Monday, March 8, 2010

International Women's Day

Happy international women's day to all the women across the globe. Like all other holidays, we must not only celebrate women today, but everyday. Women the world over continue to provide valuable contributions despite marginalization in many areas.

Below I am providing links to some organizations and/or initiatives focusing on women entrepreneurs in post conflict countries:

Founder for Women for Women International, Zainab Salbi and I


Supporting Enterprise Development in Post-Conflict Environments - Blog by United States Agency for International Development


International Women's Day - check this site out for more information on what is going on around the world

Saving the World's Women by NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF and SHERYL WuDUNN (August 19, 2009) for The New York Times.


Women for Women International is doing great work all over the world

Business Council for Peace (Bpeace) is also doing great work in Afghanistan and Rwanda

I could go on and on, but with this post I just wanted to emphasize that women in post conflict countries play an especially critical role in rebuilding their homes, communities and countries at large. As such, it is essential that they get the support they need. Please support in any way you can. Your help will go a long way.

Women are making headways in microfinance, but I still question where women entrepreneurs in the small and medium enterprise space are? What about major corporations (both in post conflict and peaceful countries)? Even though strides are being made, there is still a lot to do. Women, our challenge is to do more and be more, not only in politics and business, but all sectors of society.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

An increase in fragile states - Niger

The past few weeks have very eventful for the two African countries with closely spelled names, Niger and Nigeria. When news first broke about the coup in Niger, I was promptly misinformed of it. I proceeded to check the news on my phone only to be corrected (thank goodness because the prospect of a coup in Nigeria was scarier to me than a coup in Niger).

There has been a lot of talk in the past week about benevolent coups and their merit in restoring democracy. My take is as follows: if the people either by themselves or through the army do not feel they are being led in the manner in which they feel is best, then perhaps a benevolent coup is in order. Now don't get me wrong I am not advocating for the overhaul of governments when people are unhappy, but when the constitution and other legal safeguards have been violated then the people must ensure that their leadership follows the appropriate rules. After all, isn't democracy for the people, by the people, of the people?

What effect will Niger's government have on investment there? Most likely halt it until the army provides the world with a concrete plan on when democratic elections will be held and those plans are followed through. I have not heard of any investors leaving so that is a good sign.

I will definitely continue to keep my radar up for news from Niger.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Rwana Economic Development Forum

The first event of the year for Transitional Trade was the Rwanda Development Economic Forum in Washington DC January 20-21, 2010.

The Forum was set up to bring industry leaders from various industries to provide input on ways in that Rwanda can grow to become the ICT leader of Africa. Among those present were Dr. Jendayi Fraser (former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs- in the picture), Ambassador Andrew Young (in the picture), Ambassador John Simon, Ambassador Kimonyo (Rwanda to the United States), Michael Fairbanks (SEVEN fund) and others.

I commend the Rwandan government and Carnegie Mellon University for the initiative. The prospect of Rwanda as the main ICT hub in Africa is essential for many reasons, including but not limited to the decrease of the digital divide, the promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship, a state of the art science and technology learning center to educate more Africans, the increase in highly skilled workers not only in ICT, but in the many supporting fields as well and the list goes on.

I also commend the participants for their honesty on what they saw as viable and not. Where there was a part for government to improve, the government representatives assured the group that the government will play its part to ensure that the Center of Excellence and Rwanda's goals are achieved. Even more than their thoughts, I commend the participants on their commitment to Rwanda and Africa's development at large.

For more news on the Forum, check out The New Times at US Varsity hosts Rwanda development forum.

2010 and the hope it brings

2009 was a great year in many respects. Transitional Trade finally got traction and continued over the year to fulfill its mission.

Awareness, awareness, awareness

A major goal for 2009 was awareness that post-conflict countries are viable investment destinations. The awareness campaign was done by means of conference speeches, publications and sponsorship of events. This is still an ongoing mission and we are working to find ways to increase the efficiency of what we are doing.


We have been able to mentor entrepreneurs from Sierra Leone, South Africa, the Congo and Uganda. This process was especially moving for me as an entrepreneur because I was able at many levels to connect with the entrepreneurs and the issues they were facing starting and growing their businesses. As we continue in 2010, I hope that their zeal and motivation to grow as entrepreneurs continues and that we can continue to motivate them.


We established partnerships with several organizations such as the Rwanda Convention Association, Excel Scholars, Man Up, and become a charity on Leap Anywhere. We thank our partners for their continued support.

Our supporters

We are most appreciative of our supporters. Thank you for your suggestions, for your encouragement, support (financial and otherwise). Please keep it coming, we need it.

2010 - "The Year"

For 2010, we plan to continue doing what we are doing, but grow in all aspects of our work.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

International criminal justice - my summer

After a great meal with a friend currently in law school, we begun to talk about international criminal justice. He's taking one such class and as we talked about the many topics that plague international justice now (and for many years), it reminded me to post my blog about my summer at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in Freetown, Sierra and in the international capital of international law, the Hague.

Sierra Leone
I will write more about life in Sierra Leone later. Now I want to tell you about my experience at the Special Court. I took the summer off to learn more about international criminal law and practice and what better place was there than the Special Court? The prosecution team was very knowledgable and helpful as I settled in. We were working on the sentencing appeals in the RUF trial. For more information go to . In addition to the legal experience, it was interesting to learn more about the history of the war, the subsequent reconclilation and better yet the resilience of the people.

The Hague
I had to leave Sierra Leone early to attend the Hague Academy. That was great. Housed in the International Court of Justice I had the opportunity not only to learn a lot of legal theory, but also the opportunity to meet some of the world's best jurists at the ICJ (from left to right: Judge Burgenthal, Judge Koroma, Judge Trindade). I also met a lot of lawyers from around the world all doing interesting stuff. I was inspired.

That said, my friend and I are still debating how to improve the international criminal system. We have concluded that a lot more is being done than has been done in the past and as young lawyers we hope to continue to contribute to the betterment of the system.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

African Social Enterprise Forum

The African Social Enterprise Forum--Saturday September 26,2009 at the Desmond Tutu Center, NYC--will have at least US$4 billion social investment capital represented as well as senior executives from leading social entrepreneurship organizations such as Acumen Fund, the Rockefeller Foundation, Endeavor, Ashoka and Social Private Equity South Africa.

The forum will respond to the question raised at the Skoll Forum, "Are the Only Innovations in Social Entrepreneurship Anglo-Saxon?", by highlighting Africa's most innovative, world class social entrepreneurial solutions.

I am very happy to be speaking about the structural, regulatory and legal requirements for setting up different types of businesses in Africa.

visit to register.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sierra Leone – Virgin territories: A new market for innovative investment.

I've been in Sierra Leone for close to three weeks now and so far it has been great. I am here doing several things: 1. working as an intern for the Office of Prosecution at the United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone 2. scoping out investment and entrepreneurship opportunities for Transitional Trade 3. helping organize TAN CON SL, whose theme is above "Sierra Leone – Virgin territories: A new market for innovative investment" (trying to get in some much needed rest and relaxation by going to the beach every other day is also high on my agenda).

So far, working on an appeals case at the Court is needless to say, interesting. As a transactional attorney now working on a litigation matter, it is great to put into practice skills I haven't really used since law school. It is also great to see a practical application of international law. I'll deal more with the Court at a later date.

Sierra Leone is not only very peaceful, it is very beautiful and there is great investor potential. This post conflict country has opportunities in reconstruction as well as construction in different sectors such as infrastructure, agriculture, tourism, telecommunications, water etc. Name it and there is probably great potential. As we organize this year's conference, we not only aim to highlight what Sierra Leone has to offer, but I also aim to engage investors and would be investors in dialogue about the importance of social investment in Africa as well as corporate social responsibility.

I'll continue to post as I can, but for now, I bid you farewell from sweet Salone.