2017 Finalists

Precious Mdlhan

Precious is an experienced Investment Banking professional with a passion for entrepreneurship and finance. A Zimbabwe native, he is currently the Country Director for Development Capital Partners which is a British based Investment Banking institution with a presence on every continent. His role includes deal origination, investment appraisal and on-going monitoring and evaluation of financed projects. The firm raises capital for large renewable energy, infrastructure, mining and housing projects across Africa.
Previously, he served as General Manager for a fast-growing mobile device and Telecommunications Company. There he contributed to its strategic turnaround through formulating and implementing the African expansion strategy, which culminated in the company winning the African Leadership Network award for entrepreneurship. Precious’ skills and experience include investment analysis and trading both fixed income and equities across the African continent, corporate finance and advisory, strategic consulting roles at the Senior Management level. A regular panelist on CNBC Africa discussing African business and finance, Precious believes the greatest challenge to business growth in Africa is access to capital. His mantra is “profit should have a purpose.”
Precious has a BSc Hons in Applied Accounting from Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom.


Celine Rotier


Celine is a graduate from Columbia University’s International Energy Management and Policy (IEMP) program with a specialization in Financial Management. She also holds a MSc in Offshore Engineering from Delft University of Technology (Cum Laude), as well as a BSc in Civil Engineering from Delft University of Technology (Propedeuse Cum Laude), in the Netherlands. Her seven-year professional background includes project finance, commercial and strategic advisory, technological due diligence and project management. As a Dutch-French citizen, Celine is passionate about the energy industry, and wishes to contribute to Africa’s socio-economic development by improving affordable and reliable energy access on the continent. In the past, Celine has lived and worked in 6 different countries across 4 continents, including the United States, Brazil, Singapore, France, the Netherlands and Spain. She has accumulated work experience in the private sector, both at financial advisory boutiques - ranking at the top of league tables - and at the multinational Repsol, focusing on the energy and infrastructure sector. Celine was a designated Repsol representative for the supervision of EPC contractors. She was also responsible for managing research programs and technological due diligence on multibillion investments across energy sources (oil, gas and renewables). In addition, Celine has been an active member of multiple professional associations and a speaker for international audiences of up to 1200 attendees. Among others, she was the chair of the World Petroleum Council Youth Committee, 2014 AIPN Fellow, 2014 Oil & Money Leader of Tomorrow, and 2012 Energy Collective Future Energy Fellow. She is proficient in seven languages (Dutch, Spanish, French, English, German, Portuguese, and Italian) and speaks some Russian.


Nolubabalo Kwayimani

Nolubabalo is a globally recognized leader in the areas of STEM and environmental education, youth programming, leadership development, and partnership/stakeholder engagements. A 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow and a 2016 Echo Green Fellowship Finalist, she believes in integrating indigenous and academic knowledge to address current challenges in Africa. Most recently, she founded The Ladder ZA, an organization that equips girls in rural South Africa to contribute to positive community development. It provides science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education as well as a platform for addressing social issues via an e-learning mobile bus that provides educational resources and internet access.
Nolubabalo has over six years’ experience in the biodiversity sector, where she focused on water resource management and environmental education. She has worked for Conservation South Africa leading the One Health project, which centers on increasing, protecting, and rehabilitating water sources (springs), enabling people to access safe water and encouraging hygienic practices.

Chirag Shamdasani

Chirag is a passionate individual who envisions a future for Africa where innovative, market-based solutions shrink some of the largest problems on the continent, with a particular interest in the influence of impact investing and financial inclusion initiatives. Originally from Nigeria, Chirag is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) living in Toronto, Canada. Most recently, he spent 6 months in Tanzania working as a consultant for a social business accelerator. The objective was to ensure that clients had access to the right information to drive business decisions. This was achieved through a combination of systems and policy implementation, capacity building training for staff, and providing insights through financial modeling and market research. Chirag also displayed innovative thinking by developing and implementing creative solutions to enhance clients' businesses, with measurable success in attracting BoP customers. Having completed a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Wilfrid Laurier University, Chirag worked in the Assurance Group at PwC for over 3 years where he was commended for his exceptional analytical abilities. In his role as project lead, he managed teams to ensure successful completion of engagements in a fast-paced and deadline-oriented environment. He served as the key point of contact for client executives, communicating results of financial analysis, providing recommendations on mitigating risks, and improving business processes to enable attainment of maximum efficiencies. As a result of having a diverse portfolio of clients, Chirag received exposure to and gained a deep understanding of various industries, ranging from not-for-profits, and tech start-ups, to multinational corporations.

Pauline Muthoni

Pauline has senior level professional experience working on socio development projects with state and non-state actors at various levels (grassroots, national, and international), including those supported by international development agencies.
For over ten years, she has worked in operations and management with diverse corporate environments. Pauline is passionate about establishing sustainability models for social enterprises and is an advocate for socially conscious businesses. She leads, coaches and develops high-performance teams with an emphasis on developing capacity in strategic analysis, planning, program development, implementation and management for early stage social enterprises and those interested in scaling.
Pauline holds a combined Bachelors of Commerce and Business Administration from one of the top universities in Kenya. She is a proud 2014 Mandela Washington Fellow in recognition of her work in growing and scaling sustainable development organizations for more impact in Africa. Pauline has served as a panelist, facilitator, moderator and participant at various forums hosted by the UN, US Embassy Kenya, Turkish Embassy Kenya, Government agencies, DAI, Ashoka East Africa as well as other organizations. She has social entrepreneurship training by Spark Australia, and GIST South Africa courtesy of Venture Well and USAID.