Columbia University announces line-up of speakers ahead of April 11 African Economic Forum (AEF) in New York City


Columbia University’s Graduate Schools of Business, Law, and International and Public Affairs are pleased to announce details of the 12th annual African Economic Forum (AEF), the largest Africa-focused event to be held at the university. An African art showcase on the evening of Friday, April 10, 2015 will be held to welcome participants and attendees, followed by the conference on Saturday, April 11, 2015.

This year’s conference theme, Build Africa: Beyond Potential, will frame the discussion and debate around the required strategies government and business must implement to continue to drive the sustained economic growth of the African continent. With over 500 people in attendance from across the U.S., the event provides a voice to African and non-African executives, scholars, activists, policy makers, and politicians with an interest in Africa.

“We look forward to continuing the complex dialogue between the public and private sectors, in the context of the evolving socio-economic and cultural outlook for African and the broader global landscape,” said Professor Mamdou Diouf, Director of Columbia University’s Institute for African Studies. “The speakers are thought-leaders within their respective fields and are well-placed to address pertinent topics such as the implications of Africa’s continued economic growth, the outlook for the next century, and whether African societies are vigorous and purposeful enough to take advantage of their huge share of global resources.”

AEF 2015 speakers include:

  • Aeneas Chuma, Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Africa at the International Labor Organization
  • Amadou Daffe, East African Tech Entrepreneur and Founder of Coders4Africa
  • Mthuli Ncube, Professor of Public Policy at Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, and former President of the African Development Bank
  • Tavaziva Madzinga, Regional Chief Executive Officer for Old Mutual Africa, South and East Africa
  • Zuriel Oduwole, at 12-years-old, the youngest political documentary filmmaker


Introducing AEF Talks! & AEF Case Challenge
Two new content formats, set up to create a dynamic experience that leaves attendees with clear, actionable takeaways will be unveiled during the conference. AEF Talks! An interactive speaker and discussion series, organized into seven stimulating discussion topics, will see three to five opinion leaders each deliver a lively 10-minute talk. The topics to be covered include: ‘New Models of Investing in Africa’, ‘Entrepreneurship in Africa’, and ‘Innovating in African Retail’.

The AEF Case Challenge will see presentations from selected students answer real-life African business challenges, posed by corporate partner, Citibank South Africa. Students are invited to submit their proposed solution in advance of the conference, for the chance to be selected to present before a panel of esteemed judges on April 11, and compete for the top prize of $2000. The annual AEF careers fair will provide students with the opportunity to secure mentorships, internships, and interviews with top organizations operating in Africa.

A comprehensive list of all the AEF 2015 speakers can be viewed here.

Please contact Marielle Legair for any media interview requests or to request a press pass at: [email protected]

All non-media tickets can be purchased here.

AEF 2015 Event Logistics
Ahead of the conference, an African Art Showcase featuring award-winning, Nigerian artist Ibiyinka Alao, will take place on the evening of Friday, April 10, 2015 from 6:30 pm at Madiba Restaurant, Harlem. The 12th annual African Economic Forum will be held on Saturday, April 11, 2015 from 8:30am to 6:00pm at Columbia University Law School, Jerome Greene Hall, 435 West 116th Street, New York, NY 10027.

About the African Economic Forum (AEF)
The African Economic Forum (AEF) is an annual conference for students and professionals, organized by graduate students at Columbia University’s Schools of Business, Law and International and Public Affairs. Bringing together over 500 current and future business leaders to the campus each year, the AEF, now in its 12th year, has grown to become the largest Africa-focused event at the university. Past speakers have included Raila Odinga, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya; Wale Tinubu, CEO of Oando Oil Plc; and Lamido Sanusi, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Further information about the African Economic Forum (AEF) can be found on the official website, Facebook, and Twitter.

The African Economic Forum Committee would like to thank its sponsors: Old Mutual, Citibank, Naspers, The Institute for African Studies, The Jerome Chazen Institute for International Business, The Oula Company; as well its media partners: African Business Central, C. Moore Media, Inspire Afrika, Enovative TV, Africa Trade Group, Africa 2.0, and the Young African MBAs (YAM).

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