Artificial Intelligence and the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Africa

Ms Andréa Campbell
Mr Ahmed El Essawi
Mr Logan Funi
Prof Hein Venter
Mr Patrick Krappie
Mr Nare Mashamaite
Mr Mpho Segolela
Mr Werner Swanepoel
Ms Charlene Verzmoter
Ms Sunita Kalan

Mr Ahmed El Essawi

Ahmed Elessawi is Microsoft’s Government Affairs Program Manager for the Middle East and Africa. He works on strategic Public Policy initiatives across the MEA region to advance Microsoft’s policy discussions in a scalable and sustainable way.

Prior to joining Microsoft in 2013, Ahmed worked for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and as a research assistant for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA) between 2012 and 2013, focusing on social issues and women’s empowerment.

Ahmed is a graduate of the American University in Cairo (AUC) where he studied Political Science, with a focus on International Relations and Public & International Law. Ahmed has also lived in a number of countries including Israel, Germany, Kuwait, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Turkey, and the UAE, which he has now called home for almost 3 years.

Mr Logan Finucan

Logan Finucan is a Senior Analyst of International Public Policy. Based in Washington D.C., Logan Finucan supports a range of clients including cloud computing providers, hardware manufacturers, cybersecurity service providers, network equipment manufacturers, and satellite operators. He specializes in data protection, privacy, and cybersecurity policies; goods, services, and digital international trade rules; as well as policy approaches to emerging technologies. In addition to the United States, he also focuses on India, key markets in the Asia-Pacific, and multilateral processes (ITU, APEC, and WTO).

Some of Logan’s notable projects at Access Partnership include leading authorship on white papers focusing on artificial intelligence, cloud, and new technologies in emerging markets, supporting data policy lobbying campaigns in South and Southeast Asia, interfacing with U.S. government international engagement on telecommunications policy and digital trade, and supporting private sector engagement in international Internet governance policy.

Mr Mpho Segolela

Being interested in all things technology, Mpho Joined the ICT sector in 2005 working as a support technician within the banking industries. He was later introduced to the education side of ICT as a facilitator for one of the leading radio frequency engineering companies, it is from that training background that he dwelled more into the Ed-Tech space and subsequently started working with Non-profits in advocating for Tech education specifically the advancement of computer science education within SouthAfrica’s basic education system.

Mpho holds a degree in Computer science and a number of vendor certifications i.e. Cisco/CompTIA/Microsoft. He has 13 years’ of experience working in the ICT sector, 7 of which has been in the Ed-Tech space. He is currently head of Operations at Code for Change and heads up the organisation’s education and policy recommendations in collaboration with the South African Department of Basic Education (DBE), the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE), the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) and the organisations corporate partners.

He is a Techy at heart and also regards himself as a futurist.

Mr Nare Mashamaite

Mr Nare Mashamaite is the Senior Project Manager at the CSIR’s Technology Localisation Implementation Unit (TLIU). He holds a BSc (Hons) in Technology Management from the University of Pretoria. Mr Mashamaite has been working in the socio-economic development,enterprise development and mentorship,business incubation,and technology and innovation transfer space for about 14 years. His responsibilities within the TLIU include implementation of programmes aimed at strengthening regional (provincial) innovation systems on behalf of the Department of Science and Technology (DST). He previously worked for organisations such as Tshumisano Technology Station Programme, Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA).

Mr Werner Swanepoel

Werner has seven years auditing and financial risk analysis experience in addition to completing his SAICA training contract at Price water house Coopers during 2010, where he also formed part of the national recruitment division. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant during his term as article clerk at PricewaterhouseCoopers. After completion of his articles and completion of the relevant board examinations, Werner registered with the South African Institute for Chartered Accountants (SAICA), the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) as well as the South African Institute for Health Care Managers (SAIHCM).

He audited companies in different sectors of the South African economy and enjoyed exposure to a vast array of financial environments whilst specialising in the healthcare and automotive industry, with focus on sustainable risk management and internal control design through the implementation of information processing systems.

After completion of his articles, he co-founded Medical Practice Consulting (Pty) Ltd, a specialist risk management firm in the South African healthcare industry, where he is appointed as Executive Director. Under his leadership Medical Practice Consulting represents the innovation hub of the South African healthcare industry by providing 35, 000 healthcare professionals with access to accredited training content and CPD compliance risk management systems.

During 2017, Werner co-founded Qode Health Solutions (Pty) Ltd (Qode) as a Foundation for Professional Development and Right to Care group company. Qode specializes in the development of public sector big data systems for healthcare and social sectors. Werner is appointed as a Executive Director within Qode. Werner acts in a quality review role for numerous USAID, PEPFAR, UNESCO and UNFPA technology solutions implemented in Southern Africa by various partners.

Werner believes in a life-time commitment to education, which is why he acted in various part-time academic positions at Forbes Lever Baker, The Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA) and Edge Business School since the incorporation of Medical Practice Consulting. He presented modules in auditing on the UNISA syllabus, from second year to CTA Level 2. Werner currently lectures “Managing Information and Strategic IT” for the Manchester Business School Advanced Management Programme.

Aside from auditing and risk management, Werner also acted in positions in the retail and entertainment sectors, prior to starting his SAICA training contract, where he developed skills in public speaking and client facilitation.

Ms Andréa Campbell

Andréa is the Commercial Attorney within the Corporate, Executive, Legal and Advisory team within Microsoft Middle East and Africa;

She has a Bachelor of Laws (LLB: Law) from the University of Pretoria and is an Admitted Attorney of the High Court of South Africa;

Is a Member of the Law Society of South Africa as well as a Post-graduate diploma in Financial Planning Law (University of the Free State);

Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and member of the Financial Planning Institute of South Africa (FPI);

  • FAIS Regulatory Exam 1 (RE: 1)
  • Andréa has in excess of 10 years experience in corporate law, financial services and investment banking gained working for top tier banks and financial services institutions. These include Investec, ABSA Capital and Investment Solutions (part of the Alexander Forbes Group);
  • Andréa undertakes volunteer work for the Financial Planning Institute, in their effort to make professional financial planning accessible to all South Africans, and for ABSIP;
  • and is a seasoned entrepreneur with personal investments in asset management, banking, property and financial services;
  • Andréa has also worked personally on a number of BEE deals in a corporate finance advisory capacity.

Ms Charlene Verzmoter

Charlene joined Microsoft in February 2008 to head up the Student to Business Programme, a Technology Internship programme. The programme started in 2007 with 30 students. Today over 10 000 students have been trained on Microsoft technologies through this internship programme and gained access to the job market. Charlene managed to unlock funding from various stakeholders to scale the programme over the past 9 years. She was part of the Citizenship team and was responsible for driving our Broad-based Black economic empowerment and Skills development strategy.

She is currently the Philanthropies lead for Microsoft, involved with various youth development programmes and empowering NGO’s to use technology through our software donation programme and grants to impact more lives in the communities and the people they work with.She is currently the project manager in a programme to train 1 million youth in South Africa over the next 3 years in digital and computer science skills in partnership with government and the private sector.

Prior to joining Microsoft, she work for a number of years at Accenture as a management consultant, developing skills in large IT systems implementation projects, change management, transformation strategies and later joined the HR team at Accenture as the Professional Development Lead.

Charlene is an innovative and highly self-driven professional with extensive and diverse experience in the Training and Skills Development, Transformation Management and Social Enterprise Development. She worked in both large global and JSE listed companies with significant business acumen in people and talent development and retention. In addition, she also worked with both private and public sector organisations driving skills and skills development programmes for enhancing employability and business growth for organisations.

She obtained her B(Ed) Honors degree in Educational Psychology at the University of Pretoria and has done several skills programmes on an annual basis to constantly upskill and re-skill herself. Charlene is passionate about helping people reach their full potential through technology and to discover their talents and gift.

Ms Sunita Kalan

Ms Kalan has a BSc LLB from Wits University and is an admitted attorney. She has about 18 years of experience in the national system of innovation, in various roles at a number of institutions, including the Water Research Commission, Deloitte Consulting, the CSIR and the Department of Science and Technology (DST). She has experience as an IP attorney, and expertise in intellectual property and innovation management. She also has extensive exposure insupport for enterprise development.

She has been the Director of the Sector and Local Innovation Directorate at the DST for about 4.5 years and manages a portfolio that focuses on building science, technology and innovation (STI) capabilities in the areas of

(1) development of industry innovation partnerships to support competiveness of relevantsectors of the economy; and

(2) guiding and supporting regional innovation programmes and activities at subnational levels.

She is instrumental in managing key initiatives aimed at incentivising increased private sector investment into research, development and innovation (RDI), and providing technology development support through industry development centresin strategic sectors. These initiatives are part of the DST’s innovation driven industrial development portfolio. In addition, her portfolio includes supporting innovation enabling mechanisms at subnational level.


Prof Hein Venter

In his research career over the past 16 years, Prof. Dr. Hein Venter has established an international research reputation in cyber security and cyber forensics.

Prof Venter is the research group leader for the Information and Computer Security Architectures (ICSA) research group at the University of Pretoria where he collectively supervises 30 Computer Science postgraduate students, on BSc Honours, M.IT, MSc and PhD level. So far 81 students received their degrees under the supervision of Prof Venter: He is also general chair of the Information Security for South Africa (ISSA) conference. The conference is well attended by international delegates each year.

Prof Venter has engaged in considerable international collaboration, the most noteworthy being his contribution to the standardisation of the digital forensic investigation process on ISO level. He initiated the process and was appointed as main editor of the standard. The standard is entitled “ISO/IEC 27043: Incident Investigation Principles and Processes”, and was published in March 2015 by ISO. He is currently editor of ISO/IEC 27035: Incident investigation.

AI for Africa one pager (1)