KEYNOTE SPEAKER BIOGRAPHIES

 
 
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EVAN MAWARIRE

Evan Mawarire is a Zimbabwean pastor who came to prominence during the 2016–17 Zimbabwe protests that challenged the rule of Robert Mugabe’s government. It was reported that Mawarire urged the people of Zimbabwe to remain defiant and refuse to return to work after the protests. In late 2017, it was reported by BBC NEWS that Mawarire was acquitted by a Zimbabwe court where he faced a potential 20 year prison sentence if convicted for allegedly trying to overthrow Robert Mugabe. On 13 July 2017 at least 150 lawyers stood up in court to represent Mawarire, while thousands amassed outside a Harare courthouse.

#This flag, is a democracy movement in Zimbabwe that was founded by Mawarire with the intention of removing the government of president Robert Mugabe. The movement was also considered by some as the most influential civilian-led political movement in Zimbabwe's history. Martin Runganga, a detective in Zimbabwe's criminal investigations department likened Mawarire to Boko Haram stating that he (Mawarire)is brainwashing the people of Zimbabwe through religion similarly to Boko Haram. Some in Zimbabwe compared the movement that of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1950s African-American civil rights movement (1954–1968). The Herald, a Zimbabwean newspaper claimed that Mawarire was a fraudster who conned church goers from his church based in United Kingdom so as to evade tax.

In July 2016, Mawarire was arrested on charges of inciting violence in Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Republic Police seized his phone. On 1 February 2017, Mawarire was arrested in connection with a charge of trying to overthrow Robert Mugabe at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Zimbabwe on his way back from the United States. In June 2017, Mawarire was arrested for praying with protesting students of the University of Zimbabwe. In September 2017, Mawarire was arrested for citing Zimbabwe's economic problems by the Zimbabwe Republic Police at his church.

Shortly after Morgan Tsvangirai's death it was reported that Mawarire considered Tsvangirai to be a significant player in Zimbabwe's post-independence legacy as he challenged Mugabe's rule from the outside different from his predecessors. Shortly after Robert Mugabe's 94th birthday while at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy Mawarire voiced his skepticism on Zimbabwe's 2018 election being free and fair. It is uncertain whether Mawarire contemplates running for the Zimbabwean presidency but he has ruled out any prospects.

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ISABEL DOS SANTOS

Isabel dos Santos is an Angolan businesswoman, Africa's richest woman and the eldest child of Angola's former President José Eduardo dos Santos, who controlled the country from 1979 to 2017.  In 2013, according to research by Forbes, her net worth had reached more than three billion US dollars, making her Africa’s first billionaire woman. A Forbes magazine article described in 2013 how Isabel dos Santos acquired her wealth by taking stakes in companies doing business in Angola, suggesting that her wealth comes almost entirely from her family's power and connections. Dos Santos holds Degree in Engineering Science and Management from the University of London (King’s College). She attended St. Paul’s Girls School in London, a top academic private school studying A-levels in Mathematics, Further Mathematics Physics and Languages. She speaks fluently six languages: Russian, Portuguese, English, French, Spanish and Italian.

During the 1990s, upon completing her university degree Isabel dos Santos worked in Europe for Cooppers & Lybrand a leading consulting & financial advisory firm (now PwC). Following, her return to Angola Isabel dos Santos worked as an engineer and project manager in recycling projects, for a company part of the Jembas group. In 1995 she started her own business by creating a F&B company, and a beverage distribution and logistics company.

She is the Chairwoman of UNITEL, one of Angola’s two mobile phone networks, where she started working in 1998 as an engineer and project manager. Since 2005 she has had relevant interests in telecommunications, media, retail, finance and the energy industry, both in Angola and in Portugal. She is also member of the board of Angola’s Banco BIC and majority shareholder in BFA. In Portugal, she was a former member of the Board of Directors of NOS, a listed telecom & cable TV company.

During her father's reign, Isabel dos Santos was appointed chairwoman of Angola’s national oil company Sonangol, and was fired from her position by the current President of Angola in 2017.

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