Industry Experts

M. Nicolas J. Firzli, LL.M

Director-General, World Pensions Council (WPC)

Nicolas J. Firzli is director-general of the World Pensions Council (WPC), the global think-tank & asset owners association. Mr. Firzli is co-chair of the World Pensions Forum (WPF), coordinator of the G7 Pensions Roundtable held on the sidelines of the G7 Summit, co-chair of the Singapore Economic Forum (SEF APAC+ Summit), and cofounding-member & advisory councillor of the World Bank Group Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF). Nicolas Firzli is a graduate of Canada’s McGill University (Statistics & Financial Economics), an alumnus of the HEC School of Management (MBA Corporate Strategy & Marketing) and the University of Paris Law School (LL.M. Corporate Law, summa cum laude) and has conducted research at the University of Louvain (UCL) Doctoral School of Economics and Management in Waals Brabant.

Geraldine Fowler

Institute of Retirement Funds South Africa- President

Geraldine Fowler is the current President and Executive Committee Member of the Institute of Retirement Funds Africa. She is also the founding director and CEO of GQM Fund Administrators, a niche and specialist retirement fund administration provider. She has over 30 years’ experience in the retirement fund industry in the areas of consulting, administration and trusteeship. Geraldine holds qualifications in insurance, business studies, financial planning, trusteeship and writing.

Nicholas Sherry

Chair, Independent Director: Superannuation and Pensions.​

Mary Kamari

Group Executive, Corporate Affairs and Investor Relations
Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank Group (TDB Group)

Mary Kamari is a development finance professional with over 20 years of experience leading resource mobilisation, programme management and business development in some of the most prominent development institutions globally and in Africa, including the World Bank where she started her career, the UN, DBSA and GoodWorks International. She joined The TDB Group in 2012 where she has been able to distinguish herself by raising equity capital from sovereigns and institutional investors, developing and managing strategic partnerships and networks, and enhancing the Bank’s brand equity through corporate communications.  Ms. Kamari serves on a number of boards, including as Non-Executive Director of the Trade and Development Fund (TDF). She also holds an MBA from California State University, a Certificate in Strategic Management in Banking from INSEAD Business School and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Makerere University.

Nicholas Silver

Chairman & Cofounder of the Climate Bond Initiative (CBI)

Nick is founder/chair of Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI), founder/director of Radix Big Tent Ideas Festival and chair of Callund Consulting. Nick is a visiting fellow at Bayes (City University) Business School, where he teaches the emerging global risks course. Nick has worked with the UN, World Bank and over 30 countries’ governments on climate change and economic development. Nick recently won The President’s Award for outstanding contribution to the Actuarial Profession and the Phiatus Award for his charitable efforts. Nick’s book, Finance, Society and Sustainability was recently published by Palgrave Macmillan.  Nick is a Freeman of the City of London.



Amanda Khoza

Institute of Retirement Funds Africa - Vice President

Amanda has over 20 years of experience in financial services, serving in several senior roles. She has worked in institutional investments, management accounting, transformation and research for companies listed on the JSE’s mainboard. Her roles have included the strategic development and implementation of business development, sustainability and transformation programmes. In the last 5 years, she has served as a non-executive director of the ASISA ESD Fund, ASISA Foundation and the INSETA boards. She is also a director on the Institute of Retirement Funds Africa Board and serves on its transformation and sustainability sub-committee. Her broad experience in governance structures and strategic roles positions her well in understanding the financial inclusion and sustainability ecosystem, which she is passionate about. In particular, she is currently researching ESG strategies in pursuit of a Masters in Development Finance.

Professor Salamatu Idris Isah

Executive Secretary, Kaduna State Pension Bureau

She holds a PhD in economics from Ahmadu Bello University, Kaduna State, Nigeria. She has twenty years of experience teaching development economics, microeconomics, and macroeconomics at the tertiary level. She has served as a member of the Economic Advisory Board, Office of Chief Economic Adviser, Vice President Office, and Presidency, Abuja, Nigeria from May 2017 to September 2019. In September 2018, she was appointed Special Adviser on economic and investment matters to the Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai. In September 2020, she was again appointed as Executive Secretary of the Kaduna State Pension Bureau by the Governor, Ahmed El Rufai.

Professor Dana Muir

Robert L. Dixon Collegiate Professor of Business,
Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Business Law, and Area Chair of Business Law

Professor Muir is a recognized expert on trustee obligation especially at the cross section of investments and retirement plan assets, advice, and engagement. She was a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on The Future of Insurance and Asset Management. Her work has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts. Prior to joining the Ross School, Professor Muir practiced law at national law firms based in Chicago and Detroit and held a number of human resources positions at Chrysler Corporation. Professor Muir was the Editor-in-Chief of Employee Benefits Law and is a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel as well as a past member of the College’s Board of Governors.

Semoli Mokhanoi

Director: SADC and Head of Business Development & Marketing, Mergence Investment Managers.

Semoli started his career with Momentum Actuaries and Consultants in 2001 as a fund accountant, later promoted to investment consultant. In 2006 he joined Metropolitan Asset Management as a business development manager. In 2008 he joined SYm|mETRY Multi Managers (now Old Mutual Multi Managers) as a business development executive. His successes include setting up Old Mutual Life Assurance company of South Africa (OMLACSA) in Lesotho, introducing a partnership between Old Mutual Kenya and the government of Uganda and designing an administration strategy for the Government of Malawi through Old Mutual Malawi. Semoli serves on several boards as a non-executive director and continues to apply his entrepreneurial skills to penetrate the African market as Regional Investments Strategist for Mergence.


Melis Guven

World Bank Group, Global Lead for Social Protection and Jobs Delivery Systems (and Lead Economist)
in the World Bank’s Global Engagement Unit of the SPJ Global Practice

Melis Guven holds a B.S. in economics from M.E.T.U., Turkey, and an MBA (Finance) from Peter Drucker School of Management, Claremont Graduate University. Melis’ technical and operational work in the past few years increasingly focuses on extending social protection coverage to the informal sector as well as on social protection delivery systems to develop strategic approaches and digital tools. She has breadth and depth of experience in all SPJ pillars- safety nets, social insurance and labor- across different country income groups in Africa, Europe, Central and South Asia.

Himanshi Jain

World Bank Group Social Protection Specialist in the Pensions and Social Insurance group
of the Global Social Protection & Jobs (SPJ) practice at the World Bank.

Himanshi Jain has led pension policy dialogue and actuarial modelling work in over seventeen countries across Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and East Asia. Her policy interests include identifying ways to expand social protection to the informal sector, increasing labor force participation rates among women, and rethinking the role of social protection in an actively aging world. She leverages her experience working across different regions to disseminate knowledge, share lessons learnt and identify synergies across different social protection & jobs programs and policies. Prior to joining the Bank in 2017 she has worked with Deloitte Consulting USI. Himanshi holds a master’s in public policy from Duke University, a master’s in quantitative economics from the Indian Statistical Institute and is a member of professional actuarial societies in India and the U.S.

Escher Luanda

Governance and Ethics Executive, Government Institutions Pension Fund, Namibia
B. Juris, LLB, MBL and a post-graduate diploma in compliance

Escher has distinguished himself as one of Namibia’s leading authorities in corporate governance. He has amassed vast board experience by advising, training, and consulting boards in the private, public and non-profit sectors. He was previously the Chairperson of the Retirement Funds Institute of Namibia And the Deputy Chief at the Namibian Law Commission. Escher has served on the governing bodies of various entities: the Committee for Responsible Investing in South Africa (CRISA), the National Youth Service, Advisory Board of Business Ethics Network of Africa and COSAFA Governance Committee. He is a former independent non-executive director of Namforce Life Insurance, immediate past Chairperson of the Namibia Institute of Corporate Governance and the last chairperson of Air Namibia.   

Mike Brown

Managing Director and Financial Advisor, ETFSA

Mike Brown has a background as an economist with the South African mining industry and practiced as a stockbroker for over two decades with some of South Africa’s largest stockbrokers and financial institutions.  In 2000 he helped launch South Africa’s first ETF, the Satrix 40; he ran the Satrix business until 2009; and then set up a specialized business, “, The Home of Exchange Traded Funds”. etfSA now offers products and portfolios only using ETFs in investment portfolios for Retirement Annuity Funds, Living Annuity Funds, Tax Free Investment Accounts, managed international and local “passive” Wealth Management portfolios and a digital ETF Investor Plan platform for smaller investors. Mike and etfSA have consulted for stock exchanges, regulators and other institutions, particularly in the development of Exchange Traded Funds and markets, both in Africa and South Africa.

Oguche Agudah

CEO, Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp)

Oguche is currently the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Pension Fund Operators Association of Nigeria (PenOp). In this role he leads the efforts of the pension industry in Nigeria in engaging the regulators, the media, the financial markets and other stakeholders in order to ensure that the interests of the pension industry and pension operators are protected and promoted and also in ensuring that the pension industry has a positive effect on National Development. He possesses a degree in Banking and finance from the University of Lagos, Nigeria and is a fellow of both the Chartered Institute of Bankers Nigeria and the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers Nigeria. He also serves as a board member for the Nigerian National Advisory board for Impact Investment- the national body designed to strengthen the impact investment ecosystem in Nigeria.

Ngatia Kirungie

Founder Spearhead Africa

Ngatia Kirungie is the founder of Spearhead Africa, a Nairobi based infrastructure and alternative asset investment advisory business and is the head of the Kenya Pension Fund Investment Consortium (KEPFIC) secretariat. KEPFIC is a consortium of local pension funds with approximately USD 5.25 billion in assets who have come together to jointly assess and invest in infrastructure and alternative asset opportunities in the East African region. Ngatia is a graduate of Vanderbilt University where he received his MBA (Finance and Investment specialization). He received a Bachelor of Science in International Business Administration (Honors) from the United States International University in Nairobi. He was an Executive Director at Goldman Sachs in London where he led the firm’s Africa fixed income sales and credit coverage and was responsible for leading financing and public market investment transactions valued at over USD 5 billion.

Christopher Smith

Vice Chair of the Board Westminster City Council Local Government Pension Scheme

Jacqueline Irving

World Bank Group, Senior Economist with IFC and Development Impact Department focal f or
IFC’s transactions related to developing local institutional investors and capital markets

Jacqueline Irving is Senior Economist with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Sector Economics/Development Impact department focal for IFC’s capital markets transactions including related to developing pension funds and other local institutional investors. Previously, as Director of the Milken Institute Center for Financial Markets, she led the Capital Markets for Development unit’s policy research and advisory work. In this role, she worked directly with Rwanda’s Capital Markets Authority and stakeholders to prepare a 10-year Capital Markets Action Plan. As a Senior Economist with the World Bank from 2005-11, Irving led and contributed to data-driven policy research and advisory work on capital markets development and infrastructure finance. This included leading an assessment of the potential for African financial sectors to raise longer-term finance for infrastructure, as part of the NEPAD-driven Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic.

Wayne Hiller van Rensburg

CEO - Pension Matters

Wayne Hiller van Rensburg is a Member of Pension Lawyers Association, Financial Planning Institute, Batseta-Council of Retirement Funds of SA and International Pension & Employee Benefits Law Association (IPEBLA). Wayne is committed to improving retirement outcomes for as many people as possible. This commitment has found a greater purpose in his role as Executive Officer of the Institute of Retirement Funds Africa, where his work has focused on advocacy and education in the retirement sector. He is also the Principal Officer of some of South Africa’s largest retirement funds, with assets in excess of R70 billion. This role has allowed him to deepen his understanding of the practices related to governance and investing in the retirement sector.

Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud SAN OON

Non-Executive Director MTN Nigeria Communications PLC, The Aliko Dangote Foundation and Stanbic IBTC
Pension Managers Limited

Mr. Abubakar Balarabe Mahmoud SAN OON is a lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Mr Mahmoud’s experience covers several aspects of law including but not limited to Oil and Gas, Infrastructure dispute, Finance/ICT Infrastructure dispute, Telecommunication Investment dispute, diverse suits with millions of Naira as claims. He is also passionate about giving back to the society and therefore participates in several community services. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) (May 2008), Vice President/Member Governing Council Nigeria Stock Exchange. He also serves as a Non-Executive Director on the Boards of MTN Nigeria Communications PLC and the Aliko Dangote Foundation and Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers Limited. Mahmoud is a recipient of the National Honour of the Officer of the Order of the Niger, OON (2005).

Sanjeev Gupta

Board member and Executive Director for Financial Services at Africa Finance Corporation

Mr. Sanjeev Gupta is a Board member and Executive Director for Financial Services at Africa Finance Corporation. He is responsible for Treasury, Trade Finance, Syndication, Country Relations and Advisory lines of business within AFC. Mr. Gupta has over 30 years’ experience in Investment Management, Private Equity and Corporate Finance. His forte has been to blend together global and indigenous corporates, financial investors, and governments to develop commercially viable businesses and development models that leave a sustainable impact on emerging economies. Mr. Gupta holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Calcutta and is a Board Member of UK Board Networking Organizations, Invest Africa of the UK-Based NGO Common Purpose International.

Deresh Lawangee

Chief Executive Officer at RISE PROPRIETARY LIMITED.

Deresh graduated from the University of Witwatersrand in 2006 with a degree in Actuarial Science and also has a Diploma in Actuarial Techniques from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. He has provided investment and actuarial consulting services to Retirement Funds and Social Security funds for over 15 years in South Africa and internationally. He was executive head for Investment at NBC Holdings for 12 years and is currently Chief Executive Officer at RISE, a licensed Fund Administration, Investment Management and Consulting business that offers affordable and practical one-stop solutions for the needs of retirement Funds and their members.

Gordon Tveito-Duncan

Fintech Expert, Cofounder, GaiaLens

Gordon is an experienced financial analyst having worked as an Equity Research Analyst at an investment bank covering the Technology sector. He also has experience as a Data Science consultant. Gordon holds a MSc (Distinction) in Data Science from City, University of London, and a BSc (Hons) degree in Economics from the University of Warwick.

Sebastien Kirk

Fintech Expert, Cofounder, GaiaLens

Sebastian worked as a financial analyst at a boutique corporate finance firm for 5 years, where he specialised in facilitating transactions in the sustainable and ethical food production industry. Seb holds a MSc (Distinction) in Data Science from City, University of London, and a BSc (Hons) degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Newcastle. Seb is a CFA Charterholder and a member of the CFA Institute and the CFA Society of the UK.

Andrei Radulescu

Director, Macroeconomic Research (analysis and forecasting) la Banca Transilvania

Andrei completed the Scientific Masters Degree in Economics at Porto University, a PH.D. in International Economics within Academy of Economic Studies and the post-doctoral degree at the Romanian Academy. Andrei started the career at Banco Portugues de Investimento, and afterwards did macroeconomic research for the Portuguese Social Security Fund. Starting 2014 Andrei is the Chief Economist of Banca Transilvania (the largest lender in SEE) and a Senior Researcher at Romanian Academy (the highest scientific forum in Romania), being a constant presence at International Conferences.

David Damiba

Managing Partner & CIO at Kasada Capital

David is Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Kasada Capital Management. Kasada is an independent real estate private equity platform dedicated to hospitality in Sub-Saharan Africa, advised by Kasada Capital Management part of the Kasada group. The firm was launched with the backing of Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar, and Accor, a world leading hospitality group. He has more than 25 years of finance experience with an extensive African fund management, portfolio construction and risk management track record covering all asset classes across more than 20 African countries.

Desmond Nikanor

Head of Strategy, Research and Projects at the Government Institutions Pension Fund of Namibia

Desmond Nikanor is the Head of Strategy, Research and Projects at the Government Institutions Pension Fund of Namibia, an USD8 Billion-dollar global institutional investor. He holds over a decade of experience in developing, implementing and review high level corporate strategies in the Private, Public and Donor sectors and has plied his trade for a number of multinational companies including the De Beers group and the United Nations. Mr. Nikanor holds a MSc degree (with merit) from the University of London specializing in International Business. He is a Certified Director of companies through the IoD-SA as well as a certified Organisational Culture practitioner from the Hofstede Insights institution of Helsinki, Finland.   

Tunji Andrews

Chief Executive Officer at AwaBah

Tunji is a highly skilled economist, entrepreneur, and committed financial inclusion advocate on a mission to create dedicated financial offerings for Africa’s underserved informal sector. 

As an economist, he has over 15 years of experience in public and private sector roles across West Africa to include being senior special assistant to the statistician general of Nigeria and Consultant to the European Union under the EU SUFEGOR Project.

He is currently CEO of AWABAH, a digital Pension Platform for Africa’s workforce

Sundeep Raichura

Group Chief Executive Officer at Zamara Group

Sundeep is a qualified actuary and CEO of the Zamara Group (formerly Alexander Forbes). He has over 30 years’ experience in actuarial, pensions and investment consultancy work gained both in the UK and in Kenya. Sundeep is the Chairman of the Africa Committee of the International Actuarial Association. He is a past Chairman of the Association of Retirement Benefit Schemes and a past member of the Capital Markets Authority Advisory Committee. He has also served as a consultant to a World Bank Pensions Mission to Kenya. Sundeep has championed and is the leader of the Kenya Pension Fund Investment Consortium (‘KEPFIC’), a group of 12 leading pension funds in the country with an asset base of over K Shs 2bn who have come together with a common purpose of collaborating to make long term investments, including investments in non-traditional asset classes such as infrastructure and housing amongst others.