Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais
Founding Board Member
Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais is an entrepreneur and innovation specialist with a deep interest in African socio-economic development. In 2007, Mr. Bastos de Morais founded Quantum Global Group, an international group of companies focused on African development, particularly in the fields of corporate finance advisory, asset and private wealth management, real estate and investment consulting.
As Founder and Group CEO, he provides instrumental guidance on financial markets, especially across Africa and other emerging markets. In 2014, he established Quantum Global Research Lab, which aims to provide bottom-up econometric models for inclusive development in Africa.
In 2008, Mr. Bastos de Morais founded Banco Kwanza Invest, Angola’s first investment bank. As a Member of the Board, he advises on the bank’s strategic direction.
At the core of his innovation-related work is the African Innovation Foundation (AIF), an organization he founded in 2009 to drive African-led development through fostering innovation. The AIF implements the annual Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA), which was launched in 2011 in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). In 2012, the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) passed a resolution to promote an innovation-based society in Africa.
Mr. Bastos de Morais is on the advisory board of the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF) and the University Of Cape Town Graduate School Of Business. He is a member of the International Board of Foundation for Globethics.net, a leading global network that advocates ethical corporate and social practices.
Beyond his work, Mr. Bastos de Morais also has wide-ranging interests that span literature, music, art, science and community service. He is one of the co-Founders of the Club of Patrons of the Primavera Locarnese Festival and in 2013, introduced the Youtopia Festival with the aim of inspiring young people to reconnect with literature. He is co-Founder of Rundum, an events company with entertainment-led brands such as Miro China and China Drifting, aimed at introducing China’s progressive artistes to international audiences.
In October 2011, he founded the Kitangana Tennis Project for orphans in Angola. He supports epigenetics field research through sponsorship of a research project at the Centre of Neuroscience ZNZ, a joint competence center of the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH.
He is the co-editor of the book Innovation Ethics. African and Global Perspectives, co-published by Globethics.net and the AIF. His second book, The Convergence of Nations: Why Africa’s Time Is Now was published by OMFIF Press in collaboration with a team of 31 authors from 15 nations. He began his career as a management consultant and holds a Master of Arts in Management from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland.
Chairman of the Foundation Board
Ambassador Walter Fust is Chairman of the Board for the African Innovation Foundation, providing strategic guidance to the Foundation’s mandate. After studying Public Administration at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, he commenced his diplomatic career, serving Swiss embassies in Baghdad and Tokyo. He subsequently assumed various functions in the Federal Administration and in the private sector, including the role of Personal Assistant to Federal Councilor Dr. Kurt Furgler, Minister of Economy and President of the Swiss Confederation. W. Fust then became Managing Director of the Swiss Trade Promotion Office (OSEC) and Secretary General of the Ministry of Interior. He headed the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) for 15 years. Since his retirement, Amb. Fust holds mandates in the Broadband Commission for Digital Development (ITU/UNESCO) and the UN Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA). He chairs the Global Crop Diversity Trust (Bonn) and serves on the boards of the Coalition for Dialog on Africa/CoDA, the Library of Alexandria, CATIE, the American University for tropical agriculture and forestry in Costa Rica, and different national Foundations. Amb. Fust is a well-known and a widely-connected personality in international development, with particular knowledge and expertise in trade, development and humanitarian affairs.
Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu
Member of the Foundation Board
Bethlehem founded SoleRebels, the fastest growing African footwear brand and the 1st global footwear brand to emerge from a developing nation. In doing so, she has created jobs and prosperity, empowering her community and country while presenting a galvanized dynamic face of African creativity to the global market. She was the first female African entrepreneur to address the Clinton Global Initiative as a speaker and panelist (September, 2010) and was named one of the World Economic Forum’s 2011 Young Global Leaders. That same year, Bethlehem was selected as 2011’s Outstanding African Business Woman by the African Business Awards. Most recently, FORBES magazine published their 2012 World's 100 Most Powerful Women list and named Bethlehem as Woman to Watch! This followed featuring her AS “Africa’s Most Successful Women” AND one of its 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa in 2011. A trailblazer in every respect, Bethlehem has shifted the discourse on African development from one of poverty alleviation orchestrated by external actors, to one about prosperity creation driven by local Africans maximizing their talents and resources.
AIF Board Member
Mr Omar Balafrej is a Board member of the African Innovation Foundation since 2014, providing strategic advice and technical support to build the innovation landscape across Africa. Omar Balafrej is the CEO of MITC, a Moroccan public private partnership that manages Technopark. Casablanca and Rabat technoparks host 230 start-ups and SMEs with a natural 20% turnover. Several business services are offered in both technoparks, ranging from hosting to coaching and assistance to finance. Technopark’s ecosystem has been significantly enhanced lately with the installation of various entities that aim to support start-ups and a host of SMEs in Morocco. A new technopark shall open in 2015 in Tangiers (north of Morocco). Omar Balafrej is also President of MITC Capital, entity that manages the Maroc Numeric Fund (MAD 100 million venture capital fund) mnf.ma and board member of the CMI, Moroccan center for innovation cmi.net.ma . Besides this, Omar Balafrej is a member of the city council of Rabat and is actively involved in supporting various associations in Morocco. He has been president of the Abderrahim Bouabid Foundation (fab.ma) from 2009 to 2012 and is a Board member of The Cinémathèque de Tanger (www.cinemathequedetanger.com)
Rowena Bethel has joined the AIF as a Board member. Rowena is a Bahamian national and an attorney-at-law. She was Director/CEO of the National Insurance Board, the social insurance fund of The Bahamas and has served for 31+ years in The Bahamas’ government service. Rowena is Vice Chair of both the UN Committee of Experts in Public Administration (CEPA) and the ISSA Technical Commission on Employment Policies. She has also worked as an independent global regulatory consultant on public governance, international tax policy and ICT law and policy.
Rowena is a Member of the UN Committee of Experts in Public Administration (CEPA). She also participates in the work on the UN eGovernment Survey and annual eGovernment awards forum. She was previously a member of UN Strategy Council for GAID; the UN Committee of Experts on Tax Cooperation; The Bahamas’ representative on the OECD Global Tax Forum; Vice Chair of the ISSA Technical Commission on Employment Policies and Unemployment Insurance; Chair of CARICOM Heads of Social Security; and lead negotiator for CARIFORUM for the EU EPA.
She is Deputy Chair of the Cellular Liberalization Task Force and a member of the National Health Insurance Task Force. She previously served as Deputy Chair of The Bahamas Telecommunications Company.
Rowena holds an LL.B (Leicester University); an LL.M in IT and Telecommunications Law and Policy (Strathclyde University) and a Diploma in Offshore eCommerce Law from IBLS. Rowena is a member of the Bar of England and Wales, and of The Bahamas Bar.