MEET OUR TEAM OF EXPERTS
Gregory, Investment, Technology, Business Development, and Strategy Expert
Gregory is a Director at Avencion; an emerging market advisory and management consulting firm with offices in Africa and North America. His professional background includes experience and projects with Citibank, MCI Worldcom, AT&T, Exelon, Barclays Bank, MTN, the European Union, Emirates Airlines, Airtel, UNICEF, and various departments in the United States government. Gregory was named by African Business Magazine as one of the Top 100 Economic Leaders Under 40 in Africa.
Gregory has served as an adjunct professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in the Finance and Global Programs departments; teaching the Global Initiatives in Management course which focuses on conducting business in Africa. Prior to forming businesses in Africa; Gregory was a management consultant for Deloitte Consulting in the Financial Services, Energy and Technology practices in the Chicago and Washington D.C. offices.
He is an advisor to private equity firms and Fortune 1000 companies on expanding into African markets and a guest speaker at the University of Chicago, Harvard, Wharton and Cambridge Business Schools. Gregory runs a fellowship program for undergraduate, mid-career and MBA students focused on teaching participants about conducting business in Africa. In addition, he donates space, computers and resources to support a training program for university students in Zambia with a curriculum based on advanced business and technical skills.
Jamal, Youth, Education, and Life Skills Specialist
Jamal designs and implements cultural diversity youth development programs with a focus on sports, health and nutrition. During the first term of 2006, Jamal coached and lived among his record breaking Kearsney College Boys basketball team in Botha's Hills, South Africa. In the same year, Jamal transitioned to Lusaka, Zambia to direct the Zambia Youth Life Skills Program and in March 2008 Jamal helped co-launch a global service initiative, Project Knapsack, which partnered students in the United States with students in Zambia and developing countries in a pen-pal exchange.
Currently, Jamal is on the senior management team for a leadership skills development program providing capacity building services for 2,000 young ladies between the ages of 15-24 in Lesotho. He is also the Technical Director of the Construction and Engineering unit of Avencion called Gizmos Solutions, an international ICT consulting firm based in Lusaka, Zambia. He has been instrumental in leading engineering projects for Gizmos' major customers including the MTN Group, one of the largest wireless phone and internet providers in Africa and the Middle East, academic institutions, and international NGO's. Jamal is passionate about the sport of basketball and building the skill sets of African youth using sports related activities. He also identifies talented basketball players across the continent and provides rigorous training sessions, mentorship and livelihoods training to prepare them for opportunities within Africa and abroad through his Basketball Academy for Excellence.
DeAndre, Development Expert
DeAndre is an Associate Director at Avencion Group, an international management and development consulting firm that helps governments, businesses, civil society groups, and communities promote meaningful change in people, organizations, communities and countries. He focuses on international development, public private sector partnerships (PPP's) and education partnerships for clients, and develops program management and country specific strategies for international NGO's bringing ingenuity to people development, education, quality, safety, and operational excellence.
Previously, DeAndre worked with the American Chamber of Commerce in Zambia as the Program Manager for Youth and Development. Before this, he worked with a Manhattan, NY based non-profit, the AIDS Service Center, providing professional services to New Yorkers living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. He managed a caseload of clients linking them with social services throughout the city, providing advocacy, facilitating trainings around behavior change, and developing relationships with similar agencies in New York City. DeAndre served two years as a Health Extension Officer and Community Mobilizer with the United States Peace Corps. He worked in a rural village in Southern Africa organizing health trainings for community based organizations and mobilizing community leaders to support HIV/AIDS initiatives. DeAndre earned a B.S. in Psychology from Howard University.
Phil, Emerging Market Technology Expert
Phil is a Senior Team Leader for Technology at Avencion. His professional background is Information Systems for support development and business processes. He has more than 25 years extensive experience in system integration and project management roll out of large scale Information Technology and Communications systems. Phil has a master's degree in Information Technology from Liverpool University. He has worked with the Ministry of Agriculture in developing their ICT and action plans with support from the European Union. Phil has worked with World Vision International at both national and international levels. He worked as Global Connectivity Specialist in deploying satellite technologies for internet connectivity in Eastern and Southern Africa for underserved areas. Phil has been involved in working with the Ministry of Health and FHI360 in facilitating technical support for the roll out of health systems strengthening tools that map financial resource inputs to corresponding health indicators in improving resource tracking and health programs impact.
Benjamin, Infrastructure Development Expert (Energy, Water and Sanitation)
A project director with Fortune 500 experience that has worked with international and multidisciplinary teams to capture and deliver sustainable infrastructure solutions to commercial, multilateral and federal sector clients located in Africa, Caribbean, North America, and Middle East. Extensive experience in developing emerging market teaming and execution strategies that balance local partnerships with cross functional, international expertise. He maximizes the client value across the project lifecycle while strengthening local institutions and indigenous human capacity. His experience in USG and multilateral contracting processes, contract negotiation, business development/capture, and organizational development in cross cultural and austere environments has allowed him to be successful in capturing over $700 MN of single award and IDIQ pursuits in the past 3 years from USG clients. Obtained Master of Global Management (MBA), Thunderbird School of Global Management, and Bachelor of Science, Civil Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.
Specialties: Infrastructure program and management profitable EPC P&L experience, water, wastewater and transport infrastructure, emerging market strategy and execution, emerging market business development and capture, infrastructure business planning and financial analysis.
Brian, Infrastructure Finance Expert
Experienced solar, health and infrastructure project finance and project management professional with extensive experience in emerging markets; particularly 10+ years of experience in Sub-Saharan Africa. Exemplary understanding of debt and capital market transactions in the context of structuring and managing large infrastructure projects. Quantitative thinker with strong technical qualifications in financial analytics and risk-management principles. Demonstrated track record of building and managing relationships with senior corporate executives and senior government officials. Skilled problem solver, highly organized and able to prioritize deadlines in a work-intensive environment. He has developed solar plants and methane gas plants in Southern and Eastern Africa. Previous experience includes country director and senior executive roles at Contour Global (KivuWatt Ltd.), USAID Afghanistan, Millennium Challenge Corporation and served as adjunct professor at the University of Maryland. Education includes a master's degree in International Finance from Tufts University - the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, masters in Economic Development from Ohio State University and a bachelors in Economics from Capital University.
Specialties: Project Finance, Corporate Finance, Business Development, Project Management
Jacqueline, Legal, Policy, and Trade Expert
She has served as a consultant for the US Power Africa initiative providing strategy alignment on goals and priorities on Power Africa and NEPAD projects, including assessment of bottlenecks to existing NEPAD/Power Africa projects. In addition to having served as Vice Chair of Helvetic Group, an East African renewable energy company, she has also worked with the Tony Blair Senior Advisors Group (for energy). She was the Legal Counsel and Assistant to the CEO and President of the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (PTA Bank) where she raised $100 million from U.S. Exim for investment in Diaspora businesses. She was also an advisor to the Director General of the World Trade Organization on matters of trade, economic integration and global governance and the Rwandan Government on matters related to trade, investment and energy (including but not limited to Lake Kivu methane gas projects). She is a member of the Board of Bank of Zambia (the Central Bank of Zambia), on the Amistad Commission (commissioned by the New York State Legislature) and on the boards of Prime Insurance (a Rwandan insurance company). She has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at universities in the U.S. and Rwanda and frequently speaks at conferences and opines in the media on matters related to Africa's economic development. She is a Young Global Leader 2011 (World Economic Forum), an Archbishop Desmond Tutu fellow 2011 (African Leadership Institute), the 2012 Mo Ibrahim Foundation Leadership Fellow, and a 2014 New Voices Fellow (Aspen Institute).
Jerry, Infrastructure Development Expert (Energy and Policy)
Previously Chair of the Energy Regulation Board in Zambia, Jerry has worked widely on energy regulation in Africa. He has been a consultant to regional regulatory bodies in Southern and West Africa, particularly on building regulatory capacity for commissions and senior staff. He has taught classes for USAID on costs reflective tariffs in Africa. For many years he has worked with the SADC Regional Electricity Regulatory Association to develop and disseminate best-practice regulatory principles. Currently the Chair of the Rural Electrification Authority in Zambia, he obtained a PhD from the University of Manchester and was formerly with the University of Zambia where he also served as Deputy Vice Chancellor.
Lincoln, Education, Technology and Organizational Research Expert
Lincoln is a senior project consultant with Avencion Group and advises organizational leaders on operations strategy, organizational research, and operational excellence with special emphasis on organizational restructuring, performance dashboards and data driver performance enhancements. As a graduate student and managerial consultant, Lincoln has served Fortune 500 companies, municipal governments, quasi-governmental agencies, and various nonprofits and is a member of the McKinsey African network group. Prior to his involvement with Avencion Group, Lincoln worked with McKinsey and Company and was part of the management team at the Civic Consulting Alliance where he worked in the education and public safety sectors. Lincoln also serves on the Alumni Board of Education Pioneers, a national network of professionals involved in K12 education reform. He earned an M.S. and PhD degrees in Applied Mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Operations Research Center. While there, he was named a National Science Foundation Fellow. He received a B.S. in Computer Science, summa cum laude, from Florida A&M University.
Mbo, Agriculture Expert
Mbo is an expert in African development with a focus on self-sustainable agriculture, regional economic groupings and the African Union; Law and Development and International Organizations with Special Emphasis on Africa/Developing Countries and the Millennium Development Goals; Financial Self-Sustainability and National Ownership of Development Choice and Strategy within and among African countries. He is currently the Technical Advisor for Agriculture for COMESA where he supported the development of the regional investment plan for COMESA. Previously he was the Technical Advisor of Development for the Royal Norwegian Embassy. He developed the Expanded Food Security Pack with key Government Ministries and the private sector. He evaluates current embassy and governmental programs and projects related to development, food security and poverty reduction. Before joining the embassy, he was a Consultant for the Alliance for Commodity Trade, Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA). He documented the regulatory frameworks of the African Union and regional bodies on biotechnology and genetically modified organisms. He authored a report examining the impact of research on the status of the commercial transgenic crops and commercial agriculture strategies in Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Africa, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Kenya and Zimbabwe. Mbo received his PhD in Law, Policy & Society at the Interdisciplinary Development Program and a BS in Economics with minor in African-American Studies, both from Northeastern University, Boston, MA.
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