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Hussein Sefian


Hussein is the Founding Partner of Acre Impact Capital, responsible for strategy, business development, growth and partnerships.

Prior to founding Acre, Hussein was the Global Head of Strategy at BNP Paribas CIB, where he defined the organisation’s sustainable finance strategy. By the time he left BNP Paribas in 2018, the bank was the largest green bond runner globally and was recognised by Euromoney as the World’s Best Bank for Sustainable Finance.  As part of his role at BNP Paribas, Hussein was responsible for managing strategic partnerships and a portfolio of Strategic Investments worth $350mn, with assets which included market infrastructure companies, minority stakes in other financial institutions, funds and FinTech companies.

Prior to his career in investment banking, Hussein worked for more than 10 years in management consulting with Booz Allen, advising clients in financial services, public sector and telecommunications on their most complex strategic issues. Hussein lived in Paris, London and Johannesburg and advised clients across the African continent and the Middle East.  Hussein is passionate about the promise of finance in addressing the world’s most pressing social and environmental problems.

A thoughtful strategic thinker, Hussein is skilled at bringing multi-disciplinary teams together to create innovative solutions to complex problems.   Hussein holds a Master’s in Business Administration from New York University's Stern School of Business and a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University. Hussein completed the Prince of Wales’s Business and Sustainability Programme at the University of Cambridge. 


Faisal Khan


Faisal has over a decade of financing experience in Emerging Markets, with a particular focus on sovereign and corporate entities across Central Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa. Faisal has helped clients raise a cumulative $200bn worth of capital while at Deutsche Bank, Investec Bank and BNP Paribas.​

Faisal has advised several Emerging / Frontier Markets governments on raising international debt capital including Angola, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Zambia and South Africa.  Through his extensive network of contacts, Faisal has developed a deep understanding of regional investment and fundraising challenges.  He has accumulated significant experience in structuring and pricing deals in the region, while managing risks through detailed sovereign due diligence.

Most recently Faisal has developed deep expertise in Sustainable Debt Capital Markets at BNP Paribas, where he supported both sovereign and corporate clients structure and execute sustainable bonds and loans. Faisal is an expert at the development of sustainability frameworks in line with the Green / Social / Sustainable Bonds/Loans principles.

Faisal holds a Masters in Business Administration from New York University’s Stern School of Business and a Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering from McGill University.  


Simon Sayer


Simon has spent his whole career working in trade and export finance.  He spent twenty two years at Deutsche Bank, most recently as Global Head of Structured Trade & Export Finance, until retiring in September 2019. Prior to joining Deutsche Bank, he worked for Lloyds Bank International for eleven years.


Simon has extensive experience in advising clients regarding, and arranging finance for cross-border capital equipment and infrastructure investments.  He has worked with all the major global export credit agencies as well as most underwriters in the private political risk insurance market.


As Global Head of Structured Trade & Export Finance at Deutsche, Simon was responsible for all the Bank’s substantial export finance business, including the strong growth over the last decade in the bank’s support for infrastructure projects in Africa.


Diana Smallridge


Diana Smallridge is a leading expert on Export Credit Agencies, EXIM Banks and Development Banks around the world. With three decades of experience, she has extensive knowledge of export and development finance systems and an in-depth understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by financial institutions working to catalyze economic growth.

Since founding International Financial Consulting in 2000, Diana has worked with multilateral, bilateral and national agencies from over 50 countries on a wide range of projects. She is a hands-on senior consultant and seasoned project leader and is widely recognized as one of the foremost advisors in the field. A pioneering thinker on issues such as climate finance, Diana is a sought after speaker and facilitator at international workshops and conferences, and has been the Conference Chairman for the Annual Global Convention on Insuring Export Credit and Political Risk since 2001.

Prior to establishing International Financial Consulting, Diana worked with the Export Development Canada for 12 years from 1988 to 2000, where she was Director, International Relations, as well as Special Advisor to the President, leading the strategic planning.  She graduated from Queens University, in Kingston, Ontario with a Masters of Arts in Economics.


Christina Westholm-Schroder 


Christina has 30+ years’ experience in the political risk insurance industry. She is the Chief Underwriter and SVP of Sovereign Risk Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chubb Bermuda, where she leads Sovereign’s cooperation with multilaterals and ECAs.

Prior to joining Sovereign, she worked at the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) of the World Bank.  At MIGA she worked in several managerial capacities before assuming the role as Head of Reinsurance.  In her earlier career, she worked at Bank of America in New York and in her home country, Sweden. 


Christina is a Director on the Board of the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI), a multilateral organization based in Nairobi, Kenya. She is also a trustee of a Swedish foundation, set up to foster development through educational grants and support to vulnerable populations. Christina is the past  VP of the Berne Union (the BU) and served eight years on BU’s board/Management Committee.  She previously held positions as BU’s Chair of the Investment Committee and Chair of the Technical Panel.      


Christina has a degree in international business from Stockholm School of Economics and an MBA in finance from Stern School of Business of New York University


Alice Chapple


Alice is an economist and a specialist in both impact investment and impact assessment. She has worked with development finance institutions for 30 years, identifying ways in which companies and investors can have a meaningful impact beyond financial returns.

Through her company, Impact Value, she currently works with a number of funds and companies to help them articulate, measure and maximise their impact. Before setting up Impact Value, Alice was Director of Sustainable Financial Markets at Forum for the Future, working on projects that explored innovative financial instruments, more effective valuation techniques, better risk assessment, and longer-term investment strategies.

Most of her early career was spent at CDC, first as an investment analyst based both in the UK and in Africa, and then developing CDC’s approach to the management of environmental and social issues. Alice is a Trustee of the Shell Foundation, a member of the Advisory Board of Sainsbury’s Foundation, and Independent Chair of the Technical Assistance Committee at CDC.


She is Director of Investor Watch, a not-for-profit organisation established to drive more sustainable investment practices, and an advisor to the Future Fit Foundation. She is also a Governor of the Walcot Foundation. Alice has an MA in Economics from Cambridge University and is a chartered accountant.


Topi Vesteri


Topi was in charge of running Finland's officially supported export credit and guarantee schemes for almost 17 years since 1999. Under Topi's leadership Finnvera has become known as one of the most innovative and service oriented ECAs enjoying very high customer satisfaction. Finnvera was constantly developing its products and services and working in close co-operation with its clients, international banks, private political and credit risk insurers as well as other ECAs.

Topi served as Berne Union's (Int'l Union of Credit and Political Risk Insurers) President in 2015-2018 and Vice President in 2002-2003 as well as Chairman of the Union's Medium and Long Term Committee in 2009-2011. He was a member of the Union's Management Committee during these years. Topi has excellent expertise in all technical aspects of ECA business. During Topi’s Presidency several changes and improvements were made in the Union. Prague Club and Berne Union were merged.

Topi also served as board member of Finnfund (Finnish Fund for Industrial Co-operation), Finnish Credit Insurance Ltd, Fide Ltd and was chairman of the Board of Finnish Export Credit Ltd.

Since October 2015 until retiring in September, 2019 Topi was Deputy CEO and Group Chief Credit Officer of Finnvera. In 2015-2019 Topi chaired the boards of Veraventure and EAKR Aloitusrahasto, Finnvera's Venture Capital and Seeed Financing subsidiaries.

Prior to his 20 years of ECA and Promotional Bank career Topi had a 17 year commercial banking career in Helsinki, Tokio and London in various demanding managerial positions covering capital markets, leasing, corporate banking, international banking and general management.

Topi is known as an active consensus-builder with strong people and leadership skills and multicultural experiences and sensitivities. 


Robert Besseling


Robert Besseling founded specialist intelligence company EXX Africa in 2015, after pursuing a decade-long career in political risk forecasting at industry-leading firms in the UK and US. In late 2020, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, EXX Africa was rebranded as Pangea-Risk to cover 68 African and Middle East countries.

At Pangea-Risk, Robert leads a team of partners, researchers, and contributing analysts to produce commercially relevant and actionable analysis on political, security, and economic risk in Africa and the Middle East. Robert also retains the lead on many consulting projects for blue chip corporations in a wide variety of sectors.


Robert is regularly invited to speak at major international conferences on topics such as metals and mining, trade and export finance, and global security matters. He frequently moderates ministerial panels and has interviewed multiple African heads of state and government during his career. Robert makes frequent appearances on televised media, as well as contributions to international print media. He has travelled extensively on the continent and calls Africa his ‘home’.

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