H.E. John Dramani Mahama
Former President of Ghana and Tana Forum Board Chairperson
H.E. John Dramani Mahama Bio.
H.E. John Dramani Mahama is the former President of the Republic of Ghana (2012-2016) and Chairperson of the Tana Forum Board. Mahama first entered into politics in 1996 when he joined the National Democratic Congress and was elected to Parliament. From there, he climbed the political ranks, starting with his appointment as Deputy Minister in Communications in 1997, followed by Minister of Communications in 1998. He was appointed as Minority Parliamentary spokesperson for Communications in 2001 and for Foreign Affairs in 2005. He was also a member of the Pan-African Parliament and Chairman of the West Africa Caucus based in South Africa from 2004 to 2011. On 7 January 2009, John Dramani Mahama became the Vice-President of Ghana, remaining in the post until President John Atta Mills’ untimely death on 24 July 2012, when, in line with Ghana’s Constitution, he became President of the Republic. Outside of national politics, in 2014 he was elected Chairperson of the African Union’s High-Level African Trade Committee (HATC) and also head of the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS). In 2016, during the World Economic Forum, Mahama was appointed co-chair of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocates Group assisting the UN Secretary-General in the campaign to achieve the SDGs by 2030, and in 2017, Mahama presided over the ECOWAS Election Observation Mission to Liberia as head of mission.
H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn
Former Prime Minister, Ethiopia
H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn Bio.
Hailemariam Desalegn is an Ethiopian politician who served as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia from 2012 to 2018. He also previously served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs under Prime Minister Meles Zenawi from 2010 to 2012, whom succeeded as Prime Minister, initially in an acting capacity. He was then elected as the Chair of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the ruling party, on 15 September 2012. Hailemariam also served as the Chairperson of the African Union from 2013 to 2014.
H.E. Catherine Samba-Panza, former interim President
Central Africa Republic
Catherine Samba-Panza was interim President of the Central African Republic from 2014 to 2016. She was the first woman to hold the post of head of state, and the eighth woman in Africa to do so. Prior to becoming head of state, she was Mayor of Bangui from 2013 to 2014.
H.E. Dr. Joyce Banda
Former President of Malawi
H.E. Dr. Joyce Banda Bio.
H.E. Dr. Joyce Banda is President of the Joyce Banda Foundation and the former President of Malawi from 2012 to 2014. Dr. Banda was Malawi’s first female president and Africa’s second. An entrepreneur, activist, politician and philanthropist, Dr. Banda is a champion for the rights of women, children, the disabled, and other marginalised groups. She is a recipient of more than 15 international accolades including the 1997 “Hunger Project Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger” shared with President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique.
Amb. Lakhdar Brahimi
Former UN and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria
Amb. Lakhdar Brahimi Bio.
Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi is the former United Nations and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria. He is also a member of The Elders, a group of world leaders working for global peace formed in 2007 at the initiative of late President Mandela. Amb. Brahimi also served as a Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General (2004-2005), Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (2001-2004), and Under-Secretary-General for Special Assignments in Support of the Secretary-General’s Preventive and Peacemaking efforts. Amb. Brahimi has also held several national posts in his home country, serving as Foreign Minister, Diplomatic Adviser to the President of Algeria, Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Egypt and the Sudan, and Permanent Representative to the Arab League in Cairo.
H.E. Temesgen Tiruneh
Director General, Information Network Security Agency (INSA) and National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Temesgen Tiruneh was appointed in April 2018 as Director General of the Information Network Security Agency (INSA). He is also the National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia.
H.E. Hirut Zemene
State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Hirut Zemene is the current State Minister for Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ethiopia. She is a career diplomat who has served in various capacities in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.
Dr. Lassina Zerbo
Executive Secretary, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), Austria/Burkina Faso
Lassina Zerbo is the Executive Secretary of the CTBTO, a position which he assumed on 1 August 2013. He previously served as Director of the organization’s International Data Centre (IDC). He is a national of Burkina Faso.
Mr. Alain Foka
Journalist, Radio France International, France/Cameroon
Mr. Alain Foka Bio.
Alain Foka is a Cameroonian journalist, who has covered several conflict zones, notably Rwanda in 1994, Congo in 1997 and 1998 and Somalia in 1998. He previously worked for Radio France Internationale, producing numerous magazines on African contemporary history and debates, with a circulation of more than 70,000 copies. Alain Foka has also produced documentaries under the banner of the Phoenix Productions, a company he founded in 1992. Recognised by his peers for his professionalism, Foka’s career has repeatedly been recognised, including receiving awards for Best African Journalist of the Year in 1999 and 2008 respectively. The New African Magazine recently cited him as part of the 50 most prominent African intellectuals.
Prof. Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba
Former Director, Kenya School of Law
Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba is a Kenyan who served as the Director of Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission from September 2010 to August 2011 and the Director of The Kenya School of Laws from 2014 to 2017. An eloquent lawyer, he holds a PhD in Laws of the Sea from the University of Ghent in Belgium.