PIDA Day 2023 Speaker Profiles

H.E. Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid

H.E. Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid is the Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission (AUC). She is in charge of sectors covering Energy, Transport, Tourism and ICT.  Dr. Abou-Zeid has served for more than 30 years in leadership roles at top-tier international organisations, such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), UNDP and USAID, with a focus on infrastructure and energy programmes.

She has managed large and complex development programmes, including the largest operations portfolio of the African Development Bank (AfDB). An Egyptian national, Dr. Abou-Zeid speaks French, English, Arabic and Spanish. She is a trained telecommunications engineer with an MBA in project management from the French University for African Development (Université Senghor), a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Social and Economic Development from University of Manchester, UK. She also has a degree in Arts from Université Sorbonne-Paris IV.

H.E. Mrs. Nardos Bekele-Thomas, CEO of AUDA-NEPAD

H.E. NARDOS BEKELE-THOMAS is the Chief Executive Officer for the Africa Union Development Agency- New Partnerships for Africa’s Development (AUDA- NEPAD).

Her immediate former role is as the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations (UN) and Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in South Africa. In 2016 she served as the Senior Director of the Office of the former UN Secretary-General, H.E. Ban Ki-Moon, in charge of the overall management of the Office of the Secretary-General, the Office of the Chef de Cabinet and that of the Deputy Secretary-General.

Over the last four decades, Ms. Bekele-Thomas has lived and served in various capacities in Ethiopia (1974-1982), USA, (New York) (1983-1987 and 1998-2004), India (1987-88), Bhutan  (1988-1989), Comoros Islands (1989-1990), Republic of Benin (l990-1993), and Uganda, (1994- 1998), promoting human development anchored on the principles of economic, social, and political rights for all.

Ms. Bekele-Thomas holds a Master’s Degree in Economic Development, Monetary Economics and Econometrics from New York University (NYU).

H.E. Mr. HORIUCHI Toshihiko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Mission of Japan to the AU

Ambassador HORIUCHI Toshihiko is a diplomat with more than thirty years of career. Soon after graduating from WASEDA University in Japan, Ambassador HORICUHI joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MoFA), in 1990. Three years after joining MoFA, Ambassador HORIUCHI’s diplomatic mission began when he was assigned to serve in Dakar, at the Embassy of Japan to Senegal. Since then Senegal and the African continent have always fascinated him. From then on, Ambassador HORIUCHI has been in charge of ODA, UN peacekeeping operations, ocean policy and others in Tokyo. He served as director of first Africa division from 2013 to 2015. In overseas missions, he has served at the Embassy of Japan in Cambodia, Zambia and France. From September 2020 up to date, he is serving as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Very passionate about culture and arts, Ambassador HORIUCHI attaches special significance to African heritages, peoples’ traditions and ways of living.


Mr. NAKAMURA Toshiyuki, Special Advisor to the JICA President, Former Senior Vice President of JICA

Mr. NAKAMURA Toshiyuki is a Special Advisor to the JICA President and Former Senior Vice President of JICA, where his focus includes Africa, governance and peacebuilding, disaster relief and project evaluation. He has worked for JICA since 1989 and has served in leadership roles in JICA’s offices in the United States and South Africa. He has also been JICA’s Director General of Industrial Development and Public Policy Development, and Director General of Governance and Peacebuilding Development.

Dr. Samori OKWIYA, CEO of NEPAD Kenya Secretariat


As the CEO, he is responsible for running all facets of the Secretariat to achieve the Secretariats’ goals, objectives, and agreed performance targets. Amb. Dr. Okwiya has a proven executive management track record and over 20 years of experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Amb. Dr. Samori Okwiya holds a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Management from the Binary Graduate School, Binary University.

Mr. Mike Salawou

Mr. Mike Salawou, Director of the Infrastructure and Urban Development Department at the African Development Bank, has extensive experience in infrastructure programs, sector policy dialogue, and initiatives. With a Master of Science in Economics and Finance from Copenhagen Business School, a dual Master of Arts in International Management from Copenhagen Business School, and an Executive Master’s degree in Development Policies and Management from Sciences Po Paris, Salawou is committed to driving value, sector policy reforms, best practices, and international standards for transport and urban development

Captain William Ruto, Managing Director, Kenya Port Authority

Captain William Ruto, Managing Director, Kenya Port Authority

Captain William Ruto is a seasoned mariner who began his career at the Kenya Ports Authority in 1991 as a Cadet Marine Deck Officer before ascending through the ranks to become the General Manager of Operations and then the Harbour Master.

JKUAT awarded him a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Strategic Management.

In addition to being an associate fellow of the Nautical Institute (AF-NI) and a member of the International Harbour Master’s Association (UK), he holds the highest qualification as a Ship Captain (Class 1 Master Mariner) from South Tyneside Marine College in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Stephen Ikua, Director General, LAPSSET Corridor Development Authority

Mr. Stephen Ikua is an accomplished Administration and Management Professional with extensive experience in the areas of Public Administration, Human Capital Development, Policy Formulation, Project Management, Devolved Governance as well as Integrated Regional Development. He has over 30 years’ experience in the public sector and participated in the conceptualization and design of the LAPSSET project and has vast experience in regional development matters having served in various capacities in Government.

Mr. Sediko DOUKA, Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and Digitalisation, ECOWAS

Mr. Douka has over 31 years of experience in design, resource mobilization, coordination, monitoring, and evaluation of programs and projects, development and harmonisation of regional policies, strategies, and initiatives, and procurement in the transport, energy, telecommunications, water infrastructure, and geo-extractive sectors. Commissioner Sédiko Douka has successfully implemented several regional projects and programmes, including the electricity interconnection of 13 ECOWAS Member States, effective functioning of the regional electricity market, coverage of regional energy demand among others.

Key Note Speakers


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