Think Digital Summit Africa

24 June 2020

Think Digital Summit Africa

24 June 2020


The devastating impacts of COVID-19 have affected all of us around the world. Now more than ever, there is an urgent need for business and society to come together and respond with agility, resiliency and unity. Think Summit Digital Event Experiences are locally focused events designed to help you accelerate recovery and transformation.

Join us digitally to stream business and technology sessions dedicated to recovery and resiliency. Engage with IBM experts to explore the technological solutions that can facilitate new ways of working, communicating and doing business. Collaborate with other innovators and industry peers in your community and industry sector.

Recovery won't come from individuals working in isolation, but from an open and collaborative dialogue between thinkers. Think Summit events understand this and bring together experts and innovators from all disciplines and backgrounds to accelerate learning and recovery.

Think is for the hopeful, the resilient and the persistent. Those who seek recovery and progress for the advancement of us all. Join us, and let's get thinking.

Join us at Think Digital Summit Africa to gain new skills needed to adapt and evolve as we overcome these challenges.

Let’s stay in. Let’s stay connected.

Let’s get thinking.


icon-expand-white Phil Anderson

Phil Anderson

Phil Anderson

Phil Anderson

Cognitive Process Transformation Leader for IBM South Africa

Phil is passionate about finding ways to use emerging and established technology more effectively. To develop new business platforms, re-invent existing business operations and to help people find brand new ways to do their jobs. He helps our clients navigate and find genuine business value through the tech world, having come from a background of nearly 20 years of core systems transformation, digital transformation, strategy consulting and project delivery.

icon-expand-white Dr. Solomon Assefa

Dr. Solomon Assefa

Dr. Solomon Assefa

Dr. Solomon Assefa

VP of IBM Research - Africa & Emerging Market Solutions

Dr. Solomon Assefa is the VP of IBM Research - Africa & Emerging Market Solutions. He is responsible for developing strategy for innovative and scalable industry research solutions for emerging markets in sectors such as financial services, healthcare, and public sector. Furthermore, he is responsible for IBM’s research labs in Kenya and South Africa, and heads IBM’s research strategy and partnership across MEA. IBM Research is pioneering disruptive technologies that will transform industries and society, including the future of AI, blockchain, and quantum computing. Specifically, IBM Research - Africa is developing technologies that address Africa’s grand challenges; promoting Africa’s leadership in science and technology; and fostering local innovation ecosystems.

Previously, Solomon was the Director of Research Strategy & Growth Initiatives for Africa. In that role, he developed research strategies by identifying emerging trends, creating talent pipeline, and exploring partnerships. He has also served as a Program Manager in the office of Science and Technology, with responsibilities for evaluating science and technology roadmaps for IBM’s worldwide research laboratories.

As a Research Scientist, Solomon has worked on IBM’s nanophotonics technology with responsibilities spanning research, development, and technology transfer to commercial foundry. His research contributions include high-speed optical detectors, nano-structured platforms for bio-sensing, and quantum information processing. He has co-authored over 150 publications in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, has over 50 patents, and has appeared as a guest speaker at numerous conferences worldwide. His work has been featured in Nature magazine, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, Forbes, Technology Review, EE Times, and IEEE Spectrum, among many others.

Solomon is a member of the Optical Society of America (OSA), the American Physical Society (APS), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He has served as committee chair and workshop organizer for various conferences including the Optical Fibers Conference (OFC) and Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO). He is a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Next Einstein Forum, an initiative launched in 2015 by the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS). He is also a Fellow of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences, and an Honorary Professor at University of Witwatersrand in South Africa.

Solomon is a recipient of several awards including the Technical Accomplishment Award, Corporate Recognition Award, and Invention Achievement Awards from IBM. He is a frequent speaker at business events, international conferences, universities, and research institutions. He was named one of the World’s Top Young Innovators under 35 and received the TR35 awarded by MIT’s Technology Review (2011). Solomon was honored by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader in 2013. He received a B.S. in Physics (2001), a B.S. in EECS (2001), a M.S. in EECS (2001) and a Ph.D. (2004) all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

icon-expand-white Chris Baxter

Chris Baxter

Chris Baxter

Chris Baxter

Nedbank Executive Change Enablement & Business Transformation, CIB

An accountant, Chris Baxter is Nedbank CIB’s executive responsible for delivering change and business transformation across various businesses. He’s experienced in leading treasury and markets operations and is a revered business capability builder.

Driven by untamed curiosity, he takes pride in providing worldclass solutions. As change leader, driving him includes maximising employee contribution, eradication of waste, reforming complex systems to benefit from exponential technologies, and creating extraordinary customer experiences. He is a proud thought leader who enjoys delivering new and alternate solutions.

Chris has worked across multiple functions in the banking industry for 17 years, excelling in people, systems and processes. In addition to numerous successful technology-build and replacement projects, he has contributed to change by delivering innovative solutions from digital firsts to combinatorial and integrated business and technology systems.

Based in Johannesburg, Chris has been widely acknowledged for his contribution to business-led productivity and automation solutions.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Johannesburg and completed the Global Executive Development Programme through the University of Pretoria’s GIBS. He also holds ACI Operations and IOC+ certification, and is an Associate member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investments.

icon-expand-white Tamar Eilam

Tamar Eilam

Tamar Eilam

Tamar Eilam

IBM Fellow, Cloud, Climate

Tamar Eilam joined IBM Research in 2000 and was recognised as an IBM Fellow in 2014. Tamar's research interest centers around the question of how to manage configuration complexity, and how to merge the gap between Development and Operations organizations (DevOps). Specifically, with the emergence of cloud environments, how do we deliver and continuously operate services with extreme agility, extreme performance, and reduced risk, and how do we gain insight to maximize the business outcome.
Tamar Eilam pioneering the concept of a ""desired state based deployment and management"". This principle centers around the idea of separating the ""what"" and the ""how"" in complex application deployments. A semantic description of a topology including software components, services, and infrastructure requirements is linked with automation to produce and converge to the desired state from the current state. This idea was the basis for a successful partnership with IBM's software group and the development of Rational's Deployment Planning and Automation offering (code name: Zephyr) and the virtual system editor technology in IBM Workload Deployer, SmartCloud Orchestrator, and Pure. Tamar led the the team that delivered many of the interesting features of these products: domain languages, validation and resolution to detect inconsistencies in desired state, and automatic workflow generation.
Tamar received her Ph.D. in the Computer Science Department in the Technion in Israel, where she studied algorithms in graphs and complexity, applied to communication networks. In addition, she worked as a summer intern in IBM Haifa Research Lab, on the cJVM (cluster JVM) project.
The Cloud, DevOps and Operational Analytics Department conducts research on how continuous deliver and operate cloud services with agility, optimization, and insight. Some of the research areas include:
Optimized placement of complex workloads composed of a network of resources based on a number of non-functional requirements.
Domain Specific Languages and tools for workload deployments, including testing for properties such as convergence, problem determination and debugging.
How to collect and analyze data in the cloud to gain insight.

icon-expand-white Takreem El-Tohamy

Takreem El-Tohamy

Takreem El-Tohamy

Takreem El-Tohamy

General Manager of IBM Middle East and Africa

Takreem El-Tohamy is the General Manager of IBM Middle East and Africa, based in Dubai.

Since he took on this leadership role, IBM Middle East and Africa including Turkey has significantly expanded its footprint in the region, with multiple offices opened in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and two research facilities in South Africa and Kenya to serve clients, governments and the ecosystem. In addition, he has established a strong network of business partners, who are working together with IBM, to solve complex issues for IBM’s clients and further progress in the region.

Takreem has been focused on driving innovation in business and has built local capabilities in client delivery by helping launch global delivery and client centres in Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. He has established advanced research collaborations in the field of AI, Blockchain and cloud computing, and key educational partnerships between IBM and top regional universities to advance skills development in the region.

Takreem is a strong advocate for social responsibility in the region and has worked on establishing initiatives, which focuses on developing skills and solving the region’s most pressing issues.

He is also a member of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa. He is part of a core group of business leaders who advise the U.S. President and U.S Secretary of Commerce, on ways to strengthen commercial engagements between the United States and Africa.

Takreem has worked across business units in IBM in the Middle East and Africa and Europe regions with a keen focus on business performance, operational excellence, strategic thinking, high levels of integrity, and a deep commitment to IBM clients.

icon-expand-white Brad Eliot

Brad Eliot

Brad Eliot

Brad Eliot

MultiChoice Group Chief Information Officer

I joined MultiChoice as the Group Chief Information Officer in January 2019. I am responsible for developing and executing on the Groups IT strategy. This includes assessing technology capabilities as well as oversight of day to day operations. I am responsible for all IT capabilities within the Group including EBS and CII. Other areas that I am responsible include the Group wide Data Strategy, Enterprise Architecture, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Cloud Center of Excellence as well as the Hardware and Software Acquisition and IT Investment Councils.

I am a member of the Group Exco and report to the Group Chief Operating Officer.

icon-expand-white Dipo Faulkner

Dipo Faulkner

Dipo Faulkner

Dipo Faulkner

Country General Manager, & President of the American Business Council (ABC), Nigeria

Dipo Faulkner is responsible for IBM's overall business in the region, with a focus on deploying IBM’s advanced technology capabilities in Cognitive, Cloud Computing, Big Data and Analytics, Mobile and Security to solve current and future needs of institutions in key economic sectors. He is also responsible for providing leadership for IBM’s relationships and Corporate Social initiatives in the Civil Society, ICT and Academic communities.
With over 25 years of regional experience, Dipo led IBM’s Global Business Services for Central & West Africa from 2014 – 2016 and helped develop strong client relationships in the region. Some of these included local and regional banks, telcos, oil & gas companies and industry regulators.
Dipo Faulkner is the president of the American Business Council where he represents and spearheads the interest of American Companies in Nigeria and promotes trade investment between Nigeria and the United States.
Prior to joining IBM, Dipo was a Director at Accenture’s Nigeria Financial Services Operating Group, covering the West African region, where he was successfully in managing several Technology and Business Aligned Transformation engagements including the development and implementation of business strategies and efficient service delivery, organization design, technology strategy definition and implementation, application (solution) implementation, business process architecting, M & As, and post-merger integrations.
Dipo has a proven track record of leading businesses in the acquisition, expansion and retention of client relationships. He is an effective negotiator who has built strong partnerships and manages client relationships at the Board / C-level. He is highly skilled in developing technology-enabled strategies required to manage large and dynamic businesses and displays sound creative problem-solving skills, progressive thinking. He has strong project management skills with track record of delivering results. He has gained experience working across a matrix in a multi-national and diverse organization and has a proven capability to lead dispersed teams, while demonstrating keen leadership to motivate people at all levels and effect positive organizational change.
He brings on board, significant experience garnered working across the Financial Services, Oil & Gas, Telecommunications, Energy & Utilities and Consumer Products industries.
Dipo holds a Bachelor’s Degree (B.Sc.) in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Lagos, Nigeria and an Advanced Management Program Certificate (AMP) from Institute de Empressa (ie), Madrid Spain. He is also a certified Prince 2 Project Management practitioner.

icon-expand-white Shantanu Godbole

Shantanu Godbole

Shantanu Godbole

Shantanu Godbole

Future of Climate and Supply Chain Leader IBM Research India

Shantanu Godbole leads the Future of Climate and Supply Chain department at IBM Research - India, focusing on building innovative technology solutions for helping enterprises and their supply chains with climate resiliency and carbon accountability. He has earlier led applied AI and Blockchain research in the Agriculture, Retail, Financial Services, and Education industries. His team combines the best of AI and Blockchain technologies, researching and experimenting in-market with clients to develop first of a kind solutions, that then make their way to IBM product and service offerings. He has been with IBM Research since 2006 and is a Senior Technical Staff Member at IBM and a member of the IBM Academy of Technology. He has been recognized by several awards including an IBM Corporate Award, Best of IBM award, Outstanding Technical Achievement Awards, IBM Research Client Award, and a 10 year most influential paper award at PAKDD. He is part of the UN Advisory Group on Cross-border Paperless Trade Facilitation. He has a Ph.D. in machine learning from IIT Bombay and is active in professional service and mentoring.

icon-expand-white Sheldon Hand

Sheldon Hand

Sheldon Hand

Sheldon Hand

IBM Security Software and Services BU Manager

Responsible for leading the IBM Security BU in South Africa. With our growing team of dedicated professionals we focus on helping customers with their information security requirements which may include consulting, services, support and solutions.
Sheldon has extensive knowledge in information security and resiliency and his expertise and passion reflects in his commitment to IBM customers and partners.
Joined IBM in 2016 to lead the new Integrated Security Business Unit.
Sheldon Hand began his career as a technical support engineer. Later roles at Symantec included Pre Sales Manager, CTO, Country Manager and Regional Director.
Sheldon graduated from the Witwatersrand Technikon and has a National Diploma in Information Technology.
Married with two teenage children. Passionate about fishing, golf and growing vegetables.

icon-expand-white Warren Hunt

Warren Hunt

Warren Hunt

Warren Hunt

IBM iX Studio Head Johannesburg

I currently head up CX strategy and the iX design studio in Johannesburg. Working across Africa and the Middle East to build customer experience capabilities for regional and global clients.

With over 20 years experience from running my own agency to being the Digital Creative Director at Ogilvy, being Head of Strategy at OgilvyOne and now working in IBM Services I guide clients through design-led business approach to deliver customer value.

icon-expand-white Wael Kasrawani

Wael Kasrawani

Wael Kasrawani

Wael Kasrawani

Senior Cloud Solutions Architect within IBM Cloud

Wael Kasrawani is a Senior Cloud Solutions Architect within IBM Cloud, with over 12 years of industry experience and certifications including IBM, VMware, AWS, Kubernetes. Wael is the technical lead for VMware on IBM Cloud MEA and with his depth of knowledge across the IBM public cloud platform, he has advised and led the cloud adoption of many large enterprises across the region.

icon-expand-white Andrew Kinai

Andrew Kinai

Andrew Kinai

Andrew Kinai

Software Engineer, IBM Research Africa

Andrew Kinai is a Software Engineer at IBM Research – Africa in the Inclusive Financial Services group.  He leads the user experience and user interface design work for the projects at the lab.

Andrew received his B. Sc. Computer Science degree from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and M. Sc. Information Technology degree from Carnegie Mellon University Rwanda.

He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

icon-expand-white Bridget van Kralingen

Bridget van Kralingen

Bridget van Kralingen

Bridget van Kralingen

Senior Vice President
Global Markets

Bridget van Kralingen is Senior Vice President, IBM Global Markets, responsible for IBM’s revenue, profit, business development and client satisfaction worldwide as well as IBM’s Global Financing business, the world’s largest captive IT financier.

Global Markets combines top client accounts, strategic partnerships, and industry capabilities in a single go-to-market to provide a superior sales, service and delivery experience for our clients.
Bridget is also accountable for IBM’s marketing and communications functions which are responsible for building the company’s brand and reputation globally.

Previously, Bridget led Industry Platforms, a business unit that conceives, develops, and scales disruptive software cloud platforms for specific industries; opens new markets for the Watson artificial intelligence platform; and established IBM as the clear leader in the emerging market for blockchain.

Prior to this appointment, Bridget was Senior Vice President of IBM’s Global Business Services, a $17B consulting business with 150,000 professionals. She was responsible for the strategy, execution, and business results spanning consulting, systems integration, digital agency, business process outsourcing, and application management services. Previously, Bridget was General Manager, IBM North America, responsible for revenue, profit, and client satisfaction for IBM's business in the United States and Canada. Before that, she led Global Business Services in Northeast Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

Bridget brings more than 25 years of business experience to her current role. She joined IBM in April 2004 as global Managing Partner of the Financial Services Sector, following her tenure at Deloitte Consulting, where she was Managing Partner of the Financial Services Sector.

Since 2011, Bridget has been listed as one of Fortune Magazine's "50 Most Powerful Women in Business." She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Royal Bank of Canada. At IBM Bridget is also senior executive sponsor of the LGBT+ community.

Bridget began her career as a researcher and trained psychologist at the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. She holds a Masters of Commerce degree from the University of South Africa and Bachelors of Commerce degree from the University of Witwatersrand.

icon-expand-white Sebastian Krause

Sebastian Krause

Sebastian Krause

Sebastian Krause

General Manager, IBM Cloud and Cognitive Software Client Success, Worldwide

Sebastian Krause leads IBM’s Cloud & Cognitive Software worldwide go-to-market sales organization. In this role, he leads an organization that enables the world’s largest enterprises to solve their business challenges through digital transformation. This includes accelerating their innovation, leveraging their investments, as well as transforming operations, governance, compliance, resiliency, and business continuity. In guiding Fortune 500 clients through their journey to cloud, Sebastian helps them apply infrastructure, platform middleware, data, AI, supply chain and security solutions to make smarter decisions and faster real-time actions.Heis passionate about delivering value to IBM’s thousands of clients around the globe. Sebastian started his career in 1991 as a student trainee at IBM. Heearned a degree in Business Economics and Information Technology from the Technische Fachhochschule in Berlin. He also holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the Henley Management College in London. Additionally, he is Chairman of IBM Central Holding and IBM Germany, as well as a non-executive directorat Truata—a data anonymization and analysis provider.

icon-expand-white Kaushik Lala

Kaushik Lala

Kaushik Lala

Kaushik Lala

IT Specialist - IBM Cloud Lab services

Kaushik Lala is a software information technology professional with extensive experience in enterprise software development using cloud technologies.
His primary focus is on application architecture, design and development. Working in the financial industry, he led a team of developers to design and build a set of cloud native rest APIs based on Open Banking standards. These Apis were implemented and deployed using a modern technology stack that included node.js, Docker, Kubernetes and a Kubernetes native DevOps pipeline. He is currently a DevOps engineer, moving the on-premise workload to the cloud using cloud provider tools.
Prior to the open banking project, he worked as a developer and DevOps engineer in the motor industry on a project to start experimenting on the concept of a connected motor vehicle. The solution was to build rest APIs and use the power of cloud-based analytics solutions to address traffic congestion and parking issues in major cities.
Kaushik Lala a Level 2 Certified IT Specialist at IBM, South Africa working with the Cloud and Cognitive expert labs team.

icon-expand-white Bob Lord

Bob Lord

Bob Lord

Bob Lord

Senior Vice President, Cognitive Applications, Blockchain, and Ecosystems, IBM

Bob is Senior Vice President, Cognitive Applications, Blockchain, and Ecosystems at IBM, where he is responsible for infusing AI technology across the business. He leads IBM’s blockchain business and oversees the company’s partner ecosystems including developers, global systems integrators, and independent software vendors to help clients accelerate their journey to the cloud. He was appointed in 2016 as the company’s first Chief Digital Officer, changing how IBM innovation is delivered and consumed across the globe. He was previously the President of AOL and served as the CEO of Razorfish, a pioneering digital transformation consultancy. A board member for Williams-Sonoma and Screenvision Media, Bob graduated with an Industrial Engineering degree from Syracuse University before pursuing his MBA from Harvard University.

icon-expand-white Funzani Madi

Funzani Madi

Funzani Madi

Funzani Madi

Senior Managing Consultant - IBM Security

Funzani is a seasoned cyber security professional, with over 13 years’ experience in driving cyber security programs, mainly in telecommunications and financial services sectors. A leader, strategic thinker, problem solver, and trusted advisor to CIOs. Prior to joining IBM, Funzani was General Manager: Information Security for one of the major telecommunications operators in South Africa.
Funzani is currently a client CISO for one of South Africa’s critical market infrastructure participants.
Funzani holds a post-graduate degree in Informatics, a post-graduate diploma in Cyber law, and various security certifications.

icon-expand-white Sidi Ali Maelainin

Sidi Ali Maelainin

Sidi Ali Maelainin

Sidi Ali Maelainin

IBM MEA Corporate Social Responsibility Manager

Sidi Ali Maelaininis the Corporate Social Responsibility Regional Manager for IBM in the Middle East and Africa. He manages several programs related to Education, Healthcare, Youth Employability, Women Empowerment and Entrepreneurship. Passionate about Technology and the Impact it has on people’s lives, Mr. Maelainin has been working for the last nineteen years on ICT integration in Education, promotion of Innovation, and Empowerment of youth, women, disadvantaged people and people with disabilities through ICT. He has anextensive experience in North Africa and a deep knowledge of Education systems in this region where he successfully implemented multiple Corporate Social Responsibility programs with many Governments, NGOs and IGOs. Prior to joining IBM, Sidi Ali Maelainin served as the Technology and Communication Advisor to the Moroccan Head of Government, and before that as the Director of Social Transformation in the Cabinet of the Minister of Industry, Trade and New Technologies. He began his career as a Computer Science Lecturer at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane in 1997, and then he was appointed Associated Director for Development at this university in 1999. He joined Microsoft North Africa in 2001 where he served as the Education and Citizenship Manager working with governments and nonprofits to create value, enhance the quality of education and the life of disadvantaged people with ICT. Mr. Maelainin is a founding member and Secretary General of Anwaar, a nonprofit that helps gifted university students realizetheir potential. He is the President of the Moroccan Association for Computing Machinery and the Moroccan Association for Japanese Culture. He is also the founder of the ACM Regional Programing Contest for Africa and the Arab World in 1998. In addition tocreating several youth and engineering competitions in Morocco and North Africa during the last 20 years, he was the 2015 World Finals Director of the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC), the world’s biggest programming competition.

icon-expand-white Tejas Mehta

Tejas Mehta

Tejas Mehta

Tejas Mehta

Vice President & General Manager, North, East & West Africa

Tejas Mehta is the Vice President and General Manager of North, East and West Africa, with over 24 years of experience in the technology and services industry. He leads a cross-functional team of hundreds of IBMers across 40 countries, helping customers solve critical business problems through technologies like Cloud, AI and Security.

Tejas joined IBM in 1996 and has worked in several different sales and leadership roles across the United States, Middle East and Africa. He has a solid record of business accomplishments in addressing new markets, building successful sales strategies and capturing market share. His key career attributes also include the ability to coach and develop teams to be high performance leaders and to successfully manage and transform global teams within emerging markets.

Tejas is also currently on the Board of Directors for the US Chamber of Commerce – Africa Business Council. He has completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Genetics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, followed by an MBA in Finance from the University of Illinois – Chicago, as well as a Master’s Degree in Public Health with a specialization in Epidemiology.

icon-expand-white Mohamed Karim Mokaddem

Mohamed Karim Mokaddem

Mohamed Karim Mokaddem

Mohamed Karim Mokaddem

Country General Manager, IBM Tunisia

Mohamed Karim Mokaddem holds the position of IBM General Manager, covering Algeria, Lybia and Tunisia since July 2014.
Mr. Mokaddem has more than 25 years of experience and began his career at IBM in New York. He then joined IBM Tunisia to occupy various sales and managerial functions covering Tunisia and Libya. His career then led him to HR Access (A Fidelity Investment Company) where he held the position of Director of Sales for Middle East and Africa.
He returned to IBM in 2011 as Business Development Manager, then as Sales Director for North and West Africa (French speaking countries).
Mr. Mokaddem has a Master Degree in computer science applied to management from the Higher Institute of Management in Tunis, as well as a Management Diploma from Henley Management University in Great Britain. He is currently a board member of « Computer Distribution » in Tunisia and also a board member of the « Tunisian/American Chamber of Commerce ».

icon-expand-white Ronnie Moodley

Ronnie Moodley

Ronnie Moodley

Ronnie Moodley

IBM Systems Lab Services Executive – Middle East and Africa

Mr. Ronnie Moodley is the Systems Lab Services Executive at IBM Middle East and Africa. In this role, he leads a team of technical resources focused on accelerating IBM Systems growth and expanding IBM’s Systems market share in the region. He is also responsible for the business performance of IBM Systems Lab Services across the region. He has a passion for high-performing teams, executive leadership, and customer centricity. With more than 30 years’ experience in the ICT sector and over 20 years in IBM in various divisions and disciplines from services to Systems sales, Ronnie led IBM’s Systems Business for Southern Africa region until September 2019 and built strong client relationships in the region amongst Banks, Telco’s, Government and Local Municipalities.
Ronnie is an advanced level certified coach, Sales Advisor within IBM Global Sales School, an expert certified seller and holds an MBA from Regent Business School.

icon-expand-white Dumisani Mthimkhulu

Dumisani Mthimkhulu

Dumisani Mthimkhulu

Dumisani Mthimkhulu

Standard Bank Executive Head Data Asset Management

Dumisani has been instrumental in establishing the Data Asset Management (DAM) competency in the Standard Bank Group and championing the investment into, adoption of and execution on, Data Asset Management and Data Governance technologies and best practices. His role involves overseeing a range of data-related functions and platforms to ensure the Group gets the most value from their data assets. These functions include Metadata Management, Data Profiling, Data Modelling, Reference Data Management and Enabling Clouds as related to Data Management and Governance. He is a well-respected change agent in an ever-evolving technology landscape who always strives to make a difference within the Group and the larger data community.

icon-expand-white Caroline Mukiira

Caroline Mukiira

Caroline Mukiira

Caroline Mukiira

Head of Tradelens, IBM Middle East & Africa

Caroline Mukiira is the Head of Tradelens, IBM Blockchain Division of Middle East and Africa responsible for championing the transformation and digitization of trade across the region.
Prior to this role Caroline Mukiira was the Regional General Manager for IBM’s Global Business Services for East Africa responsible for the day to day operations, strategy execution and overall P & L of IBM’s consulting practice in East Africa. In this role, Caroline was responsible for bringing together geographies, service lines, consulting talent, industries and market functions to provide exceptional service to IBM clients within East Africa. She also acted as an account partner to several clients in East Africa. Her client experience focused on disruptive technologies; Mobile, Cloud, AI, Block Chain, Cognitive, Automation, Analytics and Internet of things, and large-scale enterprise transformational programs. Prior to joining IBM, Caroline was based in Manhattan, New York working for Accenture. At Accenture, she held several leadership roles including a Global leadership role with the Accenture’s Financial Services Sector. In these roles, Caroline was also responsible for business development, client development and delivery of complex transformational initiatives across North America and Europe. She was also instrumental in shaping the five-year strategy for Accenture’s Insurance vertical to become a 2.5 Billion (USD) Industry. Prior to Accenture, Caroline worked for Progressive Insurance in Cleveland, Ohio. At Progressive Insurance she was instrumental in shaping the implementation of several groundbreaking products within the Agency and Direct channels. While at Progressive Insurance, Caroline also co-founded the local chapter of Standup for Kids, an NGO that caters for the homeless youth. Caroline obtained her master’s degree in Management and Economics from Columbia University in New York City and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. 

icon-expand-white Indran Naick

Indran Naick

Indran Naick

Indran Naick

CTO IBM Integrated accounts

Indran Naick is currently serving as the CTO on one of IBM's Integrated Accounts - General Motors. He is a Member of the IBM Academy of Technology, the NA ITA Certification board and is an IBM Master Inventor. He has held a variety of positions in IBM in South Africa and the USA working with startups, partners and enterprise customers across the globe. Throughout his career, he has worked as an architect, specialist and consultant, on many products and with many customers and partners worldwide. He has several patents, published several articles, co-authored several technical publications and has spoken at conferences across the globe.

icon-expand-white Nik Nesbitt

Nik Nesbitt

Nik Nesbitt

Nik Nesbitt

Country General Manager, IBM East Africa

Nicholas Nesbitt is the General Manager of IBM Eastern Africa. He leads all of IBM's operations in 10 countries in the region and has led successful IBM engagements in the private and public sectors.


Previously, Mr Nesbitt was the co-founder and CEO of KenCall, the leading and pioneering international BPO/call center outsourcing company in East Africa. Harvard Business School and MIT Sloan School of Business have both written case studies on KenCall.


Prior to moving back to Kenya, Mr Nesbitt held senior executive positions in the United States at Qwest Communications, Schneider Electric and The Boston Consulting Group.


Mr Nesbitt is the elected Chairman of both the boards of KEPSA (Kenya Private Sector Alliance) and the East African Business Council. In addition, the President of Kenya appointed him to Kenya’s national Vision 2030 board.


He is/has been a board member of the Central Bank of Kenya, CBA, Amcham, AMREF Flying Doctors, Kenya School of Monetary Studies, Multimedia University and Gateway insurance.


Mr Nesbitt is an active member of the Young President’s Organization (YPO).


Mr Nesbitt has been profiled frequently in global and regional media and has been a frequent speaker on entrepreneurship and leadership in Kenya and around the world.


The President of Kenya awarded Nicholas the Order of the Grand Warrior (OGW), in recognition of his creating the Kenyan BPO industry.


Mr Nesbitt received his MBA from Stanford University and both his Masters and Bachelors of Engineering degrees from Dartmouth College in the USA.


He is a keen golfer and mountain biker and enjoys safaris.

icon-expand-white Biswanath (Bishu) Panigrahi

Biswanath (Bishu) Panigrahi

Biswanath (Bishu) Panigrahi

Biswanath (Bishu) Panigrahi

General Manager, GBS Southern and East Africa

Bishu is the Executive Partner and General Manager for IBM’s Global Business Services Southern and East Africa. He leads the region’s business performance, day-to-day operations and global strategy execution in the market. He is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the company’s strategy, client engagement, innovation programmes, as well as P&L.

Previously, Bishu was the Cloud Consulting Application Services leader for Middle East and Africa region and responsible for executing IBM’s Cloud Strategy and helping clients in their Digital Transformation journey by creating new innovative business models and opportunities for transformation across industries.

As IBM’s GBS leader for Southern and East Africa, he brings together geographies, service lines, technical and business talent, industries and market functions to provide exceptional service to IBM clients.

His has extensive experience with top global client focused on disruptive technologies such as Cloud, AI, Cognitive, Automation, IoT and largescale enterprise digital transformation.

icon-expand-white Simphiwe Phakathi

Simphiwe Phakathi

Simphiwe Phakathi

Simphiwe Phakathi

Standard Bank Executive Head: Relationship Banking PBB Africa Regions

Simphiwe has 16 years worth of Data & Analytics experience in the financial services industry. He currently holds the position of Executive Head: Relationship Banking PBB Africa Regions at Standard Bank Group and previously was the Head of Customer Insights & Analytics for PBB Africa Regions where he is primarily focused on the establishment and maturing the data discipline across 14 countries on the continent. This can only be done through a fully enabled data office that is embedded in the business and accountable for Data Management, BIReporting, Actionable Insights and Analytics through leveraging datascience as a discipline. He also plays a number of roles across the organization such as being the lead for the Group Data Quality guild, which has led him to being the Executive Sponsor on behalf of the Bank for the IBM Global Elite Programme. He has 16 years of work experience of which 3 years were at ABSA Bank and the rest at Standard Bank. Most, if not all of his career, has being spent in roles largely focused on Data. Some of the business areas he has been a part of include Card Division, Fraud Risk, MIS/ Analytics, Data Quality Management and Retail Banking.

icon-expand-white Carla Grant Pickens

Carla Grant Pickens

Carla Grant Pickens

Carla Grant Pickens

IBM Services, Vice President, HR

Carla has worked in Business/IT for approximately 28 years as a Manager or Executive in Consulting and Human Resources at IBM, Oracle, and Northrup Grumman corporations over the course of her career. For the past 20 years, she has worked for IBM primarily in the IBM Services unit in HR Leadership, Talent Strategy and Programs, and Executive Succession & Development. Today, she is the Vice President, for Global Business Services (GBS) Executive Succession & Development and Partner Development for 1,800 Executives and 3,300 executive pipeline employees for IBM Services globally.
Prior to her taking on this role, she was the Global HR Director for Global Cognitive Process Transformation Growth Platform, Business Consulting (BC) and Business Process Services (BPS) Delivery. She has been instrumental in developing the HR and Talent strategy for the transformation and integration of Global Process Services Outsourcing business into IBM Services in 2015. As well as the HR transformation of BC to its strategic lines of business in 2016-17 for Digital and Cognitive Consulting.
Carla was the CHRO for 3 years and sat on the Board of Directors across 3 IBM companies of approximately 17,000 employees in the Philippines. She led the Talent Strategy for Asean for IBM services and specifically start-up centers in Global Technology Services (GTS) Delivery Centers for the Philippines and Malaysia. As the Philippines country HR Leader, she executed an integrated HR Strategy for 3 IBM companies. Her notable accomplishments included: 3 divestitures, 4 acquisitions, 2 new IBM sites, and the 1st IBM HR software, Workday launch.
She transitioned to Corporate Human Resources Organization to the IBM HR Talent organization, where she has been the Workforce Strategy & Programs Leader for over 30 Asia Pacific (AP) and Global Delivery (GD) countries for the Global Business Services organization for 7 years for approximately 100000 employees. She was the HR Partner for AT&T Telecommunications account and New Jersey HR Sites manager for 3 years. Carla held several positions as a Senior Consulting Manager in the IBM Software Group for approximately 3 years.
Carla grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland where she attained a B.S. in Economics and M.S. in Human Resources. She holds an IBM patent for Workforce Retention and Compensation Analytics as an IBM inventor. Carla is eminent in the US and in the Asean region as a speaker at business events, academe and government on HR business transformation. She is the Executive Champion for the African-American DC-MD-VA (DMV) Business Resource Group, and Mentor/Executive Champion for Carver High School P-Tech Program, Baltimore Maryland.
Prior to IBM, Carla held roles in Consulting, Systems, and HR for PeopleSoft Inc/Oracle and Northrup Grumman. Carla is married to Eric Pickens, Sr. for 26 years, and has 2 sons: Eric, Jr., 21, senior at American University and Louis, 17, senior at Bishop McNamara High school.
Carla is passionate about people and culture, she loves College Basketball (MD Terps), Washington Wizards and Baltimore Orioles. She enjoys volunteering for programs for children around STEM, career coaching, and reading.

icon-expand-white Hamilton Ratshefola

Hamilton Ratshefola

Hamilton Ratshefola

Hamilton Ratshefola

Country General Manager, IBM Southern Africa

Hamilton joined IBM as a graduate and trainee System Engineer in 1990. He worked as a mainframe Systems Engineer in the banking and retail environment before moving into Sales in 1993. He was promoted to management in 1995 and later moved to lead the Industry Team in Travel & Transportation in 1997.

Hamilton was then included in IBM’s development assignment programme where he worked on assignment in the UK, Italy, Denmark and the US, to gain exposure to IBM client environments and global best case practice. Following this, Hamilton returned to South Africa to lead the IBM Public Sector Business and worked with key government organizations, including SARS and Department of Home Affairs to solve their complex business problems.

In 2000 Hamilton co-founded Cornastone, a successful IBM Business Partner.

Hamilton rejoined IBM South Africa in June 2013 and reported to the Country General Manager as Director - Enterprise and MidMarket (EMM), leading IBM’s sales efforts in South Africa.

On 1 June 2015, Hamilton was appointed IBM South Africa’s Country General Manager and leads IBM in Southern Africa.

icon-expand-white Nikitas Rigos

Nikitas Rigos

Nikitas Rigos

Nikitas Rigos

IBM Global Technology Services, IBM South Africa

Nikitas joined IBM in 2016, with over 25 years’ experience in the Information Technology Industry.

Nikitas initially served as the Business Development Executive of Global Technology Services IBM South Africa. In this role, he had the responsibility to identify and grow IBM’s Infrastructure Services business and specialized in running large complex deals. Nikitas focused with clients on key initiatives such as cloud, resiliency, networking and the like.

In his Current role as the Global Technology Services IS sales leader for Southern Africa, he is responsible to drive the IS sales organization with a focus on driving value to our clients and the IBM bottom line.

In his prior career role, Nikitas held several positions within a leading IT organization in South Africa for over 22 years. Nikitas ran several divisions including Networks and Security for a leading ICT company. Nikitas later moved to a Business Development role that focused on Strategic Outsourcing business for private sector for over 10 years. In this role, he was responsible for growing revenue and focused on $100 million plus complex deal.

Through his 25 years of experiences he has owned and co-founded several businesses bringing his entrepreneurial knowledge into the IBM fold. Nikitas has proven a valuable member of the IBM team in the last 3 years.

icon-expand-white Chris Shortt

Chris Shortt

Chris Shortt

Chris Shortt

Pick n Pay General Manager Information Service

Chris Shortt joined Pick n Pay as a permanent staff member in April 2016 after having been engaged with Pick n Pay as a client since 2003.
He is responsible for the IT team inclusive of strategic and executive leadership, commercial and talent leadership as well as full responsibility for the solution architecture, application architecture, solution delivery, service delivery, capability management and the optimisation of costs of the business unit comprising of approximately 375 people.
Chris was previously employed at UCS Solutions where he started off as Programme Manager and Solution Architect in 2000 after returning from working abroad in Europe and the USA. He led the formation and development of the SAP Practice in UCS Solutions.
From 2008 Chris became the Senior Executive: Application Services and in 2015 Chris was appointed Chief Innovation Officer.
Chris attended UCT (1991 – 1994) and graduated with B.Bus Sc.(Hons), Business Strategy, Management & Organisational Psychology, Pure & Applied Statistics, Info Systems and Accounting.

icon-expand-white Wellington Sibande

Wellington Sibande

Wellington Sibande

Wellington Sibande

MTN General Manager: IT Delivery and Consumer Transformation

My management consulting career at Accenture was in Communications and Hi-Tech which focused on telecoms, media and technology. I was involved in various consulting roles for the South African Telcos and leading Entertainment companies. The roles included, end to end systems deployment, business process, contract negotiations and organisational design.

I joined Cell C in 2005 and achieved consistent growth within the Organisation, playing various roles. I managed teams in both IT and Network groups with a responsibility to manage the supplier relationships, procurement, contract negotiations, software licensing, P&L, budget, architecture, product development, services design, service deployment and operations management for a wide range of telecoms systems across OSS/BSS and network areas.

In 2012 I joined the Globacom group, based in Nigeria, Africa’s largest telecoms market. The role evolved from driving innovation and deployment of new Telecoms / VAS revenue streams to a commercial role. In Marketing and Strategy I am now responsible for driving the strategy in terms of regulatory compliance. I also drive the business modelling across all product lines (pricing and profitability) and customer segments.

I was previously Head of International IS (Information Services) at Vodacom Group, reporting to the Group CIO. The role focused on driving IT alignment and crafting a common IT strategy across the IS/IT divisions in the Operating Companies. This includes strategic sourcing, Vendor Management, Architecture, and Shared. I'm currently in the role of General Manager IT Delivery and Consumer Transformation, reporting to the Group CIO.

icon-expand-white Sandhya Sonne

Sandhya Sonne

Sandhya Sonne

Sandhya Sonne

General Manager - Global Technology Services, Southern Africa (GTS SA)

Sandhya Sonne is the General Manager for IBM GTS in Southern Africa, responsible for the development and growth of the business in existing and new clients, integrating our capabilities as One IBM, in the region.

Sandhya Sonne joined IBM in January 2020 as General Manager of GTS SA responsible for the development and growth of the business, integrating our capabilities as One IBM across the region.

Sandhya started her career with IBM in 1996 and worked in several positions primarily in Services managing large accounts. She moved to Sales & Distribution (S&D) as a Client Relationship Manager in 2007 before joining Siemens as an Account Director. Sandhya then moved to EOH managing a large public sector account and has been leading a significant business unit managing the IT systems of several different clients. Sandhya has strong relationships in the petrochemical, oil & gas and mining businesses, however her overall experience cuts across all sectors.

Sandhya completed her MBA at De Montfort University – Leicester, UK in 2001 and graduated with her thesis on “Project Management in Africa”.

icon-expand-white Anel Strydom

Anel Strydom

Anel Strydom

Anel Strydom

Digital Strategy & iX Lead - South Africa

Anél is an Industrial Psychologist, leading a team of creative strategists, designers and developers creating innovative digital solutions for a wide range of clients across industries and geographical boundaries. She has 15+ years of experience in implementing and managing a vast range of initiatives to help drive large scale transformation and business value for our customers. She passionately believes creativity and an unwavering focus on the end-user unlocks the true value that technology presents to sustainably solve the challenges we, as a society, face today.

icon-expand-white Ziaad Suleman

Ziaad Suleman

Ziaad Suleman

Ziaad Suleman

Chief Operating Officer, IBM Southern Africa

Ziaad Suleman is a Director and the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for IBM Southern Africa. He joined IBM 11 years ago and has been integral to the growth and development of the IBM Business in the region. In his role as COO, Ziaad is responsible together with the Country General Manager for overall Business Operations. Amongst other focus areas, Ziaad is responsible for Strategy; Transformation; Operations; Special Projects and Investments (including Ecosystem Development, the establishment of a Local Delivery Centre & Digital Lab, and aligning IBM’s Business with IBM’s investments). Ziaad serves on the IBM South Africa Board of Directors, EXCO as well as important governing councils such as being the Chairperson of the Social & Ethics Committee and Disciplinary Board. Prior to his role as COO, Ziaad was the Head Lawyer for IBM in Sub Saharan Africa - a territory which is challenging, both in geography and complexity. Over and above IBM, Ziaad represents South Africa as the SA Chair of 4IR on BRICS, Member of the ICT 4IR Public Private Growth Initiative (PPGI) Business Advisory Group to the President & Lead of the PPGI Digital Skills Portfolio, Non–Executive Chairperson of Qode, Member of FNB Islamic Advisory Council, Non–Executive Director of Charities Aid Foundation Southern Africa and Chairperson of Parktown Girls Governing Body. Ziaad schooled at St. Johns College, Johannesburg and earned both his undergraduate and postgraduate honours degrees in Law with distinction from University of Natal. He also obtained an MDP Business Management degree with distinction from GIBS Business School.


icon-expand-white Likhit Wagle

Likhit Wagle

Likhit Wagle

Likhit Wagle

General Manager, Global Banking Industry, IBM

Likhit Wagle is a global executive who has led and advised Banking and Insurance clients around the world on business transformation programs that have realised major improvements in the clients’ net promoter scores, revenue growth and bottom line profitability.

Likhit is currently responsible for IBM’s world-wide banking business. This is by far IBM’s largest sector by revenue and profits. Likhit’s mission is to grow the industry on a consistent, sustainable and profitable basis by making IBM the partner of choice for Digital Re-invention. Likhit is responsible for developing and executing IBM’s strategy, including the enhancement of external eminence, selection and development of IBM’s client portfolio in the sector and the deployment of industry specific solutions. Nurturing, managing and developing industry talent and expertise which underpins IBM’s strategic differentiation is a key part of his responsibilities. Likhit is a member of IBM’s Management Board for the Industry and also a member of the Acceleration Team which consists of the top 300 executives in the Corporation that has been hand-picked by the Chairman of IBM. He is also a founder member of the Industry Academy - a community of the foremost industry experts in IBM.

Prior to this Likhit led IBM’s Financial Services business in the Asia Pacific region. In this role he led teams that are doing leading edge work to digitally transform incumbent banks and enable them to strike back against new entrants and financial disruptors:

  • At State Bank of India - the largest Bank in the country - capabilities have been built in an accelerated way over a 24-month program to enable 350 million customers to use their smart phones to make balance enquiries; borrow money and buy mutual funds. A market place has also been created for the bank that combines banking with life style products and services to rival platform companies like Amazon and Flipcart.
  • At DBS, recently voted Best Bank in the world by the prestigious Global Finance Magazine, the IBM team has supported the Bank’s digitalisation program developing applications, transforming processes through cognitive process automation and developing the Bank’s data strategy.
  • Westpac earlier in 2018 became the first bank in the world to migrate core middle and back office applications to a hybrid cloud platform built by IBM; speeding up application development from 19 to 3 days and reducing set up costs by 30%

Likhit was previously Global General Manager of IBM’s Banking business based out of London. In this role he was responsible for developing IBM’s strategy for the industry; leading thought leadership; managing the account portfolio; overseeing the development of new innovative solutions; and driving overall growth of IBM’s Banking business. During this time Likhit led the strategy work that:

  • resulted in setting up Financial Services as the first industry vertical across all of IBM; the acquisition of Promontory, one of the world’s leading regulatory consulting firms; and the development of the Regtech portfolio of cognitive software and services to address rapidly increasing compliance costs.
  • supported the successful launch of the new Z14 Mainframe computer as the platform of choice for Banks seeking to digitise their infrastructure taking advantage of attributes such as pervasive encryption; ability to perform real time analytics; and open source architecture.

Before joining IBM, Likhit was a partner at PwC and led their Strategic Consulting Practice in the UK. During this time, he led major programmes focused on improving shareholder value for organisations like Allianz in the Finance Sector and also at Novo Nordisk, Astra Zeneca, Roche, South African Breweries and Sony in other industries. This work was focused on identifying the most sensitive drivers of the company’s intrinsic value and devising initiatives to transform business performance under-pinning these drivers. At IBM, Likhit extended this approach to devise and execute several successful engagements that had creative commercial constructs where IBM put “skin in the game” by linking a major proportion of its fees to improvements in specific enterprise wide key performance indicators that were fundamental to the value of the client.

Before this, Likhit led the M&A advisory business for PwC in the UK. He was a member of the European Management Board and advised on several divestments and leveraged buy-outs. During this time PwC was consistently ranked first in the league table for private company M&A advisory work.

Likhit is a thought leader and featured speaker in the industry with a number of published articles and whitepapers and is frequently quoted in the press. A few examples are noted below:

  • The modern mainframe: a banking platform from the future
  • The next-generation platform for banks: securing customer experience for the digital age
  • Leading the pack in blockchain banking: trailblazers set the pace
  • Blockchain rewires financial markets: trailblazers take the lead
  • The cognitive bank: decoding data to bolster growth and transform the enterprise
  • Banking redefined: disruption, transformation and the next generation bank

Likhit is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and has a Honours degree in Economics and Business Finance from the University of Manchester.

icon-expand-white Kommy Weldemariam

Kommy Weldemariam

Kommy Weldemariam

Kommy Weldemariam

Chief Scientist and Master Inventor at IBM Research - Africa Labs

Kommy Weldemariam is the Chief Scientist and Master Inventor at IBM Research - Africa Labs. Prior to joining IBM, he was an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of Computing, Queen's University (Canada) where he focused on designing tools and techniques for automated analysis, characterization, and detection of malicious activities on the Web. He was a Research Scientist (with a tenure-track title) at Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK), Trento - Italy. At FBK, Kommy was involved in the development, evaluation and formal verification of security/safety-critical systems (such as Electronic Voting Systems). In addition, he was involved in the development of novel ways of using technology to foster economic and social development, often targeting areas characterized by a low penetration of ICT. He was a contractual Professor at the University of Trento (Italy) and a visiting researcher in the Security Lab at the University of California, Santa Barbara CA (USA).

Kommy has been a prolific inventor with over 150 patents (in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchains, Internet of Things (IoT), and Security), over 70 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals and top conference proceedings and delivered a number of keynotes at international/scientific venues. Kommy has also utilized these advances in technologies towards transformational impact in solving both Africa’s and global challenges, such as trade logistics, supply chain management especially in food ecosystems, financial inclusion platforms, climate resiliency for small scale farming, water management platforms, AI for policy making, and AI for global health. Kommy received a B.S. from Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), a M.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (India) and a Ph.D. from the University of Trento (Italy), all in Computer Science. Recently, Kommy was named one of Africa's Most Influential Young Scientist, a Fellow of the Next Einstein Forum and honored as an Emerging Young Scientist at the World Economic Forum, 2015/2016.