Mr. Jyrki Katainen
Vice-President of the European Commission, in charge of Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness
Jyrki Katainen is currently Vice President of the European Commission responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness. He joined the Commission in July 2014 as Vice-President for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the euro.
Before that he served as Prime Minister of Finland (2011 – 2014) and Minister of Finance (2007 – 2011). He was Member of Finnish Parliament 1999 – 2014 for the National Coalition Party.
He was Member of the Finnish Delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly 2003 – 2007, Member of the Administrative Council of the Finnish Broadcasting Company 2003 – 2005, Member of the Finish Delegation to the Western European Union Parliamentary Assembly 2004 – 2005 and the Deputy Member of the Finnish Delegation to the Nordic Council 2001 -2003.
Jyrki Katainen has MSc in Political Science from the University of Tampere, Finland (1998) and he did his Erasmus exchange year at the University of Leicester (1995-96).
His hobbies are running, cycling and tennis.
Prof. Dr. h. c. Mario Ohoven
President of European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME and of Bundesverband Mittelständische Wirtschaft e.V. (BVMW/D)
Prof. Mario Ohoven is the President of CEA-PME European Entrepreneurs and of the German Mittelstand Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (BVMW).
For over 30 years, he is a trained banker successful in the field of investment banking and asset managing. Throughout the leading positions he has held, he has been instrumental for the development of tax-optimized investments. His group of companies is amongst the market leaders in its field with a total investment of more than 4 billion Euro.
Prof Ohoven is the scion of one of the oldest German entrepreneurial families (hemp spinning and paper manufactory Ohoven) established in 1810.
He is known for his prognoses regarding economy and financial markets. In 2000 he warned about the decline of technology equities. 2001 he pointed out that certain US conglomerates are manipulating their balance sheets. In May 2007 he warned in detail about the fiasco of the financial markets. He is a respected keynote speaker of distinguished events and symposiums. His book “The Magic of Power-Selling” was a bestseller for over 3 years, is in its 13th edition and was translated in 9 languages.
Since 1997, he is President of the BVMW senate. Since 1998, he is President of BVMW, the most powerful of the non-statutory SMEs-associations. The BVMW represents over 900,000 enterprises with more than 12 million employees. Since 2002, he is also President of European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME.
He is member of the Board of Trustees of the “Europa Union”, German chapter of the Union of European Federalists.
Mr. Markku Markkula
First Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions
Markku Markkula is the First Vice-President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) having served as President February 2015-July 2017.
A member of Espoo City Council since 1980, he held its Presidency 1990-92 and 2010 and is the Chair of the city’s board 2017-2021.
Markku was member of the Finnish Parliament (1995-2003) where he served among others the Committee for the Future. He works at Aalto University specialising in EU research, innovation and education policy. He previously worked as the Director of the Lifelong Learning Institute Dipoli and was Secretary-General of the International Association for Continuing Engineering Education (IACEE).
In Finland he has been on boards of companies and associations, such as Tekes the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation and Technology. As a tribute to his achievements he was elected to the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame in 2008.
Markku Markkula was born in Kolari Lapland (Finland) on 15 July 1950. He is married with one son and two daughters.
Mr. Youssouf Moussa Dalaweh
President of the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI)
Mr. Youssouf Moussa Dawaleh, the current President of the Djibouti Chamber of Commerce, is one of the leading figures of the Djiboutian business community.
In 1988 and after earning a degree in International Business, Mr. Youssouf Moussa Dawaleh began to gain experience in business activities. He then established its first company specialised in the import-export of food products.
Then in 1994, attracted by the fish production, he took over the management of the large fish market of Boulaos and started to export fishery products to the countries in the region.
Multilingual, he has a taste for contact and faces many other challenges while diversifying its activities, especially, with the creation of the Dawaleh Construction Company. Thus, beyond its activities in the building and public work, Dawaleh Contruction is one of the companies in Djibouti pioneers in real estate development.
From 1993 to 2003 he was Associate Member in the General Assembly of the Djibouti Chamber of Commerce (CCD) during the presidency of the late Said Ali Coubèche. At that time, Mr. Youssouf Moussa Dawaleh pleaded the cause of the private sector in the National Assembly as Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and then as Chairman of that same committee.
Man of action and conviction, Mr. Youssouf Moussa Dawaleh, President of the Consular Institution since December 2013, is to use its best endeavours to further the interests of the private sector and contribute to the country’s economic development through the Djibouti Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Koen Doens
Deputy Director-General of DG DEVCO
Koen Doens is a classical philologist, who was a professor of Latin and Greek. As Belgian diplomat, he was posted in Syria, Iran and Russia. After several Belgian ministerial cabinets, he joined the European Commission in 2004. He was Head of Cabinet of Louis Michel, Commissioner in charge of Development and Humanitarian Aid during the 1st Barroso Commission and Head of the European Commission Spokespersons’ Service during the 2nd Barroso Commission.
After a period as Director for EU-Africa Relations, he became on 1 March 2018 Deputy Director-General responsible for Africa, Asia, Middle East/Gulf, Pacific, Latin America and Caribbean in the Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development.
Mr. Jean-Claude Tchatchouang
Executive Director at the World Bank Group, representing 23 African States
Mr Jean-Claude Tchatchouang, a Cameroon national, is the Executive Director at the Board of the Executive Directors of the World Bank Group representing Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Niger, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, and Togo.
Prior to this position, Mr Tchatchouang served at the Bank as Alternate Executive Director (2017-2018), Senior Advisor to the Executive Director of the same constituency (2003-2016), and as Country Economist (1996-1998).
Mr Tchatchouang held various positions including: Senior Financial Analyst, Fannie Mae, Washington, DC (2002-2003); Comptroller, The Mitchell Group, Washington, DC (1988-2000); Economist, IMF, Washington, DC (1992-1995); and Division Chief, Central Bank of Central African States (BEAC), Yaounde, Cameroon (1982-1992).
Mr Tchatchouang is a Certified Public Accountant, Virginia (2000) and holds a M.A. on International Economics and Finance, Brandeis University, US (1998); an M.A. in Economics, University of Yaounde, Cameroon and studied Statistic Engineering, Institut de la Statistique et d’Economie Appliquee, Yaounde, Cameroon (1980).
Mr. Kebour Ghenna Desta
Executive Director of the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI)
Mr Kebour Ghenna Desta is currently Executive Director of the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI), a leading organization representing the interests of business and trade associations in Africa, and the President of Initiative Africa, an education focused NGO operating in Ethiopia.
Prior to coming to the PACCI, Kebour was founder and CEO of local technology company (INFOTEC), and a Management Consulting firm (IPD). He served as board member of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, Abyssinia Bank, and the National Fertilizer Company. He also served as a staff member and consultant for the UNECA (Addis Ababa), UNDP (New York), the WBI (Washington DC), IDRC (Ottawa) and various other national and international organizations. Kebour has written on a wide array of development and governance issues.
He lectured at the Addis Ababa University and played a key role in the establishment of the School of Information Sciences. A post graduate of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, he is a regular contributor to Capital, a weekly newspaper he established in Ethiopia in 1996.
Vice-President of the SME Federation of Ivory Coast FIPME
Mr Moussa is the Premier Vice – Président of the Fédération Ivoirienne des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises (FIPME), the SME Federation of the Ivory Coast.
Furthermore he is also President of the Ivory Coast Federation of Ship Suppliers since 2018 and President of the Ivory Coast Federation of Private Enterprises, a Member of FIPME
He is also a successful entrepreneur and director at GLS catering. He holds a degree in Business Administration from l’Université Paris Dauphine
Prof. Dr. Maurizio Casasco
President of CONFAPI and Vice-President of European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME
Prof Maurizio Casasco leads since 2012 CONFAPI, the Italian national trade association of Small and medium-sized industries.
He is a contract Professor for Sports Medicine at the Universities of Milan and Pavia, as well as owner and CEO of companies delivering medical analytics, health care services and producing medical technical devices.
Last but not least, he is member of the Italian Olympic Committee.
Mrs. Meike van Ginneken
CEO of SNV Netherlands Development
Mrs. Meike van Ginneken has made her mark, working in large matrix organisations, in business with corporate funding agencies and liaising with governments of developing nations. In other words, she has what it takes to combine at scale implementation with policy dialogue.
Moreover, she has extensive experience with SNV’s focus areas: she has worked in sustainable sanitation and hygiene, urban water supply services, improved cookstoves, solar home systems, and climate smart agriculture. She is a seasoned manager of large teams, spanning multiple countries.
She joined the World Bank in 2002. Since then she has held several positions in the water, agriculture, and energy sectors in Washington DC as well as in field offices. She has set up and implemented country programs in the Central African Republic and Cameroon.
After implementing projects in the field and partnering with governments on large loans at the World Bank, Mrs. van Ginneken sees SNV as a logical next step and she emphasises that she likes moving closer to implementation and delivery. She will follow in the footsteps of Allert van den Ham, who has transformed SNV into a trusted, decisive and financially sound organisation with a flourishing portfolio of programmes
Prof. Sergio Arzeni
President of INSME the International Network for SMEs, former Director OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs and Local Development
Prof. Sergio Arzeni is President of INSME, a Rome-based International Network for SMEs promoted by the OECD and the Italian Ministry of Economic Development.
Senior Advisor at Friends of Europe, a Brussels based Think-Thank focusing on issues related to the functioning and perspectives of the European Union
Executive Member of GCEL – Global Coalition for Efficient Logistics, a Geneva-based public-private partnership building a global digital platform to facilitate international trade among SMEs.
Senior Advisor to the Secretary General of Unioncamere, Italian Union of Chambers of Commerce, Rome Former Director of the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) in Paris responsible for Entrepreneurship, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), Local Economic and Employment Development and Tourism, and
President of the Scientific Committee for Research and Innovation of the Piedmont Region, in Turin;
Before joining the OECD as a Senior Economist, he served as a policy analyst both in the European Commission in Brussels, in the Italian Parliament and the Italian Trade Unions (CISL) national economic research department in Rome, was member of the Council for Southern Italy of the National Research Center (CNR) and was Co-founder of the Italy-Japan friendship Association.
He holds First Class Honors Degree in Political Science from the University of Rome and specialized in Industrial Economics at the International University Institute of Luxembourg and in International Economic Relations at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C., USA.
Ms. Bienvenue Angui
Co-Head of BVMW Foreign Trade Office, Coordinator “Le Mittelstand” and Managing Director German-African SME Alliance by BVMW
Bienvenue Angui is the Director of the professional network “Le Mittestand BVMW” which connects German SMEs with African and Francophone SMEs. BVMW is the biggest voluntary-based association for small and medium-sized businesses in Germany, with more than 900 000 companies represented through BVMW’s Mittelstandallianz. BVMW counts 300 local representatives throughout Germany and about 40 foreign offices worldwide.
She is also Director of the Mittelstand Alliance Africa (MAA), which works in cooperation with politics, embassies, civil society and entrepreneurs on the African continent, with the aim of being a strong voice for small and medium-sized enterprises in Africa and Germany so that the African continent is seen as an opportunity and a strong partner.
In addition, Mrs. Angui has a long-time experience in the Franco-German cooperation field. She has worked as Director of Marketing and Communications for the German office of one of the largest networks promoting French trade shows abroad, Promosalons Germany, and was a member of the Management Committee of Villafrance in Cologne.
Originally from Ivory Coast, born in France and living for more than 10 years in Germany, Bienvenue Angui is bilingual and has a solid knowledge of these European and African cultures. These qualities make Mrs. Angui, an essential interlocutor of German-African and Francophone relations for the network.
Mr. Patrick Meinhardt
Second Secretary General of the German-African Mittelstand Alliance, Board Member of European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME and Director Public Policy, European Affairs and Foreign Trade of BVMW e.V.
Since August 2014, Mr. Meinhardt has been responsible for Public Affairs, Public Relations, Economics, Cooperation with Associations and Foreign Trade as Head of Politics and Public Relations at the BVMW Federal Office Berlin (Bundesverband mittelständische Wirtschaft Unternehmerverband Deutschland e.V.).
In addition, he coordinates the European policy and the Brussels office and strengthens the federal management of the association.
From 2005 to 2013 he was a member of the German Bundestag. Here he was spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group for education and the group “Christians in the FDP parliamentary group”.
Mr. Patrick Gibbles
Secretary General of ESBA, the European Small Business Alliance
Goal oriented public affairs professional and EU affairs expert. Winner of European Public Affairs Award 2016 and 2017. Currently Director of Gibbels Public Affairs. Secretary General of European Small Business Alliance. Graduated from Maastricht University in European Studies but also Tax Law.
Mr. Ben Knoefler
President of European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs YES for Europe
Ben is an experienced business professional and entrepreneur who founded his first company while still attending high school. Today he is a major international expert for sales strategy and market entry. Burning for entrepreneurship, he supports start-up incentives and serves as a mentor for cutting-edge enterprises. Since 2017 he is one of the speakers of the German Young SME-Entrepreneurs in BVMW.
Mr. Horst Dreimann
Secretary General of the European Association of Institutes for Vocational Training (EVBB)
Mr. Horst Dreimann, born in 1953 in Germany, is working as Secretary General of the European Association of Institutes for Vocational Training (EVBB) in Brussels. He holds two university degrees (one in Applied language sciences, and a second one in French and Italian language and literature studies).
He has a background as university lecturer and almost 30 years of experience as manager of international projects in different areas, specifically in VET and social affairs, ranging from international cooperation to human resource development projects. He built up a specific regional expertise in the Middle East, Northern Africa and Eastern Europe including Russia and Ukraine. Through various adult education programs during his career and a one year university course in project evaluation, he developed a sound knowledge in complex project management and communication/advocacy issues, the latter particularly with EU institutions.
Mrs. Carla Montesi
Director DG DEVCO, Directorate C – Planet and Prosperity
Ms Montesi is the Director for Planet and Prosperity at the Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission.
Previously Mrs Montesi has been Director at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
Formerly a lawyer in Italy who specialised in European affairs at the College of Europe in Bruges, Ms Montesi’s earlier career encompassed diverse responsibilities in the field of EU external policy for development and cooperation both at Headquarters and in EU Delegations in Africa, as well as experience in the Cabinet of EU Commissioner Emma Bonino for External Policy and Humanitarian Affairs.
Mrs. Sévérine Varet
Vice-President of AFDEE
French Entrepreneur, has been working for more than 20 years with SMEs facing the difficulties of international trade: partner search, logistics, customs, standards and intercultural negotiation. She has a long experience in trade with Africa: the complexity and specificity of these countries restrain European SMEs from investing, while all the opportunities are there to develop business with African companies.
Mr. Daniel David
CEO FUNDASO - Fundaçao Soico (Grupo SOICO, Moçambique)
Daniel David (Mozambique, 1966) is a prominent media businessman in Mozambique and the Lusophone Africa and one of the main voices of the region advocating from the private sector for sustainable development, economic growth, innovation and the use of technology for the digital transformation of Africa.
He is Chairman and CEO of DHD – Consulting & Holding, Limited, holding company that develops its activities in various business areas, such as Real Estate, Technology and events production.
Considered one of Africa’s top 15 entrepreneurs (Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year 2007 – Ernst & Young), Daniel David became one of the most influential men in Mozambique in 2000 after creating the Independent Society of Communication (SOICO). With a television channel (STV), a radio (SFM), a newspaper (O País), online platforms and a series of international conferences in its portfolio, SOICO has consolidated as the leading private media group in Mozambique.
In 2014 he launched the Mozambican Economic and Social Forum – MOZEFO, inaugurating a space of intersectoral and inter-generational dialogue that did not exist in the country until then. Through MOZEFO, Daniel David assumed the mission of contributing to accelerated, inclusive and sustainable economic growth for Mozambique, bringing together the private sector, public sector and civil society in a debate platform aimed at identifying challenges and proposing solutions for a more humanized growth for the country and region.
His greatest motivation in developing these projects is to raise Mozambique to an international level and leave a legacy for the next generations.
Ms. Cécile Kyenge
MEP PD (I)/S&D, Vice-Chair Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, Member of DEV & LIBE Committees and the EP-Delegation for the relations with the Pan-African Parliament
Cécile Kyenge, former Italian Minister for Integration, has been a Member of the European Parliament since 2014. As MEP, she is a member the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D), of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and of the Committee on Development (DEVE). She is also Vice-President of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly ACP-EU and member of the delegation for relations with the Pan-African Parliament. She is co-President of the European Parliament “Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup” (ARDI).
She was the co-rapporteur for the European Parliament’s report on the situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic approach to migration. In 2015, 2016 and 2018 she was appointed Chief Observer of the EU election observation missions in Burkina Faso, in Zambia and in Mali. She was also part of the EU Parliament’s delegation for the EU election observation missions in Nigeria, Haiti, Gabon and Gambia.
Mr. Stephan Gehrold
MEP CDU (D)/EPP, Member of DEV, ECON & TRAN Committee, the EP-Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, and the Delegation for relations with the Pan-African Parliament
Mr Stefan Gehrold has been a Member of the European Parliament since 2014. He is a Member of the of DEV, ECON & TRAN Committee, of the EP-Delegation to the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, and of the Delegation for relations with the Pan-African Parliament.
Previously he was the Director of the European Office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS).
Preceding that, he has served as the KAS Head of Office in Dakar, Prague, Bratislava and Zagreb. Prior to that, he was responsible for accountancy and legal affairs at the CFO Löwenbäcker GmbH in Leipzig.
From 1996 to 1999 he worked as a lawyer at Berding & Partners. Born in 1965 in Germany, Gehrold holds a degree in law from Freiburg University and a PHD from Münster University.
He is a member of several groups, including the Prague University of Economics Academic Advisory Board and Vechta University’s supervisory board. He is fluent in German, English, French, Dutch and Croatian.
Mr. Thomas Rolf
Private Sector Cooperation - Economic and Social Development, GIZ German Society for International Cooperation
Thomas Rolf is a Programme Manager at Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
For GIZ he also worked in Private Sector Development for eight years in Egypt & Ethiopia and was previously involved in different positions in strategy consulting based in Manila, Rio de Janeiro, Frankfurt & Düsseldorf.
He graduated at the University of Frankfurt (Dipl. Kaufmann) and holds an additional MBA.
Mr. Eelco Baan
Global Coordinator Agriculture with SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
Eelco Baan is the Global Coordinator Agriculture with SNV Netherlands Development Organisation. His focus is on the development and implementation of programmes in the field of resilient value chain development, inclusive business, public private partnerships and innovative financing. He has more than 25 years’ experience in Asia and Africa in economic development and inclusive value chain development in the agriculture sector. On behalf of Triodos Bank, he served on the board of Sathapana Ltd, a Cambodian Micro Finance Institute. He holds a Master of Science in Business Administration from Erasmus University, Rotterdam in The Netherlands.
Prof. Dr. Horst Fischer
(Univ. Leiden & Univ. Columbia), Director for Economic Cooperation European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME
Prof. Dr. Horst Fischer is the Associate Director for Economic Cooperation European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME.
After studying law, Prof Fischer earned his PhD in 1984 from the University of Bochum with a thesis on international law and the use of nuclear weapons.
From 1990, he served as member of several diplomatic delegations to conferences and meetings of non-governmental organizations that dealt with the issues of international humanitarian law and humanitarian assistance. He was also consultant on these issues for the United Nations, the European Union, several national ministries and various organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross ( ICRC).
He is served for more than 10 years as director of the Brussels Representation of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit. Since his retirement he continues to teach as senior professor at the Ruhr-University Bochum.
At Leiden University, he occupies the chair of international humanitarian law, he is also an Adjunct professor at Columbia University (SIPA), New York, as well as Visiting professor at the Vesalius College, Brussels. From 2002 – 2016 he had been president of the European Inter University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation in Venice.
Mr. Stefan Moritz
Managing Director of European Entrepreneurs CEA-PME
Since 2014 Mr Stefan Moritz is Managing Director of European Entrepreneur CEA-PME, the Brussels-based confederation of European SMEs associations representing 2 million enterprises with about 16 million employees
Mr Moritz has many years of experience in EU-funded economic development projects managed by international partner networks all over Europe.
After his studies in Sociology in Germany, he moved to Italy where, in 1999, he founded, together with 4 other partners, the Consulting Firm AREA EUROPA scrl, with seats in Bologna and – since 2013 – in Brussels. He led the company from 1999 until 2013 and, since then, manages the Brussels office.
He is an experienced project manager for regional economic development, European network manager, workshop facilitator and strategic advisor. Stefan Moritz speaks fluently English, Italian and Spanish, plus some French and Dutch.