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7 September 2022 - 8 September 2022
Eden Bleu Hotel, Seychelles
BlueInvest Africa 2022

H.E. Wavel Ramkalawan


President of the Republic of Seychelles 

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Wavel Ramkalawan was born on Mahé, the principal island of Seychelles. His father was a metalworker and his mother a primary school teacher. He is married to Linda and has three boys, Samuel, Caleb and Amos. He is an ordained minister in the Anglican Church. It was his work mission as a priest that led Ramkalawan to politics. Through his pastoral work, he came into contact with many people who had been the subject of repression and abuses of human and civil liberties by government. At that time, the church was the only institution that could speak out on these issues. In 1990, Ramkalawan preached a landmark sermon, broadcast to the nation on the national radio station, in which he questioned the practices of the one-party government and gave voice to the desire of the people for greater freedom, respect for human rights and observance of the rule of law in the country. The sermon was an inspiration for the movement for political liberty and democracy in Seychelles. For as a consequence doing that, he was banned by the one-party state government from being heard and appearing on national TV. This move drew Ramkalawan closer into politics. In 1991, still a priest, he joined others who had been active in opposing the government, such as Roger Mancienne and Jean-Francois Ferrari, to form Parti Seselwa, initially an underground organisation, and became its leader. After the coming into force of the new constitution in 1993, two other opposition parties joined Parti Seselwa to form The United Opposition (UO) and to contest the 1993 general elections. The party won 9% of the vote, enabling it to appoint one member (Ramkalawan) to the National Assembly. In 1998, Ramkalawan led his party The UO into the second multi-party general elections. The party polled 27% of the national vote and increased its National Assembly representation to three. Ramkalawan became the first directly elected member of the party in the Assembly, winning his home constituency of St Louis. He led St. Louis until handing it over to a young politician to stand in the largest constituency of the country, Anse Etoile, and win the seat. In addition, Ramkalawan was elected Leader of the Opposition, a post he relinquished in 2011 when his party boycotted the National Assembly elections in the search for electoral reforms. In 2016, his party won majority in the National Assembly elections. He also led as the Leader of Opposition leading a majority in the Legislature. In December 2015, Mr. Ramkalawan led a united opposition in a controversial presidential election which the movement lost narrowly by 1% to Mr. James Michel; who scored 50.15% to Ramkalawan’s 49.15% Mr. Ramkalawan led the National Assembly delegation at the Pan African Parliament and the SADC PF, where he chaired the Democratisation, Governance and Human Rights Committee. In the National Assembly, he chaired the Truth & National Reconciliation Committee, the Defence and Security Committee, the Islands Committee and the Finance & Public Accounts Committee. On 26th October 2020, Mr. Wavel Ramkalawan was sworn in as the President of the Republic of Seychelles.

H.E. Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko


Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment, African Union Commission

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H.E. Ambassador Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, an Angolan national, is a leading African Agronomist and Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Development,

African Union Commission. Prior to her re-election in February 2021, she was Special Adviser to two Ministers in Angola: The Angolan Minister of Environment responsible for Climate Change and advisor to the Minister of Agriculture in charge of Food Security and Poverty Reduction. Ambassador Sacko was also the former Secretary General of the Inter- African Coffee Organization (IACO), Abidjan Cote D’Ivoire for 13 years.

In recognition of her meritorious service, Ambassador Sacko has received numerous awards and recognition including: member of the United Nation’s Champions 12.3; the Scale Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Lead Group; she was named one of the 100 most influential people in climate policy in March 2019; and awarded the Prix De La Foundation 2019 by Crans, Montana, Brussels Belgium for her efforts to empower rural women.

Ambassador Sacko speaks fluent Portuguese, French, English, Spanish and Lingala.



Jean-François Ferrari 


Minister of Fisheries and Blue Economy, Seychelles

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The Honorable Minister, Mr. Jean-Francois Ferrari was born on the 27th of February 1960, at Anse Royale. Mr. Ferrari has been a political activist since 1992. He is a founding member of Parti Seselwa, the first political party to be registered following the return to multi-party politics in 1993. After completing his secondary education at the Seychelles College in 1978, Minister Ferrari was admitted to l’Universite de Provence, studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Upon his return to Seychelles, he joined the Ministry of Education, joining the National Youth Service as a Staff Training Officer. In 1986 he returned to l’Universite de Provence to do a Master’s degree in Education Science. Between 1993 and 2013, Minister. Ferrari worked in the media profession and was the Publisher and Assistant Editor of the Regar Newspaper, a weekly publication. Minister Ferrari was nominated by his political party to become a Proportional Member of the 3rd National Assembly of Seychelles. In 2007 he was elected as a Member of the 4th National Assembly for the District of Mont Fleuri for the SNP. In September 2016, he was again elected to represent the District of Mont Fleuri, this time under the banner of Linyon Demokratik Seselwa. Minister . Ferrari was also the Chairperson of the International Affairs Standing Committee (IAC) and a Member of the Finance & Public Accounts Standing Committee. He became the Chief Whip of the Opposition Party on the 6th March 2018. Mr Ferrari was appointed in the position of Designated Minister and Minister for Fisheries and the Blue Economy on 3rd November 2020. Minister. Ferrari has great interest in Law, Philosophy and Politics.

Charlina Vitcheva


Director General at the European Commission, Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries


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Charlina Vitcheva was appointed Director General of DG MARE, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in June 2020.
Prior to this, she became Deputy Director General of the JRC in September 2016. She was acting DG for the JRC from the 1st November 2019 to the 30th April 2020.
Previous to this, she was Director of Smart and Sustainable Growth and Southern Europe at DG Regional and Urban Policy, and also held a Director’s position on Inclusive Growth, Territorial and Urban Development and Northern Europe.
Before joining the Commission, Charlina spent 15 years in the Bulgarian public administration including at the Permanent Representation in Brussels, dealing mainly with agricultural and fisheries issues.
During this period, she was actively involved in the accession negotiations of Bulgaria and headed, between 2000 and 2004, the negotiations teams in the area of agriculture and rural development, food safety and fisheries.




H.E. Vincent Degert 


EU Ambassador to the Republic of Seychelles

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After a few years in the private sector, Vincent Degert joined the European Commission in 1987 where he first worked in the field of regional policy. From 2000, he worked for the enlargement of the European Union, successively as Assistant to the Director General for Enlargement and Head of Unit for the Coordination of Financial Instruments. He then served as Ambassador and Head of Delegation in Croatia (2005-2009) and Serbia (2009-2013), before becoming the head of the Russia Division within the European External Action Service at the height of the Ukrainian crisis. From 2015 to 2019 he was the Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Haiti. He is currently the Ambassador of the EU to the Republic of Mauritius and the Republic of Seychelles. Vincent Degert is a French national. He graduated in Political Science, European Affairs (Institute for Political Science and Institute for European Studies of Strasbourg) and in Law from the University of Strasbourg.





Kenneth Racombo 


Principal Secretary in the Department of the Blue Economy, Seychelles

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Mr. Keneth Racombo was appointed as the Principal Secretary in the Department of the Blue Economy in 2019, after spending two years as the Acting Chief Executive Officer, of the SADC Regional Tourism Organization of Southern Africa, in South Africa. Mr. Racombo is an Economist by profession and has spent most of his professional career at the Department of Foreign Affairs where he has occupied various positions. He started as a Trainee Economist in 1997 with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at that time and left the Ministry in 2017 as the Director General for Development and Regional Integration within that Ministry   




Elna Etienne 


Department of Blue Economy, Seychelles

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Ms. Elna Etienne is the Principal Information and Communication Officer for the Department of Blue Economy of Seychelles. One of her main tasks is to disseminate information to the civil society in an informative and educative manner, and help sensitise the public of every aspect of the Blue Economy concept. She completed her BA (Hons) in International Relations with Staffordshire University UK in 2019, graduated with a Distinction and earned her title as ‘Best Student’. Ms. Etienne is currently pursuing an LLM Master of Laws online on a part time basis with the Liverpool John Moores University UK. Ms. Etienne has experience working with the National Parliament of Seychelles, and she was also an A - Level Sociology Instructor for 2 years. In her spare time, she enjoys singing, fishing and reading about new developments in world politics. One day she aspires to become a politician and a successful singer.



Fatime Kante


Department of Blue Economy, Seychelles 

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Ms. Fatime Kanté is responsible for economy/investment in the blue economy implementation including the coordination of Seychelles Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) in the Blue Economy Department of the Ministry of Fisheries and the Blue Economy. She has 5 years’ work experience with the Ministry of Finance in economic forecasting, macro-economic analysis and advice on international financial institutions relations and 4 years and 1/2 months with the Department of the Blue Economy. 
Ms. Fatime Kante is trained as an economist. She has a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Economics and Social Administration from France and Advanced Professional Program on International Trade and Investment (MSc) with the British University of Egypt in cooperation with the “Baden International Business School” (BIBS) in Baden, Switzerland




Alexis Grosskopf


Panel Moderator

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Alexis is the Founder and CEO of OceanHub Africa (OHA), an ocean-impact accelerator focusing on strengthening the development and adoption of new sustainable ocean solutions in Africa. He holds a BEng in Mechanical Engineering and an MSc in Environmental Engineering from Imperial College London. Former management and sustainable development consultant, he subsequently led R&D and intrapreneurship innovation efforts for a blue-chip construction company in Europe before moving to South Africa in 2017. He then led the development of a social-impact incubator focusing on digital technologies before launching OceanHub Africa. To date, OHA has run three acceleration programs with 16 ocean-impact startups, cofounded the 1000 Ocean Startups coalition of incubators and VCs focusing on SDG-14, co-led the development of the Great Blue Wall initiative in the Western Indian Ocean, and annually hosts the Ocean Innovation Africa Summit to promote innovative technologies, policies and finance to further sustainable blue growth continentally.




Jan Robinson 


Panel Speaker

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Jan Robinson is the Project Manager of the Third South-West Indian Ocean Fisheries Governance and Shared Growth Project (SWIOFish3) at the Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy, Seychelles. The project is supporting expansion of Seychelles protected area network, improved fisheries governance and investment in Seychelles’ blue economy, and is part-financed by the proceeds of the World’s first sovereign Blue Bond.  Jan has coordinated fisheries research and management projects in Seychelles and the Indian Ocean for 25-years, encompassing roles with the Seychelles Fishing Authority and the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission. His research has focused on coral reef ecology, reef fish behaviour, climate change and fisheries management. Jan has specific expertise in spawning aggregation fisheries and has authored over 40 peer-reviewed scientific articles and books. Jan Robinson holds an MSc in Applied Marine Science from the University of Plymouth and a PhD from James Cook University through the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.




Valerie Hickey 


Panel Speaker

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Valerie Hickey is the Global Director of Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy (ENB) at the World Bank. Valerie takes this role having worked as the manager for Advisory and Operations in the Climate Change Group, where she oversaw the implementation of the World Bank’s commitments on climate change, climate mainstreaming and climate finance, and before that the Practice Manager for ENB in Latin America and the Caribbean where she managed a cross-sectoral team that supported countries and communities on issues related to climate change, sustainable forest management, integrated conservation and development, integrated coastal zone management, fisheries, pollution management and environmental health, environmental economics and environmental risk management.

Nineteen years ago, Valerie joined the World Bank as a specialist in East Asia and the Pacific, working on environment and rural development projects in Cambodia, China and Lao. Valerie has since worked across the Bank’s regions providing design and implementation support to a variety of operations, including in fragile states, where she led the Bank’s environment portfolio in Haiti following the earthquake in 2010. After joining the World Bank's global team, Valerie became chair of the blue economy, biodiversity and wildlife crime communities of practice and convened the Bank’s deep technical expertise in pursuit of providing policy advice and implementation support to accelerate the role of natural resource management in getting people out of poverty and into the middle class.   Valerie also managed the Bank’s natural resources and environment risk management portfolio across Europe and Central Asia. Before joining the World Bank, Valerie worked for World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society and the US National Park Service where she worked on invasive species programs in Lake Mead, the reservoir to the Hoover Dam. Valerie holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Policy from Duke University.




Valérie-Noëlle Kodjo Diop


Panel Speaker

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Valérie-Noëlle KODJO DIOP graduated from ESCP Business School (1993) and holds a postgraduate degree (DESS) in Banking and Finance from the University of Paris Dauphine. She started her career in 1994 with the banking group SOCIETE GENERALE, as a Specialist in structured commodity finance on the African continent. In 2005, she joined the BNP PARIBAS Group in Johannesburg, South Africa, first as Head of Structured Commodity and Infrastructure Finance for Southern Africa, then as Managing Director of the CIB South Africa Branch and Territory Manager until August 2016; back at HQ, she was Senior Project Manager in charge of the deployment of the Conduct and Ethics Programme for Corporate Banking in the EMEA region.
In May 2017, she returned to Société Générale Group in Paris where she was Head of Innovation and CSR in the International Banking and Financial Services Department for the Africa-Mediterranean Basin-Outremer (AFMO) region.

She is a member of the AFMO Management Committee and a Group Executive.
With a rich professional background of more than 27 years of experience in the fields of banking and finance, the new Director of Innovation and Sustainable Development, under the functional and hierarchical authority of the President of the WADB, will have as her main missions to define and implement policies, strategies and procedures relating to sustainable development, particularly in the area of retrospective evaluation of projects and management of international cooperation, as well as to lead reflections on the Bank's differentiation policy.




Captain Londy Ngcobo


Ted Talker

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A Global Ship Navigator and Africa's First Female Dredge Master. Captain Londy is passionate about unlocking Africa's ocean economy. With over 15 years of experience in the Maritime industry, her background includes Maritime Studies, former ship navigational officer for the largest container shipping company - Maersk, Advanced dredging from the Netherlands IHC, an industry-shaking role as a former Executive Maritime Compliance Manager for the largest logistics company in South Africa, now she is a Chief Executive of Womaritime Experts and Founder of Global Maritime Youth, all of which continues to echo her well-known title "The BLACKMERMAID" This Black Excellence and multi-award-winning woman serves on various boards in the transport sector and influential organizations within leadership, women, and youth spheres ensuring continuous development of Africa's transport professions through advocacy, training, and awareness as well as strengthening the competitiveness and employment creating potential for Africans. As a leader, mother, and wife herself, Londy’s journey has equipped her with the ability to focus on providing sustainable tools for: 

- Corporates - to lead diversity and inclusion. 

- Women - She dared to dream big and became a ship Captain and therefore dares women to thrive and assume captaincy of their lives. 

- Youth - Her zest for a colorful life is so contagious the youth gets cultivated to reach for the endless horizons. 

As seen in her Forbes Leading Women Africa speech with her piercing phrase “I chose not to be Rose from the Titanic, I chose to Captain the Titanic” and through her popular TEDx Talk “Anchors Aweigh, No Rest for The First” This Blackmermaid sure is making waves on land.




Diana Orembe


Ted Talker

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Diana Orember is a microbiologist researcher who hopes to transform the feed industry with her groundbreaking discovery of bacteria-based protein (single cell protein) for feed, particularly aquaculture. Her research on organic waste microbes contributed to the identification of bacteria capable of fermenting zero-value food waste into a healthful and cost-effective protein source. Her most recent research has resulted in novel applications of microbial technologies to the field of fish nutrition. Diana has previously traveled and worked in a number of internationally renowned laboratories, including the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA-Lab), and got training in a variety of areas including live microorganisms, insect farming, and aquaculture. She wants to bring together the bio-waste economy, industries, entrepreneurship, inventions, and people to build a new ecosystem.




Desiree Brouwer


Ted Talker

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DESIREE BROUWER is a Dutch entrepreneur with 14+ years of working experience in international business development, marketing & media in emerging markets. Her involvement ranges from concept creation to fundraising to project management, working with heads of state, investment boards, bi-lateral organizations, tourism boards, top 100 CEO’s, NGO’s as well as media and marketing agencies in (Southeast) Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa. Desiree started her career as a global media consultant producing investment reports in untapped markets from Indonesia to Serbia and the UAE. Having mastered the art of cold market entry, she went on to support various organizations with their local and global expansion through her consultancy Stellar. Her working experience led her to develop a passion and expertise for nation branding initiatives as a tool to support the development and positioning of emerging companies and countries. Between 2014 and 2016, Desiree oversaw business development in Africa for one of the continent’s leading business news groups Africa Business News (representing CNBC Africa and Forbes Africa). Her role was to develop strategic and commercial partnerships with business & government in Africa and grow the companies’ presence by opening new markets (a.o. Zambia, Congo Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea, DRC). Desiree has been living and working in Africa since 2010. Together with Tania Habimana she founded Nonzēro Africa with the mission to leverage their entrepreneurial experience and expertise in business development and strategic marketing and help SMEs and entrepreneurs in Africa grow. Today, Nonzēro Africa is a female owned, female led agency rooted in South Africa with a pan- African footprint and global clientbase. Inherownwords: “ We are venture builders and in everything that we do we apply a Robin Hood model of redistribution, leveraging our access to network, resources, training and funding, and making this available to empower African home grown small and growing businesses.“ Desiree is a strong believer in win-win partnerships and loves to connect organizations and individuals with shared beliefs because “ together we can achieve so much more.” Desiree gives back by providing hands-on guidance to grassroots entrepreneurs and NPO’s through her signature series of Masterclasses in Business Development & Fundraising.




Registration
Closed since 7 September 2022
Location Eden Bleu Hotel, Seychelles & Online
Organised by
Participants
Kenya 53
Seychelles 36
Mauritius 29
Congo, The Democratic Republic Of The 26
Benin 23
Nigeria 18
Uganda 18
Cameroon 18
Burundi 17
France 17
Morocco 14
Italy 12
South Africa 12
Belgium 12
Spain 12
Tanzania, United Republic Of 12
Madagascar 11
Ghana 10
Netherlands 8
Senegal 7
Mozambique 7
United Kingdom 6
Somalia 6
Egypt 6
Türkiye 5
United States 5
Gabon 5
Côte d'Ivoire 5
Rwanda 4
Tunisia 4
Portugal 3
Guinea-bissau 3
Luxembourg 3
Botswana 3
Greece 3
Norway 3
Guinea 3
Switzerland 3
Canada 2
Namibia 2
United Arab Emirates 2
Germany 2
Fiji 2
India 2
Israel 2
Ethiopia 2
Congo 2
Algeria 2
Comoros 1
Malawi 1
Togo 1
Romania 1
Liberia 1
Malta 1
Mali 1
Zambia 1
Ireland 1
Cape Verde 1
Denmark 1
North Macedonia 1
Chad 1
Bulgaria 1
Niger 1
Sudan 1
China (Hong Kong) 1
Ecuador 1
Sweden 1
Burkina Faso 1
Australia 1
Total 483
Participants
Start-up 90
Public Funding Body 7
Small-scale business 127
International Institution 53
Contractor 19
Academia/Research Institutions 16
Media / Press 5
Other 117
Private Funding Body 22
Public sector 23
Total 479