Executive Chairman & Chief Analyst
Sebastian Spio-Garbrah has been adjudged one of the world’s leading frontier markets analysts, and was voted among the ‘Top 30 under 30 Analysts’ by New York’s Institutional Investor Magazine in 2006. Sebastian helped establish the Africa risk research practice at leading global political risk consultancy firm, Eurasia Group LLC in New York, London (UK) and Tokyo, and concurrently served as a sovereign risk analyst on Sub-Saharan Africa’s two largest economies, Nigeria and South Africa for a novel global stability index developed by Eurasia Group with Lehman Brothers, Deutsche Bank, and subsequently, with Citigroup between 2005 and 2010. Since 2010, Sebastian has been Global Managing Director & Chief Frontier Markets Analyst at DaMina Advisors where he advises the boards, CEOs and portfolio managers of many of the world’s leading multinationals and largest institutional investors on Africa. A prolific writer and an ambidextrous thinker, Sebastian has been quoted extensively by the international media.
Previously, Sebastian led debt capital markets surveillance unit at Thompson Reuters in New York. Sebastian also advised former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Commission on Africa. Sebastian sits on the board of Christian Children’s Fund of Canada, African Business Media, Canada – Africa Chamber of Business and Jewish Heart for Africa – Innovation Africa. Sebastian is a member of Toronto’s High Park and Parkdale Rotary Club and a Fellow at the Washington Center for the Study of the Presidency. Sebastian holds a B.A (double) in Economics and Political Science from Middlebury College, Vermont and a Juris Doctor (J.D) in law from Rutgers University, New Jersey.
Non-Executive Director, Corporate Affairs & Corporate Governance
Stephanie is a Non-Executive Director, where she oversees governance issues for the company`s global corporate platform across four continents. Stephanie has also worked extensively within the Canadian government and with various Africa-focused development organizations in Canada. Stephanie has a wealth of experience helping organize high profile events for various international organizations and NGOs in North America, Europe and Africa. She recently assisted with the planning and organization of the Internet Governance Forum which hosted over 2,000 delegates in Nairobi, Kenya. Stephanie is the co-founder of the Africa Development Forum at The University of London, School of Africa and Oriental Studies; Co-founder of Re-Connect Ghana, a platform for connecting youth in Ghana with peers in the Ghanaian diaspora; and Executive Director of the Gordon Guggisberg Ghana-Jewish Friendship Foundation. Stephanie holds a B.A Honors in Political Science and Law from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada and a M.A in International Studies and Diplomacy from SOAS, University of London.
Advisory Partner - UK & The British Isles spv
Francis Mensah is a Partner at DaMina Advisors covering UK and the British Isles. Francis is also an independent management consultant with fifteen years of experience in the financial services industry mainly focusing on large complex change projects and business operating model development. Francis’ clients include HSBC, Barclays Bank, Santander and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Prior to becoming an independent consultant Francis worked for Accenture, Deloitte Consulting, and Arthur Andersen Business Consulting. Francis is also an independent investor and has a keen interest in spread trading global stocks and taking long term positions in African equities. Francis has an MSc in information systems from the London School of Economics.
Advisory Partner - Eurasia, Central Asia & Silk Road Markets
Paul's 11 year career has included a eclectic mix of roles across a diverse range of sectors and geographies. The overarching theme that has connected each to the other has always and continues to be frontier and emerging markets, both geographically and technologically defined. From 2006 to 2010 he co-founded and managed a private equity and advisory business in Azerbaijan. From 2011 Paul worked closely with a leading investment manager focused on the markets of the New Silk Road including Iran. This advisory role included expanding the managers strategy and product portfolio, securing institutional capital commitments through design and implementation of a global distribution strategy, and sourcing and screening private equity opportunities in the markets of focus.Concurrently he founded and developed Optionality Global as a capital raising and advisory business working with founders, fund managers and executives of companies based in or focusing on frontier and emerging geographical and technology markets.
Paul has spent time in most of the countries along the Silk Road in Central Asia and the Caucasus and maintains an active network of commercial, political and personal contacts across the region. Paul continues to head up Optionality Global as well as acting as co-founding principal and partner in a premium beef cattle and agri-product and ecotourism business in Republic of Georgia and a global wholesale telecoms company developing and applying blockchain, AI and big data analytics technologies headquartered in Singapore. Paul was awarded the Irwin Mitchell Scholarship and holds an LL.B Law (Solicitors Exempting) Degree from Northumbria University in Newcastle, United Kingdom. He spends his time between London, United Kingdom and Barcelona, Spain and travels frequently to Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia.
Senior Research Fellow; Co-Head, Frontier Asia Consulting
Lars is an investment professional who haven been involved in Asian frontier markets for more than two decades. He has held a number of senior positions on the sell- and buy-side (including portfolio manager, head of research, head of foreign institutional sales and independent adviser) in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, London and Stockholm.
He has built a track record providing invaluable insights on the region, which is helped by his command of five languages, including two Asian – Thai and Malay. His comments have been published in Financial Times and interviews/quotes appeared in Bloomberg, Reuters and a number of other international publications. Lars has also acted as expert speaker at investment forums and continuous professional development courses in Asia.
For nearly four years, Lars acted as the editor and strategist for the well known and popular Profit Hunter (premium investment newsletter dedicated to unearth the best thematic investment ideas in frontier markets) and The New World (free investment letter tasked to come up with the hottest investment ideas in Asian frontier markets) in London.
Lars writes on Asian financial markets for Myanmar Business Today, the leading weekly business newspaper in Yangon, Myanmar, home to the world’s youngest frontier stock market (Yangon Stock Exchange, founded in Oct 2015).
Lars holds a BA in East & Southeast Asian Studies (major in Thai language) and studied politics, economics at Lund University, the highest ranked university in Sweden in the QS ranking in 2018. He is an associate member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investments (CISI, London) and the certification of Statement of Professional Standing (SPS).
Lars lives in Asia but regularly spends extended periods in London, which serves as the external hub for several Asian frontier markets he focuses on.
Col (Rtd) James Hall was until recently the British Defence Adviser at the UK High Commission in Abuja, Nigeria. Now retired from the UK Armed Forces after three decades of service he provides strategic analysis and security advice, specializing in Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) through his advisory company Sandwick Advisers Ltd, security consultants to DaMina Advisors clients.
Capt (Rtd) Ogwuegbu-Stephens is a Captain in the United States Army Reserve. He recently left active duty service after spending almost a decade as an intelligence analyst in the US Special Forces and the 82nd All American Airborne Unit. He is currently working towards his law degree and provides strategic security analysis and advice specializing on Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States. Born in the southwest city of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.
Senior Research Fellow, Sub-Saharan Africa
Philippe de Pontet's expertise in political and investment risk analysis in the continent stems from 15 years of analytical and advisory services on Africa for a diverse client base including multinationals, financial institutions and governments. He has a vast network of contacts honed over the years, helping to inform his analysis and forecasts for investors as they weigh risks and opportunities in frontier Africa.From 2006 to 2016 Philippe worked at Eurasia Group where he rose to Africa practice head, leading the firm’s analytical coverage of the continent. Philippe's sectoral expertise centers on the politics of the extractive industries, particularly oil/gas and mining, but he has also led multiple projects in sectors ranging from power to retail goods to agriculture. Prior to joining Eurasia Group, Philippe worked at Intellibridge Corporation, focusing on open-source intelligence for government and private-sector clients with diverse interests in Africa. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Princeton University, he taught at universities in Mexico and China in the 1990s. He received a Masters in International Relations from Georgetown University (MSFS) in 2001 prior to working at Intellibridge Corporation.
Analyst (Global Health Research - Sub Saharan Africa)
A product of Yale University Medical School and Middlebury College’s department of Neuroscience, Johannes has previously conducted research for Yale University Medical School, Rockefeller University in New York and Middlebury College's Biology Department, Vermont. Johannes has interned at Porter Hospital in Vermont and at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Ghana. He was previously a global health research Intern at DaMina Advisors New York. Johannes peer reviwed scientific publications are cited below:
Peter Chin, Senior Research Fellow - Kurdistan
Peter Chin is a Senior Research Fellow, Kurdistan, at DaMina Advisors. He also teaches a university course in strategy, negotiations, critical thinking, Joint Interagency Intergovernmental Management, and various elements of foreign affairs and intercultural relations. Due to the international nature of his students, staying up-to-date in the various regions of interest to U.S. security is of utmost importance; therefore, reading about the political, security and economic events transpiring globally is a daily responsibility. He has spent twelve years in U.S. Army Special Operations, most of that time in U.S. Army Special Forces (SF) with 5th Special Forces Group, where he deployed to Iraq and the Middle East multiple times. Throughout his time in the military, he also deployed to Central America, Horn of Africa, Southeast Asia, and Europe; this exposure to different cultures allows him to swim through them quite effortlessly. During his last trip to Iraq he collected information on the security, governance, economy, and essential services in Baghdad's neighborhoods to paint a picture for higher command on where to most efficiently deploy their rebuilding efforts.
Mr Chin received his BA from the University of Chicago in International Relations, a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University in the City of New York, and an MBA from the University of Oxford .Due to his academic, military, social, and business fluency, he is quite comfortable dealing with cultures across the ethnic, political, religious, and socio-economic spectrum, comprehensively reinforced by his travel throughout the Caribbean, Central America, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
Communications Strategy Officer
Kofi Yeboah is the Communications Strategy Officer at Damina Advisors. His focus is on developing and implementing digital strategies for Damina’s social media channels. Kofi has an extensive communications experience in the social enterprise and non-profit sector. He has worked in emerging markets including Ghana and Kenya.
Prior to joining Danima, Kofi worked as the Communications and Social Media officer for a $3.9m USAID funded project which was implemented by Population Services International, a global health organization dedicated to improving the health of people in the developing world. He has consulted for some international companies including Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT), an international Canadian social enterprise based in Canada. He assisted DOT with development and implementation of a social innovation programme to identify young social innovators from developing economies, with focus on Ghana.
Kofi is also an active member of the Global Voices Online – an international community of bloggers who report on blogs and citizen media from all over the world. He writes stories about the emerging technology development in Ghana and Africa.
Kofi is an alumnus of Amani Institute, Kenya – an institute that focuses on preparing next-generation talent to tackle global challenges in emerging markets. He is also a Kumvana Fellow, a fellowship programme, supported by the Canadian government, that builds the capacities of young African professionals while fostering rich collaborations between Canadian and African partners.
Kofi formerly worked as the Communications Officer for Clean Team Ghana, a social enterprise that provides innovative sanitation solutions to the urban poor in Ghana. His articles and thoughtful comments have appeared in major international media outlets including The Guardian UK, Aljezeera and Global Voices Online. Kofi has a degree in Economics and Sociology from University of Cape Coast, but currently pursuing a graduate programme at the University of Alberta, Canada, where he is studying Communications and Technology. Has travelled extensively across East and West Africa, Middle East, Asia and North America.
Natalee Vernon, DaMina Senior Legal Advisor
Natalee was until recently Legal and Business Affairs Counsel at Mattel, Inc., and previously served in a similar role at Thomson Reuters. Natalee was an associate at Shearman & Sterling LLP New York and previously worked at Bloomberg. Natalee obtained her JD in law from Cornel University and BA in Political Science and Spanish from Middlebury College. Natalee has been admitted to the New York bar.