Annual Symposium Speakers and Papers

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Mrs. Florette Nakusera

Mrs. Florette Nakusera is the Director of the Research and Financial Stability Department and Chief Economist of the Bank of Namibia. She has over 22 years of experience in Macroeconomic policy research and statistics, Central banking, Finance and investments, Strategic management, Leadership and corporate Governance, as well as, Environmental economics and policy. Mrs. Nakusera joined the Bank as an Economist, before rising through the ranks as Senior Economist and Deputy Director of Research. She holds a Master’s and an Honours degree in Commerce (Economics) from the University of Stellenbosch, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in commerce from the University of Namibia. She also completed the International Executive Development (IEDP) Certificate from the Wits Business School/London Business School and an Executive Development Programme (EDP) from the University of Stellenbosch Business School. Mrs. Nakusera has written and co-authored numerous articles and papers in the field of macroeconomics. She also served as a Chairperson and Director on various Boards and Committees.



Dr. Vera Songwe

Dr. Vera Songwe is the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) since 2017. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience, providing policy advice on development and delivering development results for Africa, as well as a demonstrated strong and clear strategic vision for the continent. Prior to joining the UNECA, she was Regional Director of the International Finance Corporation, covering West and Central Africa. Also, she continues to serve as a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Africa Growth Initiative. She is also a member of the African Union institutional reform team under the direction of the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, and a board member of the African Leadership Network and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. Previously, she was Country Director for the World Bank, covering Cape Verde, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, and Senegal. She was also Adviser to the Managing Director of the World Bank for Africa, Europe, and Central and South Asia and a lead Country Sector Coordinator for the organisation. She had earlier served as the World Bank’s Senior Economist in the Philippines. She holds a PhD in Mathematical Economics from the Center for Operations Research and Econometrics and a Master of Arts in Law and Economics and a Diplôme d’études approfondies in Economic Science and Politics from the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Michigan and is a graduate of Our Lady of Lourdes College in Cameroon. Ms. Songwe has published widely on development and economic issues.



Mr. Sven Thieme

Mr. Sven Thieme is the Executive Chairperson of the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group of companies. He completed his Articles with Deloitte & Touche where he also qualified as a chartered accountant. Sven became an Audit Manager at Deloitte & Touche, Luxembourg before he joined the Ohlthaver & List Group of Companies in 1998. He has worked since 1998 at Ohlthaver & List Trust Co. Ltd.; 2001 to 2002 as a General Manager. He also sits on several supervisory boards of subsidiaries. Previously, he was a Auditor from 1994 to 1998 at Deloitte & Touche in Luxemburg. In 2004, he was in charge of establishing the Development Bank of Namibia as Chairperson of the Board of Directors. He served on the board of Windhoek Country Club as the chairman and transformed the public entity into a profit making one. Since 2014, he presided over the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He is considered as one of the most influential business personalities in Namibia. He has navigated his rise through a complex business structure to become the Executive Chairman of the O&L Group, the largest Namibian private-sector corporation, at the age of 30. He upholds family values and is a passionate family man and father of three children. He is also a distinctly proud Namibian citizen, who has served the country’s public and private sectors in many capacities. Sven lives up to the O&L Group’s Purpose of “Creating a Future, Enhancing Life” every day and regards his achievements in the success, growth and happiness of all those lives he can directly or indirectly enhance. Mr. Heinrich Mihe Gaomab II



Ms. Paulina Elago

Ms. Paulina Mbala Elago, is a Trade Economist, currently serving as the second Executive Secretary for the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Secretariat since the 1st April 2014. Her appointment as the Executive Secretary of SACU was renewed for the second term in 2019. Prior to heading the SACU Secretariat, Ms Elago served as the Tanzania Country Director, for TradeMark East Africa (TMEA). She was responsible for designing, managing and implementation of the TMEA Tanzania`s multi-million dollar Country Programme designed to support the implementation of East African Community (EAC) regional integration programmes. This included improving intra-regional trade and trade competitiveness through improved trade facilitation, and streamlining procedures and trade related infrastructure development. Ms Elago has over twenty-five years of professional experience in International Trade, primarily trade policy, regional integration, trade facilitation, investment environment reforms, trade related capacity building and trade related infrastructure development. Additionally, she boasts of 10 years’ experience in managing and delivering multi-donor, multi-country and multi-year development programmes to support regional integration and trade competitiveness, primarily in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States including institutional support to regional integration organisations across ACP region. She has also served as Deputy Chief of Party for the Southern Africa Global Competitiveness Hub in Gaborone, Botswana, Economic Adviser at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London and as Chief Trade Negotiator for the Government of the Republic of Namibia. She has in-depth knowledge and understanding of the trade and socio- economic development context on the African continent especially SACU, SADC and EAC sub- regions, the ACP and Commonwealth groupings as well as the global arena





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