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11-14 Nov 2024 | Cape Town
11-14 Nov 2024 | Cape Town

The Leadership Council Biographies: Meet The Minds Shaping African Tech

Explore their biographies to learn about their achievements, visions, and the roles they play in shaping the future of the continent's tech and business landscapes.

Funke Opeke

Founder & CEO


Funke Opeke, is the founder and CEO of MainOne, a leading Digital Infrastructure service provider that built West Africa’s first open-access submarine cable system interconnecting Nigeria; Ghana; and Portugal in 2010. In 2015, the company launched its data center operations in West Africa with MDXi – a $40M investment resulting in West Africa’s largest Tier III data center in Lagos, Nigeria, and now with presence in Accra and Abidjan. In 2019, she chaired the Presidential Committee to develop Nigeria’s National Broadband Plan for 2020 – 2025. MainOne was acquired by Equinix, the global digital infrastructure company as its entry point to doing business in Africa on April 1, 2022.

Richard Cazalet

Exec: Strategy and Transformation
Telkom SA


Richard is an experienced business leader with over 25 years’ involvement in the telecommunications industry over a wide range of technology and business areas. Prior to Telkom, he worked at Deloitte and Accenture, proving business consultancy services to fixed and mobile service providers in Africa and the Middle East. He also held various technical and sales roles at Siemens and started his telecommunications career manufacturing optical fibre in a production facility in South Africa. He holds master’s degrees in Applied Physics and Business Leadership and is married with two daughters. He enjoys road running, swimming, sailing, and hiking / camping.

Kuseni Dlamini


Aspen Pharmacare


Kuseni Dlamini is the Chairman of JSE-listed Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd, the leading pharmaceutical manufacturer in the southern hemisphere with operations in over 50 countries. He was recently appointed co-Chairman of the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), one of South Africa’s leading business schools and is a member of the Board of the American Chamber of Commerce in SA. Kuseni is the former CEO of Old Mutual South Africa and Emerging Markets. Prior to this, he was the Head of Anglo American South Africa and a member of the Executive Committee of Anglo American plc in London and was Director of Anglo Platinum.

He is also the former Executive Chairman of Richards Bay Coal Terminal Company (RBCT) Ltd and a former Chairman of Anglo Operations (Pty) Ltd. As part of his career in mining he held a number of senior positions at Anglo Gold Ashanti and De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd in South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Kuseni is a graduate of the Universities of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, and Oxford where he was a Rhodes Scholar. In March 2008, he was named a ‘Young Global Leader (YGL)’ by the World Economic Forum and, during the same year and month, Miningx selected him as one of the top 100 most influential people in South African mining. In June 2008, the Mail & Guardian named him as one of the top 200 young people worth taking to lunch and in the same year and month, The Economist referred to him as “A Rare Commodity’. In 2010, the World Economic Forum appointed him a member of the Global Agenda Council on Economic Growth and Poverty Alleviation. In 2011, he was appointed co-Chairman of the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa Summit which brings together Heads of States, leading politicians and business leaders to debate the state of Africa in a changing world on an annual basis.

Nollie Maoto

Chief Data and Analytics Officer – Merchant Services
FNB South Africa


Nollie Maoto is the Chief Data and Analytics Officer at First National Bank, one of South Africa's largest banks, and holds significant roles within the global Data and Analytics community. She has earned multiple accolades including Chief Data Officer of the Year and Data Analytics Leader of the Year for 2022, and Inspirational Leader of the Year 2023. A recognized advocate for gender equality in data and analytics, Nollie runs a female-only mentorship program through her non-profit and has been honored with numerous leadership awards, including a top finish at the Accenture Gender Mainstreaming Awards 2023. Additionally, she contributes to CDO Magazine, participates in international tech councils, and is a frequent speaker at global data conferences. Nollie is also an author and regarded as a thought leader in future data trends and education technology.

Velma Corcoran

General Manager, Middle East Africa



Velma is a firm believer in the potential of technology to drive inclusive growth and entrepreneurship across Africa. As Airbnb’s regional lead for Africa and the Middle East, Velma leads Airbnb’s Campaigns work across the region, including the creation of the Airbnb Africa Academy and the Africa Travel Summit. She is passionate about how Airbnb can redefine travel in Africa and take tourism to people and places that need it most, and the role technology will play in unlocking this potential.

Velma joined Airbnb in March 2016 as the Regional Market Manager for Sub Saharan Africa. Prior to this she led marketing for Cape Town Tourism, where her team won numerous awards for destination marketing leadership, including with the UNWTO, Travel & Leisure Smitty Awards, and Cannes Gold.

Steven Pope

Group Head Trade Facilitation - Go Trade
DHL Group


Steven is Group Head of Trade Facilitation, (GoTrade) at DHL Group and has been with the Group for 12 years, originally joining in 2011 at DHL Express as Vice President, Customs & Regulatory Affairs for Europe and Head of Trade Compliance for Europe, the Middle East & Africa.

Before joining DHL Group, Steven spent 26 years in the Public Sector, working for HM Customs, HM Treasury, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the IMF. He has worked in both the enforcement and policy areas on topics such as Customs, VAT and International Trade.

Steven sits on a number of public/private trade advisory groups and think tanks at both European and Global level and is currently Chair of the Trade & Investment Commission at the International Chamber of Commerce.

Go Trade draws on Deutsche Post DHL’s expertise in global trade and logistics to help developing and least developed countries to implement best-in-class policies and procedures at the border and help local businesses to access the global market.

Simbah Mutasa

Managing Director
Bank of America


Simbah is a Managing Director in the Investment Banking team at Bank of America and has a career spanning over 15 years. Simbah started his career at Citi in London in the Telecoms, Media and Technology Investment Banking team. During his career he has also spent time in the M&A team at Liberty Global and heading up Southern Africa for Norfund. Simbah holds a BSc (Hons) in Business Mathematics and Statistics from the London School of Economics and a Master in Finance from the University of Cambridge.

Faith Burn

Chief Information Officer
Eskom Holdings


Faith Burn has extensive business experience which includes the following industries: Pharmaceutical; Services, Facilities management; Telecommunications; Financial Services; Aviation & Aerospace; Construction; Education; Services and Mining. She holds an MSc in Mathematics from University of Johannesburg (then RAU) and an MBL from UNISA. She has attained a CIA (Certified Internal Auditor) and has internationally recognized and/or accredited certifications in the fields of Project Management, Business Continuity Management and Computer Science. She currently serves as the Chief Information Officer of Eskom Holdings.

Previously the Group CIO of Tsebo Solutions Group responsible for the IT services in 28 countries across 5 large divisions. At Novartis, prior to Tsebo Solutions Group, she was the Head of IT Africa responsible for IT and Information Governance Management in 43 countries across 3 large divisions. She is currently a non-executive director on the board of the South African National Blood Services (SANBS).

Among Ms Burn’s vast achievements, the one true to her heart is her passion for the care and advancement of women and children. This has led her to be co-founder and director of a non profit organization called Kingdom Consultant Center (known as KCC) which aims to educate children from disadvantaged communities. In 2012, she co-founded a non-profit woman focused organization called Hlahlamelisa, which at the time aimed at empowering professional women through education, networking and mentorship.

Mary Mahuma

CIO, Southern Africa
Philip Morris


Mary Mahuma is a seasoned Information Technology Leader, currently serving as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Southern Africa at PMSA. With 23 years of expertise across Banking, Financial, Insurance, Telecommunications, Security, Education and FMCG industries, Mary has excelled in driving digital transformation, managing IT portfolios, and establishing strategic partnerships.

Mary holds diverse educational background with qualifications, including Executive Business Leadership certificate from Yale University SoM and a Master of Business Administration Essentials from University of Stellenbosch Business School. Her academic achievements also include a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree, a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) in Public Administration, as well as a Baccalaureus Administrationis degree.

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Mary actively promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion, serving as Chairperson for various organizations. Beyond her corporate role, she plays a pivotal role in spearheading social change and community development.

Mary envisions a future where digital transformation drives profound societal change, fostering economic growth, sustainability, and human empowerment. She dedicates herself to driving transformative initiatives that optimize business operations, address global challenges, and enhance customer experiences.