The 2020 Plenary will be announced closer to the 12th ICT4D Conference. Past 2019 Plenary Speakers included:
Hon. Frank Tumwebaze
Minister of Information and Communication Technology & National Guidance
The Republic of Uganda
VP Humanitarian Response
Catholic Relief Services
Jennifer Poidatz is Catholic Relief Services’ Vice President for Humanitarian Response. Leading a global team of over 40 emergency technical advisors and response managers, she ensures timely support to CRS country programs and local partners responding to relief and recovery needs of disaster affected populations. Capacity building for CRS staff and local partners in emergency preparedness and response is also a priority, as well as informing and influencing wider humanitarian policy and reform.
She joined CRS in 1993 as an intern in Ghana. In 1994, Ms. Poidatz served as a Program Manager in Rwanda during the Genocide. Following a year in Haiti where she managed emergency assistance programming during a period of economic and political crisis, Jennifer spent two years in Burundi as the Assistant Country Representative and then as Country Representative.
In 1998, Ms. Poidatz became CRS Country Representative in Angola during the country’s civil war. In 2005, she served as the Country Representative in Sri Lanka, where she was responsible for the oversight of the Tsunami response. From 2006 to 2009, she was the CRS Country Representative for India and from 2009 to 2011, Ms. Poidatz served as the Country Representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Immediately before her appointment as Director and, subsequently, Vice President of Humanitarian Response, Jennifer led the development of CRS response to the war in Syria – including the initiation and expansion of programming in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Syria.
Ms. Poidatz holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition from the University of Vermont and a Master of Science Degree in International Nutrition from Tufts University.
Regional Director for Africa
International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
Andrew Rugege, a veteran in the Information Technology field is currently the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Regional Director for Africa, based in Addis Ababa. He is also the ITU Representative to the African Union Commission (AUC) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) both in Ethiopia. He is responsible for collaboration with and technical assistance to ITU Members in Africa and believes that by putting ITU’s resources and expertise at the disposal of its Members, Telecommunications/ICT can become the backbone of Africa’s knowledge-based socio-economic development. Andrew leads ITU teams that provide Members States with advice and expertise in Telecommunications/ICT Policy, Regulation, Infrastructure, Innovation and others. He is passionate about Youth Empowerment, Innovation and sustainable development though ICTs and the harnessing Africa’s vast resources. Andrew’s broad experience in the Telecommunications/ICT sector spans over private and public sectors as well as Academia. He holds advanced degrees in Engineering and, Computer Information Systems and Business Administration.
Chief Data Scientist Tech for Social Impact
Kristin M. Tolle, Ph.D. is the Chief Data Scientist in Microsoft’s Tech for Social Impact team where we design and build cloud-based, AI-enabled solutions for non-profits. She is also a Machine Learning lecturer and Senior Data Scientist at the eScience Institute at University of Washington. Dr. Tolle has held many leadership positions in Microsoft’s Engineering organizations, from Visual Studio to our Artificial Intelligence product team. She has over 15 patents in software development and medical sensors and devices and was the co-editor and co-author of the earliest books on big data, The Fourth Paradigm: Data Intensive Scientific Discovery.
Irene Kaggwa Sewankambo
Director of the Engineering and Communication Infrastructure Department
Uganda Communications Commission (UCC)
Mrs Irene Kaggwa-Sewankambo is the Director for Engineering and Communication Infrastructure at the Uganda Communications Commission. She possesses a vast experience in the ICT sector spanning policy development, research, regulation and implementation in various aspects including internet development, licensing, universal access, quality of service, numbering resource management as well as promotion of research and innovation.
An engineer by profession, Mrs Sewankambo holds a Master of Science in Communications Systems and Signal Processing from University of Bristol in United Kingdom and a Master of Science in Economic Management and Policy (Business Economic Pathway) from University of Strathclyde in United Kingdom. She acquired her Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from Makerere University Kampala.
Prior to this appointment, Mrs Sewankambo was the Head of Research and Development Unit as well as Coordinator of the Office of the Executive Director.
Chief Information Officer
Daniel Couture assumed the position of CIO on July 29, 2015. From 2012 to 2014, he served as the CIO for Zoetis, a global animal health company spun off from Pfizer in 2013. In this capacity, Daniel successfully built the Information Technology function to enable Zoetis to operate as a standalone company following its IPO and delivered global systems to leverage processes and information across all business areas.
Prior to that, from 1984 to 2012, he had a distinguished career as a senior IT executive in Pfizer, holding CIO positions in the USA, Japan and Canada.
Jacqueline Muna Musiitwa
Founder, Managing Partner
Hoja Law Group (prev. Executive Director of Financial Sector Deepening Uganda)
Jacqueline Muna Musiitwa, Esq. is an ICT4D expert focused on the role to technology on market systems development and poverty alleviation. Jacqueline most recently served as the Executive Director of Financial Sector Deepening Uganda committed to improving financial market access and competitiveness. Jacqueline also founded and served as Managing Partner of Hoja Law Group and worked in executive-level positions in various African financial institutions as well as a board member of the Central Bank of Zambia and Microcred Zimbabwe. Jacqueline holds a Bachelor of Arts from Davidson College and a Juris Doctor from the University of Melbourne. She frequently speaks at conferences and opines in the media outlets such as the Financial Times, NPR, CNBC Africa, and others on matters related to technology and investment in Africa.
Director for the Center for Digital Development
Christopher Burns is the Director for the Center for Digital Development.
In this role, he leads technical teams focused on Digital Finance, Development Informatics, Digital Inclusion and advanced data and geospatial analysis, and the role they play in driving an inclusive digital economy. He previously served as Senior Coordinator, Digital Development for Feed the Future, working alongside the Bureau for Food Security, to integrate a suite of digital technologies into the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future Initiative. He also served as Acting Director for the Digital Development team, as well as Senior Advisor for Digital Inclusion, within the Lab. In these positions, he led a fast growing and multidisciplinary group focused on widespread adoption of mobile and digital technologies in the developing world. In his nine years with USAID, he has spearheaded and served as technical lead for a number of public-private partnerships including the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL), the GSMA Connected Women Program and the Alliance for Affordable Internet.
Prior to USAID, Christopher spent nearly ten years with the Peace Corps, as Program and Training Officer for Peace Corps/Niger, Country Desk Officer for Central Asia, and Agro-Forestry Advisor in Ghana. He has supervisory and management experience and technical background in mobile technology, natural resources management, agro-forestry, food security, gender equality and solar power design/installation. All told, he has 22 years of international development experience, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, including 6.5 years living on the continent.
Christopher holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Development and Environmental Management from St. Lawrence University (Canton, New York) and a Master of Science in Development Management from American University (Washington, DC).
Chief Executive Officer
Lauren Woodman is Chief Executive Officer of NetHope, a consortium of 50-plus global nonprofits that empowers committed organizations to change the world through the power of technology. For over 15 years, NetHope and its members have united with technology corporations and funding partners to design, fund, apply, adapt, and scale innovative approaches to solve development, humanitarian, and conservation challenges. With the launch of the new Center for the Digital Nonprofit (CDN) in fall, NetHope will lead its members and the sector on a path of digital transformation. The CDN provides the resources, tools, guidance, and grantmaking needed for nonprofits to achieve the efficiency of tomorrow today and builds a platform of hope for those who receive aid and those who deliver it.
Lauren’s career has been defined by the intersection of technology, development and policy. Prior to assuming the leadership role at NetHope in 2014, Lauren held a variety of high-level positions, including: managing Microsoft Corporation’s global education and government programs for more than a decade; serving as an executive at the Software and Information Industry Association; and shaping policy at the United Nations. Lauren holds a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a bachelor’s degree from Smith College.
Vice President of Nonprofit Industry Solution and Strategy
Associate Professor of IS Chair, Health Informatics Research Department of Information Systems, School of Computing & IT, Makerere University
Regional Director for East Africa and Yemen
Norwegian Refugee Council
Currently Regional Director for East Africa and Yemen with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). Nigel has spent the last 25 years working for International Aid Agencies in Africa and Cambodia. Depending on the context, his programme portfolio has varied between large scale humanitarian response, long term development and campaigns for systemic change.
Throughout his work experience, Nigel has sought to increase impact through improvement in programme management and the nurturing of transformative change in the way aid is delivered. He is particularly interested in accelerating the adoption of cash and markets programming as well as digital engagement and learning across the region.
Nigel is a UK citizen, holds an MSC in Development Planning. He is a native English speaker, speaks French, and rather limited Kiswahili.
Global Chief Information Officer
World Vision International
Senior Director, Center for Digital Acceleration, DAI Global Health
DAI Global Health
Program Director-Applied ICT, Clarke International University
Country Manager, International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) Africa
Michael is the ICDL Africa Country Manager for Uganda. Michael is Director Lift256 Tech Academy at Clarke International University. He is passionate and practices Leadership Development, Business Technology Strategy and Business Advisory services. He holds an MBA from MsM/ESAMI Business School and is a Franklin Covey Certified Facilitator.
He possesses 18 years of working experience in both the private and public sectors. Michael worked with Makerere University for 12 years in varied capacities as a researcher, trainer and head of Corporate Relations. He also worked with coffee exporting firm managing supply side operations in western Uganda. He has extensive consulting experience with government, private, regional and international institutions.
Director, Sales & Marketing Asia and Africa
Olive Birungi Lumonya
SOS Childrens’ Villages
Digital Adviser, Policy Division
Department for International Development (DFID)
Andy is a UK Government Policy Adviser in the Department for International Development, with several years’ experience driving digital transformation across a variety of Government agencies. His current role spans the breadth of DFID’s portfolio, exploring the potential opportunities and challenges for digital technologies and ways of working to deliver transformative impact for the world’s poorest people
Senior Director for ICT4D and Technology Innovation
Save the Children
John Zoltner is the Senior Director for ICT4D and Technology Innovation for Save the Children. John has more than 20 years of professional experience designing, implementing and evaluating initiatives that take advantage of the power of innovative ICTs to achieve social impact in resource poor environments. He leads STC’s technology for development work, focusing on initiatives that improve program results, increase their reach, and amplify their impact.
Program Director, AgriFin
Leesa Shrader is Director of the AgriFin Accelerate and AgriFin Digital Farmer Programs at Mercy Corps, which represent $30 million of innovation funding from the MasterCard Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to expand smallholder farmer access to technology-enabled financial and information services in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ms. Shrader joined AgriFin from CGAP, where she served as the Senior Digital Financial Services Expert for Asia. She has over 25 years’ global experience working in financial inclusion, agriculture and technology for development with leading banks, mobile network operators and development institutions such as the World Bank, GiZ and Women’s World Banking in 20 countries across Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia
Co-Founder & Executive Director
Partner, Demo Ventures; Publisher & Chairman
CIO East Africa
Catholic Relief Services
Karl Lowe joined Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in 2016 as Vice President and Chief Information Officer. He provides leadership for CRS’ 160-person ICT organization. Karl is passionate about leveraging technology to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of CRS operations, donor engagement and administrative functions. Prior to joining CRS, Karl worked for Eaton as VP IT – EMEA and Global Operations Excellence.
Head of Global Disaster Response and Relief
East Africa Lead
Jackie Mwaniki is the East Africa Lead for Fraym. For over a decade, she has advocated for use of geo-analytics in public, private and community sectors to solve problems. Jackie is passionate about geography and believes that spatial data is the empirical foundation for economic growth, global development and sustainable impact which organizations pursue.
She has previously worked with regional industry leaders – Esri Eastern Africa, Ramani Geosystems and Map International across Eastern Africa and the greater Africa region
Inclusion, Gender, and Child Safeguarding Advisor
Melanie currently works in the People and Culture Department at Plan International Australia as the Inclusion, Gender Equality and Child Safeguarding Advisor.
Melanie also sits on the board of Collective Shout, a grassroots campaigning movement against the objectification of women and sexualisation of girls in mainstream media and culture.
Digital Transformation Lead
Global Manager, Digital Finance
United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)
Francois joined UNCDF in 2013. He expanded the Digital Finance program and oversaw the technical team in 12 countries (Benin, China, Lao, Liberia, Malawi, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia). Since 2018, François leads the UNCDF digital program globally. The goal of this program is to empower millions of people (farmers, youth, women, refugees, migrants, MSMEs) to lead productive and healthy lives by using the power of digital in various aspects of their life (finance, agriculture, education, health, water & sanitation, energy, transport).
Chief Executive Officer
Manager of Pulse Lab Kampala
UN Global Pulse
Paula works as Manager of Pulse Lab Kampala, a Lab under the United Nations Global Pulse network. She has worked as humanitarian and development practitioner for over 18 years based in Africa, Asia and America.
With working experience as Manager of Innovation Initiatives, Social Policy Advisor and Analyst with the UN and a private Foundation Paula is passionate about promoting innovations for human development.
She holds a PhD in Geography and Masters level on international assistance and has a strong motivation to promote the use of big data and artificial intelligence to achieve today’s world challenges.
University of California (Irvine)
Neil Sahota has 15+ years of experience in business and IT, and he is responsible for the sales and delivery of complex engagements spanning business strategy, new product development, revenue optimization, process improvement, and business and system integration. His work experience spans multiple industries including healthcare, life sciences, retail, travel and transportation, energy and utilities, automotive, telecommunications, media/communication, and government. Moreover, Neil is one of the few IBMers selected for IBM’s Corporate Service Corps leadership program that pairs leaders with NGOs to perform community-driven economic development projects. For his assignment, Neil lived and worked in Ningbo, China where he partnered with Chinese corporate CEOs to create a leadership development program.
Director of Product
Dr. Monica Kerretts-Makau
Consultant, Institutional Governance
Change Management & ICT4D
She was nominated top 100 Influential Africans 2016 and Top 100 Reputational Africans 2018. She has sat on several ICT4D board globally including the World Development Report 2016 – Digital Dividends then Chaired by the former President of Estonia. She has served as a consultant to the ICT policy team Washington in several projects in African Countries (Ethiopia, Rwanda, Botswana, Uganda, South Sudan etc.) since 2009 and with the UNCTAD ICT policy team Geneva since 2017 currently completing an assignment on E-commerce for Rwanda. She contributed to the ICT policy reforms in Kenya through he service in the Board as an independent director of the then Communication Communications Authority of Kenya and was awarded the top 20 Women influencing ICT policy by ihub Kenya.
The Medical Concierges
Hope Fortunate Achiro is an Assistant Director at Health Monitoring Unit, State House and also a Director at The Medical Concierge Group. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Pharmacy (MUK, UG) and a Msc. Operations, Project and Supply Chain Management (UoM, UK). She has vast experience working with Government, Development Partners and the Private sector at national strategic levels as well as local governments at community levels in the fields of health systems strengthening, digital health, logistics and leadership