Ada Osakwe

A creative food entrepreneur and passionate agribusiness advocate. As the Founder and Chief Executive of Agrolay Ventures, an investment firm targeting early stage agribusiness and food-related companies and projects, Ada seeks to redefine the food production and retail opportunity across Africa's large consumer markets. Agrolay invests in food start-ups as well as incubates its own new agri-ventures. The company has four investments namely The Nuli Juice Company, an innovative beverage brand that utilizes locally grown vegetables and fruits to make healthy juice products, Nuli Foods, a food manufacturer that makes ready-to-eat traditional African meals, Nature’s Bounty, a Nigerian dried fruit snack brand, and African Courier Express, a Nigerian technology enabled logistics & services company. From November 2012 to May 2015, Ada was seconded by the Tony Elumelu Foundation to serve as the Senior Investment Adviser to Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Nigeria’s former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. In this role, she was responsible for advising the Minister on all agriculture investment-related activities involving private sector investors, and led investment policy and financing initiatives. Amongst various initiatives, Ada led the development and launch of the Fund for Agricultural Financing in Nigeria (FAFIN), an innovative private equity fund dedicated to investing in agribusiness companies in Nigeria. In her final assignment, Ada headed the campaign team that successfully ushered in Dr. Adesina as the president of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB).

Prior to her role at the Ministry, Ada lived in New York and was a Vice President at Kuramo Capital Management, a private equity firm that manages the Kuramo Africa Opportunity Fund, a multi-asset class investment vehicle that invests in high-growth opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa. Here she led the firm’s investments in Private Equity opportunities and was a member of the Fund Investment Committee. Ada also worked briefly with Actis, a multi-billion dollar Private Equity fund focused on emerging markets investing.

Ada was a Senior Investment Officer, Private Sector Infrastructure Finance at the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), based in Tunisia, where she led multi-disciplinary teams through the execution of debt financing and private equity investments worth over $1 billion across the energy and transport sectors in Africa. Prior to this role, she was a Portfolio Manager and Investment Officer in the AfDB Treasury team and a pioneering member of the group that led AfDB’s drive to develop local bond markets in Africa. Prior to her work with AfDB, Ada worked in London as an Analyst in the Debt Capital.

Markets team of BNP Paribas investment bank. Ada received her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, where she was awarded a Merit-based Scholarship and the Kellogg Leadership Award, the highest student honour given for distinguished leadership. She holds an MSc in Economics and Finance from the University of Warwick, U.K. and a BSc in Economics (First Class Honours) from the University of Hull, U.K.

Ada Osakwe is a 2016 Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum. She received the ‘Achiever in Agriculture’ Award in 2015 and in 2014, was named one of Forbes 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa. She is also an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow of the Africa Leadership Institute and a fellow of the African Leadership Network (ALN).