Samia Melhem is a Lead Policy Officer in the World Bank's Transport and ICT Global Practice. She chairs the Digital Development Community of Practice and leads Global ICT's Transformation practice, as well as its Knowledge, Learning and Solutions functions.
Her current operational responsibilities include lending and technical assistance for the ICT sector. In her 20 years of experience in development at the World Bank Group, Samia has worked on ICT4D in several sectors: telecommunications and broadband policy, ICT for public sector transformation, improving health and education services, and innovation and private sector development. Samia held several positions as regional coordinator in different regions such as Africa, Middle East and North Africa, Senior Operations Officer at InfoDev, and Strategy and Policy Officer in ECA, Africa and IMT.
Eric Olander is the co-founder of the China Africa Project (CAP), an independent, non-partisan media initiative dedicated to exploring every facet of China’s engagement in Africa. Eric is also the co-host of the weekly China in Africa podcast that is now among the top-10% most downloaded shows worldwide. Eric is a fluent Mandarin-speaker and a longtime China-watcher with more than 25 years of journalism experience at many of the world’s leading media companies including CNN, the BBC, and FRANCE24 among others. He received his undergraduate degree in East African History from the University of California at Berkeley and holds a master’s degree in Chinese Public Affairs from the University of Hong Kong.
Odunayo Eweniyi is Cofounder and COO of PiggyVest. She previously cofounded pushcv.com, one of the largest job sites in Africa with the largest database of prescreened candidates. In 2019 she was named one of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 Technology as well as 30 Quartz Africa Innovators 2019. She sits on the advisory board of TrainFuture, an Education Technology company based in Switzerland, as well as the Gender Lens Acceleration Best Practices Initiative, a collaborative effort of Village Capital, US and the International Finance Corporation's Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative. She works to support the inclusion of women in technology by working with hubs and female-focused networks, including For Creative Girls, GreenHouse Labs, She Leads Africa, Itanna. She is also the cofounder of the women’s community, Wine and Whine Nigeria.
Aubrey Hruby is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Africa Center. She is also co-founder of Insider and the Africa Expert Network (AXN), Co-host of the NewThink Podcast and an active investor in African start-ups. In her role at Insider, Hruby works with global entrepreneurs to generate positive public relations and to connect them with investors, while at AXN, she has helped build Africa’s leading information brokerage and expert connection service.
Hruby has consulted extensively in over twenty-five African markets and regularly advises senior policymakers and Fortune 500 companies on doing business in Africa. She is the former managing director of the Whitaker Group, an Africa-focused advisory firm that has helped facilitate well over $2 billion in capital flows to the continent. Prior to that, she was an International Trade Specialist at the Barnett Group LLC, where she worked with corporate clients to resolve trade problems in the Middle East and Africa.
Aubrey sits on the board of Invest Africa USA, the private sector advisory board of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the boards of two dynamic Nigerian companies. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, is a professor at Georgetown University, and is a Young Leader at the Milken Institute.