive director of FATE Foundation, supporting young entrepreneurs to start and scale their businesses. In 2002, she established LEAP Africa to inspire, empower, and equip a new cadre of principled, disciplined, and dynamic young leaders in Africa. In the same year, she established NIA to support female university students in Nigeria to achieve their highest potential.
Ndidi is the co-founder and Executive Chair of Sahel Consulting Agriculture & Nutrition, which works across Africa shaping policies and implementing ecosystem solutions. As the co-founder of AACE Foods, which produces a range of packaged spices, seasonings, snacks and cereals for local and international markets, Ndidi has propelled the growth of a catalytic business. As the founder of Nourishing Africa, a digital funding, training and knowledge hub, she is supporting entrepreneurs in 37 African countries. Her latest start-up is Changing Narratives Africa committed to changing global mindsets about Africa by showcasing the Continent’s contributions to the global food ecosystem through the pioneering work of her dynamic people, their innovations, and products.
Ndidi was recognized as a Young Global Leader and a Schwab Social Innovator by the World Economic Forum and received a National Honor from the Nigerian Government. She was recognized as one of the 20 Power African Women by Forbes, as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans by New African Magazine and received the 2021 Harvard Business School Alumni Achievement Awards, the highest honors given by the school. She is a TED Global and TED Women speaker.
Ndidi is the author of “Social Innovation in Africa: A Practical Guide for Scaling Impact,” and “Food Entrepreneurs in Africa: Scaling Resilient Agriculture Businesses,” both published by Routledge. She is also the author of “Working for God in the Marketplace.”
Ndidi holds an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree with honors from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She was a Senior Fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government at the Harvard Kennedy School and an Aspen Institute New Voices Fellow. She is currently a visiting Scholar at Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University.
Shachi is a senior manager with experience in both the corporate and philanthropy sectors. He has strong roots in emerging markets, expertise in developing strategies, hands-on implementation, and in driving successful, inclusive, business models. Shachi grew up in a community of smallholder farmers and has two decades of R&D and General Management experience in four continents spanning the chemical industry, Oil & Gas, and agriculture.
A 2021 Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awardee (the highest honour conferred to an overseas Indian by the President of India), Shachi has received multiple recognition for his work over the years including ‘Young Person of the UK Chemical Industries Association 2003’, a reception with HRH Queen Elizabeth II and (L) HRH Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace in 2006, WEF Davos 2014, and the G20 Africa Partnership Conference 2017.
Shachi is the Director of AgriMayum GmbH and also the founder of the MaolKeki Foundation which is catalysing development in Manipur through last-mile ag training, health assessments and nurturing Agri Entrepreneurs. He also advises LadyAgri (Brussels), sits on the Alumni Advisory Board of St. Stephen’s College (Delhi), and is a member of the Expert Review Committee, Food & Agriculture Benchmark of the World Benchmarking Alliance (Amsterdam). Shachi was also part of the 2021 cohort of the Philanthropic Leadership Platform: India-Europe.
Bonnie has more than twenty years’ experience working in agricultural research and development within the institutes that make up the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) under the World Bank. Bonnie joined GAIN from HarvestPlus, where for twelve years she headed up their office on Development and Communications.
Bonnie was also a founding leader of HarvestPlus.
Bonnie holds a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy from Cornell University and Master’s degrees in Public Policy and Public Administration from the University of Virginia.
Mezuo has more than two decades of experience across private equity, investment banking, and corporate finance. He launched Sahel Capital’s debut fund, the Fund for Agriculture Finance in Nigeria (FAFIN), in 2014, and the Social Enterprise Fund for Agriculture in Africa (SEFAA) in 2021. He provides oversight on the deployment of investment capital and the firm’s portfolio.
Mezuo was one of three partners that set up AFIG’s debut US$72 million generalist fund in 2008, working out of the Dakar office in Senegal. Mezuo started his career with the corporate finance team of the Sabre Group in Dallas in 1995, worked in J.P. Morgan & Co’s Mergers and Acquisitions Group in New York, and then subsequently in a range of finance roles with SecTrust (now Afrinvest), Ocean & Oil Holdings, and MTS First Wireless. Mezuo co-founded AACE Foods (a food processing company) and Sahel Consulting (an agriculture focused management consulting firm) in 2010, and subsequently Sahel Capital in 2013. He serves on the credit committee of LAFCo, which provides working capital to SMEs in the agribusiness sector in Africa, backed by KfW and AgDevCo; and is on the investment committee of FAFIN.
Mezuo is an Eisenhower Fellow and an Archbishop Tutu Fellow. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.Sc. Industrial Management from Carnegie Mellon University. Mezuo received the 2021 Harvard Business School Alumni Achievement Award, the highest honor given by the school. He was also recognized in 2019 as the alumni Entrepreneur of the Year by the Harvard Business School Alumni Association of Nigeria and Impact Investor of the Year by the Impact Investors Foundation.
Mr. Nwuneli serves on the boards of the AACE Foods, Coscharis Farms, Crest Agro Products, First World Communities, Ladgroup, L&Z Integrated Farms, Sahel Capital, and Sahel Consulting. He previously served on the board of Nagode Industries. He is the Chairman/Co-Founder of AACE Foods; Chair of the Strategy Committee at First World Communities; and Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee at Crest Agro Products. He is on the Nigeria National Advisory Board for Impact Investing, and is one of the founding members and a director of the Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, Nigeria (“PEVCA”).
Carla Denizard currently serves as the World Vision International Regional Leader for West Africa based in Dakar, Senegal. She is an international development economist who has 25 years of experience leading and managing large complex national and regional private and multi-donor programs in West and Central Africa. Her technical expertise includes food security, value chain, and agribusiness development, organizational change and capacity development. She has been responsible for designing and implementing programs to enhance individual leadership and management skills and to strengthen institutional performance.
In her current role as World Vision International’s Regional Leader for West Africa, she oversees a multi-million dollar portfolio of development, humanitarian and emergency response programs aimed at transforming the lives of the most vulnerable children and adults in the region. As the West Africa Regional Director for the Africa Lead, Feed the Future and USAID-funded Building Capacity for Agricultural Transformation Project, she led and managed capacity development programs in six Feed the Future focus countries (Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, DRC), targeted Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member states, and had oversight over two sub-regional offices in Dakar, Senegal and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
She has been responsible for designing and implementing programs to enhance institutional effectiveness and strengthen policy processes for policy change and reforms to increase agricultural productivity and food security. She has led organizational capacity assessments and designed integrated capacity development programs implementing technical assistance packages and short-term customized courses for private companies, and government ministries of agriculture and trade and regional institutions like ECOWAS, West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development and the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel. In Senegal, she organized under the Trade Africa Initiative, a regional Mango week.
In Nigeria she supported the establishment and launch of the Nigeria Agribusiness Resource center in Abuja to promote agribusiness investment and trade. She integrated female and youth empowerment programs in the Africa Lead program portfolio that includes the Champions for Change leadership and Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship Boot camp courses for women and university students as well as a Young Professional internship program promoting workforce development in Nigeria.
Ms. Denizard also served as DAI’s Senior Development and Food Security Specialist, responsible for growing the firm’s agriculture and food security project portfolio in Africa and strengthening local staff and government human capacity to manage and implement agriculture and food security programs.
Previously, Ms. Denizard served as Country Representative and Regional Director for Opportunities Industrialization Centers International (OICI) in Ghana, Togo, and Côte d’Ivoire, where she managed a team of more than 300 local staff, a $7 million program budget, and a multi-sector portfolio of food security and humanitarian assistance programs funded by multiple clients, including USAID/Food for Peace, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the United Nations World Food Programme, and private firms like the Dangote Group, Newmont Gold, Goldfields and Asanti Gold.
Ms. Denizard holds a Master’s degree in International Agriculture and Development from Cornell University and a Bachelor’s degree in Development Economics and African studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. She is multilingual in English, French and Haitian Creole.
Temitope is the Managing Partner at Sahel Consulting where he is responsible for client engagement, project management and implementation. He is passionate about the agribusiness sector and has worked extensively across a broad range of value chains, with specific expertise on roots and tubers. He is proficient in market analysis, business strategy development, business sustainability, and project management.
Temitope has led several studies on agricultural policies and market entry strategies and implemented consulting projects in a range of priority areas including innovations in seed systems, mechanization, on-farm productivity enhancement and improved market access for agribusiness stakeholders.
Temitope holds an MBA from Lagos Business School, Pan Atlantic University, Nigeria. He also holds a Master of Science (MSc) in Agronomy from the University of Ibadan and received his undergraduate degree in Plant Science from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife.