This lunch-time event alongside the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit will offer a platform for representatives from civil society, the private sector, and governments to share experiences on efforts to improve natural resource governance, including fiscal and financial transparency. The luncheon will feature remarks and an interactive discussion of four representatives on topics including: civil society and citizen participation, open contracting and open companies, revenue and budget transparency, trade mis-invoicing and the potential of existing African governance mechanisms.
Mojanku Gumbi is one of Africa’s foremost political strategists and public policy practitioners. Based in South Africa, she works with companies from a wide range of industries to expand their African and global footprint. ASG partners with Ms. Gumbi's firm, Gumbi Dechambenoit & Associates, to provide seamless service to our clients accross the Continent and around the world.
Ms. Gumbi was a Special Advisor to South African President Thabo Mbeki from 1999 to 2008. From 1994 to 1999 she was an advisor to then Deputy President Mbeki in the Mandela administration. During this time, she spearheaded South Africa’s economic diplomacy, ensuring a global presence for South African companies, as well as peace-making initiatives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Sudan, Lesotho, Somalia, the Balkans and the Middle East.
Also during the administration, Ms. Gumbi advised on domestic policy issues including the reform of the local healthcare industry, the expansion of South African telecoms operators to the rest of Africa and the world, banking and mining sector reforms.
Ms. Gumbi was one of South Africa’s principal negotiators at the Seattle and Doha rounds of the World Trade Organization, and served as President Mbeki’s personal representative to the G8, where she played a leading role in the establishment of the G5 Group (Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa).
Prior to serving in the Presidency, Ms. Gumbi acted as the Head of the Adjudication Secretariat of the Independent Electoral Commission during South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994.
Ms. Gumbi holds Law degrees from the South African Universities of the North, and Witwatersrand, and a certificate in Trial Advocacy from the University of Texas in Austin. She serves and has served on the boards of many companies, trusts, and philanthropic associations including the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, the Open Society Foundation, the Southern African Political and Economic Trust, the Black Lawyers Association and the Thabo Mbeki Foundation.
Heather Higginbottom was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in December 2013. In her current role, she shares in the global responsibilities for U.S. foreign policy and has broad management and programmatic oversight responsibilities for both the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Ms. Higginbottom, the first female to become Deputy Secretary, most recently served as Counselor to the Secretary of State, advising him on policy, personnel, and management issues.
Prior to joining the State Department, Ms. Higginbottom served as Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where she was the Chief Operating Officer of OMB and a principal architect of the federal budget. From January 2009 to January 2011, Ms. Higginbottom served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. In that role, she advised the President on a range of education, immigration, and economic development issues – including helping to design the Race to the Top and Promise Neighborhood programs.
Ms. Higginbottom began working for then-Senator Obama in 2007, when she served as Policy Director for the President’s campaign and supervised all aspects of foreign and domestic policy development.
During the 2004 campaign, she served as the Deputy National Policy Director for the Kerry-Edwards Presidential Campaign. After the election, she founded and served as Executive Director of the American Security Project, a national security think tank.
Ms. Higginbottom began her government service in 1999, when she joined the office of then Senator John Kerry as Legislative Assistant. During her years in Senator Kerry’s staff, she handled a wide array of domestic and foreign policy issues, and eventually served as his Legislative Director, overseeing all policy matters.
Prior to her government service, Ms. Higginbottom served at Communities In Schools, a national non-profit organization dedicated to keeping young people from dropping out of school.
Ms. Higginbottom holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Rochester and a Masters degree in Public Policy from the George Washington University.
Dr. Mo Ibrahim is the Founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation which he established in 2006 to support good governance and exceptional leadership on the African continent.
Sudanese-born, Dr. Ibrahim is a global expert in mobile communications with a distinguished business career. He founded Celtel International, one of Africa’s leading mobile telephone companies, in 1998 which was sold to Zain in 2005 and was then purchased by Bharti Airtel in 2010.
Dr. Ibrahim is also Founding Chairman of Satya Capital Limited, an investment fund focused on Africa.
Dr. Ibrahim has received numerous honorary degrees and fellowships from a range of academic institutions. He is also the recipient of a number of awards including: The GSM Association's Chairman's Award for Lifetime Achievement (2007), the BNP Paribas Prize for Philanthropy (2008), the Clinton Global Citizen award (2010); the Millennium Excellence Award for Actions in Africa (2012); the David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award (2012); the Africare Leadership Award (April 2013); the Kiel Institute Global Economy Prize (June 2013); Eisenhower Medal for Distinguished Leadership and Service (May 2014) and the Foreign Policy Association Medal (June 2014).
In 2008 he was listed by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Ali Idrissa is the national coordinator of ROTAB (Réseau des organisations pour la transparence et l’analyse budgétaire/ Network of organisations for transparency and budget analysis). He is one of the founding members and vice-president of one of the most important organisations for the defence of human rights and promotion of democracy in Niger, CROISADE Niger, an association created in 1999. Ali represents civil society as a member of the national committee of EITI Niger. He is Director General of the Independent Press Group, Labari.
Daniel Kaufmann is a nonresident senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution. He carries out policy analysis and applied research on economic development, governance, regulation and corruption around the world. He is a world-renowned writer, lecturer and analyst on governance, corruption, and development worldwide, with experience in Latin America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, as well as in industrialized and transition economies.
He is currently president of the Natural Resource Governance Institute. Previously he served as a director at the World Bank Institute, where he pioneered new approaches to measure and analyze governance and corruption, helping countries formulate action programs. At the World Bank, Kaufmann also held senior positions focused on finance, regulation and anti-corruption, as well as on capacity building for Latin America. He also served as lead economist both in economies in transition as well as in the World Bank's research department, and earlier in his career was a senior economist in Africa. In the early nineties, Kaufmann was the first Chief of Mission of the World Bank to Ukraine, and then he held a visiting position at Harvard University.
Kaufmann is also a member of the Global Agenda Council at the World Economic Forum, a member of the board of the Natural Resource Governance Institute, as well as a member of the advisory boards of Transparency International and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. His research on economic development, governance, the unofficial economy, macro-economics, investment, corruption, privatization, and urban and labor economics has been published in leading journals, and his writings are featured in international media.
Kaufmann is a Chilean national who received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics at Harvard, and a B.A. in Economics and Statistics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His blog on Governance is at www.thekaufmannpost.net, and he tweets at www.twitter.com/#!/kaufpost.
George Soros came of age in Hungary at a time when it was a battleground in the decades-long conflict between fascism and communism, the two great totalitarian ideologies of the 20th century. A personal experience of this conflict--including the violence, foreign occupation, anti-Semitism, and other forms of intolerance that went with it--as well as a personal fascination with philosophy shaped Soros’s thinking in later years and influenced his successful strategies in both finance and philanthropy.
Born in Budapest in 1930, Soros survived the Nazi occupation of Hungary during World War II as well as the postwar imposition of Stalinism in his homeland. Soros fled Communist-dominated Hungary in 1947 and made his way to England. Before graduating from the London School of Economics in 1952, Soros studied Karl Popper’s work in the philosophy of science as well as his critique of totalitarianism, The Open Society and Its Enemies, which maintains that no philosophy or ideology has the final word on the truth and that societies can only flourish when they allow for democratic governance, freedom of expression, a diverse range of opinion, and respect for individual rights.
Later, while working as a financial analyst and trader in New York, Soros adapted Popper’s thinking in developing his own application of the social theory of "reflexivity," a set of ideas that seeks to explain how a feedback mechanism can skew how participants in a market value assets on that market. After concluding that he had more talent for trading than for philosophy, Soros began to apply his ideas on reflexivity to investing, using it to predict, among other things, the emergence of financial bubbles. In 1967, he helped establish an offshore investment fund. In 1973, he set
up a private investment firm that eventually evolved into the Quantum Fund, one of the first hedge funds.
Soros’s memories of anti-Semitism in wartime Hungary prompted him, in 1979, to begin providing financial support for black students at the University of Cape Town in apartheid South Africa. In 1984, Soros created an education and culture foundation in Hungary. He later supported dissident movements in Eastern Europe’s other Communist countries, helping people to organize themselves at a time when popular organizations were banned, to voice their opinions when dissonant opinions were considered anti-state propaganda, and to promote tolerance, democratic governance, human rights, and the rule of law when a one-party dictatorship exercised a monopoly on power.
As the East bloc crumbled during the late 1980s and the Soviet empire collapsed in the early 1990s, Soros expanded his funding in an effort to help create open societies in all of the region’s countries. He demonstrated his commitment to critical thinking and democratic political development by establishing Central European University in 1991. In 1993, he founded the Open Society Institute. Over the past three decades, Soros’s philanthropy has spawned a network of foundations dedicated to promoting development of open societies in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. To date, Soros has given over $8 billion to support human rights, freedom of expression, and access to public health and education in more than 100 countries.
Soros’s most recent book is Financial Turmoil in Europe and the United States: Essays (2012). His other books include The Soros Lectures: At the Central European University (2010); The Crash of 2008 and What it Means: The New Paradigm for Finance Markets (2009); The Age of Fallibility: Consequences of The War on Terror (2006); The Bubble of American Supremacy (2005); George Soros on Globalization (2002); Open Society: Reforming Global Capitalism (2000); The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Open Society Endangered (1998); Soros on Soros: Staying Ahead of the Curve (1995); Underwriting Democracy (1991); Opening the Soviet System (1990); and The Alchemy of Finance (1987). His essays on politics, society, and economics appear frequently in major periodicals around the world.
Simon Taylor is the Director of Global Witness and, since 1993, Co-Founder and Director. He was formerly with Environmental Investigation Agency. He is responsible for investigations, writing reports, lobbying and campaign work. Taylor led Global Witness' Extractives transparency work, co-launching the Publish What You Pay campaign in 2002 with George Soros. Currently working on climate-energy crunch.