Africa Union Commissioner for Economic Affairs (2013-2017)

Anthony+MothaeDR. ANTHONY MOTHAE MARUPING was until recently the African Union Commissioner for Economic Affairs (2013-2017) where he played a key role in setting and advocating for implementation of African Union’s Agenda 2063. Before this appointment, Dr. Maruping was the Ambassador Plenipotentiary/Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Lesotho to the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), World Trade Organization and other International Organizations in Switzerland. In his 6 year tenure, he served in many capacities including as President, G77 and China, Geneva Chapter; coordinator and lead negotiator of the African Group in Geneva for Humanitarian Affairs, and as coordinator and lead negotiator of Least Developed Countries in WTO, and Chairman of the WTO Committee on Trade and Development.

He also served as the Governor of the Central Bank of Lesotho from 1988 to 1998. From 1981 to 1986, Dr Maruping worked at the Na­tional University of Lesotho, first as a member of the Univer­sity Council, then as Dean of the Fac­ulty of Social Science and finally as Pro-Vice Chancel­lor.

He is currently on the Board of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC).

Dr. Mar­uping has an MA in economics from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC (1971), a PhD from the same University (1977) and an MBA from the Uni­versity of Baltimore (1979). He taught economics, statistics and business ad­ministration at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, USA (1977 – 1979) and at the National University of Lesotho (1980 – 1983, 86 – 87) respectively.

Former Liberian Minister of Finance And Director of the African Department at the IMF (JULY 2008-AUGUST 2016)

DR. ANTOINETTE MONSIO SAYEH is a distinguished visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development. Previously, she oversaw and enhanced the International Monetary Fund’s engagement with its sub-Saharan African members as director of the African Department from July 2008 to August 2016.

As Minister of Finance in post-conflict Liberia, Sayeh led the country through the clearance of its long-standing multilateral debt arrears, the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Decision Point, the Paris Club, and its first Poverty Reduction Strategy, significantly strengthening its public finances and championing public financial management reform.

Before joining President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Cabinet, she worked for the World Bank for 17 years, including as country director for Benin, Niger, and Togo; senior country economist on Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as an advisor in the Bank’s Operations Policy Vice Presidency and as assistant to its principal managing director. Sayeh also worked in economic advisory positions in Liberia’s Ministries of Finance and Planning.

She earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in Economics from Swarthmore College and a PhD in International Economic Relations from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

Secretary-General of The African Development Bank (MAY 2010- FEBRUARY 2016)

Cecilia+AkintomideCECILIA AKINTOMIDE, OON is a seasoned professional with executive level management experience in corporate governance, institutional affairs, business reorganization and financing. She was until recently, the Secretary General of the African Development Bank, where she was responsible for managing the secretariat as well as shareholder relations involving 80 member states. She was also responsible for the work programs of the Boards, and the institution’s diplomatic relations. In addition, she was a member of the senior management coordination and operations committees and chaired the committee for the preparation of the Bank’s Annual Meetings.

Prior to her role as Secretary-General, she served in several positions in the Bank, including Division Manager for Public and Private Sector Operations, in the General Counsel and Legal Services (GECL) Department, and Chief Legal Counsel, Administrative and Institutional Affairs. Cecilia currently serves on the Board of FBN Holdings, in Nigeria, where she brings in a wealth of management and legal experience spanning over 30 years post call to bar. She has practised law in different jurisdictions, including as a Business Reorganisation Associate in the law firm of Weil Gotshal & Manges, in New York, and as a Junior Associate at O. Thomas & Co., Lagos.

She was a member of the United Nations election monitoring team for the 1994 presidential elections in South Africa, won by Nelson Mandela. She was awarded Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) by the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2014 for her meritorious contributions in the field of International Development. She is experienced in working and leading in a multicultural and bilingual environment. Cecilia is a frequent speaker at international events on Law, Development and Gender. She is a member of the Nigerian Bar and the New York Bar.

She holds gold and bronze medals in swimming and is a Deacon as well as a member of the church choir.

Chief Justice/President of the Supreme Court of Kenya

maragaDAVID KENANI MARAGA, EGH, is the Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of Kenya. He is the Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), the National Council on the Administration of Justice (NCAJ), and National Council on Law Reporting (NCLR). Prior to his appointment as Chief Justice, Justice Maraga was the Presiding Judge of the Court of Appeal at Kisumu and the Chairperson of the Judiciary Committee on Elections. The Judiciary Committee on Elections is a standing Committee of the Judiciary which liaises with stakeholders, evaluates Judiciary’s role in the preparation and conduct of elections and advises the Judiciary on how to efficiently and expeditiously deal with election-related disputes. Resulting from the Committee’s work under CJ Maraga’s leadership, the Judiciary has been able to resolve all election disputes within the stipulated constitutional and statutory timelines. He was also Chairperson of the Tribunal appointed by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya that investigated and ruled on the conduct of a Judge of the High Court of Kenya. Before he was appointed Judge of the Court of Appeal, Justice Maraga had served as the Presiding Judge of the Family Division of the High Court of Kenya at Nairobi, and also as Resident Judge at the High Court of Kenya at Nakuru.

Before joining the Judiciary, Justice Maraga was a legal practitioner for twenty-five years in conveyancing, civil and criminal litigation. As a legal practitioner, he also served as the Chairman of the Rift Valley Law Society for five years and as a member of the Constitutional Review Task Force of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, East African Union.

The Hon Chief Justice Maraga holds a Master of Laws (LLM) Degree from the University of Nairobi; a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Degree from the same University and a Diploma in Legal Practice from the Kenya School of Law. He was admitted onto the Roll of Advocates in October 1978. He is a member of the Law Society of Kenya and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, London.

Justice Maraga has been a part-time lecturer at University of Nairobi on a pro bono basis and is an accomplished trainer who has facilitated in several capacity-building workshops at the Judiciary Training Institute and the Law Society of Kenya’s Continuous Legal Education (CLE) workshops. He has also presented papers in numerous local and international seminars and conducted training in Law.

Justice Maraga’s contribution to the development of the law, both as a legal practitioner and as a judge, has been immense. This evidenced by the large and significant body of jurisprudence that bears his legal imprimatur, particularly in areas of the electoral law and international piracy, where he has made path-breaking decisions. In August 2017, in the Odinga versus Kenyatta and Others Presidential Election Petition, CJ Maraga led Kenya’s Supreme Court in nullifying a presidential election, the first time a decision of this nature has been made in Africa and only the fourth time in the world. While at the High Court in Mombasa, he set the precedent for a standard of proof in the Hassan Joho vs Hotham NyangeElection Petition of 2005. At the Court of Appeal, he issued another precedent-setting decision that nullified an election on the grounds of bribery in the Wetang’ula vs Kombo & Other Election Petition Appeal of 2013.

In 2012, as part of a five-judge bench in the matter of Attorney General v. Mohamud Mohammed Harshi & Others, he overturned a High Court decision that declared that Kenya did not have powers to try piracy cases. The decision had constrained Kenya’s ability to deal with pirates operating along the Somali Coastline. Applying the principle of universal jurisdiction, the decision paved the way for Kenya to deal with pirates in the Indian Ocean and is cited widely as an authority in international criminal law.

Apart from electoral and international piracy law, Justice Maraga has made other important contributions to the development of the law in a number of historic decisions he has made in his career on the Bench. At the High Court in Nakuru, he declared section 12 of the Valuation of Rating Act unconstitutional, paving the way for law reform that resulted in local authorities becoming not only parties to the valuation for ratings but also having the power to appoint arbiters to the valuation courts. Ruling in the Simon O Kamau & Others vs TSC case of 2006 he held that the pension of retired teachers was entitled to salary increment as was granted by the government in 1997, which decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. In the Royal Media Services Ltd & Others v. Attorney General & Others, he was on the three-judge bench that revoked a single digital broadcast licence, which had been issued by the Government to the Pan-African Network Group and the national broadcaster subsidiary, Signet. The decision laid the foundation for the settlement of public interest questions in the broadcast sphere at the Supreme Court.

In December 2016, the President of the Republic of Kenya honoured CJ Maraga with the award of Elder of the Golden Heart (EGH) for distinguished service to the people of Kenya. CJ Maraga has also received several awards for his contribution to the strengthening of the rule of law, constitutionalism and distinguished service to the country. In December 2017, he was awarded the 5th C B Madan Award, a joint initiative of the Strathmore University Law School and The Platform Magazine. The award is named after Kenya’s highly respected Retired Chief Justice, Chunilal Bhagwandas Madan, popularly known as C.B Madan, who battled to entrench integrity and independence of the Judiciary. The Madan Award paid tribute to CJ Maraga for the way the Supreme Court of Kenya, under his leadership, presided over two presidential election petitions in 2017. The citation read, inter alia,

“As the administrative head of the Judiciary, Justice Maraga has resisted executive and legislative attempts to subordinate the judicial branch to the political arms of government and thereby provided leadership at a critical moment in our legal history.”

CJ Maraga was also awarded the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) – Kenya Section 2017 Jurist of the Year Award. The award recognizes and acknowledges the outstanding contributions of an individual towards the promotion and protection of human rights, justice and the rule of law in Kenya. It honours distinguished service to humanity sometimes in difficult and challenging circumstances.  ICJ recognized CJ Maraga’s ‘courage, boldness and determination’ in the handling of the two presidential petitions, which, the citation noted, inter alia,

‘gave us hope that all was not lost, that the roots of democracy had not all been uprooted; they were still firmly germinating on the ground. There are still courageous men and women who can defend and uphold the Constitution and the laws of the land. This gave hope not only to Kenya but also the African Region and the world over.’

Further, the highly regarded and renowned pan-African monthly magazine, New African, in 2017 recognized Justice Maraga as the sixth (6) most influential person in Politics and Public Service after the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, and just before Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo. His work has had a transformative effect outside his calling as a jurist and his actions provide hope and inspiration to millions of Kenya and Africans.

CJ Maraga is an authority and a sought-after speaker in many legal forums. He has been the Key Speaker in numerous functions and has presented various papers at conferences in Kenya, Africa and abroad. As an accomplished trainer, he has facilitated in many capacity-building workshops locally and internationally. In the book Balancing the Scales of Justice: Resolving Disputes from the 2013 Elections in Kenya and the Emerging Jurisprudence Justice Maraga contributed a highly referenced and cited Chapter titled Scrutiny in Electoral Disputes: A Kenyan Judicial Perspective.

CJ Maraga is a God-fearing man and an adherent of the Seventh-day Adventist church where he serves as an Elder. He is a devoted husband and father of three children. He has served as a member of the board of governors of several secondary schools in the country and supports the Moi Children’s Home and St Barnados Children’s Home in Nairobi. He has and continues to pay for the education of orphans and disadvantaged children, some up to university level. He has helped build churches in different parts of the country. CJ Maraga is also a motivational speaker who addresses young people and offers counsel and comfort to distraught widows, among others.

Justice Maraga regards the rule of law as a central and determinative factor in securing political stability and economic development of any nation. His tenure as Chief Justice is predicated on Sustaining Judiciary Transformation in Kenya, with the key focus being an improvement in service delivery.

Former President of Somalia (SEPT. 2012- FEB. 2017)

HassanH.E. HASSAN SHEIKH MOHAMUD was the 8th President of Somalia from September 2012 until February 2017. A civil and political activist, Mohamud was previously a university professor and dean. In 2013, Mohamud was named to the Time 100, TIME magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. His efforts at advancing national reconciliation, and socio-economic and security sector reforms in Somalia were cited as reasons for the selection.

Throughout the Somali civil war, beginning in 1991, Mohamud was one of the few Somali intellectuals who remained in the country, working as a peace activist, reconciliation champion, and campaigner for education, as well as consulting with various non-government organizations, UN bureaus, and international organizations such as Oxford University’s Centre for Refugee Studies.

Mohamud became active in political reconciliation circles, forming civilian-based pressure groups that lobbied the multitudinous political faction and attempting to open channels of dialogue between local actors and faction leaders based in Mogadishu.

To address the need for a well-trained civil service for post-conflict reconstruction, Mohamud co-established the Somali Institute of Management and Administration Development (SIMAD) in 1999. The institution subsequently grew into the SIMAD University, with Mohamud acting as dean until 2010.

In 2011 he established the Peace and Development Party (PDP), with the mandate of the restoration of peace and stability in Somalia through dialogue and reconciliation. In September 2012, Mohamud was elected as President to lead the first internationally recognized constitutional government in over 20 years.

Mohamud’s leadership challenge was enormous: trying to transform Somalia politically, whilst fighting a domestic war against terror, minus any robust or capacitated instruments of state. Under his leadership, the new government laid the groundwork for stabilization and ensuing reform.

Under his administration, the federalization process of the country was initiated with the formation of federal member states, constitutionally mandated committees were formed, numerous legislation was passed, relations with IMF were restored after a 25 year absence, economic reforms supporting growth were delivered and new elections were undertaken resulting in the peaceful transfer of leadership.



issaH.E. Issa Konfourou is a career diplomat with over 18 years of experience. Konfourou has been the Permanent Representative of Mali to the United Nations since 2016.

With a sound background and track record in strategic and advisory positions at the national and international levels, Issa Konfourou holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from Sorbonne University (Paris, France) and a graduate diploma from the prestigious National School of Public Administration in Strasbourg, France.

Prior to his appointment at the United Nations, Mr. Konfourou served as Technical Advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and African Integration.  At this position, he participated in the Inter-Malian Dialogue, which concluded the signing of the 2015 Algiers Agreement for Peace and National Reconciliation in Mali. The Peace Agreement put an end to the fourth Tuareg rebellion Mali experienced since its independence from France in 1960.

Between 2008 and 2014, Konfourou served as Diplomatic Advisor to six Prime Ministers of Mali. His contribution was critical to strengthening the cooperation between Mali, its international partners and donors. He also contributed to the promotion and protection of Malians abroad and to the African Union’s agenda of African integration. As Advisor, Konfourou was a critical participant to the 2013 negotiations that ended in the Interim Agreement of Ouagadougou, which created the conditions for the 2013 post-crisis presidential elections in Mali.

Having joined Mali’s Public Service as a Foreign Affairs Advisor in 1999, H.E. Konfourou served as Third and Second Counsellor at Mali’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York between 2000 and 2007. Durant his tenure, he served as Legal Adviser, political Expert and Consul of Mali in New York.

He is fully bilingual in English and French.