april 14, 2018

emerging markets summit

as global markets shift, so should the way you do business

AFRICA - Government Policy & Development
"The Role of Social Impact In Africa's Development"

Over the past decade, Africa has witnessed rapid economic growth. While there have been enormous developmental benefits across the continent, challenges remain in promoting widespread access to resources, reducing income inequality, and strengthening the operating environment for businesses. Social impact investing has increasingly played a vital role in providing scalable solutions capable of supporting sustainable growth. As governments, businesses, and entrepreneurs attempt to realize the vision of an “integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Africa” set forth by the African Union in Agenda 2063, double bottom line businesses will play an instrumental role in engaging key stakeholders to provide the solutions and capital necessary to succeed. Join expert panelists to learn more about the investing landscape and the future of social impact programs in Africa.


BRIAN AXELRAD, '09

Chief Investment Officer, Beyond Capital Fund

  • Brian Axelrad is the Chief Investment Officer at Beyond Capital Fund, which is an impact investment fund that invests in India and East Africa and focuses on businesses providing greater access to health care, water, sanitation and energy, as well as food security and financial inclusion. At Beyond Capital, Brian guides the investment function by overseeing the investment process and decision-making, serves as a member of its investment committee and works with the rest of the leadership team to set the strategic direction of the organization.
  • Brian is also a partner at the law firm of Horwood Marcus & Berk in Chicago. At HMB, Brian is the chair of the firm’s Venture Capital and Technology practice and chair/founder of its Social Impact & Investment group. In his legal practice, Brian works with venture capital funds, family offices and foundations, as well as private equity firms and banking institutions, on their transactional matters, and he regularly serves as general counsel to technology startups and social enterprises on a range of legal needs from financing transactions and M&A to day-to-day operational matters.
  • Brian holds a BA from the University of Michigan, a JD from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he serves as Impact Investor in Residence and teaches about impact investing.

MARK THOMAS

Director, Country Credit Risk, World Bank

  • Mark Thomas is a Director, Country Credit Risk, World Bank. He leads a team responsible for rating all World Bank sovereign exposures, managing country exposure, tracking and reporting portfolio credit quality, modeling portfolio risk, implementing capital adequacy and provisioning frameworks, and evaluating structured finance proposals.
  • He is a seasoned economist and sovereign debt specialist. Prior to his current position, he was Practice Manager, Macroeconomics, responsible for financial and advisory services to African countries as well as for global engagements on sovereign debt. He was held a position as the Sector Manager, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management.
  • Since joining the World Bank in 1999, he has worked for clients in Africa, Latin America, Europe, South Asia, and Central Asia, including assignments based in Brazil and in Turkey. He served as Lead Economist for Côte d’Ivoire, for Kazakhstan, for Turkey (during the global financial crisis), and for Brazil. He has also led global programs on debt relief, debt sustainability, and debt management.
  • He has published peer-reviewed articles and book chapters covering debt, economic growth, macroeconomic crises, labor markets, and regional policy. Earlier in his career he worked in the private sector, helping establish a Paris-based management consultancy, with clients in various industries throughout Europe. He has served as adjunct faculty at Georgetown University Public Policy Institute, the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and the École des Hautes Études Commerciales at the University of Montreal.
  • Mark holds a PhD in Economics from Princeton, an MA in Economics from McGill, and a BA in Mathematics from Oxford (New College). He is a Freeman of the town of Llantrisant, in Wales.

LISA CHEN

Director of Measurement & Evaluation, Bridge International Academies

  • Lisa Chen is the Global Director of Measurement & Evaluation at Bridge International Academies. She works with different teams across Bridge to improve systems and processes, ensuring data continuously helps the organization learn what works and what doesn't in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Liberia, and India. She also manages a portfolio of studies to assess the academic performance of students.
  • Prior to Bridge, Lisa served jointly as the Head of Strategy & Operations and a Research Manager at the Center for Effective Globl Action (CEGA). At CEGA, she helped build the organization from the ground up and managed several impact evaluation projects on school-based interventions. Lisa began her career in economic and litigation consulting at Cornerstone Research.

CASEY HARRISON

Rural Livelihoods Strategic Advisor, Nuru International

  • Casey Harrison has been the Nuru International Rural Livelihoods Strategic Advisor to agribusiness projects in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Nigeria since 2016. He has dedicated the past ten years working to build inclusive value chains for smallholder farmers across East and Southern Africa. From 2013 to 2016, he worked with the World Wildlife Fund Agriculture and Markets team on projects in Tanzania and Zambia. He gained a Dual Masters Degree in International Affairs and Natural Resource Management from American University and the U.N. University for Peace in Costa Rica with a focus on Agriculture in 2013. Prior to completing his Dual M.A., Casey served as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia from 2009 to 2011 with the Linking Income, Food and the Environment Program.

MODUPE ODELE

Impact Investing & Social Enterprise Lead, Strat!gos

  • Moe is a Nigerian attorney with a focus on Impact Investing, Early-stage financing, Private Equity, Innovative Financing and Blended Finance. Prior to joining Strat!gos, she worked with the Columbia Center for Sustainable Investments at Columbia University and then for a U.S and U.K based non-profit that provided quality pro bono legal support to social enterprises and nascent impact investment vehicles around the world. Here, she was instrumental in building out the organization's program in East Africa.